Top 70 Metal Roofing Facts, FAQs & Pros and Cons – Consumer Guide 2014-2015

It’s Spring time again, and with the Winter finally behind us it’s time to check up on your winter-battered roof and perhaps start thinking about a new roof!

Rustic House with a Metal Roof

Image Inspiration Source: Birdseye Design

Spring is also a good time to ask yourself some important questions about your home’s and your roof’s readiness for the upcoming year; Is your home ready for the upcoming Summer, Fall, and Winter? Will your roof hold up to all the heavy snow that will soon start falling and accumulating on your roof next Winter? Have you had any serious trouble with ice dams on your roof last winter? – All of these are good questions to ask yourself, while there is still time to repair or replace that aging roof to make sure that your home is adequately protected for the upcoming winter season.

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 Northern New Hampshire, Maine, or 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, here are the top 70, most essential metal roofing facts, with 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:

Materials Pros & Cons Standing Seam Metal Roof Galvalume Color
Cost of Materials
Installation
Cost of Installation
Colors & Styles
Longevity
Weather Protection
Durability
Maintenance
Energy Efficiency
Environmental Impact
ROI
10 Bonus Facts

Materials Pros & Cons:

standing-seam 1. Metal roofs can be made from a variety of metals and alloys including Galvanized steel (hot zinc galvanized G-90, or zinc and aluminum G-60 steel), Galvalume 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 is that it can corrode, eventually, especially when exposed to moist salt spray environment.

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 the coastal areas, 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 to put in architectural details/accents on the roof (bay windows, towers, porches, low slope sections, Et cetera).

Cost of Materials:

7. A typical cost for a steel standing seam roof starts around $300 per roof square for a typical order. Stone-coated steel starts at standing-seam-panels $350-425 per roof sq. Steel shingles run about $270 per square.

8. Aluminum is a step up from steel in quality and therefore in price, costing around $100 more per roof sq. 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 $900-1400 per roof sq. 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.

Installation:

13. It is typically possible to install a metal roof over an old roof, thus eliminating the extra standing-seam-metal-roof-installation 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 likely leak, 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.

Corrugated Metal Roof

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 on the underside of metal panels.

20. Standing seam roofs can be manufactured either on-site or in the factory, which simplifies installation. Metal shingles are typically manufactured at a factory, and can be shipped in standard cardboard boxes to your work-site.

Cost of installation:

21. Metal roofing installation is more expensive compared to other roofing systems, standing-seam-metal-roof-installation 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 roof starts at $450 per roof sq. for materials and labor.

24. The base price for metal shingles ranges between $700-1,000 per roof sq. for materials and labor.

25. The base price for a stone coated steel roof starts at $850-1,100 per roof sq. for materials and labor.

26. The base price for a standing seam roof ranges between $750-1,400 per roof sq. for materials and labor.

27. The base price to install a copper or zinc roof starts at $1,800 per roof sq. for materials and labor.

28. If tear off is necessary, it is a separate cost, which runs about $100-150 per roof square.

You can estimate the cost to install a new metal roof including materials and labor with the help of a free calculator here. Other options: option 2, option 3, option 4.

Colors and Styles:

29. Metal roofs come in two general styles: vertical panels and interlocking shingles Metal-Roofing-Colors

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.

Longevity:

34. In terms of performance, there is no difference between standing seam and metal Standing Seam Metal Roof Galvalume Color shingles roofs.

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. metal shingles roof 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 a metal roofing contractor should offer you his own installation warranty.

Weather protection:

39. Metal roofs offer the best protection against ice, snow, and ice dams. snaplock-standing-seam-metal-roof

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.

Durability:

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.

Maintenance:

47. Generally metal roofs require none or minimal maintenance. corrugated metal roof on a ranch house

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.

Energy Efficiency:

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 a lot of heat. However, they are still much “cooler” than asphalt shingles.

Environmental Impact:

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.

ROI:

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 will be a huge selling point to potential buyers of your home, who will be happy about the prospect of not having to worry about roof-related issues.

60. Homes outfitted with metal roofs will typically have a 6% resale value gain over homes with asphalt shingles roofs.

10 Bonus Facts:

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. – Read more about it here: www.icedamprevention.org

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. PV Solar Panels on Metal Roof 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: http://www.solarcity.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.

Bottom Line:

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 have lived in your home for quite some time, while enjoying solid protection, great looks, and energy savings.

13 thoughts on “Top 70 Metal Roofing Facts, FAQs & Pros and Cons – Consumer Guide 2014-2015

  1. Bob McDaniel

    I live in Arizona, in an area that regularly experiences extreme wind and hail storms that can easily damage siding, windows, and roofs on houses around here… I have recently bought a house with an older roof that needs to be replaced soon. So, I am trying to decide on whether I should go with a metal roof or shingles.

    So far, I’ve gotten a couple of roofing estimates, and standing seam metal roofing came in at about twice the cost of 30 year shingles. I am wondering if a metal roof is worth the money? The contractor also says that I can get a far better insurance rate with a metal roof.

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Bob,

      As far as I can tell, a standing seam metal roof may indeed be a better option for you, and here is why; you mentioned that the area you live in is subject to some serious winds and hail storms that can easily damage an asphalt shingle roof. If you go with asphalt, there is a significant risk of some serious roof damage from wind and hail down the road. You may save some money today, but you may well have to replace your roof again, just a few years from now, at which point I am pretty sure you will go with metal. Why not do it off the get go!? – You could get security and piece of mind by installing a metal roof, which would be a much better defense against strong winds and hail storms compared to a 30 year shingle roof.

