Metal Roofing: Everything You Need to Know

Interested in a metal roof? Get the scoop on this environmentally friendly option with helpful info from the professionals.

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April 05, 2019

Photo By: Lindsey Harris

Photo By: John McManus

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Photo By: Benjamin Benschneider

Photo By: Benjamin Benschneider

Photo By: Photo by Sarah Dorio; Design by: CLOTH & KIND; Builder: Athens Building Company

Photo By: James R. Salomon Photography

Photo By: John McManus

Photo By: John McManus

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Photo By: Lisa Romerein (styled by Liz Strong)

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Environmentally Friendly and More

Designer Lisa Furey explains, "Metal roofs offer many benefits, including:
Longevity. Metal roofs can last 40-70 years, depending on the material.
Durability. Some metal roofs can sustain wind gusts up to 140 miles per hour, will not corrode or crack, and may be impact-resistant (depending on which metal you choose). In addition, metal roofs don't need the periodic costly maintenance that other roofing materials often require. However, they should be inspected periodically to make sure no repairs are required.
Safety. Metal roofs will not spark and ignite into flames during a wildfire or lightning strike.
Energy efficiency. Metal roofs reflect solar radiant heat, which can reduce cooling costs by 10-25%.
Environmentally friendly. Metal roofs not only have 25-95% recycled content, depending on the material used, but are also 100% recyclable at the end of their life as a roof."

Things to Consider

"Metal roofs can be as much as two or three times more expensive than other roofing materials," says Lisa Furey. "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."

The Noise Factor

"While you can choose from tin, zinc, aluminum, copper, or galvanized steel, 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," explains designer Lisa Furey. "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," says Lisa.

The Right Choice For the Location

"We use metal roofs on the majority of our residential projects. Metal roofs are very durable and long-lasting, aesthetically pleasing and suitable for low-slope conditions. They easily shed debris such as pine needles and leaves. In snow country, the metal roofs allow snow to slide off fairly quickly," says Nils Finne of FINNE Architects.

Plethora of Colors

"With [varied] profiles of residential metal roofing and a variety of colors to choose from, metal roofs are more attractive than shingles and can complement any architectural style of home," says Adam Haynes of Central States Manufacturing.

Works With Any Style of Home

"Our houses are modern and the metal roofing looks terrific. However, in my opinion, metal roofs will also work well with more traditional-style homes," Nils Finne of FINNE Architects explains.

Spend More Now, Save Later

"While metal roofing may cost more initially, a homeowner can expect saving throughout the life of the roof. Many insurance companies give a homeowners discount for installing a metal roof. Metal roofing can lower your electric bills, saving you up to 25% in energy costs. The paint on metal roofs, both light and dark colors, has special pigmentation that reflects the heat from the sun and keeps it from absorbing into your attic space and house," says Adam Haynes of Central States Manufacturing.

Not All Metals Are the Same

"Most people think that 'metal is metal,' " says Adam Haynes of Central States Manufacturing. "But, there is wide variety of paint type and thickness, rust-blocking coatings, and steel hardness and thickness that protect your home from fading, rusting, and denting. Never consider a roof based solely on price. Weigh all factors of quality, durability, as well as price, to find the best value. Don’t spend a lifetime regretting the difference of a few hundred dollars."

Looking Good for Life

"Metal roofs are known for being resistant to algae streaking and staining, keeping their good looks far longer than other products do," explains designer Lisa Furey. "Debris and sap can stick to a metal roof the same as to any roof. The benefit with metal those is that these things do not shorten the life of the roof."

Made to Age Beautifully

"Quality metal roofs depend upon seams, crimps, and interlocks between the panels which helps them hold tight in even the strongest winds," designer Lisa Furey says. "They stay intact and tight even as they age."

Wind Resistance

"Most people choose a metal roof because it aesthetically fits with the style of home they have. However, metal roofing is frequently chosen in areas where hail or high winds are frequent, traditionally the coastlines," says Adam Haynes. "Most metal roofing is approved with class 90, UL 580 wind uplift protection, meaning that it protects against the highest speed of wind," explains Adam Haynes of Central States Manufacturing.

Heat-Reflecting Roof

The front of this contemporary home features white siding and a gray metal roof. "Light-colored metal roofs or metal roofs with special pigments in dark colors reflect radiant heat," says designer Lisa Furey.

High-Performance Options

"Metal roofing offers a variety of colors from natural tones to vibrant colors. They provide longevity, they are aesthetically pleasing without stealing the show, and can be installed at shallower pitches. These metal roofs will perform generally for 50 years or more. Water sheds more efficiently from metal roofs as opposed to more commonly used composition or other textural roof materials," says Kirsten Becker of Becker Studios.

Safety First

"Metal roofs create a lasting barrier against airborne sparks, providing ultimate home protection. They are also very lightweight, thus have a much lower risk of cave-in should a fire start inside of a home," explains designer Lisa Furey.

Modern Metal

A standing seam metal roof transforms this 1950s ranch into a modern home, as seen in HGTV Magazine. "Workmanship is of key importance for any quality roof. Most metal or standing seam roofs are installed in conjunction with sheet metal roof to wall and gutter flashings with a waterproof underlayment. Coordinated layout for the material is extremely important for aesthetics, functionality and durability," explains Kirsten of Becker Studios.

Pricing Particulars

"Prices certainly change with region and distributor," says Adam Haynes of Central States Manufacturing. "When referring to residential roofing, there are five main tiers of products: three-tab asphalt shingles, architectural shingles, exposed fastener painted metal roofing, concealed fastener painted metal roofing and painted standing seam metal roofing. Our lifetime painted exposed fastener metal roofing is generally 25% higher than traditional three-tab asphalt shingles, while lifetime painted standing seam metal roofing can be 200% higher."

Contemporary Farmhouse

A blue metal roof complements this sprawling farmhouse, as seen in HGTV Magazine. "If you are looking for timeless styling and durability, a metal roof is a fantastic selection," says Kirsten Becker of Becker Studios. "While a great choice for the obvious modern house or log cabin, it can also be integrated into traditional and transitional architecture and design. It performs well in any climate."

Good Selection for Warm Climates

"Residential metal roofing has especially strong popularity in warm climates. This is because high temperatures and intense sun are especially damaging to roofing materials," says designer Lisa Furey.

"Heat and sun cause most roofing materials to break down rapidly. They dry out, crack, curl, and disintegrate. As this happens, their lives are shortened and they become more susceptible to leaks and wind damage. But metal doesn’t do that. It is virtually impervious to heat and sun," Lisa says.

Quality Counts

"Workmanship is of key importance for any quality roof," explains Kirsten Becker of Becker Studios. "Most metal or standing seam roofs are installed in conjunction with sheet metal roof to wall and gutter flashings with a waterproof underlayment. Coordinated layout for the material is extremely important for aesthetics, functionality and durability."

A Lasting Choice

"In areas where the climate is arid, metal roofing will last much longer than normal, due to the lack of moisture in the air. Lastly, some owners do not want to worry about replacing their roof again. Many older customers want the peace of mind of knowing that their roof will not need replacing. This same mentality makes metal roofing perfect for rental properties. For these reasons, metal roofing is extremely popular along the coastline, arid regions, and homes where the owner doesn’t want to replace the roof again," says Adam Haynes of Central States Manufacturing.

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