Steel Roofing Pros & Cons
Steel is an alloy, made from iron and other elements. Used in every aspect of building, steel roofing has often been one of the most common materials found on a commercial construction site, and is now often incorporated into residential builds. While the initial creation of steel can be an energy-intensive process compared to a metal like Zinc, the recyclability and availability of the metal alloy means that most of the steel we use today is made from recycled material rather than new. In fact, steel is the most recycled material on the planet, making it an incredibly green building material to work with.
When compared to other metals, steel is also the least expensive. While also being a commodity, steel is often priced at a much lower rate than Aluminum, Zinc, or Copper. This makes steel both affordable and available at a greater amount compared to the other metals on this list.
There are three primary Steel Roof types: Galvanized, Galvalume, and Weathering Steel.
Steel Roofing has made huge advancements in the past 50 years and can now be used to mimic Copper, Zinc, and other more expensive metal roofing materials. This is done through paint systems that create a painted solution to match the natural patina of a Copper, Zinc, or even the Weathered Steel look. These solutions often carry long warranties and make ideal choices for remodels, restorations, and new builds.
Metal Roofing Contractors Near Me
The best way to find a good metal roofing contractor is through friends and neighbors who have had similar work done. Unfortunately, because metal roofs are uncommon, you may not know anyone who has had one installed. In this case, your best bet is to use one of the Webs contractor-finding sites such as HomeAdvisor or Networx. The benefit of these services is that they help you find local metal roofing contractors who have gone through a pre-screening process.
Another route for finding metal roofing specialists is to call architects or builders who have designed or built homes utilizing metal roofs and ask them for their suggestions.
Make appointments with at least three professional roofers. Make sure they are well experienced at the type of roof you intend to have installed. Then get references from satisfied customers and call those references to be sure they were happy with the work and to discuss any issues that arose during the project.
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You can often get a local installer through the manufacturer, too. The manufacturer will usually put you in touch with a local representative or installer who will bid on your job.
Be sure to clarify whether or not labor and freight are included in the price. Because freight can be very expensive, it usually pays to choose a manufacturer in your region.
If youre considering buying a metal roof, get at least three bids from qualified pros.
There Can Be A 40% Difference In Dent Resistance Between Thin And Thick 29 Gauges
In the metal industry, gauge is a range of thicknesses that manufacturers have to stay within. With profitability causing pressure on costs, many manufacturers are offering the thinnest metal that is allowed within the gauge. So, it is important that you understand the thickness of your metal so you can make an informed decision.
There can be a 40% difference in dent protection between the low and high end of 29 gauge. This difference in dent protection is an important consideration when investing in a metal roof.
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Factors That Affect The Price Of All Types Of Metal Roofing Materials
The price of metal roofing panels varies depending on many factors including:
- Panel Profile – There are two types of metal roofing systems. Exposed fastener panels such as a wavy corrugated metal roofing or concealed fastener panels such as a standing seam panel. Exposed fastener panels will cost about half the price when compared to standing seam metal roofing panels.
- Gauge or Thickness of Steel – Metal roofing panels will range in gauge from as light as 29 gauge to as heavy as 20 gauge. If you have a typical residential metal roof thats on a wood substrate, then purchasing a heavy gauge steel such as 20 or 22 gauge would not be necessary. Conversely, we wouldnt recommend a flimsy 29 gauge roof that doesnt perform that well and only saves a minimal amount of money.Most metal roofs will be 26 gauge or 24 gauge steel. Heavier 24 gauge steel will cost 25% to 40% more than 26 gauge steel.
- Finish And Paint System – In most instances a metal roof will have a galvalume substrate and then a paint finish on top of that. There are two types of paint finishes, SMP or PVDF.
SMP paint finishes are typically available in lighter gauge steel such as 29 or 26 gauge. The color of panels will fade at a faster rate than a PVDF paint. This is the most cost effective paint system.
PVDF costs 30% to 40% more than SMP painted roofing panels because you are both buying a better paint and a heavier gauge steel.
For a more specific price, we suggest requesting a free quote.
Pros Of Galvalume Roofing
Color Options One of the most appealing aspects of Galvalume roofing, especially for homeowners, is the fact that Galvalume can come in an array of different colors. These pre-painted options allow for more versatility when buyers are trying to match the roofing to their home or business.
Least Expensive Compared to other high-quality metal roofing materials, Galvalume costs the least amount of money. Depending upon the thickness, color, and quality of the desired Galvalume panels, pricing could range anywhere from $75 to $250 per roofing square .
Corrosion Resistant Galvalume is designed to combine the toughness and strength of zinc with the rust-resistance of aluminum. Testing in the field indicates that Galvalume roofing could last as long as 60 years without any extreme signs of corrosion.
Easy to Form Galvalume is an ideal material for rollforming and panel forming, making it easy for contractors to make any profile for any project.
