Metal Roofing Pros & Cons

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Why you should consider a metal roof.

Why you should consider a metal roof.

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If you’re considering using metal for roofing, you’ve come to the right place.

I’ve created this guide to help you go through the process a lot easier from the various types of roofing metal down to its installation and maintenance.

First things first…

Things to Consider

Before you put your money to it, here are some pointers and buying tips you need to consider:

Types of Metal Roofing Materials

When talking about roofing metals, you’ve got plenty of options. The most common ones on the market are the following:

Steel

Steel is the most common and affordable metal roofing material there is.

It’s popular for its varying color options, strength, light weightedness, and long-lasting durability. It’s also heavier and sturdier than aluminum.

They come in three variations: galvanized, galvalume, and weathering steel (corden).

If your home is located near the coast and is always exposed to salt spray, this could cause your roof to corrode.

Depending on the thickness and quality of panels, total costs could range from $75 – $250 per roofing square.

Aluminum

Aluminum metal roofs are recommended for use in coastal climates. They can resist salt corrosion better.

The outer layer of aluminum reacts with the oxygen in the environment creating a layer of aluminum oxide, effectively sealing the inner layers of the metal.

Aluminum sheet metal is very lightweight. It’s easy for contractors to form and install. Even though it’s thinner and lighter, it can still replicate the strength of much thicker metals.

Aluminum is more expensive than steel too. It will cost you roughly $315 per roofing square.

Standing Seam

Standing seam roofs are the most common metal roofing in the US. It’s easy to access materials and installation services.

The standing seam roof design features vertical panels that are joined by interlocking seams. They provide a more finished look and better durability compared to corrugated steel.

Standing seam metal roofs will cost you $4.00 – $6.50 per square foot. The average cost to install a standing seam metal roof on the average size home can range from $23,000 – $30,000 in total.

Corrugated Steel

Corrugated steel is the least expensive type of metal roofing materials. They cost about $1.20 – $5.00 per square foot compared to the price of asphalt shingles. The average cost to install one would be from $10,500 – $19,500.

A corrugated steel metal roof is thin and lightweight. This allows it to be installed over an existing roof; however, quality matches its price value.

This metal roofing is very vulnerable to leaks and rust. They are just typically overlapped and installed with screws.

These work best for sheds, barns, dog houses, and porches.

Metal Shingles and Tiles

Metal shingles and tiles are made to imitate Spanish and mission tiles, wood shakes, and slates. They are made from painted steel or aluminum, pressed to form into realistic shapes.

They add more aesthetic to your roof deck.

Metal shingles have a variety of texture, layered finishes, and even granulated-stone topcoats. Apart from it being pleasing to the eye, this adds to the overall strength of your roof.

Metal shingle systems are manufactured as panels that have the appearance of several tiles or shingles joined together, or they can also come as individuals.

They can be installed in layers even on existing roofing. This saves you costs from tearing-off an old roof. Labor and materials typically run from $700 to $1,000 per roofing square.

Copper

Copper is perhaps the longest-lasting metal there is. It’s the grandfather of all metal roofing materials as it has been used for centuries! They can last for more than 200 years and are even 100% recyclable.

Copper is a soft metal. This makes it among the quietest types of metal roofing. It also makes it easy to install. Its main advantage is that it doesn’t rust or scratch. Its soft quality though allows it to be easily dented in extreme weather conditions.

Copper though, is the most expensive metal roofing material. They range between $4 – $15 per square foot, with installation fees from $23,000 – $48,000.

Installation

If you want the best home improvement, you might as well invest in hiring a roofing contractor.

The labor costs for a home metal roof installation will range from $5,000 – $48,000. Copper roofs being the priciest.

Roof installation is a demanding technical job. A licensed and experienced contractor will give you peace of mind knowing you didn’t risk putting the whole roofing project to waste.

In the long run, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the return of your money’s worth!

Maintenance

When metal roofs are produced, they are coated in zinc or a mixture of aluminum and zinc to keep the roofs long-lasting.

Depending on the product and pricing, metal roof coatings come in varying thicknesses.

The thicker, the better. Consider this advice during your purchases.

At some point in time, with long exposure to elements of nature, the protective finish of the metal roof will deteriorate. With proper maintenance and a polymer recoating, your roof will be good as new.

Warranties

One of the many advantages of owning a metal roof is that manufacturers offer a variety of warranty options. Most companies offer 20 to 50 years of warranty. Paint finishes usually have 30 years limited warranty.

The difference in warranty options depends on what states you live in.

Climate greatly affects the kind of exposure your roof gets. Make sure to check out the warranty information before purchasing it.

Are Metal Roofs Better?

There are plenty of reasons to choose metal roofing over materials such as asphalt shingles, tiles, or concrete. Here are the common pros we gathered from owners of metal roofs and their contractors:

Longevity

Talking about constant home improvement, it’s not always an easy feat. That’s exactly why metal roofs are engineered to last decades.

Quality metal roofs have a life expectancy of 60 years without any signs of rot.

