Metal Roofing Buying Guide – FAQs – Facts – Pros & Cons

With the Winter fully settled in, and with many major snowstorms ravaging the Mid West and North East, it’s not uncommon to see many residential roofs “suddenly” failing under the unexpectedly heavy snow loads from the recent super-snowstorms. You also get to see many roofs developing major ice dams, often due to inadequate insulation and ventilation of the attic spaces in these older homes.

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Did you know? With a properly installed metal roof, you could easily prevent the heavy accumulation of snow and ice on the roof, thanks to the specially-coated metal surface designed to shed any excessive snow, as well as help prevent any potential ice dam related damage to the roof deck, shingles, walls and more — the kind of damage that is typically associated with the good ol’ asphalt shingle roofs.

So, if you are considering a new metal roof as potential replacement option for your aging asphalt roof, or you simply want to learn more about this sturdy and energy efficient roofing option, then check out list of the top 70 metal roofing facts below:

In order to help you navigate this long list, we broke it down into the following categories:

Materials Pros & Cons a-rugged-standing-seam-metal-roof
Cost of Materials
Installation
Cost of Installation
Colors & Styles
Longevity
Weather Protection
Durability
Maintenance
Energy Efficiency
Environmental Impact
ROI
10 Bonus Facts

Materials Pros & Cons:

Standing Seam Metal Roof Galvalume Color 1. Metal roofs can be made from a variety of metals and alloys including Galvanized steel (hot zinc dipped G-90 steel, or G-60 steel coated with thinner, least-expensive coating), Galvalume steel (Zinc and Aluminum coating — more expensive and longer lasting compared to G-90 steel.), stone-coated steel (G-90 galvanized steel), aluminum, copper, zinc, terne (zinc-tin alloy), and stainless steel.


2. The downside of galvanized steel is that it can corrode, eventually, especially when exposed to the moist salt-spray environment, such as near the coastal lines and salty marine environments. It must be noted that all things being equal, Galvalume steel offers a greater degree of corrosion-resistance and hence longevity than G-90 galvanized steel. G-60 steel is joke compared to galvalume steel and its cost reflects that. 😉

3. Steel is the most frequently used material in both residential and commercial metal roof and wall applications, mainly due to its superior durability, strength, and slightly lower cost than aluminum.

4. Aluminum is the second most popular metal in roofing after steel. It is not affected by the moist salt spray environments like coated steel. Aluminum is only slightly more expensive than steel, but it’s far less expensive than premium metals such as copper, zinc, titanium, and stainless steel.

5. Aluminum is also one of the best metals to use for roofs located in the coastal areas, where there is often a heavy presence of salt spray in the environment.

6. Copper roofs are the most durable and can last for hundreds of years. However, due to their prohibitively high cost, few people choose to install an entire roof made of copper. Instead, home and business owners choose copper for use in architectural details/accents on the roof (bay windows, towers, porches, low slope sections, Et cetera).

Cost of Materials:

7. A typical cost for a steel standing seam roof starts around $300 per roof square for a typical order. Stone-coated steel starts at standing-seam-panels $350-425 per square. Steel shingles run about $270-$320 per square (100 sq. ft.) for materials including trim.

8. Aluminum is a step up from steel in quality and therefore in price, costing around $100 more per square than Galvanized steel, for both standing seam and metal shingles.

9. The most expensive and premium metals are copper and zinc. They cost roughly the same. Copper is typically installed as copper pans or standing seam panels costing $900-1400 per square for materials alone.

10. Steel roofs need to be coated with a special protective (galvanic or galvalume) coating to prevent corrosion. – Galvanized and Galvalume steel roofing systems are pre-coated by the manufacturer and do not require any further coating.

11. Aluminum, copper and zinc roofs do not need to be coated.

12. High-end aluminum and steel roofing systems like standing seam and metal shingles will usually have a high-quality paint finish such as Kynar 500 applied, while lower-end corrugated steel roofs are usually finished with Acrylic paint.


Installation:

13. It is typically possible to install a metal roof over an old roof, thus eliminating the extra standing-seam-metal-roof-installation cost and hassle associated with the tear-off of the old roof. — Be sure to consult your contractor about the possibility of “over-top” installation for your specific roof. — This is generally possible with metal shingles, because metal is an extremely light-weight material.

14. Metal roofs should only be installed by specialists with expertise and ample experience in installing metal roofing, because if the installation is done incorrectly, then your metal roof will likely leak, which may later end-up costing you thousands of dollars to repair or replace.

15. Unlike many other roofing materials, a metal roof can easily be installed during winter.

16. The cost of installation for metal shingles is about 20% cheaper than the cost of installing standing seam, because metal shingles are easier and faster to install.

