Old man winter is here. Is your roof ready to weather the upcoming freeze and thaw cycles, fearsome snowstorms, heavy snow build-up and ice dams, strong winds, and even large hail in some areas?
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I do not know about you, but if you ask me, I would tell you that a metal roof is a great way to protect your home if you happen to live in the region that receives a lot of snowfall. — Just ask any resident of Illinois, Ohio, upstate New York, Northern New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and they will readily attest to this! 😉
With that being said, If you are still considering installing a new metal roof on your home or commercial property this Fall, Winter or Spring, here are the top 70, most essential metal roofing facts, myths, FAQs, and pros and cons to consider in your buying and decision making process.
In order to help you navigate this long list, we broke it down into the following categories:
1. Metal roofs can be made from a variety of metals and alloys including Galvanized steel — hot-dip zinc galvanized G-90 and G-60 steel (a less expensive, thinner-gauge steel, often used in low-end, lower-cost corrugated and ribbed metal panels), Galvalume steel — zinc and aluminum coated steel (A more expensive and longer lasting coating compared to G-90 steel.), stone-coated steel (G-90 galvanized steel), aluminum, copper, zinc, terne (zinc-tin alloy), and stainless steel.
2. The downside of galvanized steel (G-90, and especially G-60) is that it can corrode, eventually, especially when exposed to moist, salt-spray environment such as in close proximity to the ocean and coastal areas.
3. Steel is the most frequently used material in both residential and commercial applications, mainly due to its lower cost.
4. Aluminum is the second most popular material. It is more durable and longer lasting than steel, but only costs a fraction of the price of premium metals, such as copper or zinc.
5. Aluminum is also one of the best metals to use for roofs located in coastal areas (think those beach homes), where there is a heavy presence of salt spray in the environment.
6. Copper roofs are the most durable and can last for hundreds of years. However, due to prohibitively high cost, few people choose to install an entire roof made from copper. Instead, home and business owners choose copper for architectural details/accents on the roof (bay windows, towers, porches, low slope roof sections, Et cetera).
7. A typical cost for a steel standing seam roof starts around $300 per square (100 square feet) for a typical order. Stone-coated steel starts at $350-425 per square. Steel shingles run about $270 per square of materials.
8. Aluminum is a step up from steel in terms of quality, and therefore in price, costing about $100 more per square than galvanized steel, for both standing seam and metal shingles.
9. The most expensive and premium metals are copper and zinc. They cost roughly the same. Copper is typically installed as copper pans or standing seam panels costing $900-1,400 per square. for materials alone.
10. Steel roofs need to be coated with a special protective (galvanic) coating to prevent corrosion. – Galvanized and Galvalume steel roofing systems are pre-coated by the manufacturer and do not require any further coating.
11. Aluminum, copper and zinc roofs do not need to be coated.
12. High-end Aluminum and steel roofing systems like standing seam and metal shingles will usually have a high-quality paint finish such as Kynar 500 applied, while lower-end corrugated steel roofs are usually finished with Acrylic paint.
13. It is typically possible to install a metal roof over an old roof, thus eliminating the extra cost and hassle associated with the shingle tear-off (be sure to consult your contractor about the possibility of “over-top” installation for your specific roof). — This is generally possible because metal is an extremely light-weight material.
14. Metal roofs should only be installed by specialists with expertise and ample experience in installing metal roofing, because if the installation is done incorrectly a metal roof will develop leaks (or outright fail prematurely as in the worst case scenario), which may later end-up costing thousands of dollars to repair or replace.
15. Unlike many other roofing materials, a metal roof can easily be installed in the winter.
16. The cost of installation for metal shingles is about 20% cheaper than the cost of installing standing seam, because metal shingles are easier and faster to install.
17. Most metal roofing systems should be installed on homes or buildings that have a minimum slope of 3:12 or greater. Although there are certain types of standing seam metal roofing systems that can be installed on roofs with slopes of 2:12 and lower, those types of systems are usually only installed on commercial or industrial buildings.
18. Ideally, standing seam should not be installed over asphalt shingles due to telegraphing of the shingles underneath the standing seam panels.