Recyclable Galvalume is 100% recyclable, meaning that any scrap metal left over from a job or old metal roofing that has been replaced can be easily recycled.
Warranties Many companies that sell Galvalume coils, sheet metal, or processed roofing panels offer warranties with their products. These warranties can be anything from paint warranties, Weather-tight warranties, and labor warranties. Always make a note to ask about warranties that are available when purchasing a metal roof.
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What Are The Disadvantages Of Metal Roofing
Overall, metal roofing panels are great, but theyre not perfect. They may not suit every person too. So we rounded up common cons to metal roofing:
Metal roofs cost two to three times more than other roofing materials. Installation services arent cheap too. But it does make sense to invest in one if you plan to stay in your home for a long time and enjoy the benefits.
Its not so pleasant to be living beneath thin sheets of metal during the rainy season or in the event of a hailstorm.
It would feel like living in a drum! Adding some plywood sheathing and insulation can help in deadening sound. This will incur added costs.
Expansion and Contraction
If you have larger metal roof panels for your home, these tend to expand and contract. Make sure they are properly installed with fasteners. If not, they will loosen up and lose their shape.
If you had a bad installation done, the possibility of water accumulating in your homes roof could cause serious damage.
Lower-grade metals are also thinner, less durable, and more prone to rust. If you need a plumber to solve this, he might have difficulty accessing your roof as not all metal roofs are safe to walk on. In fact, a wrong step could cause damage to the roof.
You might end up spending more than if you invested in better metal roofing and installation with the possible maintenance costs.
Longer Installation Time
Types Of Metal Roofing Materials
1. Copper Extremely long-lasting, very soft with low melting temperature
2. Aluminum Long-lasting, resistant to salt water corrosion
3. Zinc Extremely long-lasting, resistant to corrosion and lowest melting point
4. Steel Three variations: galvanized, galvalume, and weathering steel
5. Tin Often referring to steel, used prior to World War II. No longer commonly applied.
Metal roofing has often been called the Cadillac of Roofing. Depending on your opinion of that particular manufacturer, this comparison could be less than flattering. In reality, a metal roof doesnt describe a specific product, rather an entire range of different products. The term itself does not even explain whether you are speaking about a steel roof, aluminum roof, zinc roof, or copper roof. Given metal roofings reputation for being able to handle a huge range of requirements and design options, a better comparison might be that metal roofing is the Sport Utility Vehicle of Roofing.
In this article, we will break down the differences in metal roofing material options, and the pros and cons of each material, profile, and source.
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Copper Roofing Pros & Cons
Considered to be the grandfather of metal roofing, copper roofs have been used for centuries around the world. Copper is an extremely long-lasting metal that in ideal environments, can last well over 200+ years. Copper roofs are 100% recyclable too, making them wonderful green roof options.
Copper is an extremely soft metal, which makes it among the quietest types of metal roofing. However, with modern installation practices, all metal roofing now recommends proper substrates and insulation that minimize noise from rain or hail at the same level. The softer nature of Copper Roofing also means that in hail prone regions, it may be easily damaged. As a softer metal, hailstones will easily dent the copper. While this lowers the aesthetic value, it also performs better than a harder metal that, with a large enough hailstone, will puncture rather than simply dent the roof.
If metal roofs are the SUVs of roofing, copper roofs are the Range Rovers of their class. This brings up an apparent downside to copper. Like the Range Rover, it is extremely expensive and depending on your needs, may be more than you need to get the job done. Another negative aspect of copper is its tendency to expand and contract with swings in temperatures. While this can be controlled with the proper panel or shingle, it does need to carefully be considered when choosing this metal.
Some Metal Panels Have A Thin Coat Of Paint But Offer The Same Warranty
A thicker coat of paint fades less, but costs more since it contains more paint. The marketplace offers metal panels with 40-year warranties at a wide range of costs. Ask the manufacturer for their paint thickness on the panels you are considering buying.You may find that the metal you were quoted features a thinner, cheaper coat of paint. A full, thick coat of paint should be between .9 and 1.0 mil thick, including primer.
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Commonly Used Metals And Alloys
If you live near a coastal area, it is a good idea to opt for either aluminum or zinc standing seam roof to prevent premature corrosion and rusting that can arise from the relatively high concentration of salt spray in the coastal and marine environments. Galvalume steel finished with Kynar 500 or Hylar 5000 paint finish is another durable and long-lasting option to explore for a home exposed to salt spray environment, such as beach homes.
Aluminum Roofing Pros & Cons
If copper is the Range Rover of roofing, then Aluminum Roofing Materials are easily considered to be the Dune Buggy of roofing. Stay with us here. Take a Volkswagen Beetle, pull off the doors, the roof, and all unneeded features. Seal off the essentials to prevent salt spray, add a roll cage, and upgrade the suspension. Throw some nice sand tires on the thing and take it for a cruise along the beach you now have the vehicle that best describes the strength and corrosive durability of an Aluminum roof.
