Metal roofing has become very popular in residential roofing in recent years. If you are considering a design change to your home’s exterior, you may consider a metal roof.
There are some key advantages to a metal roof, including a longer lifespan, less maintenance, and high energy efficiency (saving you on heating and cooling costs). We’ll focus below on the pros and cons of metal roofing.
Metal Roofing Basics
Homeowners have many roofing material options for a new home or roof replacement. A roof’s pitch may limit your choices as a low-slope roof (also referred to as a flat-roof) will use different materials than a steep-slope roof. We’ll focus on steep-slope roofs for this blog post, where roofing options include asphalt roofing shingles, wood shakes, tiles (concrete, clay, and slate), and metal roofing products.
There are two types of metal roofing – standing seam metal panels and metal shingles. A metal roof panel is an interlocking metal sheet with a minimum installed 3 square feet of weather exposure. A metal shingle, by contrast, has an installed weather exposure of less than 3 square feet.
Both metal panels and metal shingles must be installed to meet International Business Code (IBC) and local code standards. The IBC defines a steep slope roof as greater than 2 units vertical in 12 units horizontal (a 17% slope). Metal roofing has its minimum slope requirements. For example, the minimum deck slope for metal shingles is three units vertical in 12 units horizontal (a 25% slope).
Code requirements for metal roofing installation dictate that metal panel roof coverings must be applied to a solid or closely fitted deck (also known as sheathing). And, metal roof panels must be installed with the approved manufacturer’s fasteners, which vary depending on the type of metal.
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The following are some of the metal roofing advantages and disadvantages as you consider this material for your home or business.
Pros of Metal Roofing
- Highly durable – Metal roofing is among the sturdiest roofing materials. Even in severe weather like a hailstorm, metal roofing is not easily damaged with denting from hailstones, unlike asphalt shingles. The durability of metal means fewer roof repairs and maintenance as a home or building owner.
- Energy-efficient – Metal roofing is among the highest-rated in energy efficiency and can save up to 40% in energy savings on average. Metal roofing is so energy efficient that it provides excellent insulation during the colder winter months and reflects more of the sun’s rays, helping keep your home cooler in the summer, so you save on both heating and cooling costs.
- Long-lasting – Compared to other roof types, metal roofing materials can last significantly longer than traditional asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles have a life expectancy of 25-30 years, with impact resistant shingles having a longer lifespan. By contrast, a metal roof can easily last up to 50 years or more with proper maintenance.
- Improved safety – Metal roofs have a Class A fire resistance classification. An asphalt shingle may catch fire from a lightning strike, but a metal roof will not. Where severe weather such as a wildfire is frequent, having a metal roof can make your home much safer from fire damage.
- Multiple design options – Manufacturers offer a variety of different paint finishes and color options. While they will not have every color match, you should be able to find the paint finish and color option you like.
- Environmentally friendly – A metal roof can be recycled, and many of today’s new metal roofs were manufactured from a recycled metal material. Your new roof may just have been someone else’s roof only days earlier. By contrast, asphalt shingle roofs cannot be reused and are discarded in garbage dumps as waste products.
Cons of Metal Roofing
- Cost – Probably the biggest drawback to metal roofing is the cost. Metal roofing is likely the most expensive roofing material but has a low cost of ownership with durability and expected lifespan. In fact, over several decades, a metal roof may be less costly than another material type with reduced maintenance and repair costs.
- Susceptible to rust – Metal roofs can rust over time. You can apply a coating to your metal roof to reduce the possibility of rust, but metal does rust. If you opt for a metal roof, we strongly recommend adding this special coating, which a professional roofer will be able to apply during installation.
- Metal roofs expand and contract – Metal roofs expand with heat, so Colorado homeowners or building owners with a metal roof should expect this during our summer months. Oppositely, metal roofs contract in colder weather. When a metal roof contracts, the panels can become loose, potentially causing other types of damage to your roof.
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