Are Corrugated Metal Roofs a Viable Option for Homes?

Ever since the mid 1800s, corrugated steel panels have been manufactured and used extensively on agricultural, commercial, and industrial roofs in the US. You might conjure up the image of the old barns, farm houses, and old shacks covered with those “ugly” U-shaped or V-shaped wavy steel panels. Many of those agricultural and industrial steel roofs would often have numerous rust spots and peeling paint as their signature mark.

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In those early days, some corrugated metal panels were made from bare, non-coated steel, which resulted in excessive corrosion, and hence bad reputation and perception of low quality. Nonetheless, steel was cheap and abundant material, which made it economically feasible to replace any old, corroded steel panels on an “as and when needed” basis. Such were the expectations and process at the time.

corrugated-metal-roof-on-a-house

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But what about today? Lets take a deeper look into what modern-day corrugated metal roofs are all about and whether or not they are suitable for residential applications.

Modern, corrugated metal roofing panels are primarily made out of galvanized steel (G-60 low-end, or G-90 better quality) in the form of U, V, Ribbed, 5 V crimp and similar metal panels. — Typically, corrugated metal and R panels are employed as metal roof or wall system comprised of 32 to 36 inches wide corrugated panels held in place by exposed screws / fasteners color-matched to the paint color of the metal panels. Caulking is used at connecting points of overlap in between the panels for water tightness.

Various Metals, Affordability, and Maintenance Requirements

Corrugated metal panels can also be made from galvanized, Galvalume, stainless steel, and aluminum. Normally, a corrugated metal panel does not have a lot of thickness in terms of metal grade, which makes it quite economical and hence affordable, but it may well require some maintenance every once in a while, including the exposed fasteners re-tightening and potential re-coating applications.

Corrosion Resistance & Panel Thickness

Modern corrugated metal panels offer superior corrosion-resistance, energy efficiency, and can provide an economical roofing and cladding solution for commercial, agricultural, industrial, and even residential uses. Corrugated metal panels are usually made from thin-gauge steel, usually a 29 or 26 gauge steel, which makes it economical and practical, when it comes to covering large areas of roofing surfaces. Corrugated metal roofs are more practical and longer lasting than asphalt shingle roofs, and they cost much less than standing seam or metal shingles.

Materials Available

Corrugated roofing panels can be made from aluminum, galvanized steel (G-60, or G-90 steel),
galvalume coated steel, and stainless steel. When going for a long lasting economical solution, Galvalume steel provides an optimal combination of cost effectiveness and material longevity and reliability. When finished with a Kynar 500 paint finish, corrugated metal roofing can provide significant energy savings and qualify for LEED building credits issued by the US green building council.

Ribbed panels or R-panels – a Close Cousin of Corrugated Metal

In commercial, agricultural, industrial, and some residential metal roof and metal wall panel applications, corrugated metal panels along with their close cousin, ribbed panels, are often a system of choice based on two important factors; they are rather inexpensive, fairly long-lasting and energy efficient roofing and metal siding alternatives for residential and commercial building envelope applications.

r-panelr-panel-36-inches

Corrugated steel panel presented above is LEED certified, inexpensive roofing solution for commercial and industrial uses. It is light weight, provides solar reflectivity, and good thermal emmitance, which will help keep the building cool. The downside of using corrugated and ribbed metal roofing systems such as 5-v crimp panels, R panels, U panels, and V panels, is that most of these systems come with exposed fasteners. For comparison, standing seam metal panels have concealed fasteners, which offers higher degree of weather and water tightness, but standing seam is a significantly pricier option.

Installation:

corrugated-metal-panel-overlap-fasteners

As you can see in a diagram above, 36 inch R panels are installed using a 4 inch overlap at a 32 inch mark. The exposed fasteners (usually galvanized steel screws color-matched to the panel, and combined with special rubber washers for water-tightness are required) are installed 12 inches on center, and then with 16 inches on center, creating a 12 and 16 inches overlap. The use of caulk at the panel connecting points is required as well, which sort of complicates the installation process, and reliance on caulk shows a major design flow of corrugated steel roofing system.

System Design Improvements

Over the years corrugated roofing systems have benefited from many aesthetic and “roof integrity” system specific improvements, which now makes it a considerable alternative to conventional asphalt shingle roofs that go into landfills after 15 years of service. Although metal roofing is more expensive than asphalt shingle, corrugated roofing is quite affordable compared to standing seam. There are now, many corrugated roofing systems that can be used for home re-roofing projects. However, keep in mind, that metal roofing systems with exposed fasteners may require re-tightening some every 10 years or so. Also, should you decide to invest in a corrugated roofing system, I recommend that you go with aluminum, or galvalume steel corrugated roof system coated with Kynar 500 coating, not the cheap acrylic paint finish, which will fade quickly.

Exposed fastener metal roofing for residential homes

For instance, many companies such as Fabral and McElroy Metal provides an affordable alternative with exposed fasteners that can be used on residential homes.

5-v-crimp-panel

The panel presented above, is V – 5 crimp panel, with exposed fasteners. It can actually be used for residential roof projects. V 5 Crimp metal panel, and its installation (materials and labor) is rather affordable when compared to traditional residential roofing systems.

Image Credits & Information Sources:

http://www.corrugatedmetal.com

http://www.flexospan.com

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4 comments

  1. We’re going to put a new rooftop on ourselves, Is this a DIY job for a person with some experience in roofing?

    1. Hi Mary,

      Yes it can be. Since corrugated metal is one of the easiest metal roofing systems to install, this can therefore be a DIY job for a handy person, provided the installation would take place on a simple, gable-style roof.

      You’d still want to get a helper, plan the job well in advance, and have all the necessary safety and installation tools, materials and supplies readily available. Good planning will go a long way to make this job a success.

      Good Luck!
      ~Alex

  2. Greetings: Nice site, need info. I am in st pete FL and have a flat roof, torch down, aprox 30 X 35, 1 story. Would like to frame [metal or wood] in a hip roof and cover it with corrugated metal [like a pole barn] or go with a shed roof, maybe a 4′ knee wall. My intent is to eliminate the flat to keep the home dry and the water to run off while I fix anything underneath and give me room to run copper or ducts, would only have 2 penetrations, electric and plumbing vent. Give my email to any contractor wanting the work.

    1. Hi Lorenzo,

      Thank you for your inquiry! Yes, the easiest way to go about getting this quote is to submit your request by filling out our easy form at the top of the page. Just enter your zip code and provide the same info about your roof above. You will receive quality estimates in no time.

      Thanks and Good Luck!

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