Can You Put Metal Roofing Directly On The Rafters? [Homeowner’s Guide]

Are you considering metal roofing for your home or building?

If so, you might wonder if you can install metal roofing directly on the rafters without additional support.

Good news! In many cases, you can.

Generally, metal roofing materials are lightweight and versatile, making it possible to attach them straight onto rafters.

Let's dive into some useful information to help you make the best decision for your roofing project.

So, Can I Really Put Metal Roofing Directly On The Rafters?

Attic roofing construction. A close-up of a wood roof framing over a vapor barrier and metal roof tiles installation, attic windows, chimney construction with insulation.

Yes, you can put metal roofing directly on rafters

However, it's important to note that while it's possible, it's advisable to install them on rafters with insulation.

Doing so helps to keep the temperature of your building optimal at all times, as metal roofs tend to absorb heat.

Additionally, insulation helps to reduce noise pollution, especially during rainy days, making your home quieter, warmer, and cozy.

It's also important to check with your insurance company.

See if they cover the cost of the second layer of protection for your home in case of unforeseen circumstances due to poor installation.

Remember that metal roofs are more expensive than other roofing materials and require more maintenance when installed directly on rafters. 

Be sure to read: What is the Best Roof Coating for a Metal Roof?

How Do I Properly Install a Metal Roofing On Rafters?

Metal roofing construction. A building contractor is installing corrugated metal roofing sheets on the roof rafters, screwing down metal panels using electric screwdriver.

1. Assess Your Existing Roof's Condition

Before starting, assess your existing roof's condition to determine whether installing metal roofing directly over the rafters is possible.

You can confidently proceed with your metal roofing installation if the current structure is in good shape.

However, if the existing roof is in poor condition, removing and installing new rafters beforehand is recommended so they can support the new roof.

2. Install Solid Roof Deck Or Plywood Sheathing On The Roof Frame

After ensuring that your roof structure is in good condition, you can now attach a solid roof deck or plywood sheathing on the frame.

With this, you can ensure a smooth and even surface for the metal panels to be attached.

Start by measuring the rafters and cutting sheets of plywood or roof decking to the appropriate size.

Next, ensure the decking is attached securely to the rafters using nails or screws, spacing them evenly across the surface.

3. Lay Down An Underlayment

An underlayment is essential for preventing moisture and roof leaks.

Three types of underlayment are available: synthetic, felt, and self-adhered.

Choose the most suitable one for your project and lay it flat on the roof decking.

Make sure to overlap the edges by a few inches and secure it using a roofing nail or staple gun to keep it in place.

4. Attach Metal Roof Panels

Senior gray-haired Construction man using a screwdriver, fastens a roofing sheet to wooden rafters on the roof of a country house under construction. The physical activity of the elderly.

Select the appropriate metal roofing panels for your project, such as copper or aluminum.

Begin by aligning the first panel at the roof's edge with the bottom section parallel to the eave.

Use self-tapping corrugated roofing screws with attached washers to secure the panel to the roof decking or rafters.

Repeat this process for each panel, overlapping the adjacent panel's edges to ensure proper weather protection.

5. Properly Install Flashing and Trim

Flashing and trim are necessary to protect vulnerable areas of your metal roof from water infiltration.

Install flashing around all edges, valleys, and penetrations, such as chimneys or vents.

Use appropriate materials like roof caulking to seal the gaps and fasten trim or ridge caps to the roof edges.

With this, you can protect your metal roof and give it a clean and finished appearance.

6. Inspect Regularly And Maintain Your Roof

After your metal roof is installed, it's essential to perform regular inspections and maintain it to ensure its longevity and efficiency.

Check for signs of wear, corrosion, or loose screws or flashing.

Repair any issues promptly, and keep the roof clear of debris or any buildup to prevent potential damage.

By following these steps, you can enjoy the durability and energy-efficient benefits of a metal roof directly installed on rafters.

Related article: How To Clean a Metal Roof From the Ground?

Tips For Ensuring A Successful Metal Roof Installation

If you're planning to install a metal roof on your home, here are some tips to ensure success from the start:

Choose The Right Materials

Before you begin, make sure you have the right metal roofing materials for your project.

Make sure you choose the proper type of metal, fasteners, and underlayment.

Prioritize Safety

Safety always comes first, so be sure to wear the appropriate protective gear, like gloves, safety glasses, and a hard hat.

You should also use a fall protection system to prevent accidental slips and falls.

Measure And Plan Accurately

Take the time to measure and plan the layout of your metal roof panels accurately.

Doing so will help you avoid mistakes, minimize waste, and create a visually appealing result.

Pay Attention To Alignment And Fastening

When installing the metal panels, be attentive to the alignment and fix them securely with the appropriate fasteners.

Proper installation prevents issues like warping and leaking.

Continue reading: Metal Roof Makes A Popping Noise – Why? What To Do?

Pros And Cons Of Installing Metal Roofing On Rafters

Architectural detail of metal roofing on commercial construction of modern building complex

When considering whether to install metal roofing directly on rafters, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons of this approach.

In this section, we'll delve into the advantages and disadvantages of metal roofing on rafters.

Pros Of Installing Metal Roofing On Rafters

Lightweight Option

Materials like aluminum and copper are less heavy than traditional roofing materials, making them suitable for this type of installation.

The lightweight aspect of metal roofing can reduce the overall strain on your home's structure and may lead to a faster installation process.

Energy Efficiency

Due to their reflective properties, metal roofs can help reduce your home's cooling costs, as they reflect heat away from your home instead of absorbing it.

In addition, metal roofs are environmentally friendly, with at least 25% recycled content and being 100% recyclable when it's time for replacement.

Cons Of Installing Metal Roofing On Rafters

A close-up on an unfinished roof ridge with a vapor, moisture barrier and Lightweight Metal Roofing Sheets installed over a roofing deck, sheathing.


Metal roofing materials can range from $4.50 to $40 per square foot, making it a costly investment for some homeowners.

Metal roofings are typically premeasured at 100 square feet, and an American home's average roof size is 1,700 feet.

Here is a breakdown of the estimated cost per metal type:

Metal Type Price/sq. ft. Price/100 sq. ft. Price per 1,700 sq. ft.
Galvalume $4.50-$9 $450-$900 $7,650-$15,300
Galvanized $5-$17 $500-$1,700 $8,500-$28,900
Copper $25–$40 $2,500-$4,000 $42,500-$68,000
Aluminum $7-$21 $700-$2,100 $11,900-$35,700
Stainless $7.50-$20 $750-$2,000 $12,750-$34,000
Tin $10.50-$26 $1,050-$2,600 $17,850-$44,200
Zinc $15–$21 $1,500-$2,100 $25,500-$35,700


Not all metal roofing materials are suitable for installation on open rafters.

So it's vital to consult with a professional to determine if your selected material will work for this application.

Moisture-Related Issues

Installing a metal roof without proper insulation or ventilation can result in trapped moisture and subsequent damage to your home's structure.

You might also like: Can You Put A Metal Roof Over Wood Shingles?

Putting It All Together

Blue metal tile on a wooden crate on the roof of a private house in the sun

Installing metal roofing directly on rafters can be a great option for homeowners looking for lightweight and energy-efficient roofing material.

However, it's important to note that this approach can come with some downsides.

Metal roofs are expensive and have potential moisture-related issues if insulation is not properly installed.

That's it! By following the guide above, you're on your way to installing a metal roof on your rafters.

Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

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