Metal roofing is one of the oldest roofing systems recorded in history. If you have visited old historical sites, you’ll see that some of the oldest buildings have metal roofs. With time and the introduction of a new roofing system, metal was almost forgotten. They were rarely used on post offices, custom houses, train sheds, warehouses, and factories.
Today, the trend has reversed. While it was once forgotten, it is becoming a trend not only in America but all over the world. Metal roofing is once again back to life.
The updated designs and incredible durability of metal roofing have drawn the attention of contractors, homeowners, and business owners looking for low maintenance and long-lasting options.
Even if you’re not considering metal roofing as a potential roof system, you may want to learn about it. Who knows, you may find that you, too, could benefit from this reliable overhead. If properly installed, it could prevent the kind of damage that is typically associated with many other types of roofing – all while cutting your heating bills down.
This guide will help you answer all questions about metal roof systems and we’ll explain everything you should know about it.
What is a Metal Roof?
A metal roof is a roofing system made from metal pieces, tiles, or panels characterized by its high resistance, impermeability, and longevity.
This is actually an ancient material that has been used continuously for roofing as well as many other forms of architecture all the way up to today. It has always been notorious for its function as a superior roofing option as opposed to other materials, regardless of which type is used. However, due to its higher cost, it never really grew popular as a mainstream home option until the past few generations.
Metal Roof Types and Their Advantages
A metal roof brings many advantages to homeowners, from being low maintenance to having a long lifespan. If you’re interested, there are more types of materials and panel styles than you probably realize. Below are some of the most commonly used metal roofing.
- Exposed Fastener – An exposed fastener is a type of system in which the fasteners stay visible and not hidden by a seam. In this type of metal roofing, the panels are fastened directly into the \deck through the face of metal. The fastener goes through both the layers of panel edges lapping one another.
An exposed fastener system can be used on residential, structural, industrial, and agricultural buildings. Talking about the advantages, exposed fastening is less expensive when compared to standing seam systems. It does not require hand or mechanical seaming of the two panels. It gives the roof a unique look and lastly, more contractors have the skills and tools to install it.
- Standing Seam/Hidden Fastener/Concealed Fastener – Standing seam or concealed fasteners are types of metal roofing systems that have hidden fasteners. It features vertical legs and a broad, flat area between the two legs. The fasteners are driven through the clips into the deck with no connection or piercing of the panels. The clip and fasteners are concealed beneath the standing seam panel material. The panel is then laid over and attached to the clips, before finally being mechanically or hand locked to the clips.
Standing seams are one of the higher quality systems that are popularly used on residential and commercial buildings. Hidden fasteners allow for thermal movement. Since the fasteners don’t penetrate the surface, regular maintenance to check for withdrawing, loose, or damaged fasteners is even less frequent.
One of the best parts about standing seam is the option to mount items, such as solar panels, snow retention systems, swamp coolers, or other rooftop additions, without penetrating or making any holes in the surface.
- Vertical Seam – The vertical seam is one of the most versatile options in the genre of metal roofing. Whether you need it for a home, business, or commercial application; Vertical Seam may fit the bill.
Vertical seams are cost affectionate, attractive, and allow maximum expansion and contraction in summer and winter. Vertical Seams have 1.75″ high ribs in widths of 12″, 16″, and 18″ apart which makes it easy to be installed over open framing slopes as low as 3:12 and solid decking slopes as low as 1:12.
- Preformed Panels – Preformed panels are customized metal roofing panels that offer a versatile and affordable way to enhance the external appearance of any building. These types of panels are available in various finishes, module sizes, and thicknesses to suit an array of desired effects and needs.
One of the best parts about preformed panels is that they can be customized, you get what you ask for. Depending on the type of roofing needs, you can order your preformed panels.
- Granular-Coated Panels – A granular-coated or stone-coated panels are metal roofing panels that have a thick layer of stone that permanently adheres to the surface and provides decorative traditional shingles look.
Granular-coated panels have a longer lifespan, can withstand gusting winds, heavy rain or hail, and many other adverse weather conditions. It needs low maintenance compared to asphalt shingles, comes in a wide variety of colors, textures, and designs to complement almost any style.
6 Commonly Used Material For Metal Roofs
You have plenty of options when it comes to choosing a metal roofing material. Sometimes, it can be tricky to decide which metal roof is best for your home or building. From classic copper to innovative steel, each type of material has its own unique advantages. Let’s explore the different types of materials:
- Aluminum – Aluminum is one of the most used metal roofing materials in the US. They not only stand up to extremely harsh weather conditions, but it’s one of the most sustainable metals in the world, which is why it has become such a popular choice for structures.
Aluminum is lighter, softer, and highly recyclable. The best part about aluminum is the fact that about 95% of all aluminum installed across the world is made from recycled aluminum materials. It’s resistant to rusting, corroding and is available at a medium price point.
- Copper – Historical data shows that the Romans actually used copper covering on the roof of the Pantheon in 27 B.C. Even today, many architectural structures, commercial buildings, and even residential homes use copper panels and coils for roofing.
Some of the best things about copper are its lightweight, energy efficiency, durability, and aesthetically pleasing features. Though it’s not as recyclable as zinc, it can be recycled and reused up to some extent if still in good condition.
- Terne – Terne is mild steel with a coating of zinc and tin alloy to protect the steel from rust. Once the material is formed and installed it gets painted; as long as the paint is kept up once every ten to fifteen years, you are left with a roof that can last a century.
