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How To Install Metal Roofing Over Plywood?

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Installing a metal roof can be a transformative step for your home, not only enhancing its curb appeal but also its long-term durability. 

Yet, one of the most common concerns homeowners face is how to install metal roofing over plywood

To install metal roofing over plywood, one must first inspect the plywood for any damage, then apply the appropriate underlayment and slip sheet. Finally, the metal roof panels should be carefully aligned and secured.

How to Install Metal Roofing Over Plywood – Quick Overview

When considering a home makeover, metal roofing stands out as a stylish yet sturdy option. Installing it over plywood might seem daunting, but with the right steps, it can be a smooth process. Begin by thoroughly inspecting your plywood for any wear or damage.

Opt for a robust underlayment to act as a moisture barrier, followed by the essential slip sheets to prevent any sticking of the metal panels. As you lay out your metal panels, ensure they align perfectly, overlap where needed, and are securely fastened.

With a dash of patience and a sprinkle of diligence, you can have a metal roof that’s as chic as it is durable. Perfect for those who appreciate both style and substance!

Can You Install Metal Roofing Directly on Plywood?

When considering a metal roof installation, many homeowners ask this pivotal question. The short answer is yes, but there are essential steps to follow to ensure the best results.

The essential nature of proper preparation

Proper preparation is the foundation of any successful roofing project. A solid and secure base ensures that the metal roofing will be stable, durable, and leak-proof for years to come. A well-prepared plywood base provides the needed support for the metal sheets.

Risks and benefits of installing on plywood

While installing metal roofing on plywood offers the benefit of structural support and potential insulation advantages, there are risks.

These risks primarily involve the plywood’s condition, which can affect the metal roof’s longevity and performance. Ensuring a sound foundation will mitigate most of these concerns.

How to Install Metal Roofing Over Plywood?

Metal roofing is an excellent choice for durability, energy efficiency, and aesthetics. When installing it over plywood, careful steps must be taken to ensure the longevity of the roof and the safety of the structure. Let’s dive into the process step-by-step.

Step 1: Inspect Your Plywood

Before laying your metal roofing, inspect the plywood for any signs of damage. This includes water stains, rot, warping, or fungal growth. Damaged plywood can compromise the roof’s integrity and may lead to more significant problems down the road.

The thickness of your plywood plays a role in how well it will support the metal roofing. Typically, a minimum of 1/2 inch thick plywood is recommended. If your plywood is thinner, consider reinforcing or replacing it.

For the metal panels to lay flat and be secure, the surface of the plywood should be smooth. Remove any protruding nails, screws, or other obstructions. Sanding may be required in areas where the wood has swelled or warped.

Step 2: Choose and Apply the Right Underlayment

The underlayment acts as a barrier against moisture. Felt paper and synthetic underlayments are the most common choices, with the latter often offering better durability and moisture resistance.

Begin at the bottom edge of the roof and roll out the underlayment horizontally. Secure it using roofing nails, ensuring there are no bubbles or wrinkles. Overlap each subsequent layer to prevent any gaps.

Working on a roof can be slippery, especially when laying underlayment. Always wear shoes with good grip and take your time to avoid accidents.

Step 3: Understand and Apply Slip Sheets

Slip sheets are crucial when working with metal roofs, as they prevent the metal panels from sticking to the underlayment, allowing for expansion and contraction due to temperature changes.

Rosin paper is commonly used due to its slight texture, which helps keep the metal panels from sticking. Red rosin paper is another variant that works well.

Just like the underlayment, begin applying the slip sheet from the bottom edge, moving horizontally. Overlap each subsequent sheet to ensure full coverage.

Step 4: Metal Roof Installation Process

Metal roofing panels come in various styles and materials, including aluminum, steel, and copper. Choose the one best suited for your climate and desired aesthetic.

Always start from the bottom corner of the roof and work your way up, ensuring each panel is aligned with the roof’s edge. Panels should overlap according to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Use roofing screws with rubber washers to secure the panels. These washers prevent water from seeping through the screw holes.

Once all panels are laid, ensure flashing is properly installed around roof protrusions like chimneys or vents. This step is crucial to prevent potential leaks. For the peak of the roof, utilize ridge caps to give a finished look and extra protection.

Additional Tips and Tricks

In addition to the fundamental steps for installing metal roofing over plywood, there are nuances that every homeowner should be aware of to ensure the longevity and functionality of their metal roof. Here are some additional insights to make the process smoother and the results more long-lasting.

Expertise Matters

Even if you’re a DIY enthusiast, the expertise of a professional roofer can be invaluable. They possess the experience to foresee potential challenges and the knowledge of best practices in the industry.

Cost Savings

While there might be an upfront cost for professional consultation, this investment can lead to long-term savings. A pro can guide you on materials and tools, ensuring you get the best quality for your budget and help prevent costly mistakes.

Quality Assurance

A professional inspection post-installation ensures the job is done correctly. This step can provide peace of mind, confirming that your roof is set up to withstand the elements and time.


Skylights can beautify a home, but they pose challenges when installing metal roofing. Ensure a watertight seal by using specialized flashing that integrates with both the skylight frame and the metal roofing panels.

Chimneys and Vents

Chimneys and roof vents have their own set of challenges. Using step flashing and counter flashing ensures that water runs around these structures rather than into your home.

Roof Valleys

Valleys, where two roof slopes meet, are common leak points. Pay special attention to these areas by using valley flashing and ensuring a proper overlap of metal panels.

Routine Inspections

Conduct regular checks on your metal roof, especially after severe weather conditions. Look for signs of damage, loose screws, or rust spots.


Over time, debris like leaves, twigs, and dust can accumulate on your roof. Periodically cleaning ensures that water can freely flow off your roof, preventing potential rust or staining.

Drainage System Maintenance

A well-functioning drainage system – gutters and downspouts – is essential to keep water away from your home’s foundation. Ensure they are clean and free of blockages.

By adhering to these additional guidelines and considerations, homeowners can ensure that their metal roofs not only look great but also provide dependable protection for many years to come.


Metal roofing over plywood offers a blend of aesthetics and longevity, making it a popular choice among homeowners. 

By meticulously following each step – from inspecting the plywood to finalizing the installation of the metal panels – you can ensure a seamless, effective roof that stands the test of time. 

Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or seeking professional guidance, understanding the nuances of this installation process is crucial. 

A well-installed metal roof not only provides unparalleled protection against the elements but also elevates the overall look of your home.


What kind of plywood is best for metal roofing installations?

For metal roofing over plywood, it’s recommended to use exterior-grade CDX plywood that’s at least 1/2 inch thick.

Do I need a special underlayment for metal roofs over plywood?

Yes, using a synthetic or felt underlayment designed for metal roofs ensures better moisture protection and longevity.

How do slip sheets benefit metal roofing over plywood installations?

Slip sheets, usually made of rosin or felt paper, prevent the metal panels from sticking to the underlayment and aid in thermal movement.

Are there specific screws or fasteners ideal for attaching metal roofing to plywood?

Yes, using screws with neoprene washers ensures a tight, waterproof seal between the metal roofing and the plywood beneath.

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