      Also, as you have mentioned, there your homeowner’s insurance premiums would decrease if you choose to go with a metal roof. Furthermore, consider some significant energy savings if you opt for an energy star rated metal roof, which could help you save some 20% to 30% on your cooling costs. I dare say that in Central Arizona, it can add up to a good chunk of change! 😉

      Reply
  2. Louise

    The article mentions that standing seam metal roofs should not be installed over asphalt shingles. Yet, a contractor I have been speaking with says if you install underlayment between the shingles and the metal, there is no problem. Do you agree with this?

    Reply
    1. Alexander Post author

      Hello Louise,

      In short, it’s best not to install standing seam over asphalt shingles. Even with underlayment, expansion and contraction of the metal will eventually cut the underlay, and granules in the shingles will scratch galvanic coating off of the metal panels causing rust.

      If you use aluminum this will not be an issue, but aluminum is an expensive LIFETIME roof, so putting it over shingles (where removal is a small fraction of the total cost) and not addressing any rot and ventilation issues is just careless!

      If you live up north, snow WILL puncture UGLY horizontal lines through the metal…

      Best advice – remove shingles, repair any problems with the roof deck and ventilation, and only then install your LIFETIME roof!

      Good Luck!

      Reply
  3. Nancy

    We live in Maryland near DC. We have both cold winters and hot humid summers. What color metal roof would offer the most energy efficiency?

    Reply
    1. Alexander

      Hello Nancy,

      The lighter colors tend to be more energy efficient than darker colors, with white color being the most energy efficient in terms of its solar reflectance. Look for a CoolRoof and Energy Star rating for the color and system you consider.

      Reply
  4. Stephen Dunsmore

    For anyone considering NOT installing a metal roof due to the additional costs or because you think that a 30-year or lifetime warranty on asphalt shingles is good enough, you should do some investigation of just how little the shingle companies stand behind their product. We put a lifetime product on our lakehouse about five years ago and the shingles are failing rapidly. The company, BP spends virtually zero money of honoring the warranty. All of their energy goes to avoiding any payout on their warranties. Read the warranty and you will see that they only cover materials (about 25% of the cost of a roof) but real life experience shows that you will never get them to pay. You would have to hire a lawyer and go to court and would spend more than you would ever get. There is a class action suit against BP and I believe there is one against IKO too because their products fail quickly and they refuse to pay unless ordered to do so by the courts. I expected my “Lifetime” warranty would at least get me to 15 or 20 years. The product has barely made five years. I should have installed steel on day one. By the way, my contractor has the same problem as he installed the same shingles on his own home and the manufacturer just says “no”.

    Reply
    1. Alexander

      Hey Stephen,

      Thank you for sharing your experience, which I think many homeowners can relate to. I agree, most asphalt shingles product warranties are not worth the paper they are written on! Almost all manufacturers of asphalt shingles use prorated warranties, meaning that they will never have to pay a full amount for brand new replacement materials, even if you can prove that your roof failed due to manufacturer’s faulty products. Hopefully your perspective will help some homeowners see the light, when they are at the crossroads of having to decide between composition shingles vs. metal.

      So, did you get that faulty asphalt roof replaced with steel roofing? If so, did you go with standing seam or metal shingles? How do you like it?

      Once again, I’m sure many homeowners will appreciate your take on this.

      Alex

      Reply
  5. Ivan Krakow

    I was wondering about what the down side is between wider panels vs, narrow? 21″ and 14″, besides aesthetic preferences… Also, with the thickness 24 versus 22 gauge? Other than the obvious, does it make that much difference?

    Reply
    1. Alexander

      There is a greater chance of “oil canning” of metal with wider panels. The greater the thickness the longer the steel panels will last. Are you close to the ocean? Is this for a house or barn?

      Reply
        1. Alexander

          Steel standing seam panels will work fine, because you are not in close proximity to the ocean. If you were within a mile of the shore line I would def. recommend aluminum panels, then. To avoid oil canning I would not use very wide panels, plus they would not look good on a residence. I think 14 inches would look way better than anything over 20 inches wide. Also, aluminum may not be a bad option if the cost is comparable to steel. Remember, you do not have to worry about any rust issues with aluminum! 😉

          Let us know what you decide, and share some pictures once the roof is installed. Good Luck!

          Reply
  6. Andy

    Hi Everyone,

    I live in the tropics, about four years ago I installed metal (alumzinc) stone coated tiles manufactured in New Zealand. In less than two years, I experienced stone loss on my stone coated roof. Every time its rains the stone coating is washed out by the rain water.

    Recently, I called on the local dealer of the imported roof tile from NZ to inform them of the severe stone loss of my roof. They got a sample of my roof and send it to NZ for testing and evaluation. I was told that the roof sample is covered by black algae and no plausible reason why there was stone loss.

    I was told that under the warranty, stone loss due to growth of organic matter could rescind the warranty. The warranty period is 25 years for the surface coating and 65 years for the metal sheet.

    If I may borrow the words of Alex, I agree with him that most warranties are not worth the paper they are written on. Almost all warranties are in favor of the manufacturer and the homeowner has no say to it. They will always find ways not to pay or replace the defective material as in the case of my NZ supplier.

    I think the brand I am referring to is also available in your country and through my travels I have see this type of material installed in many homes.

    Andy

    Reply

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