Aluminum metal roofs are often highly recommended for use in coastal climates. This is mainly due to aluminums resistance to salt corrosion compared to other types of metal roofing materials. While the common perception of an aluminum roof is that it’s not effected by corrosion, the reality is that its actually a highly active metal and almost instantly reacts to atmospheric conditions.
This rapid reaction is actually what protects it so well. The outer layer of aluminum roofing material reacts with the oxygen in the environment, creating a layer of aluminum oxide, which effectively seals the inner layers of the metal from any future corrosion. This process is similar to an A606 Weathering Steel process, but in a much faster time frame and with longer lasting protection. Aluminum roofs are often used with a painted coating as its natural patina over time is not typically thought of as aesthetically appealing.
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Advantages Of Using Zinc For Roofing
Zinc Roofing Is Attractive
Zinc roofing panels have a striking aesthetic that makes them really stand out. Once zinc is exposed to moisture and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it will form a protective layer of zinc carbonate. The result from this process is a beautiful blue/gray patina.
Zinc Will Patina And Become Corrosion Resistant
Besides being beautiful, patina also serves a purpose in keeping the zinc from rusting. The protective layer that forms keeps the zinc roof from corroding. This makes zinc a great option to use as roofing if you live near the coastline as it will not be negatively impacted by the moisture in the air.
The Long Lifespan Of Zinc Roofing
A zinc roof will last 80-100 years or longer. Like copper, its a lifetime roof. Once you install it, you wont need to worry about installing another roof again.
Pros Of Aluminum Roofing
Highly Recyclable Nearly all metal roofing is recyclable in one way or another. The best part about aluminum is the fact that about 95% of all aluminum roofing installed across the world is made from recycled aluminum materials. Sustainability in construction has become vitally important in the past 20 to 25 years, which is why the use of aluminum roofing is becoming more common.
Lightweight Strength Aluminum sheet metal is very lightweight and easy for a contractor to form and install. Even though aluminum is a thinner and lighter material, its still very durable and can replicate the strength of much thicker metals.
No Rusting/Corroding One of the biggest selling points of an aluminum roof is the fact that it doesnt have red rust and corrosion is generally minimal as it ages. Studies have even shown that aluminum can work great in coastal areas with high rainfall and seawater spray conditions. Aluminum performs better in coastal environments than Galvalume or other steel materials.
Medium Price Point Aluminum is in the middle range when it comes to material cost, making it more affordable and realistic for some home and business owners. Aluminum is cheaper than both zinc and copper with a price point of about $200 to $575 per roofing square depending on thickness, finish, and panel type.
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Whats The Total Price Of Zinc Roofing
Its difficult to find an installer that is familiar with zinc roofing installation. This material has some pitfalls and should only be installed by an installer that has experience with zinc. There will be significantly fewer qualified installers to choose from so the installation prices will vary more than any other type of metal roofing material.
Heres a ballpark cost including materials and labor:
- Price Of Corrugated Zinc Roofing – Materials and Installation
$19 to $28 Per Sq. Ft.
- Price Of Standing Seam Zinc Roofing – Materials and Installation
$23 to $35 Per Sq. Ft.
How Much Does Metal Roofing Cost
Metal roof installation generally costs more than conventional roof installation of asphalt shingles and similar materials. The complexity of the roof makes a difference, too. Some types of metal roofing require somewhat difficult techniques to fit irregular conditions.
Nearly all roofing materials are priced by the square, which is equal to 100 square feet of roofing.
The typical costs for various types of metal roofing are discussed above under each type, but well review those prices here. You can use these numbers for very rough estimates, but the actual cost for a metal roof on your house will depend upon many variables: market conditions, your location, the exact material you choose, and the height and complexity of your roof, to name a few.
Metal Roofing Costs in Review:
Expect standing-seam roofing to cost from $750 to $1400 per square for labor and materials. The average is about $900 per square. In contrast, you can have asphalt shingles installed for about $475 per square.
The base price for metal shingles ranges between $700 to $1,000 per square for materials and labor.
The base price for a stone coated steel roof starts at $850 and runs to about $1,100 per square for materials and labor.
The base price to install a copper or zinc roof starts at $1,800 per square for materials and labor.
If a tear off is necessary, add-in an additional cost of about $100 to $150 per square.
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Standing Seam Metal Roofing
This form of metal roofing uses flat panels with vertical ribs on each end. The panels are fastened together and to the roofs under the vertical ribs.
- No exposed fasteners on the roof reduces leaks.
- Visually appealing, these types of shingles are offered in customizable color options.
- Secure enough to attach solar panels or other renewable energy sources.
- Can last 75 years or longer with regular maintenance.