“A roof over your head” — it’s one of the most elemental of human needs. If your roof isn’t doing its job, your entire home and all your possessions can be at risk. So it’s smart to examine all the options to find the best possible roof material to protect our home.
The majority of homes in the United States have roofs covered with asphalt shingles. