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Metal Roof Systems for Steep-Slope Applications

Metal roof systems description: There are three general categories of metal roof systems used for steep-slope roofing applications: architectural metal panel, structural metal panel and metal shingle/shingle panels. Generally, architectural metal panel roof systems are watershedding and are intended for use on steep slope roofs. Structural metal panel roof systems are used on low and steep slope roofs. Structural metal panel roof systems can be used on low slope roofs because of their hydrostatic, or water barrier, characteristics.

Because architectural metal panel roof systems typically are designed to be used on steep slopes that will shed water rapidly over the metal panels' surface, the seams typically are not watertight. Many architectural metal roof systems are well suited for use on roof slopes of 3 inches per foot (14 degrees) or greater. One exception to the general slope guidelines for architectural metal panel roof systems is the traditional flat seamed, soldered or welded metal roof system, such as copper. It may be specified on slopes less than 3 inches per foot (14 degrees). Solid roof sheathing, or decking, is required for architectural metal panel roof systems, and NRCA recommends using underlayment.

Metal shingles and shingle panels are available in numerous varieties for use as steep-slope roof coverings. Most of the metal shingles are press-formed during the manufacturing process to provide a variety of shapes. These products can take the shape of individual or multiple asphalt, tile, slate or wood shingle configurations.

Roof deck

Architectural metal panel roof systems and structural metal panel roof systems are installed over a large variety of substrates. There are two general categories of substrates: continuous or closely spaced decking that provides solid support for the metal roof panel, and the other is composed of spaced structural supports (such as purlins) where the metal panels must span between supports. Most structural metal panels are used over spaced structural supports without being supported by a solid roof deck.

Metal shingles and metal shingle panels should be installed over continuous or closely spaced wood decking, furring strips, or metal or wood purlins using a batten or counter-batten system. These roof coverings typically are considered to be watershedding roof systems, so the roof slope should be 3:12 (14 degrees) or greater.

Underlayment:Underlayment (or "felt paper" as it is frequently called) is installed over the roof deck before the application of a metal roof system. An underlayment performs two primary functions: it provides temporary weather protection until the metal roof system is installed, and it provides a secondary weatherproofing barrier if moisture infiltrates the metal roof panels.

Asphalt saturated, nonperforated organic felts are among the most common underlayments; they commonly are designated as Type 15 and Type 30 or referred to as No. 15 and No. 30, which are reflective of a once used pound per square weight designation. The terms Type I and Type II now are used within the industry in lieu of No. 15 or No. 30, respectively.

For metal panel roof systems, metal shingles and metal shingle panels, NRCA recommends a minimum of one layer of No. 30 asphalt-saturated felt applied horizontally in shingle fashion on roof decks having a slope of 4:12 (18 degrees) or more. For roof decks having slopes of 3:12 (14 degrees) up to 4:12 (18 degrees), a minimum of two layers of No. 30 asphalt-saturated underlayment should be applied horizontally in shingle fashion.

Underlayments typically are not used with structural metal panel roof systems when intermittent supports are used to carry the roof systems. However, if there is a continuous or closely spaced roof deck, NRCA recommends an underlayment be installed.

In locations where the average temperature for January is 30ยบ F or less, NRCA suggests installation of an ice-dam protection membrane. An ice-dam protection membrane generally is a self-adhering polymer-modified bitumen membrane.

An ice dam protection membrane should be applied starting at a roof's eaves and extending upslope a minimum of 24 inches from the exterior wall line of a building. For slopes less than 4:12 (18 degrees), a minimum of 36 inches is recommended.