19. Further, when snow piles up on a standing seam roof that was installed over an asphalt roof, the shingles will likely make horizontal dents in the metal panels. Also, metal roofs tend to expand and contract due to temperature changes, and can thus rub against the stone coating on asphalt shingles. – This could eventually cause some corrosion and rusting on the underside of metal panels.
20. Standing seam roofs can be manufactured either on-site or in the factory, which simplifies the installation process. Metal shingles are typically manufactured at a factory, and can be shipped in standard cardboard boxes directly to your house or work-site.
21. Metal roofing installation is more expensive compared to other roofing systems, because it requires specialized training, knowledge, tools and equipment that general roofing contractors typically lack.
22. The cost of installation greatly depends on the complexity of the roof and the type of material/system installed.
23. The base price to install a corrugated steel roofing system starts at around $350 per square. for materials and labor.
24. The base price for metal shingles ranges between $700-1,000 per sq. for materials and labor.
25. The base price for a stone coated steel roof starts at $850-1,100 per sq. for materials and labor.
26. The base price for a standing seam roof ranges between $750-1,400 per sq. for materials and labor.
27. The base price to install a copper or zinc roof starts at $1,800 per sq. for materials and labor.
28. If a tear off is necessary, it is normally a separate cost of about $100-150 per square.
30. Many modern styles of metal shingles are manufactured to imitate the look of slate, clay tile, cedar shake, and in some cases even the traditional look of asphalt shingles.
31. Modern metal roofs come in well over 100 colors, which include standard, premium and customized colors. The number of color options for metal roofing is a lot greater than the options you get with asphalt shingles roofs (only about 15-20 standard colors).
32. The most popular style among homeowners is standing seam (vertical panels).
33. Often, homeowners are not even aware of the existence of metal shingles, and mistakenly believe that standing seam is the only option for a metal roof.
35. High-end metal roofs such as metal shingles/tiles and standing seam are considered a lifetime system. This means that if a metal roof is properly installed, you will not have to install another roof on your home or building again.
36. Metal roofs such as aluminum or steel shingles can last for 50 years and often longer, while copper and zinc roofs can often last well over 100 years. – This means that a typical metal roof will last about 3-7 times longer than a typical asphalt shingles roof, which usually needs to replaced every 12-17 years.
37. Due to exceptional longevity, metal roofs have a very low life cycle cost. This means that while you may spend more upfront on a metal roof than on an asphalt shingles roof, in the long run you will actually save money, because you will not need to repair or replace a metal roof again.
38. Most manufacturers will provide a 30-50 year warranty, while your installer should offer you his own installation warranty.
40. Metal roofs are considered to be ice and snow-shedding systems, which means that you will never have to worry about roof leaks.
41. Metal is non-combustible, and so a metal roof will never catch on fire like cedar and some asphalt roofs.
42. Metal roofs will protect your house against hurricane level winds. Many system have wind uplift ratings of 110-160 mph.
43. FEMA recommends metal roofs in areas that are prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, etc.
44. Metal roofs will not rot, split, crack, dry-out, chip, warp, leak, unlike all other common roofing materials.
45. Metal is not susceptible to termite or rodent infestation.
46. Metal can withstand impact from falling objects such as hail, sticks, etc. without any damage to the roof.
48. Metal roofs can be cleaned with water.
49. Corrugated style metal roofs (with exposed fasteners) will require fastener re-tightening every 10-15 years.
50. After years of service, you may choose to repaint a metal roof to give it a fresh look again, but it is not necessary, and will depend on your roof’s original coating.
51. A metal roof can easily help save as much as 25% off of your annual home energy bill, and help reduce your building’s overall energy waste. In fact, according to a US independent report by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory “2008 ACEEE Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings“, homeowners can save up to 40% in home cooling costs in the summer, and 10-15% in home heating costs, based on a strapping system of 4 inches between the plywood and the metal on top.
52. A metal roof has a cool reflective surface, which reflects solar heat back into the atmosphere, rather than absorbing it inside a home or a building.
