Walking on your metal roof is probably not something you plan on doing every day, but there may be a situation that calls for you to do so. You may have noticed something unusual and want to go up and check it out, or maybe there is something you need to fix, or there is a problem with a window that you can only access via the roof. Whatever the reason, you want to ensure you will not damage the roof by walking on it. To begin with, metal roofing suppliers recommend that you leave dangerous jobs to the professionals and do not put your life at risk trying to accomplish a task that may end up hurting you. But if there is just no time to waste and whatever is happening on your roof needs your immediate attention, here are some pointers that will help you preserve your roof and your wellbeing.
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Three Rules to Follow
Your metal roof will be fine if you walk on it. Just make sure to follow these simple rules:
- Make sure that the shoes you will be wearing are clean and have soft soles.
- Any tools that you need to take up there should be secured on your person since you don’t want anything heavy to slip and hit the roof, denting it.
- Ask a professional about what spots it is ok to walk and only stick to those places while you are up there.
Learn To Walk On Metal Roofs
There are several techniques on the best way to walk on a metal roof, and they differ depending on the type of metal roof you have on your home. Your roof could have sheet metal, be corrugated, or be made of metal shingles or tiles. The safest way to walk on your metal roof is to call your installer or contractor to ask them for instructions on the proper way to do this. It may take you a little time to find the contractor and understand the instructions, but climbing up the roof without making this call may have you facing disastrous consequences.
Walking on Metal Tile Roofs
If your roof is made up of panels that look like tiles or wood shakes, walk only on the low spots of the panels, right where they meet the roof deck.
Walking on Standing Seam Metal Roofs
Although standing seam metal roofs are much safer to walk on, since they are usually installed on steeper rooflines, they tend to be extremely slippery. In this case, the soft-soled shoes are not enough. You need to wear a harness and all required safety equipment before attempting to walk on your metal roof. The metal will not be damaged when you step on it with the right shoes, but you do not want to risk your safety while doing so.
Walking on Corrugated Steel Roofs
Corrugated roofs have slopes and valleys. They are safe roofs to walk on, and there is little risk that you would end up damaging them. However, stick to soft-soled shoes and place your foot only on the valleys.
Walking on Metal Shingles or Metal Shake Roofs
During the installation of metal shingle or shake roofs, there is an air gap between the metal panels and the decking. You can find this air gap in roofs that have metal tiles, shakes, or shingles. If you see these spaces, you can easily damage or bend them by walking on them.
If there is a reason why you might have to climb on your roof regularly, it may be worth your while to call your roofing contractor and ask them to install foam or polystyrene backing between the metal tiles or shingles for your roof to be safe to be walked on. These backers will support the metal panels and give them some rigidity, allowing you to safely walk on your roof without causing any damage.
Steps to Take Before Climbing on Your Roof
Inspect the Roof
There are some things you can do from the ground before you climb on your roof. Start by conducting a careful inspection of the roof. Walk around the property and, if you have an attic, go up there and inspect the roof from underneath. Don’t attempt to get on the roof if it is wet or there are holes or other visible hazards.
Clean Your Shoes
Both the roof and your shoes need to be clean and dry. Your soles also need to be clean and free of rocks or dirt. Carefully clean the soles and give them enough time to ensure they are completely dry. Remember that metal roofs tend to be very slick.
Never Walk on A Wet Metal Roof
If your roof suffered some damage due to a storm, hail, or any other wet weather condition, you must wait until the roof is dry before attempting to see the damage. In general, it is not recommended that you walk on a wet roof, no matter what it is made of, much less on a slippery metal roof.
If there is the risk of further damage or danger to the home if you do not go up to the roof even when it is still wet, take all the possible safety measures before attempting this feat. Wear rubber footwear, a safety harness, safety glasses, gloves, anchors, and a fall protection system. Pay attention to where you are going and proceed with caution.
Are you uncomfortable walking on your roof? Then Don’t Do It!
If, despite all safety precautions, you still feel uncomfortable walking on your roof, do yourself a favor and stay off it. There is a great chance that you might fall and injure yourself in a bad way. If you are inexperienced or have a fear of heights, call a professional roofer to take care of whatever issue you need to solve regarding your metal roof.
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