Homes everywhere utilize metal roofing to provide energy savings, beauty, and protection that lasts. The exciting thing about metal roofing is that it is available in a wide variety of designs to complement any style home. Offered in a rainbow of colors, your metal roof can be a traditional vertical seam profile, or be manufactured to resemble wood shake, slate, shingles, or clay tiles.
The Benefits of Metal Roofing
Thinking about going metal? Compared to conventional roofing materials, there are many benefits for choosing this versatile material for you home.
Metal Roofing Endures
Properly installed, a metal roof should last a long time, sealing out water, surviving high winds, and easily shedding snow. Metal is resistant to fire, mildew, insects, and rot. Warranties vary widely, but most companies back their products for 20 to 50 years. Paint finishes typically have a 30-year limited warranty.
Lightweight Metal Saves Money
Metal roofing only weights 50-150 lbs per square, and can be installed on top of an existing roof, avoiding the need for taking off the old roof. This reduces waste and disposal of the old roof. If you are building a house or an addition, you can often downsize or reduce the number of roof support members, saving money on building materials.
Unlike other roofing materials, metal roofing comes in multiple-shingle sections that 12-36 inches wide, so it goes up faster. Saving time on installation can be a huge benefit during inclement weather, when your roof will be exposed for less time, making it less likely that there will be rain damage to the structure.
Metal Works Well for Low-pitched Roofs
Metal roofs do not pose as much of a leaking hazard as other materials when used on a low-pitched roof. The minimum roof pitch for a metal roof is a 3 inch rise every horizontal foot.
Metal Roofing is Fire Resistant
Metal roofs are non-combustible and given a Class A rating as the most resistant roof material. This rating is lowered to Class C when the metal roof is installed over an existing combustible material like wood shingles.
Sun-reflecting Metal Saves Energy
When the midday sun heats up, metal reflects the sun’s rays, saving energy needed for air conditioning your house. For better insulation, some systems utilize the air space between the metal roofing and the existing structure and save on heating bills as well by utilizing a dense foam insulation or other material.
Metal Sheds Rain and Snow
Because metal roofing is designed to interlock while also being hard and slick, it easily repels rain and snow. The chance of leaks with a metal roof is greatly reduced when water and snow doesn’t sit on the roof for long periods of time.
Metal Roofing is Better for the Environment
You’ll save money with metal, but you’ll also be doing your part of the environment. Metal roofs can be installed over an existing roof, eliminating the need for tearing off and disposing of the existing roof. This saves landfills from some of the estimated 20 billion pounds of waste that results when conventional roofs are torn off and replaced. Another eco-friendly feature of metal roofs is that many utilize reflective pigment technology, which lowers utility bills. Not only that, but metal roofs are manufactured from 30-60% recycled material.
The Drawbacks of Metal Roofing
Metal Roofs can be Noisy
Depending on your noise tolerance, metal roofs may be undesirable because of the sound of the rain pounding on the roof in a storm. Some of the noise can be controlled using sound-deadening insulation and plywood sheathing under the metal. For some, though, the sound is not a drawback but an enjoyable sound.
Dents are a Possibility
Depending on the type of metal roof, there is a chance that it could dent in the event of a bad hailstorm or if it is necessary to walk on the roof for a home repair. Softer metals like aluminum and copper will dent easily. However, other types of metal are guaranteed not to dent.
Metal Roofs can be Difficult to Replace
Because metal roofs are installed in larger pieces, replacing one of the pieces is a much bigger repair than simply replacing one shingle. They also can be difficult to match if you put on an addition.
Lightning Might be an Issue
Some homeowners worry about a lightning strike with a metal roof, although it may be more likely for lightning to strike a tree next to your house than the actual roof. Concerned homeowners can have the roof grounded by a lightning protection company.
Metal Expands and Contracts
As it warms and cools, metal expands and contracts, so most new products have fastening systems that accommodate movement. On hot days, the expansion and contraction of the roof may cause a wavy effect.
Care Must be Taken with Metal so it Does Not Mar
Some painted metal roof finishes can peel, chip, fade, scratch, or chalk, although nearly all are guaranteed for 30 years. During installation and anytime it is necessary to walk on the roof, care must be taken to prevent marring of the metal.
The Biggest Drawback is Cost
When it comes to residential metal roofing, you are not only paying more for a higher quality material than asphalt shingle, but you are also paying for a more costly, professional installation that requires specialized skills, expertise, and equipment. Keep in mind that there are factors that may influence your final price for a new metal roof. These include the type of metal and the roof style you choose, your geographic location, and the overall complexity of the roof. The good news is that because metal roofing lasts so long, you ultimately save the difference if you stay in the house for a long time.
Aside from the few drawbacks, metal roofing could be the last roof you will need to purchase for your home, giving you years of protection. Particularly in areas with extreme weather, a metal roof can withstand any conditions that Mother Nature brings. If you are ready to make the leap and try metal roofing on your home, you can find many ideas for any style of home: colonial, historic, contemporary, and rustic and even see how your own home will look with a metal roof.