Last Updated on January 13, 2020
Metal Roofing 101- Everything You Need to Know About Metal Roofing
Whether you are thinking of upgrading your home roofing system or it is time to replace your worn-out roof, chances are that you are considering metal roofing. Although asphalt shingles and wood have been the most popular roofing materials, they fall back in comparison to the benefits metal roofs provide.
From unparalleled durability and longevity to cost-effectiveness and aesthetics, installing a metal roof offers many benefits.
Before we talk about different metal roofing profiles, let’s discuss the benefits of installing metal roofs in your residential home or commercial buildings.
Benefits of Metal Roofing
– Metal Roofs Are Eco-Friendly
Since we are moving towards a sustainable environment, it is important to be mindful of the environment. One way metal roofs stand out from most other types of roofs is in the aspect of being eco-friendly.
Most metal roofs are made from recycled materials and can be recycled again when they outlive their usefulness. They can also be installed on top of an existing roof, which helps to cut down on wastes. In terms of production, there are fewer emissions released when making metal roofing.
Finally, metal roofing reflects more light from the sun, which means they help keep your home cooler. This is great for people living in warm areas as it means big saves on energy bills since you will not have to crank up your AC.
– Longevity and Durability
In terms of durability, metal roofs hold the upper hand by a greater margin. Wood and asphalt shingles have a lifespan of about 15-20 years. While this may seem a long time, it is a short period considering that your house will be in good shape for several decades.
With metal roofing, you will get a service of 50-70 years, not mentioning that maintenance cost is very minimal.
In addition to being fire-resistant, metal roofs are also resistant to high winds, and their interlocking installation makes them impermeable to pests and leaks.
Also, because of their high-reflexive nature, a metal roof is normally an ideal choice for areas that experience heavy snowfall as the snow melts easily. So, if you are tired of having to scrape off your roof after every heavy snowfall, a metal roof might be your ideal solution.
– Aesthetically appealing
The most common metal profiles are aluminum, steel, zinc, copper, and tin, with steel being the most durable and most popular. The style options are endless, and you can even have their shape and texture mimic the look of other materials such as wood.
In terms of metal roofing colors, you can have your roof painted in any color you can imagine. Besides, a copper roof is a preference for many people thanks to the stunning green patina it develops over time. And although it most expensive metal roofing, many homeowners install copper roofs because of their natural beauty in the long run.
– Low Maintenance
Not only does a metal roof last for many decades, but the upkeep needed is also minimal. Clearing debris, keeping the gutters clean, replacing old gaskets, repainting, and resealing every 20 years, are the only major things you will need to worry about when you install a metal roof.
Unless your area has extremely poor weather that lasts for months, you should not have to worry about corrosion or rust since metal roofs are designed to be impervious to water and dry out at a faster rate than wood. However, make sure not to allow debris to pile up on your roof or in your gutters as they can cause moisture to pile up, which can cause rust or corrosion over time.
Now that you are convinced of choosing a metal roofing over asphalt shingles, thanks to the above benefits, let’s talk about the options you can consider.
Types of Roofing Materials
For most people, when the phrase metal roof’ is mentioned, what comes to mind is a steel roof. However, this is an umbrella phrase for a variety of materials. Depending on your location, the first thing you should consider is the type of metallic roofing materials that suit weather conditions in your area. Every material has its pros and cons, and we will be talking about that in our descriptions.
Let’s get started…
Being an alloy made from iron and other elements, steel is used in virtually all aspects of building. Although it has been one of the most common materials used in commercial constructions, steel roofing is slowly getting incorporated into residential buildings.
During the initial creation process, steel requires a lot of energy as compared to most other metals used in roofing today, such as zinc. However, its recyclability and availability mean that most of the steel used today is made from recycled materials rather than new creations. In fact, it is currently the most recycled material, making it an eco-friendly material to work with.
Another major advantage of steel roofing is that it is the most affordable when compared to other roofing metals. This explains why it is the most popular metal roofing material.
There are three major types of steel roofing;
· Galvanized Steel. This is the most common type of steel roofing material and is created using a layer of zinc to protect the inner layers of steel from corrosion. The zinc coating helps to extend the lifespan of the steel panel by slowing down the corrosion process.
· Galvalume Steel. This is similar to galvanized steel, but instead of using zinc coating, Galvalume uses a combination of zinc and aluminum. The combination of the coating makes it a superior option to galvanized steel as aluminum coating provides a smoother spangle that creates a uniform appearance and better surface protection. On the downside, it is vulnerable to cut edges and scratches.
· Weathering Steel. Although originally designed to be used in heavy steel industries such as bridge construction, weathering steel is also used as a roofing material. This steel roofing material is designed to have the outer layer intentionally rust so as to protect the inner layer of steel. It is important to mention that weathering steel does rust intentionally, and thus it is not designed to be used primarily as a steel roofing material in residential buildings. It is often used in accent roofs.
