How happy would you be if you knew your roof would last a lifetime? Have you seen old monuments and castles made of copper, zinc, and even gold? They were made 100s of years ago but still stand upright to this day. What’s the secret behind it?
The secret is the Metal! Those temples and castles are made of pure metal. Metals are extremely durable and can last up to 3 generations if taken care of correctly.
Now, that you know the secret, do you still want a roof that needs to be repaired and replaced every other year?
We have been in the roofing industry since 1959 and we know what makes a durable roof and what does not. In this article, we’ll explain to you how metal roofing can bring life to your roof for centuries to come.
5 Types of Metal Roofs
All metal roofing will provide longevity, eco-friendliness, strength, and low maintenance. But, that doesn’t mean each type is created equal.
The installation, appearance, and cost can vary based on the style you are looking for in your home.
1. Exposed Fastener – A fastener is a large screw that fastens the metal to the roof. The exposed fastener style is where you can see the fasteners on the surface. They are not covered up by panels or ridges. Instead, the panels are overlapped and fastened directly to the deck or framed through the face of the panel.
This is the least expensive type of metal roofing, and it is a popular style for both agricultural and residential buildings.
2. Standing Seam – People call this style by many names, including standing seam, hidden fastener, or concealed fastener. Using this style, all of the panels snap together, and the fasteners are hidden by seams or ribs.
When installed correctly standing seam is considered a higher quality roofing system and is more popular than exposed fasteners simply because of the sleek and more finished appearance.
3. Vertical Seam – Vertical seam is an admired style of standing seam. The vertical seam has modern high ribs in widths of 12, 16, or 18 inches apart.
These taller ribs allow vertical seams to be installed over open framing as well as solid decking.
In addition, the hidden fastening clip allows unlimited expansion and contraction, making this style ideal for hurricane zones and coastal areas.
4. Pre-Formed Panels – Pre-formed panels are made in a standard dimension and come from hardware stores. The panels are then brought onto the site and cut down to the style, slope, and dimensions of your roof.
Some homeowners may attempt to use pre-formed panels on their own but this often leads to unfinished edges and a tough installation process.
5. Granular-Coated Panels – Granular-coated panels provide all the benefits of metal roofing but mimic the look of asphalt shingles. Embedded with stone granules on the surface of the panel, they have a textured look to the surface.
They are typically fastened with hidden fasteners and can be installed over a batten/counter batten wood grid system or directly to the deck.
Materials Used on Metal Roofs
There is a limitless combination of alloys of metal roofing. However, there are six main types used for homes today. Each material carries unique pros and cons based on your needs, location, and budget.
1. Aluminum – If there was a popularity contest for metal roofing, aluminum would be the clear winner. This material is lightweight, durable, and resistant to rust – the perfect trifecta!
2. Copper – Copper is distinguishable by its shiny-like-a-penny exterior. Over time, copper changes to a blue-green color. But, it will last a lifetime and is not prone to damage of any kind.
3. Rezibond – This material has now taken the place of the Terne Tin product, which was the original “go-to” metal for over 200 years. Rezibond is a coated steel material that can be formed into panels, soldered, and painted in the same aspects as Terne Tin. This material is resistant to most weather conditions and can last for more than 100 years if properly maintained.
4. Zinc – Zinc has become a very popular option due to its self-healing properties. You can manipulate zinc into different shapes and designs, which provides beautiful styling options. Zinc is also highly recyclable, but it is one of the more expensive options.
5. Steel – Steel is usually a combination of other metals in an alloy to be used on commercial buildings. It is also a strong option; in fact, Steel is the hardest metal. However, it is still susceptible to rust and corrosion. It works extremely well in climates with hail and wind but it is not ideal in humid or coastal areas.
6. Stainless Steel – Stainless steel can withstand corrosion and degradation for 60+ years, making it a great choice for a long-term option. It is great for both heat and freezing temperatures because it doesn’t expand or contract in extreme temperatures.
Metal Roof Designs to Choose From
While metal roofing had a reputation for being on barns or outdoor structures in the past, today’s styles successfully distinguish it from the past.
These styles go beyond the country or farmhouse style and stretch into modern commercial and residential applications across the country.
- Diamond Shingle – The diamond shingle is created with individual 16 by 16-inch, painted steel shingles that can be painted in any color you’d like with a matching or contrasting band or rib to cover the fasteners.
- Victorian Shingle – A Victorian shingle replicates the scalloped style of the Victorian era with clear-coated, Galvalume-steel panels embossed with the profile of five shingles.
- Slate – Slate features “split” edges, which give the look of slate without the weight. It comes in panels that are roughly 4 by 1 inch and are embossed to suggest six separate slates.
- Shake – Shake is actually painted aluminum panels that provide a realistic representation of hand-split wood without the high installation costs and upkeep that a real wood roof demands.