A mid-range metal roof will cost an estimated total of $18,000, while asphalt shingles, $9,000.

Assuming shingles have a lifespan of 20 years, you’ll need to install new ones thrice to get the equivalent of a metal roof’s lifespan. That just proves a metal roof is definitely a more economical choice.

Durability

Compared to materials like wood, concrete, plastic, and glass, metal is the leader when it comes to the benefits of durability. A good metal roof can withstand:

  • Typhoons and strong winds
  • Ice from Hail
  • Rain and Snow
  • Debris (leaves, sticks, embers, etc.)
  • Rusting and Mold
  • Insects, Rodents and other animals

Fire Resistance

A metal roof is usually produced as Class A fire-rating and non-combustible. This means it is fire resistant to the highest grade possible.

These roofs do not catch sparks or electricity in case of a lightning strike or ignite into flames during a wildfire.

Lightweight

Tiles come at 750 pounds per square while concrete at 900 pounds. Metal roofing varieties range from 50 to 150 pounds per square only.

The low weight qualities of a metal roof allow you to save on engineering a stronger supporting structure.

Lighter weight metal roofing guards your home’s integrity against structural movements and damage caused by seismic activity.

Its low weight allows it to be placed over shingles. Studies show that roofing products contribute to an estimated 20 billion pounds of waste per year in the US alone. This helps reduce landfill disposal.

Energy Efficiency

Metal reflects heat from the sun which minimizes heat gain during the day.

With integrated thermal breaks, these metal roofs often reduce summer cooling costs up to 20% or more. Energy efficiency at its finest by not having to use an air conditioner on full blast all day!

Eco-Friendly

Metals are highly recyclable. Tear-off metal, old panels, and metal scraps can be used to manufacture future products.

In fact, some metal roofing materials, including aluminum, are even already made of recycled metal.

Many metals like zinc and copper, are also found in the environment. This means they can be naturally replenished and sustained over time.

Beauty and Home Improvement

Metal roofs come in a variety of colors and styles that allow you to match with your home improvement.

Manufacturers want to make sure homeowners get to have a consistent design. Products are made available for low and steep pitch designed roofs, rounded or arched roofs, gable roofs, and even those that look like wood shakes and tile.

Since metal roofs are keen on durability, looking “good as new” always adds a nice touch to the beauty of your home.

What are the Disadvantages of Metal Roofing?

Overall, metal roofing panels are great, but they’re not perfect. They may not suit every person too. So we rounded up common cons to metal roofing:

Affordability

Metal roofs cost two to three times more than other roofing materials. Installation services aren’t cheap too. But it does make sense to invest in one if you plan to stay in your home for a long time and enjoy the benefits.

Noise

It’s not so pleasant to be living beneath thin sheets of metal during the rainy season or in the event of a hailstorm.

It would feel like living in a drum! Adding some plywood sheathing and insulation can help in deadening sound. This will incur added costs.

Expansion and Contraction

If you have larger metal roof panels for your home, these tend to expand and contract. Make sure they are properly installed with fasteners. If not, they will loosen up and lose their shape.

Performance

If you had a bad installation done, the possibility of water accumulating in your home’s roof could cause serious damage.

Lower-grade metals are also thinner, less durable, and more prone to rust. If you need a plumber to solve this, he might have difficulty accessing your roof as not all metal roofs are safe to walk on. In fact, a wrong step could cause damage to the roof.

You might end up spending more than if you invested in better metal roofing and installation with the possible maintenance costs.

Longer Installation Time

Metal roofing for your home will take longer to make sure it is in the right configuration. The process is longer compared to shingles and tiles that rely on sealants and mastics.

Alternatives

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are among the most common roofing materials.

They are less expensive but also last about 15 to 20 years only. Higher grades though like laminated or dimensional asphalt shingles can reach 30 to 35 years. Of course, these are also pricier.

One of the best benefits of asphalt shingles is their easy installation and its wide variety of colors and styles.

Although, asphalt shingles are vulnerable to cold temperatures and not as sustainable compared to other roofing materials.

Clay Tiles

Clay tiles are famous in Europe, especially in the Mediterranean regions. They add a richness of color and texture to just about any home. They protect your structure from insects and fire too.

The downside is they can break easily if you’re not careful during the installation process and cost more to install.

Single-Ply

A single-ply roofing membrane is installed on a flat roof and offers superior UV radiation protection. It’s also cost-effective and easy to install, making it a favorite choice for commercial installations.

Conclusion

Getting a metal roof for your home, office, or business is a thought worth sitting on.

It’s a long term investment with high upfront costs. You definitely want to make sure you make a sound decision. Metal roofing is not for everyone but more often than not, it is a good option if:

  • You don’t want to keep replacing your roof every 15-20 years
  • You require little to no maintenance
  • You want to have a variety of color, finish, and texture to choose from
  • You are keen on safety
  • You consider energy savings and waste reduction

If you got the bucks for it, why not? The benefits are great and will make any home a better space to live in!

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