Corrugated Metal Roof

17. Most metal roofing systems should be installed on homes or buildings that have a minimum slope of 3:12 or greater. Although there are certain types of standing seam metal roofing systems that can be installed on roofs with slopes of 2:12 and lower, those types of systems are usually only installed on commercial or industrial buildings.

18. Ideally, standing seam panel should not be installed over asphalt shingles due to potential telegraphing of shingles underneath the standing seam panels.

19. Further, when snow piles up on a standing seam roof that was installed over an asphalt roof, the shingles will likely make horizontal dents in the metal panels. Also, metal roofs tend to expand and contract due to temperature changes, and can thus rub against the stone coating on asphalt shingles. – This could eventually cause some corrosion on the underside of metal panels.

20. Standing seam roofs can be manufactured either on-site or in the factory, which simplifies installation. Metal shingles are typically manufactured at a factory, and can be shipped in standard cardboard boxes to your work-site.

Cost of installation:

21. Metal roofing installation is more expensive compared to other roofing systems, metal-shingles-roof-installation because it requires specialized training, knowledge, tools and equipment that general roofing contractors typically lack.

22. The cost of installation greatly depends on the complexity of the roof and the type of materials or system being installed.

23. The base price to install a corrugated steel roof starts at $450 per square for materials and labor.

24. The base price for metal shingles ranges between $700-$1,000 per square for materials and labor.

25. The base price for a stone-coated steel roof starts at $850-$1,100 per square for materials and labor.

26. The base price for a standing seam roof ranges between $750-$1,400 per square for materials and labor.

27. The base price to install a copper or zinc roof starts at $1,800 per square for materials and labor.

28. If a tear-off is necessary, it’s normally a separate cost, which runs about $100-$150 per square.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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You can estimate the cost to install a new metal roof including materials and labor with the help of our free calculator. Another option here.


Metal Roof Colors and Styles:

29. Metal roofs come in four general styles: vertical metal panels with concealed fasteners such as standing seam, corrugate and ribbed metal panels with exposed fasteners, interlocking metal shingles, and stone-coated steel tiles having the appearance of clay tiles. metal roof colors

30. Many modern styles of metal shingles are manufactured to imitate the look of natural slate, clay tiles, cedar shakes, and in some cases even the traditional look of asphalt shingles.

31. Modern metal roofs can come in well over 100 colors including standard, premium and customized colors. The number of color options for metal roofing is a lot greater than the options you get with asphalt shingles roofs (only about 15-20 standard colors).

32. The most popular style among homeowners is standing seam (vertical panels).

33. Often, homeowners are not even aware of the existence of metal shingles, and mistakenly believe that standing seam is the only option for a metal roof.

Longevity:

34. In terms of performance, there is no difference between standing seam and metal concave standing seam roof shingles roofs.

35. High-end metal roofs such as metal shingles, metal tiles and standing seam are considered a lifetime roofing system. This means that if a metal roof is properly installed, you will not have to install another roof on your home or building again.

36. Metal roofs such as aluminum or steel shingles can last for 50 years and often longer, while copper and zinc roofs can often last well over 100 years. — This means that a typical metal roof will last about two to three times longer than an asphalt shingles roof. The later normally needs to be replaced every 12-17 years.

37. red-metal-shingles-roof-top Thanks to their quite exceptional longevity, metal roofs have a very low life cycle cost. This means that while you may spend more money upfront on a metal roof, in the long run you will actually save money, because you will not need to repair or replace your new metal roof again (as long as it was installed correctly in the first place, that is).

38. Most manufacturers will provide a 30-50 year materials warranty on a properly installed system, while a metal roofing contractor should offer you their own installation warranty.

Weather protection:

39. Metal roofs offer the best protection against ice, snow, and ice dams. standing-seam

40. Metal roofs are considered to be ice and snow-shedding systems, which means that you will never have to worry about roof leaks due to snow and ice build-up.

41. Metal is a non-combustible material, and so a metal roof will never catch on fire like cedar and some asphalt roofs.

42. Metal roofs will protect your house against hurricane level winds. Many system have wind uplift ratings of 110-160 mph.

43. FEMA recommends metal roofs in areas that are prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc.

Durability:

44. Metal roofs will not rot, split, crack, dry-out, chip, warp, unlike many other common roofing materials.

45. Metal is not susceptible to termite or rodent infestation.

46. Metal can withstand impact from falling objects such as hail, sticks, etc. without any damage to the roof.

Maintenance:

47. Generally metal roofs require none or minimal maintenance. corrugated metal roof on a ranch house The only exception to the maintenance rule, would be metal roofing systems with exposed fasteners.

48. Metal roofs can be cleaned with water.

49. Corrugated style metal roofs (with exposed fasteners) will require fastener re-tightening and re-caulking every 10-15 years.

50. After years of service, you may choose to repaint a metal roof to give it a fresh look again, but it’s usually not necessary, and will depend on your roof’s original coating.