There has been a huge development in steel roofing in the last half a century, with recent steel roofing options having the ability to mimic zinc, copper, and other pricey metal roofing options. This is made possible through paint systems that make it look like the natural patina of zinc, weathered steel, or copper. These solutions offer ideal solutions for remodeling roofing systems and often come with a lengthy warranty.
The main advantages steel roofing material offer over other metal roofing materials is its affordability and flexibility of use. This explains why it is the most preferred metallic roofing material for both residential and commercial projects, and the trend looks to continue.
As a green material, steel is highly recyclable and easily accessible. You can use it in areas with harsh weather conditions as well as areas that experience heavy hailstones and high winds since it is among the hardest roofing metal options. It is also ideal for mountainous areas with high snow volumes.
Overall, we can say that steel is a highly flexible roofing option for both residential and commercial roofing needs thanks to its diverse range of uses, durability, cost, and availability.
Durable, corrosion-resistant, and lightweight, aluminum is among the best roofing materials for virtually any residential metal roofing system, including tile, shingle, standing seam, slate, and shake profiles. It never rusts, which makes it ideal for coastal regions and areas where steel roof is not applicable.
Aluminum’s resistance to rust gives it a relatively longer lifespan as compared to most roofing metals. Among the first usage of aluminum was in capping the Washington Monument in 1885. Around that period, the processes involved in separating aluminum from bauxite began to advance, which led to the manufacture of building-grade aluminum alloys. Before that, aluminum was considered a precious metal.
Nowadays, you can find aluminum in virtually any profile in which metal roofing is made. In fact, it’s high malleability, and the additional structural strength it provides makes it a good alloy metal in most heavily formed roofing materials. Aluminum is also highly recyclable, which means that most of the aluminum roofing materials we are currently using are made from recycled waste.
These roofs are often recommended for installation in buildings that are in coastal regions thanks to aluminum’s resistance to corrosion accelerated by salty conditions. However, despite the perception that aluminum is corrosion resistant, the reality is that it is an active metal and reacts fast to atmospheric conditions. It is this rapid reaction that protects it.
The outer layer of aluminum material reacts with oxygen, thereby forming a layer of aluminum oxide, which effectively protects the inner layers from further corrosion. This process is quite similar to that of weathering steel, but in a faster period and with longer protection time.
Due to its natural patina that forms over time being thought of as not aesthetically appealing, an aluminum roof is normally coated with paint.
This means that the cost of maintaining aluminum roofing is higher as compared to other solutions. In terms of cost, aluminum roofing cost lies in between the price of steel and copper.
While aluminum is great for use in coastal regions, it is not ideal in regions that experience high winds, hailstones, and harsh environmental conditions because it is thin. This means that it can experience damage within a short time. However, this can be rectified by choosing the right roofing design that minimizes damages.
Copper is regarded as one of the most aesthetically appealing metallic roofing options. Unfortunately, you will have to dig deeper into your pocket to have this roofing material installed. Copper is the most expensive among the three most popular roofing materials- copper, aluminum, steel.
Rarely installed on an entire residential roof, copper is mainly used to accentuate areas where a touch of elegance is needed, such as over dormers or bay windows.
Copper roofing is mostly installed on historic buildings, cupolas, church steeples, etc. to make them outstanding.
Other times, copper roofing is used in conjunction with other roofing materials to act like a flashing material. However, it should not be used alongside steel or aluminum roofing as it speeds up the rate at which other metals deteriorate through galvanic action.
Also, with time copper can stain other metals, concrete, and brick due to water runoff that wash its patina residue. Therefore, it is important that you install a copper roof with this in mind to ensure that water coming off a copper roof is channeled off the building.
If you don’t want all these hassles, you can use lead-coated copper as an alternative to pure copper. However, keep in mind that this will cause the risks of lead-related effects.
A copper roof is preferred by many because of the attractive blue-green patina that forms when it is exposed for 8-15 years. How long a copper roof takes to complete the process of producing a green film on its surface depends on air components in a region. For example, salty conditions in coastal regions will increase the process.
The patina formed acts as a barrier against corrosion, and this is one of the reasons copper roofing is extremely durable. While copper can be treated to slow down or increase the speed of building the blue-green film, most homeowners prefer to buy the pure form of copper and allow it to weather naturally. Copper roofs are extremely durable and can sometimes last up to 100 years.
Due to its association with ‘wealthy and classy people,’ there has been an emergence of coating technology that makes aluminum or steel roofing to resemble copper. Finishes are available from those that look like new copper to those resembling fully weathered copper. Therefore, you can have an option to have your steel or aluminum roof resemble copper at a lower cost.
4. Zinc Roofing
Zinc is another great metal roofing material that is particularly used for commercial buildings and roof renovations.
A zinc roof is extremely corrosion-resistant and offers more advantages over other metal roofs, such as having self-healing abilities. A scratched zinc roof can recover given time, which makes them have a low maintenance cost. Even in a harsh environment, you will not have to worry about the damages inflicted on it as it tends to heal with time.
Zinc roof also looks more aesthetically appealing than most metal roofs. In addition to this, roofers can create interesting shapes and curves to make your roof look unique while still retaining its durable qualities. This makes it an ideal roofing material to form flashing around dormer windows and chimneys, as well as on the main body of the roof.