- Zinc – Similar to copper, zinc can also last up to 80 to 100 years. Zinc is always a great option for residential and business owners looking for a material that is easy to use, has immunity to corrosion, and has other sustainable features.
The best part about zinc is its self-healing properties. If wind or another element were to scratch the surface of the zinc metal roof, the materials’ protective layer would actually fix and correct itself over time. Apart from that, it’s known for its longevity, energy-saving, eco-friendly and easy maintenance.
- Steel – If you’re looking for the strongest, most popular, and less expensive option, steel is the best choice. It is also a green solution because it’s both highly recyclable and easily accessible.
Steel comes in three variations: galvanized, galvalume, and weathering steel (Corten). Galvanized is made from steel coated with zinc, which makes it more resistant to corrosion. Galvalume is coated with aluminum, which also increases its resistance to corrosion.
- Stainless Steel – Another great option is stainless steel. It is a steel alloy made up of at least 10.5% chromium.
Stainless steels are known for their durability and can withstand extreme weather and temperature climates. It has low thermal expansion properties, comes in a variety of different finishes, and could last 60+ years.
Metal Roof Styles and Design
When we talk about metal roofing, there are a variety of options available for both residential and commercial roofing. And most of the time it’s hard to decide which one to choose. Here are some popular styles and designs:
- Diamond Shingles – Damage shape shingles are generally made of steel and come in different colors. Some roofing companies also offer customized diamond shingles panels. Depending on your need, diamond shingles could be of copper, zinc, and more.
- Victorian Shingles – If you are looking for a classic shingle style, Victorian shingles are for you. Most of the Victorian shingles are clear coated galvalume steel panels.
- Slate – Traditional slate roofs are very expensive and are also very heavy; in fact, some rafters may need to be reinforced. With a slate metal roof, you’ll get the longevity and look of natural slate roofing without weight. Metal slate also comes in different color variations.
- Shake – Shakes give your metal roofing the natural beauty of cedar shake roofing for a lifetime. Unlike traditional cedar shakes, metal shakes will never split, warp, mold, or rot and on top of that, you’ll not require routine maintenance.
- Tiles – Metal roofs that look like tile share many similarities with clay tiles but offer homeowners some distinct advantages over the most traditional tile construction material. Metal tiles weigh less, are easy to install, and need less maintenance.
Benefits of Metal Roofs
So far, we have talked about the types, materials used, and design. Now, let’s dig into the advantages.
- Long-Lasting and Durable – Among all the roofing options available in the market, metal roofing is considered to be the most durable. It could last anywhere from 40 to 100 years depending on the material used. A metal roof can withstand extreme climatic conditions such as hail storms, high winds, and more.
- Safety – Installing a metal roof is a great way to save your family from fire and heavy storms. It is also resistant to fire, rot, and insect damage.
- Best Way to Save Energy Bills – Metals are good reflective properties. It reflects the sun’s UV instead of absorbing them, which in turn keeps the inside home cool. When the inside of your home is cold, your AC works less, which leads to cheaper monthly energy bills. This can result in a 10-25% reduction in cooling costs.
- Environmentally Friendly – All the metals are recyclable and that makes this one of the most eco-friendly roofing materials on earth. Metal roofing made of steel can be recycled repeatedly without loss of strength over again and again.
- Stylish – Today’s metal roofing comes in a dizzying array of colors, designs, types, and finishes. Depending on the type and your needs, you can order a customized panel and build something that is completely different from traditional roofing.
- Higher Quality Material – Metal roof panels are often made of high-quality material. From insulated to standing seam and exposed fastening panels, panel selections are available in gauges ranging from 22 to 29, with a variety of coatings to ensure your roof stands the test of time
- Extensive Warranties – Due to its durability and longer lifespan, most contractors will give you their own unique warranty, with coverage for features including film integrity, chalk, fade, and more depending on the product.
Disadvantages of Metal Roofs
As we talked about the advantages, let’s deal a bit with the disadvantages too. However, understand that the disadvantages of metal roofing can be handled and corrected.
- Expensive – Yes, compared to other materials, metal roofs are expensive. But, money spent on the installation of a metal roof can be recouped from the savings in monthly cooling and heating costs. Moreover, you’ll save money on repairs in the future.
- Noisiness – It could be noisy only if it’s not installed properly. Adding a layer of insulation to the metal roof will drastically reduce the sound of rain and storm.
- Expansion and Contraction – If you opt for a higher quality material like zinc and copper, the expansion and contraction won’t be a problem.
- Performance – Some homeowners complain about the performance, saying that they perform less compared to traditional asphalt shingles. By nature, metals are well-performing materials; they might not perform well only in the case of poor installation.
How Much Does a Metal Roof Cost?
There’s no doubt metal roofs are costlier than traditional asphalt shingles but they also come with many advantages. Nobody can give you the exact cost because there are lots of factors that determine the cost such as:
- Fasteners and Interlocks
- Types of metal you use
- Metal roof coating
- The styles
- Roof configuration
The industry average cost could be anywhere from $9,545 – $43,819 depending on the factor given above. The homeowners can expect prices to range from $5 to $14 per square foot depending on the type installed. A 1,800 sq. ft steel roof could cost an average of $35,516.
Metal Roof FAQs