Whether you are roofing a new home or your current home requires renovation, there are many materials available. But no matter what roof style you have, metal roofs can be an attractive option due to their longevity, minimal maintenance, and efficiency. And you can choose from tin, zinc, aluminum, copper, or galvanized steel — just make sure the roofing material is tested and labeled by UL, FM Global, or the equivalent, and that you check with your local building department for any code requirements.
Advantages of metal roofs.
Metal roofs offer many benefits, including:
- Longevity. Metal roofs can last 40 to 70 years, depending on the material. Traditional asphalt roof construction materials have a useful life of approximately 12 to 20 years.
- Durability. Some metal roofs can withstand wind gusts of up to 140 miles per hour, will not corrode or crack, and can withstand impacts (depending on the type of metal you choose). Additionally, metal roofs do not need the periodic and expensive maintenance that other roof construction materials often require. However, they should be periodically inspected to ensure that no repairs are required.
- Security. Metal roofs do not produce sparks or catch fire during a wildfire or lightning strike.
- Energy efficiency. Metal roofs reflect solar radiant heat, which can reduce cooling costs by 10 to 25%.
- Environmental friendly. Metal roofs not only have 25 to 95% recycled content, depending on the material used, but they are also 100% recyclable at the end of their useful life as a roof. In contrast, most roof removal debris ends up as part of the construction-related waste stream - up to 20 billion pounds a year.
Disadvantages of metal roofs.
Despite its many advantages, metal roofs do have some potential downsides.
- Affordability Metal roofs can be up to two to three times more expensive than other roof construction materials. While the lifespan of a metal roof is much longer, investing in a metal roof only makes sense if you plan to stay in your home long enough to enjoy the cost benefits.
- Noise. Metal roofs can be noisy, especially during a heavy rain or hail storm. Adding more insulation during installation usually solves this problem, but that can increase costs.
- Expansion and contraction. Added metal roof construction materials, such as large panels, tend to expand and contract. If not installed properly with fasteners that allow the metal to "breathe," the panels can loosen.
- Inconsistency in color match. If a repair is required or an extension is added to the home years later it can be difficult to find an exact match to the existing metal.
- Performance. If water collects anywhere on the roof due to poor installation or repair quality, over time it can cause serious damage. Low-grade metals can be thinner and less durable. Some metals rust in certain climates or dent more easily than others during hail storms or installation.