- Tile – Metal tiles are installed to mimic the look of clay tiles. A 38-inch long panel carries a thick profile of 6 clay tiles. They are even painted to give the look of authentic clay tile, without the maintenance and fragility of ceramic.
9 Advantages of Metal Roofs
Millions of homeowners across the country are making the decision to invest in metal roofing and it’s easy to see why!
It carries several benefits and will likely last the rest of your life.
1. Durability – Metal is the most durable material on the market. It is impervious to fire, rot, and insect damage. It can withstand severe hailstorms and even hurricane-force winds.
2. Safety – This option is virtually indestructible and will not spark or ignite into flames during a wildfire or lightning strike. It can also stand up against other elements from Mother Nature, such as high winds, extreme temperatures, or snow and ice buildup. This provides increased safety to your family and belongings inside.
3. Energy Efficiency – Metal roofs save significantly on energy costs because they reflect heat. This means your AC doesn’t have to work as hard to keep your home cool in the summer. In many areas, it can reduce your utility bills by 10-25% or more.
4. Environmentally Friendly – Shingles create 20 billion pounds of waste every year. Metal roofs, however, are environmentally friendly. They are manufactured with 25-95% recycled content, depending on the material used, and are also 100% recyclable at the end of their life.
5. Stylish – Metal roofing can be customized to match any style of home including shingles, shake, tile, Victorian-era diamonds, and more. Gone are the days of corrugated tin on a barn; today’s options are elegant, modern, and beautiful.
6. 60-Year Lifespan – Asphalt shingles typically need to be replaced every 15-20 years; the lifespan of metal is easily 3 times that long. This means, by the time you’ll need to replace your metal roof – you would have paid for three using shingles.
7. Sustainability – In many areas today, you’ll face strict requirements to reduce energy and maintenance costs. A metal roof can significantly reduce the heating and cooling of your building.
8. Higher Quality Material – You can choose a variety of materials and thicknesses to best compliment your home. Combine the best materials with a variety of finishes and coatings and you can ensure your roof will stand the test of time.
9. Extensive Warranties – You will find better warranties in metal roofing than you will in any other materials. Most manufacturers will offer their own unique warranty with coverage against chalking, fading, warping, cracking, etc.
Disadvantages of Metal Roofs
Most homeowners find that the advantages of metal roofing far outweigh the disadvantages. However, there’s always a downside to everything.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Affordability – The benefits come at a price. Typically, you’ll pay twice as much for metal as you would asphalt shingles. While it is cheaper than both slate and shake, it still carries a hefty price tag.
- Noisiness – Some homeowners are concerned that their metal roofs will be noisy. This can be a problem if it is not installed correctly. However, today’s installation techniques bring the noise levels down to manageable levels.
- Expansion, Contraction, and Fasteners – Some metals will expand and contract in extreme temperatures. Contractors understand this and use installation methods that account for this change. Using the correct fasteners, clips, and installation techniques minimizes the concern for expansion or contraction.
- Inconsistency of Color Match – If you need to replace part of your roof in the future, it can be tricky to match the right shade or tone of the original. However, with today’s color-matching paint technology, you can bring in a sample and your contractor can match it as close as possible, or you can repaint the entire surface.
- Performance – Performance problems only occur if the original system is not installed correctly. If you use a reputable contractor who is experienced specifically in metal roofing, you should not experience any performance problems.
Myths About Metal Roofs
As with anything, there are rumors that follow metal roofing. However, these rumors are often misconceptions.
- Attract Lightning – People assume that if metal conducts electricity, a metal roof is like standing in a rainstorm holding an umbrella. However, this isn’t actually the case. First, they are grounded by a lightning protection company. Second, if it is struck, the electricity is dispersed and since metal is fire-resistant, there truly is nothing to worry about.
- Only for Farmhouses – Sure, metal may be more familiar in rural areas – but that’s probably because the metal used in suburban neighborhoods often looks like every other roof. Most of the time, you won’t even notice that it’s a metal roof because it can easily blend in with any other architectural style.
- Vulnerable to Hail – Hail can damage any roof if the hailstones are big enough. However, metal roofing with a Class 4 rating means that it can withstand a 2-inch steel ball dropped from 20 feet without tearing, fracturing, cracking, or splitting. Can it still dent? Yes – if you choose a soft or thin gauge style. But, the roof itself is not vulnerable to hail.
- Heat Up a House – Metal does get hot – but it actually reflects heat, rather than absorbing it. Most metal roofs come with a built-in thermal break that releases heat back into the atmosphere, keeping your home cool and your energy costs low.
The Cost of a Metal Roof
Because metal roofing is a premium home product, you can expect your new one to cost roughly two to three times what an asphalt shingle costs.
The national average costs around $18,500. Most will fall between $15,000 and $26,000.
Deciding to invest in a metal roof for your home means you’re making a decision that will affect you 20, 30, even 50 years down the road. This is why it’s important to understand the balance between cost and benefits.
Metal Roof FAQs