Walking On A Metal Roof: Everything You NEED To Know

Do you have concerns about walking on your metal or colorbond roof?  Not to worry, check out the below article where I talk about everything you need to know before climbing up and walking on your metal roof.

Walking on a metal roof

Can you walk on a metal roof?

Yes, assuming there is appropriate framework work supporting the metal roof sheets, it’s perfectly fine to walk on the metal roof of your home.  However, there are certain ways you must walk and act on a roof to ensure you don’t damage the sheets while walking around on it.

What is the best way to walk on a metal roof?

The answer to this will depend on the style of metal roof you plan to walk on. What I mean by this is that the way you walk on a corrugated metal roof will be different from how you walk on a Trimdek roof.  Refer to the below for more info:

1. How to walk on a corrugated metal roof

Corrugated roof sheets are the most common style of roof sheets used within Australia, particularly on residential roofs.  When walking on corrugated roof sheets you want to follow the below guidelines:

  • Follow the screw line – If you can, always walk on the screw line as this is where the roof sheet is fixed to the roof structure, meaning that your weight is directly supported by the roof framework too.  The screws also provide the soles of your shoes with something to grip on.
  • Walk flat-footed – If you need to stand or walk on other areas of the roof (apart from along the screw line) then this is fine to do so though try and walk flat-footed and refrain from putting too much pressure on the ball of your foot or your heel. 

    Why? remaining flat-footed spreads your weight more and avoids denting the roof sheets which can occur when you apply too much pressure on a section of a corrugated roof sheet that isn’t supported by the underlying roof structure.

2.How to walk on a Trimdek metal roof?

Within Australia, Trimdek is usually used on flatter residential roofs or commercial roofs.  When walking on Trimdek roofs be sure to follow the below guidelines:

  • Walk between the pans – When walking on a Trimdeck roof ensure you walk between the pans of the metal roof sheets, or walk on the screw lines for extra grip;
  • Don’t walk on ribs without screws – walking or standing on the top of the ribs will cause the sheets to bend and dent;
  • Never walk on skylight sheets – sometimes in commercial buildings polycarbonate sheets get installed to allow light into areas below.  Ensure you don’t walk on these as they can easily crack.
A great video showing how to walk of a Trimdeck roof

What damage can I cause if I don’t walk on a metal roof properly?

The most common damage caused by unqualified tradies or uneducated homeowners walking on a metal roof without care is denting or commonly known as “kinking” of the sheets.  This often occurs in the rib section or high point of the roof sheet’s profile as per the photo below.

Dents on a metal roof from walking on it
Dents on a metal roof panel

The worst case is that depending on the weight applied the roof sheet may not only become dented or kinked it can actually tear on either side of the kink which can then lead to water leaking into your roof space. 

Or if there is no tear in the sheet then water can sometimes pool in the dent and can rust over time.  Note, out of the two you’ll find that Trimdek installed on lower profile roofs is more prone to leaking as the pitch doesn’t allow the rainwater to run off.

A great video showing damage to a Trimdeck roof

Can I walk on my patio roof?

Where possible, I would highly recommend avoiding walking on your patio roof.  The reason I say this is that unlike the roof of your house, patio structures and roof sheets are not built to withstand a lot of weight, or in this case the weight of a human.

When it comes to the structure, unlike roof battens on a house roof which are usually spaced 600mm apart, the underlying supports are spread further apart meaning that if you stand in between the screw lines the sheets are unlikely to support your weight.

In addition, the actual roof sheets are made of lighter materials with polycarbonate roofing, or what some know as Laserlite, often used on patios.  One step onto a polycarbonate roof sheet and you go straight through it.

Will my metal roof hold my weight?

Generally speaking, modern house roofs in Australia are built to withstand the weight of an average-sized human being.

Roof loads are referred to as different load types, you have a dead load which is the weight of the actual roof and then you have external loads.  These external loads can then be classified as either “live” or “environmental”.

Live loads come from temporary loads such as personnel on the roof, equipment they may carry, and/or materials.

Environmental loads are caused by weather conditions, such as extra load being placed on the roof from snow or ice, rain pooling on sections of the roof, or even the load from the force of the wind.

Therefore, if you have concerns ensure you check the live load of your metal roof and the underlying structure before getting up on your home’s roof.

What else do I need to know before walking on a metal roof?

Before you even consider getting up on your metal roof, please ensure that you take the time to read up on other roof safety articles, including:

And remember, always wait for the ideal weather conditions, that being no rain and little to no wind!

Final thoughts

I hope you found this article helpful and that it helps you provide you the confidence you need to be able to walk on your roof without causing any damage to your metal roof sheets.  As always, please ensure you take extra care, always walk slowly and be sure to follow roof safety guidelines when both getting on, walking around, and getting off the roof.

Disclaimer:  Please note that walking on a roof of any type is dangerous.  If you are unsure or do not feel comfortable then do not attempt it, instead, contact a professional.  

When it comes to your safety always ensure you use personal protective equipment, including a roof harness and appropriate footwear.

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