Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular with many savvy homeowners, and it’s not hard to see why; compared to more traditional approaches, metal roofing offers many significant advantages over asphalt shingles, including a very long lifespan, low maintenance, excellent durability, and superior solar reflectance which can help drastically reduce your cooling costs and HVAC load by reflecting solar radiant heat away from the roof in the summer.
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Ballpark Metal Roof Pricing Details:
Just to give you an idea of what to expect in a typical situation, residential metal roofing costs can range from $3.50 to $12.00 per sq. ft. installed, with the low-end of this pricing range being appropriate for most low-end, G-60 corrugated and ribbed metal roofs with exposed fasteners, while the higher cost is typically associated with metal shingles, stone-coated steel tiles, and standing seam metal roofs. — The prices tend to increase in that order.
Your geographic location, roof steepness, height and its complexity including any level changes, dormers, chimneys and skylights, number of layers of old shingles to be removed, and contractor choice will also have a major effect on your total cost installed.
Note: many professional roofing contractors price their roofs on a per square basis, where one square is a 10 by 10 foot area or 100 square feet. Thus, your total cost in square terms may range from $350 to $1,200 per square of metal roofing installed. For comparison, most asphalt shingle roofs will cost anywhere from $300 to $700 per square installed depending on the material choice, roof complexity, installer’s credentials, your geographic area, time of the year, and so forth.
More In-Depth Overview of Metal Roofing Costs vs. Shingles:
It’s a well known fact that metal roofs have always been somewhat expensive compared to the far more widespread composition (asphalt) shingle roofs. — This is mostly due to a much higher base cost of both, materials and labor. The cost of labor is a major factor affecting the cost of metal roofing, with an often tedious installation process requiring a high degree of precision, and hence well-trained installers, with specialized tools and equipment. The difference in cost can also be partly attributed to a simple supply and demand.
The Cost of Materials
The answer can be anywhere from $1.50 per square foot, plus the cost of installation for a low-end G-60 (galvanized 29 gauge steel) corrugated metal panels (with exposed fasteners), finished with a lower-grade (cheaper) acrylic paint, to about $5.00 per square foot of metal panel, plus the installation cost for the high-end aluminum or galvalume steel standing seam roof featuring concealed fasteners and lifetime warranty.
A mid-range, G-90 galvanized steel shingles roofing system, appropriate for most homes, will cost about double the cost of asphalt shingles, installed. The cost of materials alone would be about $3.50 per square foot, plus the cost of underlayment (about $40 per roll). Fully installed, such a system may cost anywhere from $7.00 to $11.00 per square foot for an average roof. Therefore, an averaged-sized single story house with a fairly simple roof shape measuring about 1,700 sq. ft. or 17 squares could cost anywhere from $11,900 to $18,700 for the installation of a metal shingles roof.
Then there are the “more-exotic” systems such as stainless steel millennium tiles that will cost you about $10.00 per square foot, or as much as $16.00 to $20.00 when fully installed. — This cost, by the way, is comparable to the cost of premium copper roofing.
Making Sense of the Confusion
“Metal roofing” is a rather broad term that encompasses many different materials and systems ranging from the basic G-60 low-end (typically corrugated metal panels) steel and G-90 galvanized steel, to better quality Galvalume steel, aluminum, zinc, copper, titanium, and stainless steel.
It is helpful to know that G-60 corrugated steel is by far one of the least expensive options, while zinc, copper, titanium, and stainless steel are at a significantly higher end of the spectrum. However, the precise nature and overall complexity of the installation will also make a significant difference to the final cost.
With a true abundance of metal roofing materials and systems, most homeowners will opt for either metal shingles, or standing seam roof.
Metal Shingles can be made from either G-90 (galvanized) steel, or aluminum, while standing seam panels can be roll-formed from galvalume steel, galvanized steel, aluminum, zinc, and copper. Either of the systems would usually be painted with a high-end paint finish, such as Kynar 500/Hylar 5000, or better. Most metal shingle roofs will cost anywhere from $700.00 per square (100 sq. feet) and up for materials and labor, while standing seam metal roofs can easily cost more than $1,000.00 per square due to the higher cost of materials, and often a more involved installation process.
System Installation Difficulty and Labor Costs Considerations
As a homeowner, it is vital that you look at the total cost of the installation rather than just the price of the raw materials. Labor costs can easily make up a larger percentage of the total cost than the metal itself. This is not to say that metal roofs are always expensive to install. On the contrary, if you decide to install a new metal roofing system over the existing roof, the costs can be quite manageable. However, a more thorough job that involves stripping off the old roof completely, will definitely tip the scales towards a more costly direction. Note that taking a big-picture look at the costs also means thinking about the overall longevity and energy efficiency of a newly installed roofing system.
Cost Over Time
Like many modifications to a home, metal roofing must be seen as an investment. Although the initial cost may seem quite high, it is important to remember that these roofs can easily last for many decades. The better materials and design such as standing seam may well last as long as the house itself. It is also important to take into account the extra energy efficiency a metal roof provides. Since less heat can escape in cold weather and less can get inside the house during the summer, your heating and air conditioning bills are going to end up being less costly and far more reasonable. Over the next 10 to 20 years, this by itself may easily help recoup the cost of the initial expenditure, while also increasing the value and greatly enhancing the curb appeal of your home.
Did you know? In addition to solar reflectance, there is also the so-called thermal emissivity, which makes it possible for the roof to cool off quickly after the sunset. — As you may have guessed, asphalt roofs normally take a lot longer to cool off at night, after a hot summer day. Both, solar reflectance and thermal emissivity will help lower your AC energy expenditures, and hence boost your home’s energy efficiency.
As we have explained, it is hard to hone in on an exact cost without knowing about your specific situation and plans. While making sense of metal roofing prices can seem daunting at first, simply narrowing down your options can clarify things in no time. Even if you opt to go for an expensive solution such as stripping your existing roof and replacing it with aluminum or another high-quality material, you stand to gain a great deal in terms of having a low roof maintenance, high energy-efficiency, and confidence of knowing that your home is protected by a durable and long-lasting roofing system that is also kind to the environment, and will likely last for as long as the property it protects.
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