If it’s time to replace the roof on your home and you’re considering buying metal roofing, it is important to do your research and weigh the pros and cons of metal versus other more conventional roofing materials, such as tile, wood and asphalt. Here, we consider the various benefits and downsides of metal roofing, such as aluminum, steel, and other metals.
It’s extremely durable. If you have your metal roof installed well and take care of it, it should last as long as the house and will easily survive wind storms, snow and rain water. Metal is also resistant to mildew, fire, insect infestation and rot.
Most metal roofs are noncombustible so they are rated with a Class A fire rating, which is the most resistant. However, if the metal roofing is installed over wood shingles, it will likely have a lower fire rating. Warranties will vary, but many companies will guarantee their metal roofing product to last between 20 to 50 years and paint finishes will often have a 30-year limited warranty.
It’s extremely lightweight. Metal roofing is lightweight, especially when compared to tile or other varieties. Most often, metal roofing runs from 100 to 150 pounds per square, compared to 750 to 1000 pounds per square for concrete tile. If you already have existing roof material installed, many times metal roofing can be applied directly on top of the other material without any tear off or additional structural support added.
It’s easy to install and will save energy in the long run. Metal roofing material comes in 12 to 36 inch panels or multiple-shingle sections. Because of this, it is quick and easy to install. Metal also reflects the sun’s heat, so it will often minimize the heat during the hottest part of the day. This means you will likely use your air conditioning less and ultimately, save more energy.
The disadvantages of metal roofing include:
It’s expensive. Metal roofing is pretty costly, with prices ranging from $150 to $600 per 100 square feet. This can be a big initial investment, but if you look at the durability of the material, it could save you on maintenance and roofing replacement.
It’s noisy. The Pacific Northwest gets significant amounts of rain every year, which means water will tap on a metal roof. A lot. For some people, this is a calming and soothing sound, but for others, not so much. Noise can be minimized by using materials that utilize structural barriers that reduce the drumming effect by applying them over insulation or solid plywood sheathing.
Accessibility. It is very difficult to walk or traverse on a roof in the wet weather or if there has been significant time for organic material to breed moss or algae creating an even slipperier surface to walk on. Maintaining a roof in the winter time to clean off storm debris or even to get your cat off the roof is often scary and challenging.
It dents easily. A metal roof can dent pretty easily, especially if something with significant weight and/or velocity hits it, such as a tree limb or large hailstone. Aluminum and copper roofing is more prone to denting than steel, simply because they are softer.
Before you decide on the type of roof to have on your home, be sure you consider your home’s style and the area you live in. For some, metal roofing makes perfect sense, while for other spaces, it may be better to go with other roofing materials.