Whether intended for a large industrial or commercial structure, an outdoor agricultural building on the property, or sprucing up a family home with a fresh clean look, modern metal roofing offers a long list of great options. This article briefly delves into the big ticket pros and cons of choosing metal roofing along with some of the basics. Enjoy!
Basic #1: The most common types of metal roofing on the consumer market today are Aluminum, Copper, Corrugated, Metal Tile, Tin, and Zinc. Each have their own appearances, pros and cons, and associated costs.
Basic #2: Prices fluctuate over time depending on open global market conditions, but generally speaking metal roofing costs will range from $5.00 to $12.00 per square foot. Of course there are cheaper options like corrugated steel with vulnerability to leaks and rust, as well as much more expensive high-end materials with hefty installation prices like copper.
Basic #3: Metal roofing should be officially tested and labeled by primary organizations like UL or FM Global to ensure performance, durability, weathering, and other environmental standards are clearly met.
Pros of Metal Roofing
First, the biggest pro of metal roofing is it lasts longer than other roofing materials. A shingle roof for example that’s made with asphalt shingles is looking at roughly 15 to 18 years with decent maintenance. Rubber lasts about 10 to 16 and Architectural Asphalt 24 to 30 years. Metals on the other hand can last between 40 and 70 years with good maintenance!
Along with a much slower general breakdown of materials, metal roofing is going to be far more durable – capable of taking more of a beating like sustained gusts of 140mph, and requiring less maintenance. Three other benefits are as follows:
- Fire Safety: Metals won’t go up in flames, spark, ignite or melt as easily as other materials, even when exposed to wildfires.
- Efficiency: Metals tend to reflect solar light and heat rather than absorb or conduct it, which reduces cooling or air conditioning costs by 10-25%.
- Going Green: Along with reducing cooling costs, metal roofing can be made of as high as 95% recycled content. When the material has run its course on the roof, it can all be recycled, whereas with other building materials waste is a common problem (an estimated $20 billion annually).
Cons of Metal Roofing
Obviously there’s no such thing as absolutely perfect roofing material that lasts and stays looking pretty forever for next to nothing. Well, not yet anyway, so metal roofing has its challenges. The first of which is affordability, where upfront and installation costs are going to be higher. It’s going to feel like more of an investment when looking at a home or industrial/commercial structure.
Payoffs on the investment are increased property value, lower insurance rates and maintenance costs, increased longevity, and so forth. That said, other than affordability, three other common drawbacks have more to do with the type of metal chosen.
- Metal Behavior: If improperly installed, or attached as much larger less high-quality panels, there is likely to be expansion and contraction during summer/winter seasons. During the spring and fall rain, hail, and heavy winds can be somewhat noisier than softer materials. Proper installation and better quality metal roofing reallys helps here.
- Coloring Issues: Over time repairs may be needed, but finding exact matches for existing metal roofing can be challenging. This becomes more of an issue with homeowners, when years after installing the metal roofing they decide on an extension.
- Overall Performance: Like any other material, metals have their weaknesses – foremost of which is water! When it accumulates or leaks serious damage can ensue. Again, this is often either due to improper installation or neglected maintenance. Then it’s important to take into consideration the grade of the metal, high or low, relative to its durability and thickness.
And that about wraps it up in terms of the basics and pros and cons of choosing metal roofing. The magic happens when the right metal roofing product is chosen for the job, installed correctly, and maintained responsibly.