Metal Roofing – Advantages & Benefits
Metal roofing has now entered the mainstream and has become a viable option for nearly all homes, except those with very flat roof pitches. Nor do all metal roofs scream “metal.” There are now shingle-style metal roofing products that are almost indistinguishable from traditional asphalt shingle roofs.
Metal Roofs Are Not Just a Novelty
Once, metal roofing was found only on high-end, architect-designed homes. That’s no longer true. Metal roofing is increasingly found in conventional houses, thanks to increasing availability and improved manufacturing processes. According to industry statistics, market share for metal roofing has been increasing at a rate of roughly 3 percent each year over the past few years; currently, about 15 percent of all roofing installations use metal roofing materials. At the same time, the market share for asphalt shingle roofing has fallen, now accounting for about 59 percent of the total roofing installed.
Metal Roofing Benefits
Among the many materials used in modern residential roofing, metal roofing has become an increasingly popular alternative to traditional asphalt shingles. Typically constructed of steel, aluminum or copper strips, metal roofing offers great protection for your home and has countless advantages.
Some of the many advantages of metal roofing:
- Lightweight & portable: About ¼ the weight of a tile roof, and roughly ½ the weight of asphalt shingles.
- Durability: Metal roofing is highly resistant to hail and wind damage. It is also more resistant to fire, and can last up to three times the lifespan of an asphalt shingle roof.
- Low-maintenance: Most metal roofing products require very little or no maintenance.
- Energy efficiency: Metal roofs are considered among the most energy efficient types of roofs. They reflect a greater share of the sun’s rays and, depending on any coating applied to the metal, homes may see a savings of 20 to 30 percent on air conditioning costs.
- Style: More than any other roofing material, metal roofs are available in a wide array of colors, styles, and textures. Metal roofing can greatly enhance the appeal of a home. Copper roofing, in particular, is a very attractive option. Over time, copper roof changes color, adding character and beauty to a home.
Disadvantages of metal roofs
Despite their many advantages, metal roofs have some potential drawbacks.
- Affordability. Metal roofs can be as much as two or three times more expensive than other roofing materials. While the life of a metal roof is much longer, investing in a metal roof only makes sense if you plan to stay in your home long enough to enjoy the cost benefits.
- Noisiness. Metal roofs can be noisy, especially during a heavy rain or hailstorm. Adding more insulation during installation usually solves this problem, but that may increase costs.
- Expansion and contraction. Metal roofing materials that are attached as large panels tend to expand and contract. If they are not properly installed with fasteners that allow the metal to “breathe,” the panels may loosen.
- Inconsistency of color match. If a repair is required or a home extension is added years later, it may be difficult to find an exact match to the existing metal.
- Performance. If water accumulates anywhere on the roof because of poor-quality installation or repair, it can eventually cause serious damage. Low-grade metals may also be thinner and less durable. Some metals rust in certain climates or dent more easily than others during hailstorms or installation.
4 Common Metal Roofing Problems
If you have a metal roof, it’s important to keep an eye out for some common causes of damage typical for that roofing material. Handling small repairs as they’re needed is the best way to ensure that your metal roof will last for decades.
Roof leaks are one of the most common problems that homeowners experience with metal roofs. Poor craftsmanship often results to gaps and punctures in metal roofing, making leaks more likely to occur. Leaks tend to grow over time, so if you notice a leak, make sure to address it as soon as possible. You’ll likely end up saving yourself a lot of money and stress.
Blow-offs may also occur as a result of poor installation. If flashing is poorly attached, for instance, open seams and laps can cause parts of the roof to blow off. To avoid this, make sure to have your roof installed properly by a professional contractor and check regularly for problems. Preventing blow-offs initially can save you from costly roofing repairs later.
Punctures & Tears
Punctures and tears may also be problematic. If there is a lot of foot traffic on your metal roof, these are much more likely to occur. This typically happens during a roof’s initial construction, but may also arise during routine metal roofing maintenance. Caulking is often used to repair tears and punctures. Unfortunately, because metal roofing is prone to a lot of movement, caulking may not prevent future problems. Keeping foot traffic on your roof to a minimum is the best way to minimize the occurrence of punctures and tears.
Ponding water is another leading cause of metal roofing problems. When water collects on the roof, it causes undue pressure and may lead to leaks and other problems. When it comes to ponding water, a little bit of maintenance can save you a lot of money and undue stress. By regularly clearing pools and puddles of water—especially after heavy rainfall—you can avoid problems that would otherwise be caused by ponding water.
3 Types of Metal Roofing to Consider for Your Building
Metal roofing is a great option for commercial buildings because it is durable, long-lasting, and highly recyclable. However, some property owners have difficulty picking the type best suited for their building. Here are a few types of metal roofing materials and their characteristics.
metal roofingAluminum’s durability is due to a protective aluminum-oxide seal that is created when the metal is exposed to oxygen. This seal prevents rusting or oxidation from occurring. Aluminum is also very light and malleable, so it can be molded easily into numerous designs to fit the architectural style of almost any building.
Copper roofing is appealing for its shimmering reddish-brown color and its longevity. Though it is a relatively soft metal and dent-prone, a roof made of the copper can last 50 years or more with proper care. Its long-lasting characteristic and easy maintenance also make it a cost-effective roofing option despite its expensive upfront cost. And while it’s not as quiet as asphalt or wood shingles, it emits less noise when compared to other metal roofing materials because the added substrate muffles the sound of rain or hail.
While it’s not as light as aluminum or quite as malleable as copper, zinc is more durable and costs less, making it an appealing roofing option. Zinc is longer lasting than almost any type of metal roof material. A well-maintained zinc roof can last for a century with minimal degradation. Its long life span coupled with its low purchase cost means you’ll spend significantly less money on a zinc roof over time.