Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular with many savvy homeowners, and it is not hard to see why; compared to more traditional approaches, metal roofing offers many advantages including a very long lifespan, low maintenance, excellent durability, along with superb solar reflectance (helps to reduce your cooling costs by reflecting solar radiant heat) and thermal emissivity (helps your roof to cool off quickly after the sunset. – This is not at all the case with a composition shingles roof, which normally takes many more hours to cool off during the night in the summer.) properties that help lower your energy bills, and more.
It is 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 metal roofing materials and installation, and partly due to a simple supply and demand. As more homeowners start viewing metal roofing as a viable alternative to asphalt shingles, it is common and appropriate to ask how much it might cost.
The answer can be anywhere from $1.50 per square foot, plus installation for a low-end G-60 (galvanized 29 gauge steel) corrugated steel roofing (with exposed fasteners) finished with a lower-grade (cheaper) acrylic paint, to about $5.00 per square foot, plus installation cost for a high-end aluminum standing seam metal roof with concealed fasteners and lifetime warranty.
A mid-range, G-90 galvanized steel shingles metal roofing system appropriate for most homes will cost about double the cost of asphalt shingles. 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.
Then there are the “more-exotic” systems such as stainless steel millennium tiles that will cost you about $10.00 per square foot, or $16 to $20 fully installed. – This is comparable to the cost of premium copper and zinc tiles.
Making Sense of the Confusion
The main thing to realize with metal roofing, is that your price will depend a great deal on the exact type of a roof you want. “Metal roofing” is a rather broad term that encompasses many different materials and systems ranging from a basic G-60 corrugated 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 metal shingles, or standing seam metal roofing system. Metal Shingles can be made from either G-90 (galvanized) steel, or aluminum, while standing seam panels can be roll formed from galvalume steel, or aluminum. Either of the systems would usually be painted with a high-end paint finish, such as Kynar 500/Hylar 5000, or better. Most metal shingles 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 $1000.00 per square due to a 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 expensive to install. On the contrary, if you decide to install a new metal roofing system over your existing roof, the costs can be quite manageable. However, a more thorough job that involves stripping 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 a system’s longevity and energy efficiency.
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 in during summer, your heating and air conditioning bills are much more reasonable. Over the next 10 to 20 years, this by itself may easily recoup the cost, and the value of your home will be increased as well.
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 metal roofing system that is kind to the environment, and will likely last for as long as the property it protects.