Metal roofing is valued for its good looks and long-lasting durability. And because it needs very little maintenance, you won’t have to spend nearly as much time on the top of your home as you do with traditional asphalt/composite shingles. Still, there may be an occasion when removing debris will take more than a spray of the garden hose. So many clients ask us: can you walk on a metal roof?

Metal roofs are virtually hassle-free, requiring minimal upkeep. They don’t rot, warp, or attract mold, reducing the need for frequent inspections. The sleek surface of metal roofing sheds debris easily, preventing the accumulation of dirt and minimizing the risk of damage. And because there are so few issues, there’s little reason for you to ever get on the roof yourself.

But that isn’t to say it never happens. Maybe there’s a pocket of leaves or a branch that’s stuck just so that using the hose just doesn’t do the job. If they can’t be reached with a broom from atop a ladder (be careful!), and you are unable to hire a roofing professional, you must know how to walk on a metal roof without slipping–or damaging the roof itself.

How to Walk on a Metal Roof

There are two things to think about when walking on a metal roof, or any roof for that matter. Your safety and, secondly, the safety of your roof. Even when walking on an asphalt roof, you want to make sure you aren’t dragging your feet or stomping around that could remove too many granules.

Here are a few safety precautions you need to consider if you’re planning to walk on a metal roof:

  • Proper Footwear
  • Weather Precautions
  • Fall Protection
  • Knowledge of Metal Roofing

Proper Footwear for Walking on a Metal Roof Without Slipping

Because of the nature of metal roofs, they are more slippery than other roofing products, so wearing the correct footwear is a necessity. We offer a variety of profiles–standing seam, metal shingles, copper roofing–that are quite smooth. While our metal cedar shake roofing does offer more nooks and crannies, they can still be quite slick if it’s wet.

Our experts recommend you wear rubber-soled shoes that have a lot of grip. They should feel somewhat sticky when you step on the roof, especially on hot days. Additionally, they need to be full-foot coverage roofing shoes (e.g., not sandals or flip-flops) and should be in good condition.

Shoes that are old or worn will not function as well, thus potentially risking your safety. And make sure they are secure on your feet and shoelaces are tight. For one, you don’t want to be tripping over them. And you don’t want your feet to be loose in the shoe as even a slight shift could throw off your balance.

Avoid walking on your roof with heavy, rigid work boots because these can damage the roof. Wear soft, pliable, and flexible shoes with rubber soles and a good grip. A lot of roofers will wear shoes like Chuck’s All-Stars, tennis shoes, Converse, and skate shoes because they often have completely flat soles that have good grip.

Lastly, make sure your soles are clean. Any gravel stuck in grooves or dirt can damage or scratch your roof. Plus, it can interfere with your traction. You want as little as possible between your shoes and the roof.

Ideal Weather Conditions

That includes any moisture. Your safety should be your number one priority, so if you can delay your maintenance or repair a day or two when the weather is drier, please do so. Wet metal roofs are dangerous to walk on, even for professionals. Most pros will try to reschedule until safer weather conditions arise.

Fall Protection and Safety Equipment

However, if the rain is completely unavoidable because of an emergency, such as a bad leak, one must take the utmost precautions. Our experts recommend:

  • Using a safety rope
  • Wearing proper rubber footwear
  • Wearing a safety harness
  • Wearing safety glasses
  • Wearing gloves
  • Using anchors
  • Implementing a fall-protection system

Walking on a metal roof in rainy conditions can be very dangerous, even for professionals. Slipping and falling off of your roof could potentially be fatal. Please avoid walking on a metal roof in the rain at all costs.

Even in the best conditions, never get on your roof by yourself. It is best practice to always have another person close by in case of accidents. Additionally, having an extra person to help balance your ladder or hand your tools can be very helpful.

Use fall protection. Any time you plan on getting on top of your roof, always protect yourself with fall equipment. This should include an OSHA-approved safety ladder, harnesses, and other fall protection equipment. To better protect the paint or finish on your metal panels we recommend using padded stabilizers for your ladder.

Knowledge of Metal Roofing

There are a few best practices for walking on a metal roof without slipping and protecting your roof, too. Walk slowly and avoid stepping on any ribs and laps. On standing seam roofing, it is safe to walk almost anywhere. On metal shingles, you should walk over the upper half to have a better grip.

For metal tiles or corrugated panels, it is safe to walk close to the lower part of the tiles or panels. Make sure to double-check with your roofer to confirm the best way to walk on your particular roof. Not all roofing is installed the same, even with metal roofing. You want to make sure you know where the “soft spots” are so you don’t accidentally dent the material.

When in doubt, always call a professional. No matter the reason for getting on top of your metal roof, never go forward if you are uncomfortable or in doubt. It is much better to call the professionals at Mountaintop Metal Roofing rather than risk your safety.

You Can Walk on Metal Roofing, But it Still Makes Sense to Work With The Experts

Mountaintop Metal Roofing crews have decades of combined experience with metal roofing–in fact, it’s all we do! We will always prioritize the needs of our clients and will share as much of our knowledge with you as possible, even when it comes to walking on a metal roof.

Considering a metal roof installation? With our top-notch services and expertise with the different products, you can rest assured that our work will go above and beyond your expectations. Interested in our metal roofing services? Reach out and request a free quote and see how we can help. We look forward to working with you!