Energy Efficiency:

51. A metal roof can easily help save as much as 25% off of your annual home energy bill, and help reduce your home’s carbon footprint. In fact, according to an independent report by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory “2008 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings“, homeowners can save up to 40% in home cooling costs in the summer, and 10-15% in home heating costs, based on a strapping system of 4 inches between the plywood and the metal on top.

52. A CoolRoof-rated metal roof has a cool reflective surface, which reflects solar heat back into the atmosphere, rather than absorbing it inside a home or a building.

53. Copper and zinc are the least energy efficient types of metal roofing. Due to darker colors and thicker gauge of metal, they absorb and store a lot of heat. However, they are still much “cooler” than regular asphalt shingles.

Environmental Impact:

54. Metal roofing is the only TRULY green material in the roofing industry, because it uses the least amount of resources during the manufacturing process, contains no petroleum by-products, and can always be recycled.

55. New metal roofs may contain anywhere from 30-60% of recycled metal content, and are 100% recyclable at the end of their service lives.

56. Old metal roofs will never end up in our landfills at the end of their service lives, thus saving the ever-precious landfill space and helping protect the environment.

57. A metal roof (or any metal for that matter) can be recycled an unlimited number of times without suffering material degradation.

ROI:

58. Out of all roofing materials available, metal provides the highest return on your investment (ROI). The national average on cost recouped at resale is 85.9%. The average recouped cost on the East Coast is as high as 95.5%.

59. A metal roof can be a huge selling point to potential buyers of your home, who will be happy about the prospect of not having to worry about any roof-related issues.

60. Homes outfitted with metal roofs will typically have a 6% resale value gain over homes with asphalt shingles roofs.

10 Bonus Facts:

You deserve a reward for getting this far! So, here are some equally important bonus facts to consider:

61. A metal roof will not increase the likelihood of your home getting struck by a lightning.

62. If a lightning does strike your home, a metal roof will safely dissipate the electric charge even if it is not grounded.

63. Metal Roofs act as a Faraday Cage for your house and they disperse the charge over a larger area as compared to a skimpy little wire coming down your chimney or wall. They also intercept 100% of the lightning that comes towards your house, unlike a lightning rod which only intercepts the lightning that happens to hit your rod. – You can read more about it here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090723112650AAMaGP7

64. Modern metal roofs such as aluminum standing seam have a class “A” or UL Class 4 fire retardant ratings. If you happen to live in a fire-prone area, a metal roof can help protect your home from a forest fire, as well as help you save money on your home insurance premiums.

65. Many insurance companies will reward you with a hefty discount in the neighborhood of 30% on your homeowners insurance if your home is protected by a qualified metal roof. – You can read more about homeowners insurance discounts for metal roofs here: http://www.metalroofing.com/v2/content/guide/costs/insurance-savings.cfm

66. If you happen to live in an area that often experiences a heavy snow fall, with freezing temperatures, a metal roof will help shed off snow, thus helping prevent a heavy accumulation of snow and ice dams on your roof.

67. A metal roof can easily be outfitted with snow-guards to prevent the sliding of snow over door entrances and other areas where heavy snow fall is undesirable.

68. PV Solar Panels on Metal Roof A standing seam metal roof can easily be integrated with PV solar panels should you decide to take your home’s energy-efficiency to the next level. Learn more about solar power systems for homes here: www.UnderstandSolar.com

69. A standing seam metal roof can be easily combined with either easy to install “Peel and Stick” thin-film photovoltaic solar laminates, or with traditional and somewhat more powerful crystalline PV solar panels. – If your roof has a large area and faces south, or you are especially ambitious, then you can try to go off the grid completely! – Read more about it here: www.metalroof.us/solar-metal-roofing-guide/

70. If you are concerned about “noise” when it rains, rest assured knowing that a metal roof installed over solid sheathing (whether wood planks / boards or plywood) will be as quiet as an asphalt shingle roof. The difference in sound level (measured in decibels) produced by rain drops hitting the roof surface of an asphalt shingle roof compared to metal will be largely undetectable to human ear.

Bottom Line:

A metal roof offers better ROI (in terms of home appreciation and maintaining a very high recouped value of your initial investment) than any other remodeling upgrade. – This can be especially important if you care about maximizing your home’s value and curb appeal for many decades to come. Should you ever decide to sell your home, you are almost guaranteed to come out a winner, especially if you have lived in your home for quite some time, while enjoying solid protection, great looks, and energy savings.


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One thought on “Metal Roofing Buying Guide – FAQs – Facts – Pros & Cons

  1. Rieley R.

    I didn’t know there was a coating that helped prevent snow accumulation. It does make sense though, because the metal I’ve seen is pretty slick, I just never thought about the coating that makes it slick, though. Had no idea, there were so many kinds of metal roofs and alloys. Interesting stuff.

    Reply

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