Facts About Metal Roofing: What You Should Know
Here’s the first fact about roofing that you ought to know: even well-maintained roofs have a lifespan – and a roof’s life does end, inevitably, after years of exposure to the sun and the elements. A year or two after a new home construction may seem a bit too early to think about a roof overhaul, but with roofing material playing a crucial part in your roof’s performance, when it does come time to have your roof replaced, you need to make sure you don’t miss out on the benefits that the different types of roofing materials can bring. One material to consider for its longevity, minimal maintenance, and energy-efficiency is metal roofing.
What Is Metal Roofing?
Metal roofing is actually made from a variety of metals and alloys such as steel, aluminum, copper, zinc, and terne. Galvanized and coated steel is preferred by most American homeowners who opt for metal roofing, and is used most frequently in both residential and commercial applications. Aluminum, which costs far less than copper and zinc but which is just as durable and long-lasting, is the second most frequently chosen type of metal roofing used in America.
Types of Metal Roofing
Metal roofing generally come in two forms: vertical sheets or panels, and metal shingles. Corrugated metal, or metallic sheets with wavy edges is the earliest form of metal roofing as we know it today; its popularity has grown due to its being durable, lightweight, and economical to install, with the added benefit of having manufacturer warranties of up to 50 years. In recent years, however, standing seam metal panels, characteristically known for its raised interlocking “seams” that join the panels together, have also caught on in terms of popularity and usage.
Metal shingles run a near third in terms of preference. Not surprisingly, given that they have the ability to provide the look of other roofing materials, yet still boast of the durability and lower cost of metal roofing. Metal shingles can imitate the look of slate, clay tile, cedar shake, and even the traditional look of asphalt shingles.
Modern metal roofs in both forms come in over 100 colors, including standard, premium and customized colors. In terms of longevity, there is no difference between vertical panel and metal shingle roofing. In fact, both types are considered lifetime systems in that they can last for 50 years or longer.
Performance, Durability, and Maintenance
Metal roofs are less susceptible to common roofing problems such as rotting, splitting, cracking, chipping, and leaking. Even rust is prevented by the coating that’s applied onto the material. Metal is one of the most durable roofing materials, and can withstand impact from falling objects without any damage to the roof.
When it comes to weather protection, metal roofing offers the best water and snow shedding ability due to its clean, smooth surface. Ice dams and roof leaks are rarely problems for quality metal roofing. Metal is likewise recommended for areas prone to hurricanes, as the material can withstand wind uplift of up to 110 to 160 mph.
Metal roofs generally require little to no maintenance. Dirt and debris can be cleared off with minimal cost, if any. Exposed fasteners on corrugated metal roofs typically require re-tightening only every 10-15 years. Repainting is also mostly optional, depending on your roof’s original coating.
Installation Cost and Procedure
Due to its exceptional longevity, metal roof installation can be more expensive upfront but will have lower life cycle costs for repair and replacement. Note that metal shingle installation can cost up to 20% less than standing seam, mainly because its easier and faster to install.
Although metal roofing can typically be installed over the old roof because the material is lightweight, be sure to consult with your contractor first to check if it is possible for your specific roof. The buckling of asphalt shingles, for example, will make it unsafe for metal panels to be installed over the existing roofing.
Keep in mind that metal roofs should only be installed by a professional – one who is certified and has the necessary training, specialized knowledge, tools and equipment to work with metal roofs. Improper installation can only end up costing you more in the long run.
Bob Baker is the owner of Hinkle Roofing. Hinkle Roofing has served the Birmingham, Alabama and surrounding area for over 100 years, helping both commercial and residential customers sleep a little easier at night knowing that they have a quality roof over their head. The Hinkle Roofing name is synonymous with quality and value.