Why Metal Roofs Are a Good Choice in Extreme-Weather Regions
Many of us in the roofing industry have commented on the steady rise in popularity of metal roofs all over the country. Where a decade ago you’d have heard homeowners complain that they look “too industrial” for residential use, today the metal roof installation boom is even more pronounced in that particular sector.
Here in Nebraska, the trend really isn’t all that surprising. For one thing, we’re no strangers to bad weather.We sit right at the core of Tornado Alley, where having a solidly built roof can turn into a matter of life and death within minutes.
Image Credit – http://www.bigstockphoto.com/
Damage left by the devastating Hallam, Nebraska Tornado Outbreak of May 2004.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that the state has had 47 major disaster declarations since 1953—a fact that underscores the importance of protecting properties from all sorts of inclement weather. And metal roofing is an excellent place to start, for the following reasons:
Reason #1: Roof Material
Metal roofs can be made of steel, copper, aluminum, lead, tin, or a combination of these metals. Regardless of metal type, metal roofs easily surpass most other roofing materials in terms of:
- Structural strength. Metal roofs can weigh a third down to an eighth of the weight of conventional asphalt shingle roofs because of the material’s incredible strength-to-weight ratio.
- Copper, steel, aluminum, and other roofing metals have low corrosion and low staining and denting potential.
- Metal’s strength and durability allows it to offer longer service lives than most other roofing materials. The typical metal roof lasts 30 to 40 years, and this can be extended by 20+ more years after repainting. Copper and zinc roofs can easily last a century or more.
- Wind and hail resistance.Metal roofs are rated highly for wind and hail resistance. Some insurance carriers actually offer discounted premiums for properties that have a metal roof.
- Fire resistance. Metal is noncombustible and has a class-A fire rating.
Reason #2: Roof Design
The inherent physical characteristics of metal already make it an outstanding roofing material, but contractors make sure that protection is incorporated into roof design as well. Because water is the number one enemy of roofs, keeping it out is the primary consideration in metal roof design.
- Hydrokinetic systems. Like most shingle-style roofs, these metal roofs rely on watershedding to protect homes against water penetration. These systems have interlocking metal sheets secured with concealed fasteners and are suitable for roofs with slopes greater than 3:12.
- Hydrostatic systems.These metal roofs are watertight and have standing seams that keep the joint between metal panels above the water line. They are suitable for low-slope roofs and in areas with a high risk of ice dam formation and wind-driven rain.
Reason #3: Roof Installation
Just like metal roof design, metal roof installation is guided by recommendations from local, state, and federal bodies like FEMA and the International Code Council (ICC).Licensed local roofing contractors need to be aware of (and implement!) all current standards pertaining to things like:
- maximum lengths of continuous metal panels
- flashing sizing and attachments
- fastener size, material, gauge, markings, and fastening points
- sealants, closure strips, and accessory components
- material compatibility (e.g. aluminum and copper can’t be used together because of the risk of galvanic corrosion)
When it comes to metal roof material, design, and installation, you can’t have one without the rest. The best materials can’t compensate for poor design and installation, a flawless roof design can’t compensate for subpar materials and installation, and so on.
Ultimately, it is the combination of these three aspects that makes metal roofs a good choice for homes and buildings not just here in Nebraska, but practically anywhere in the world.
Dave McKinnis is the owner and president of McKinnis Roofing& Sheet Metal. He started in the industry in 1972 at a very young age. His goal is to give 100 percent satisfaction to customers and friends alike by giving only the best of what they can offer. He’s passionate of the outdoors and often puts his industry insight through blogging.