If you have a metal roof or are contemplating installing one, you’re probably wondering whether you can walk on it if the need arises. Well, there are opinions on it that range from yes you can, but you need to follow certain guidelines to do so, or no, you shouldn’t do it all and only call in a professional if metal roof problems arise. So, what is the answer? Can you really walk on a metal roof without damaging it?
Proceed with Caution
When you absolutely have to get up on your metal roof to clean, repair or wash windows near it, there are several guidelines to follow, and the first one is to do so with extreme caution for both yours and the roof’s sake. You don’t want to cause damage to the roof and yourself. Second, you want to wear clean footwear that is soft. Third, you’ll want to know the exact spots to walk on to avoid slipping and falling.
If you have any trepidation about getting on a metal roof because you’re skittish concerning safety, have health problems and concerns with heights, it’s best to call in a professional to help you with your metal roof issues.
How to Walk on a Metal Roof Basics
Soft and Dry Shoes – Make sure that the soft shoes, particularly the outsoles, that you wear on a metal roof are clear of dirt, debris and pebbles. Also, your shoes should be dry with no oil or water on them. Any debris on the bottom of your shoes can cause scratches on a metal surface, and your shoes will lack gripping power, which may cause loss of traction and the possibility of slippage.
- Lightweight Tools – You want to avoid the use of heavy tools on a roof as dropping them on a metal roof can spell disaster. Use lightweight ones and keep them in a tool belt
- Types of Metal Roof – Walking on different types of metal roofs is somewhat of an art as every metal roof has a different consistency and strength threshold. There are metal tile roofs, standing seam metal roofs, corrugated steel roofs and metal shingle and shake roofs. With each style there is a strategy in walking on them.
- Metal Tile Roofs – walk on the low spots close to the roof deck.
- Standing Seam Metal Roofs – can be easily walked on without damage, but they are steep and slippery. Safety equipment use is a necessity.
- Corrugated Steel Roofs – are also easily walked on without damage as their installation is done directly to the roof decking. Any walking should occur on the low valleys of the roof area.
- Metal Shingle and Shake Roofs – with installation of either shingle or shake metal roofs, there is an air space between the roof decking and the metal panels. If walking occurs over this air gap, any major weight will bend the metal shingles or shakes.
Other Things to Consider with Metal Roofing
Consult with a Contractor – If you decide to install a metal roof, you’ll want to consult with a roofing contractor and ask exactly how to walk on a metal roof. They’ll tell you right away to wear shoes with soft soles that provide enough of a grip to keep you steady and prevent roof damage. They’ll further explain that you’ll want to think about a metal roof that consists of panels that have more of a tile or shake style profile, which provides better walking ease. There will be specific places, or low spots, to walk on to avoid damage to a metal roof. Also, check with the manufacturer of the metal roofing product you choose. They’ll be able to tell you about walkability with metal roofing.
Foam Backers – Metal roofs that look like tile or shakes are available for use with an option of foam backing that sits behind the panels. Installing a roof with foam backers is helpful for you or other workers frequently walking on it. The backing provides an added rigidness to the panels and makes it easier to walk on the roof. The panels provide stability and safety, plus they lessen the possibility of damage.
Lumber and Walk-boards – When you have a considerable amount of work to do on a metal roof, both walk- boards and lumber can be helpful. If you place the lumber or walk- boards directly on the roof, there is little change of damage from workers walking on the lumber or boards. The distribution of weight will be more even across the roof, and the more vulnerable areas of a metal roof will gain protection with limited damage. Using lumber and walk-boards are good ways to walk safely across a metal roof.
There are precautionary measures to take if you walk and work on a metal roof. To avoid damaging a metal roof, following the precautions given here and consulting with a roofing contractor are the best ways to prevent metal roof damage. For those who want to learn more about professional roofing services in your area, make sure to fill out the contact form.