One of the benefits of metal roofs is that they are recyclable. The companies who install metal roofs cite this fact all the time to compel you to put in a metal roof, but what really happens when the roof is at the end of its lifespan? How easy is it to recycle? To answer your questions, here are some tips and a look at the process.

1. Use Snippers to Remove Nails

Most metal roofs consist of large sheets of metal held in place with nails. You can remove the nails by pulling them out with the claw side of a hammer, but that can rip holes in the metal. That can lead to sharp protruding edges that may cut you while you're dealing with the metal.

To eliminate that risk, consider using a pair of snippers. A simple hand tool works perfectly in this situation. Just position the shippers under the head of the nail and cut. When all the nail heads have been cut off, you should be able to lift up the metal sheet. If you like, you can snip off the remaining portion of the nail that is sticking out of the back of the panel.

2. Wear Safety Gear

Sometimes, the broken nails will just fall out of the metal panels. Make sure to wear shoes to protect yourself. Also wear work gloves rated for working with the same gauge of metal as your roofing panels.

3. Save Some Metal for Yourself

If you like to do crafts or building projects, you may want to save a few sheets of your metal roofing for yourself. That way, you can make a metal roof for a chicken coop, create a makeshift forge to melt metal, or explore the metalworking projects you've saved to your Pinterest page.

4. Determine What Type of Metal You Have

It may be easier to recycle your metal roof if you know what type of metal it is. If you didn't install the roof and you aren't sure what metal it is, you can use a magnet to find its main category. In particular, if the magnet sticks to the metal, that means the metal is ferrous.

Ferrous simply means that the metal has some iron in it. The chemical symbol for iron is "Fe" and the word "ferrous" is linked to that symbol. If the magnet doesn't stick, the metal is non ferrous. There are all kinds of subcategories from copper to steel inside of these larger groups, but knowing the main group can give you an indication of value. In most cases, nonferrous metal is worth more.

5. Compare Different Metal Recyclers

Depending on the value of the metal, you may leave the metal recyclers with a check in your pocket, or you may have to pay the company some money to dispose of the metal. This is just a fee to cover their costs, similar to the fee you pay for garbage service every month.

However, these figures can vary from place to place. You may want to call around to ensure you get the best deal.

6. Arrange a Pickup or Dropoff

Once your old metal roof has been removed, it's time to contact a metal recycler. Some places may be willing to pick up your metal. Be prepared to give them an estimate of how much metal you have so they will know how large of a truck to use.  Alternatively, you can bring your own metal into scrapyards. Ask if there is any required preparation such as cleaning the metal that you need to be aware of--this can vary from company to company.  

To learn more about recycling your metal roof or handling other types of metal recycling, contact a metal recycler directly. You can also visit websites like