53. Copper and zinc are the least energy efficient types of metal roofing. Due to darker colors and thicker gauge of metal, they absorb and store more heat compared to aluminum and steel. However, they are still much “cooler” and green than asphalt shingles.
54. Metal roofing is the only TRULY green material in the roofing industry, because it uses the least amount of resources during the manufacturing process, contains no petroleum by-products, and can always be recycled.
55. New metal roofs may contain anywhere from 30-60% of recycled metal content, and are 100% recyclable at the end of their service lives.
56. Old metal roofs will never end up in our landfills at the end of their service lives, thus saving the ever-precious landfill space and helping protect the environment.
57. A metal roof (or any metal for that matter) can be recycled an unlimited number of times without suffering material degradation.
58. Out of all roofing materials available, metal provides the biggest return on your investment (ROI). The national average on cost recouped at resale is 85.9%. The average recouped cost on the East Coast is as high as 95.5%.
59. A metal roof can be a remarkably significant selling point in the eyes of potential home buyers. Not having to re-roof again, is as good as it gets for most homeowners. The curb appeal and beauty of a metal roof can also be a great asset when it comes to attracting prospective home buyers to your property.
60. Homes outfitted with metal roofs will typically have a 6% resale value gain over homes with asphalt shingles roofs.
You deserve a reward for getting this far! So, here are some equally important bonus facts to consider:
61. A metal roof will not increase the likelihood of your home getting struck by a lightning.
62. If a lightning does strike your home, a metal roof will safely dissipate the electric charge even if it is not grounded.
63. Metal Roofs act as a Faraday Cage for your house and they disperse the charge over a larger area as compared to a skimpy little wire coming down your chimney or wall. They also intercept 100% of the lightning that comes towards your house, unlike a lightning rod which only intercepts the lightning that happens to hit your rod. – You can read more about it here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20090723112650AAMaGP7
64. Modern metal roofs such as aluminum standing seam have a class “A” or UL Class 4 fire retardant ratings. If you happen to live in a fire-prone area, a metal roof can help protect your home from a forest fire, as well as help you save money on your home insurance premiums.
65. Many insurance companies will reward you with a hefty discount in the neighborhood of 30% on your homeowners insurance if your home is protected by a qualified metal roof. – You can read more about homeowners insurance discounts for metal roofs here: http://www.metalroofing.com/v2/content/guide/costs/insurance-savings.cfm
66. If you happen to live in an area that often experiences a heavy snow fall, with freezing temperatures, a metal roof will shed off the snow, thus helping prevent a heavy snow accumulation and ice dams on your roof. — Learn more about it here.
67. A metal roof can easily be outfitted with snow-guards to prevent the sliding of snow over door entrances and other areas where heavy snow fall is undesirable.
68. A standing seam metal roof can easily be integrated with PV solar panels should you decide to take your home’s energy-efficiency to the next level. Learn more about solar power systems for homes here: www.UnderstandSolar.com
69. A standing seam metal roof can be easily combined with either easy to install “Peel and Stick” thin-film photovoltaic solar laminates, or with traditional and somewhat more powerful crystalline PV solar panels. – If your roof has a large area and faces south, or you are especially ambitious, then you can try to go off the grid completely! – Read more about it here: www.metalroofing.systems/solar-pv-metal-roofing-guide/
70. If you are concerned about “noise” when it rains, rest assured knowing that a metal roof installed over solid sheathing (whether wood planks / boards or plywood) will be as quiet as an asphalt shingle roof. The difference in sound level (measured in decibels) produced by rain drops hitting the roof surface of an asphalt shingle roof compared to metal will be largely undetectable to human ear.
A metal roof offers better ROI (in terms of home appreciation and maintaining a very high recouped value of your initial investment) than any other remodeling upgrade. – This can be especially important if you care about maximizing your home’s value and curb appeal for many decades to come. Should you ever decide to sell your home, you are almost guaranteed to come out a winner, especially if you’ve lived in your home for quite some time, while enjoying solid protection, great looks, curb appeal, and energy savings that add up over the years and help shield your wallet from rising energy costs.
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