Metal roofing offers a ton of advantages. In warm, sunny climates, they offer superior insulation and they won’t break down from UV exposure. They are much more environmentally friendly as well. Metal roofs can be made from up to 95% recycled materials, and when it comes time to replace them, the entire roof is recyclable.
Better yet, it’s much easier to install a solar panel system on them. In a traditional shingle roof, you’ll need to drill holes to install a solar power system. Metal roofs allow a solar installer to attach solar panels without the need to drill into your roof. They are also ideal for rainwater collection systems—water won’t collect as much debris and microorganisms will be present at much lower concentrations.
Metal roofing can be installed over shingles since it’s so lightweight, as long as it’s in good enough shape. You should always consult with a roofer before installing metal roofing over existing shingles. They can help you decide if it’s safe to do spot repairs or if you need to do a total tear-off.
What is Metal Roofing?
Metal roofing is an umbrella term that describes many different materials and styles, each with their own benefits and drawbacks. An experienced roofer can help you weigh the pros and cons of each of the different metal roof types to select the one that works best for your budget.
You may be worried about the curb appeal of a metal roof on your house. Don’t worry— not all metal roofs like barns. They can be just as stylish as a traditional shingle installation. And no matter what material you choose from, there are over 100 metal roof colors to choose from to fit with the aesthetics of your home, but you may have to pay a premium for some of the custom colors.
So which metal roof is right for you? Let’s break down your options:
Corrugated Metal Roof
Corrugated metal panels are made from lightweight, durable steel. Corrugated metal roofs are generally the cheapest metal roofing option, as well as the most common, but they need to be cut and installed with care to prevent corrosion. See our guide on how to cut metal roofing for more information.
Steel is an extremely versatile metal, but because it’s made with iron, it’s prone to rust. Roofing material is often made of galvanized steel. The protective zinc coating that will prevent it from oxidizing, but it can easily be damaged by poor installation practices or cutting techniques. A professional will have the proper tools and know-how to install a corrugated metal roof without the risk of rust or corrosion.
Another common issue with corrugated metal is what’s known as “oil canning,” or an apparent waviness in the sheet metal. This is caused by stress on the metal coil used to create the panels. For the most part, this is an aesthetic issue, but It can usually be avoided by using high-quality materials and through expert installation.
Aluminum is a soft, easy to form metal, and it can be used to create many styles of roofing. It’s available in shingles, tile, or in standing seam panels. It’s the second most common material for metal roofing, and for good reason.
An aluminum roof is a lot more durable than a corrugated metal roof, and it’s easier to install. They cost a fraction of the price of other premium metals like copper and zinc. That’s because aluminum is one of the most abundant materials in the world, and it can be recycled again and again. While they are more expensive than galvanized steel roofing, their improved durability and longevity make them a much better value.
Because aluminum is highly reactive, it makes an ideal roofing choice for ocean-side homes with salty air. The outer layer of the metal will react with oxygen to create an aluminum oxide layer that protects the metal from corrosion.
Large hail can dent cause dents in all roofs, but aluminum roofs are more susceptible to denting. Unlike traditional asphalt shingles, the damage from hail is almost always cosmetic. Asphalt shingle roofs in areas with frequent hail storms may need replacing in as little as 8 years, while metal roofs continue to thrive for decades despite hail storms.
Copper roofs are by far the most expensive option, and they are also widely considered the most attractive. But it’s not all about the looks—copper roofs can last 80 if they are properly maintained. In fact, some copper roofs have lasted over 200 years.
Copper roofing is much less reactive than iron or steel, so it doesn’t need a protective coating to prevent corroding. Over time, it will develop a green hue that enhances its appeal and acts as a protective layer for your roof. Because it is much softer than other metals, it’s much quieter during rainstorms.
For most homeowners, the price of copper makes it an unrealistic option. But even if the price isn’t a factor in your roof upgrade, it’s not always a good choice in climates with frequent temperature swings. It’s much more susceptible to expansion and contraction. Of course, an experienced roofer can often account for this in the design and construction of your roof.
Most of these materials come in a variety of styles. The most commonly used is the standing seam roof. The panels attach at overlapping seams that hide the fastening system, so there aren’t visible screws. This offers a sleeker, modern look to your roof. The panels are much larger than shingles and are more difficult to install. They can be installed on a wide variety of roof types, regardless of slope. Unfortunately, some HOAs don’t allow for standing seam roofs.
Metal shingles are designed to look like traditional shingles, and they are much simpler to install. This is a popular choice for people who don’t want their roof to stand out from their neighbor’s roof but still want the durability, longevity, and insulation of a metal roof. The major drawback is the higher price point and the thinner gauge metals used for the shingles, which means they may not last as long as a standing seam roof. It also isn’t the best choice for low-grade slope.
Maintaining Metal Roofs
Though a metal roof is much sturdier than the traditional shingle systems, they still require proper maintenance. As the metal expands and compresses with the weather, the fasteners can loosen up and lose their seal.
You’ll also need to keep an eye out for corrosion. No matter how high quality it is, a steel roof will require a periodic retouch to the protective coating. Most aluminum roofs are painted, and the paint will need to be touched up periodically to keep it from looking dull.
Like all roofs, you’ll need to trim trees away from a metal roof. You also need to take the time to clean out the gutters and remove any debris that accumulates on your roof. It’s a bad idea to walk on a metal roof—roofers use specialized rubber boots to give them the traction they need to keep from slipping.
Work with a Professional Roofer
Your roof will require a thorough inspection before any work can be done, and an experienced roofer is much more likely to notice signs of rot or potential leaks on an existing roof. It doesn’t matter how well the roof is installed if the structure underneath is compromised—it will only add stress to the existing problems.
A metal roofing system is much more complex to install than a traditional shingle roof. Without the proper tools and training, you can warp your roof or compromise the protective coating. Your roof may start to corrode in as little as three months, which can lead to leaks and structural damage. If you don’t take the proper measures to protect it from existing asphalt, the abrasive material can scratch your new roof.
At Preman Roofing Solar, we can provide you a free estimate on your new metal roofing system, and we offer competitive, zero down financing options that give you the freedom to get the most value from your purchase. Contact us today for more information on the best metal roofing for your home, or to find out how solar energy can save you thousands of dollars on your energy bill.