In terms of being eco-friendly, zinc roof takes less energy to produce as compared to most other metal roofing systems because it has a lower melting point. On top of this, zinc is recyclable, which means there will be no waste once the roof outlives its usefulness. Nevertheless, its longevity is the real advantage when it comes to being eco-friendly. This is because it can sometimes live for over a century if fitted in a normal environment
On the downside, zinc suffers from the chalking effect, which makes it less aesthetically appealing over time. Also, it is not cheap. In fact, its price is comparable to copper. This means that it has to be installed by experienced experts.
Besides, like other bare metals, it undergoes patination process and forms a blue-grey appearance, which is not impressive. There is a chalk residue left in areas where water flows, which many people find unappealing. This means that it must be repainted after several years.
Another downside is that it is very soft, which means that it can get easily damaged by hailstones or high winds, but this can be minimized by having a creative shingle or panel design.
5. Tin Roofing
Tin roofing is not common and was only considered a roofing material by few DIYers homeowners. The term tin roofing is interchangeably used with metal roofing or galvanized steel roofing. Tin, being an incredibly rare metal, is not a common roofing material. It was first used as a canning material but was later adapted by DIY enthusiasts as material for making shingles when other roofing materials were not available.
When aluminum replaced tin as the most preferred canning material, tin usage as a building material began to fade. In today’s world, when you hear tin roof, in most cases, it refers to either galvanized steel or aluminum roof.
While it is still used in science and technology, Tin is no longer used as a building material.
Those are the five (4) major types of metal roofing materials you can choose from. Keep in mind that your choice depends on the area you are in, and of course, your budget. Before we wind up our guide to installing metal roofing, let’s answer common questions many people ask before choosing to invest in metal roofs.
Metal Roofing FAQ’s
Does it cost more to buy and install a metal roof than a typical roof?
Yes. Metal roofing is considered a premium material, and thus you should expect it to cost more than an asphalt shingle roof. However, in the long-run, it becomes cheaper since it lasts for decades. In addition, your new metal roof will add your home’s resale value and help you save on your energy bills thanks to its reflective effect, which makes it less absorbent of heat.
Do metal roofs attract lightening?
This is a major concern for many homeowners who are evaluating their options in roofing materials. A metal roof does not increase the chances of your home getting stroke by lightning. In fact, if your roof is struck by lightning, a metal roof can reduce the chances of your home catching on fire as it can discharge the electrical charge. In addition to this, it is incombustible.
Can one walk on a metal roof?
If installed by roofing experts, most metal panel systems can support your load when walking on them. However, as with any other roofing system, you have to be careful not to cause damages to your roof due to abrasion.
Can a metal roof be installed over my old roof?
In most cases, Yes! Metal roofs weigh less than 1.6 pounds per sq. foot. This means that they will rarely overload existing roofs. Metal roofs can be installed over fiberglass or asphalt roofing. The double roofing can even help prevent overheating.
Will metal roofing increase noise in my home when it rains?
The deep-textured folds in your metal roof help reduce the sound of rain hitting on your roof as compared to when rain is hitting a flatter roof surface. As a result, metal roofing reduces noise when raining.
Will a metal roof be too heavy for small structures?
No. In fact, metal roofs are lighter than asphalt shingle roofs by a greater margin. They are also lighter than slate and concrete tiles. You should not worry about metal roofing overloading your small structure.
Can I install metal roofing myself, or should I hire roofing experts?
Well, some homeowners (DIY enthusiasts) may feel confident installing metal roofs themselves. However, we recommend that you hire a certified roofing expert to do the installation for you since they have the right tools for the job and experience. Roofing experts will also know the right design to use, and the right roof type your home needs based on your location. Therefore, it is best you leave the work of installing a metal roof to the experts.
A metal roof is not only a long-lasting option but also a low-maintenance alternative to asphalt shingles. While traditional asphalt shingles may have a lower cost in the short-run, they are vulnerable to cracking, eroding, and shrinking, especially in regions that experience bad weather conditions. Even in a normal environment, asphalt shingles will have less life expectancy than metal.
Metal roofing can last 50 years or more with minimal repairs and maintenance. When installed and designed accordingly, they can withstand strong winds and heavy hailstones. We have discussed different types of metal roofs you can consider for your residential home or commercial building.
If you are considering metal for your building, then you must consider a roofing expert to supply and install the metal roofing for you. You can talk to us for more information about metal roofing. We have a wealth of experience in supplying and installing different metal roofing. Talk to us today!
Contact Us For A Metal Roof
Cook Roofing Company is ready to assist you with your metal roofing needs. We’ll start out with a comprehensive roof inspection, so we can advise what type of metal roof would be suitable for your home and your budget. We install residential metal roofs in Springfield MO and Branson and the surrounding southern Missouri and northern Arkansas areas. All of our projects come with a lifetime workmanship warranty. Call (417) 334-4238 or use the contact form to schedule an appointment. We look forward to speaking with you!