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How To Walk On A Metal Roof Without Slipping (Pro Roofers Answer!)

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how to walk on a metal roof without slipping

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Walking on a metal roof can feel like a daunting task, particularly given the fear of slipping. The concern becomes even more pressing in wet, icy conditions or on steep roofs.

However, with the right approach and precautions, you can confidently traverse a metal roof.

In this article, we’ll explore the professional advice on how to walk on a metal roof without slipping.

The solution to safely walking on a metal roof involves choosing the right footwear, planning your route, using the proper equipment like roof ladders and safety nets, and always prioritizing safety first, especially on steep or wet surfaces.

How To Walk On A Metal Roof Without Slipping – Quick Overview

Navigating a metal roof without slipping involves a combination of careful preparation, using the right equipment, and adopting a safe approach.

It starts with choosing the appropriate footwear—soft-soled, non-slip shoes that offer a good grip on the metal surface.

Then, plan your route to avoid potential hazards and use equipment like a roof ladder or roof jacks for additional support.

Remember to take small steps to maintain balance and control. Install safety nets as a backup safety measure.

If the roof is wet or icy, consider using extra traction pads, and always take extra precautions on steep roofs.

Above all, never underestimate the importance of safety equipment. By adhering to these tips, you can safely traverse any metal roof.

Can You Walk On A Metal Roof?

Before we dive into the tips, it’s important to determine whether it’s safe for you to walk on a metal roof in the first place.

If your roof is not designed to support foot traffic or you are unsure about its condition, it’s best to avoid walking on it altogether.

It’s also important to consider the weather conditions before walking on a metal roof. If the roof is wet or covered in ice, it can be extremely slippery and dangerous to walk on.

On the other hand, those who are concerned know will walking on a metal roof can be done without damaging the roof.

Well, the good news is that well-installed metal roofs that are of high quality can withstand foot traffic.

Scratches or scrub marks can show up in the form of light wear, but this is totally normal.

In order to ensure a metal roof can withstand foot traffic, it is important to have optimal knowledge of the roof’s structure.

how to walk on a metal roof without slipping

Choose the Right Footwear For Walking On Metal Roof

Choosing the right footwear is essential for walking on a metal roof without slipping.

Shoes with smooth soles, like dress shoes or high heels, are not suitable for walking on a metal roof as they can easily slip. Shoes with rubber soles, such as athletic shoes or hiking boots, provide better traction.

If you plan to walk on a metal roof often, you may want to invest in specialized roofing shoes that are designed specifically for walking on metal surfaces.

You can also add extra traction to your existing shoes with shoe grips or traction pads.

Best Technique To Walk on A Metal Roof

Walking on a metal roof is both a science and an art. Each step, when taken with caution and correct technique, ensures your safety and prevents potential slips or falls. Here’s how you can master this skill:

Use Proper Footwear:

Footwear is not just about fashion—it’s your first line of defense when walking on a metal roof. Choosing the right shoes is crucial. For the best protection, consider these factors:

  • Material: Soft-soled shoes provide the best grip. They reduce the risk of slipping as they mold better to the roof surface.
  • Tread: Look for shoes with a good tread design. A deep and open tread can prevent the build-up of any material which might cause a slip.
  • Fit: Ensure your shoes fit correctly. Ill-fitting shoes can be uncomfortable and unstable, increasing your risk of a slip or fall.

Plan Your Route:

Before venturing onto your metal roof, planning your route is essential. This strategy helps you be aware of the roof’s layout and any potential hazards. It includes:

  • Identifying Hazards: Look for skylights, vents, antennas, or loose sheets of metal. These are potential hazards that could destabilize you.
  • Studying the Slope: Understand the pitch of the roof. Steeper slopes require more caution and potentially additional equipment.
  • Exit Strategy: Always plan your descent. It’s equally important to know how you’re going to get down as it is to know how you’re going to get up.

Use A Roof Ladder:

A roof ladder is more than a tool—it’s your trusted companion when you’re walking on a metal roof. Roof ladders provide the support and safety you need. Here’s why you should invest in one:

  • Stability: They are designed to hook over the ridge of a roof, providing a safe and stable platform to work from.
  • Versatility: Roof ladders can be used on various roof styles and materials, making them a practical investment.
  • Confidence: Using a roof ladder gives you the confidence to move around on the roof, ensuring your safety and peace of mind.

Use Roof Jacks

Roof jacks are a game-changer when working on steep roofs. Acting as a temporary platform, they are an essential part of your safety arsenal:

  • Support: Roof jacks provide a stable platform to stand or sit on, making you feel secure on steep roofs.
  • Ease: They make tasks such as repairs or installations easier by providing a place to rest tools or materials.
  • Safety: By offering a flat surface to stand on, they reduce the risk of slips or falls.

