Q: Is installing a metal roof something an amateur can do?
—Maryann, Charleton, Mass.
A: Tom Silva replies: It depends on just how amateur the amateur is. The safety risks of working on a roof should be pretty obvious. I don't personally recommend that anybody work on a roof who isn't either a professional, or familiar with the roof from being on it on a regular basis.
The task of installing a metal roof seems pretty simple in the field, at least until you come to working at the ends and around chimneys and skylights, valleys and hips. When an amateur is putting in a metal roof there are a number of things that can go wrong and cause the roof to fail. Nail the aluminum incorrectly, for instance, and your roof will definitely leak. So if the building you're talking about is a tool shed, that's one thing; just be careful. If it's your home, you'll probably be better off letting a professional do the job.