A big myth originated when someone once said that it was impossible to walk on metal roofs.

You can walk across metal roofs in the real world, but how and where you do so depends on the type of roofing you’ve selected. In actuality, metal roofs are more resilient to foot traffic than certain other roofing materials like ceramic tiles. Repetitive traffic can harm even asphalt, but metal isn’t always susceptible to this. In general, walking on a metal roof 30 or 50 years after construction is just as safe as it was on the day of installation.

the image illustrating "How to Walk on Metal Roofs in Easy Steps".

How to Walk on Metal Roofs in 4 Easy Steps

  1. The first thing to do is refer to the manufacturer’s instructions to find out how they advise walking on that specific roof product. Having said that here are some ideas:
  • You can walk almost anywhere on standing seam roofing without damaging it.

  • You should walk on the lower portions of metal tile roofing—ribbed panels that mimic ceramic tile or shake—closer to the roof decking.

  • Since corrugated panels screw directly into the roof decking, they are also safe to walk on.  However, walking on the lowest portions of those panels is a smart idea.

  • Walking on the top half of the shingle panel—where there is less gap between the metal—is advised when it comes to metal shingles. You might look about adding foam supporters to those shingles if you believe there are any spots where people would walk on them frequently. By doing this, such regions will become firmer and more suited for foot traffic.

  1. The general recommendation is to stay as near to the decking as possible, avoiding ribs and laps.
  1. Wear sneakers with supple soles.
  2. Take care not to grind in any debris that feels like it could harm the metal surface if you step on it.

the image you requested, depicting a person choosing the right footwear for a construction job.

Choose the Right Footwear

You’ll need nice shoes to get started. It’s important to wear appropriate footwear when walking on your metal roof as it might be more slick than other roofing materials. It should have a rubber bottom with a soft sole that nearly feels like it’s grabbing the roof; on hot days in particular, it should feel a little sticky. Furthermore, full foot coverage is required; sandals or flip-flops are not acceptable, nor are worn-out sneakers that are unable to withstand higher angles and gravity.

Work boots that are too heavy or stiff should not be used as they can harm the roof. You need that previously mentioned sticky grip on a flexible, malleable shoe. Perhaps surprisingly, a number of roofers enjoy wearing sneakers with entirely flat soles designed for excellent traction, such as Chuck’s All-Stars, Converse, tennis shoes, and skate shoes.

Ensure that the soles of your shoes are also clean. Certain types of dirt and gravel that become trapped in grooves can scratch or harm your roof, as well as make it difficult for you to walk on it.

Don’t undervalue the importance of wearing appropriate footwear—even skilled roofers can have catastrophic falls from roofs. Additionally, if you find climbing on a roof uncomfortable or you have a fear of heights, just don’t do it. Instead, hire a friend or a professional who is comfortable doing it in your place. You need the confidence to go on the roof.

Await the Clear Day

It is risky to walk on wet metal roofs, therefore even experts will attempt to reschedule till the weather cooperates. Sometimes, though, if you have an urgent leak that needs to be fixed, it might not be an option.

Pay attention to the experts when they advise using a safety rope, appropriate rubber footwear, a safety harness, safety glasses, gloves, anchors, and, of course, a fall protection system on wet days. Keep an eye on every step and move cautiously and gently.

Safety First

It would be careless of us to ignore fall protection. According to OSHA regulations, fall protection is required for any roofing activity. As everyone knows, a lot of work is done without fall protection in place. However, a lot of falls also occur, and according to some statistics, roofing falls account for 40% of construction fall-related fatalities, with a third of those falls occurring from a height of just 20 feet. Fall protection systems, which include a lifeline, mount, and harness, may be purchased for as little as $100. They are an excellent investment that may actually save your life.

Conclusion

In conclusion, walking on metal roofs is entirely feasible with proper precautions and understanding of the roof type you have. Following manufacturer guidelines and using appropriate footwear are crucial steps to ensure safety and avoid damage. Always prioritize safety, especially by avoiding wet conditions and using fall protection gear as necessary. With these measures, you can confidently navigate your metal roof, whether for maintenance, repairs, or inspections, ensuring longevity and structural integrity without unnecessary risk. Taking these precautions not only protects your roof but also ensures your personal safety, making roof maintenance a manageable and safe task.

FAQs about walking on metal roofs:

1. Is it safe to walk on a metal roof? 

Yes, with proper precautions. Use appropriate footwear and stay near the roof decking to minimize risks.

2. What kind of footwear should I wear on a metal roof? 

Opt for shoes with rubber soles and soft, flexible bottoms for good traction. Avoid heavy or hard-soled shoes that could damage the roof.

3. Where is it safest to walk on a metal roof? 

Stick to areas near the roof decking and avoid walking on ribs or seams to prevent potential damage.

4. Can I walk on a metal roof when it’s wet? 

It’s not recommended due to the increased risk of slipping. Wait for dry conditions before walking on the roof.

5. Do I need fall protection equipment to walk on a metal roof? 

Depending on the roof’s pitch and height, fall protection gear like safety harnesses may be necessary to ensure safety and compliance.