Take Small Steps

When it comes to walking on a metal roof, the rule of thumb is: the smaller, the better. Here’s why taking small steps can enhance your stability:

  • Control: Smaller steps provide better control of your movement, helping to prevent missteps or slips.
  • Balance: Smaller steps keep your center of gravity low and stable, improving balance.
  • Reaction Time: If you do start to slip, taking small steps allows more time to react and correct your footing.

Use A Safety Net

Despite all precautions, accidents can happen. That’s where safety nets come in. Installed beneath the work area, they act as a safety cushion:

  • Fall Protection: In case of an accidental fall, safety nets can significantly reduce the severity of injuries.
  • Confidence: Knowing there’s a safety net underneath provides a psychological boost, allowing you to focus better on moving safely.
  • Legal Compliance: In some jurisdictions, safety nets are part of legal requirements for work at height, ensuring you meet safety standards.

Avoid Walking On Wet Or Icy Surfaces

Wet or icy surfaces are incredibly slippery, increasing the risk of slipping and falling. Wait for the roof to dry or remove any ice before walking on it.

If conditions are too dangerous or challenging, consider postponing work until the roof is safe to walk on.

Use Caution When Walking On Steep Roofs

Walking on steep roofs can be more challenging and can increase the risk of falls. Use extra caution and consider using additional safety measures such as a safety harness.

It’s also essential to keep your center of gravity over your feet when walking on a steep roof.

By following these tips, you can safely and effectively walk on a metal roof without sliding.

If you’re not comfortable working at heights, it’s best to hire a professional roofing company to handle the job for you.

Highly Recommended: Use Safety Equipment

No matter how cautious you are, working on a roof always carries some risk. Thus, using safety equipment is not just recommended, but essential. Investing in safety gear brings multiple benefits:

  • Helmets: A well-fitting helmet can protect you from head injuries in case of a fall or from falling objects.
  • Gloves: Gloves provide better grip and protect your hands from cuts or abrasions. Choose ones that offer a good balance between protection and dexterity.
  • Safety Harness: A full-body safety harness is crucial when working at height. It can save you from severe injuries in case of a fall.
  • Rope and Anchor System: A rope and anchor system can provide additional security, particularly on steep roofs or in challenging conditions.

By ensuring you are adequately equipped, you significantly minimize the risk of accidents. Safety should always be your number one priority when working on a metal roof.


Walking on a metal roof can be a daunting task, but with the right technique and equipment, it can be done safely and effectively.

Make sure to wear the right footwear, plan your route carefully, use roof ladders and jacks for stability, take small steps, use a safety net, and avoid walking on wet or icy surfaces.

Additionally, consider using safety equipment such as a harness and hard hat to ensure you stay safe while working on the roof.

Following these tips will help you walk on a metal roof without slipping.

Professional Recommendation from Albuquerque, NM Professional Roofers:

As an Albuquerque, NM, based professional roofer team, and metal roofing experts we highly recommend that you use the tips and safety equipment listed above when walking on a metal roof.

We also suggest always higher a professional roofing team instead of attempting to do the job yourself.

If you are from Albuquerque and have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us directly. We provide free consultations and would be more than happy to assist.

FAQs – How To Walk On A Metal Roof Without Slipping

Can you walk on a metal roof with purlins?

The short answer is yes, you can walk on a metal roof with purlins. However, it’s important to take extra precautions and use the right safety equipment. Use proper shoes and avoid walking while the surface is wet or icy. As long as you take the necessary precautions, you should be able to safely walk on a metal roof with purlins.

Can you walk on a metal roof without damaging it?

Yes, it is possible to walk on a metal roof without causing any damage. In some cases, it may even be necessary in order to inspect or work on the roof. Make sure to use proper technique and safety equipment, keep your weight evenly distributed, and take small steps. This will help minimize the risk of causing any damage to the roof.

When is it not safe to walk on a metal roof?

It is never safe to walk on a metal roof if the surface is wet or icy. Additionally, walking on steep roofs can be more dangerous and should be avoided if possible. If you are unsure about the safety of walking on a metal roof, it is best to hire a professional roofer to handle the job.

Are metal roofs slippery?

Metal roofs can be slippery depending on the conditions they are exposed to. If a metal roof is wet or covered in snow or ice, it can become extremely slippery and dangerous to walk on. However, if the metal roof is dry and has a textured surface, it can provide good traction and be safe to walk on. It’s important to assess the conditions of the roof before attempting to walk on it and take appropriate precautions to prevent slipping and falling.

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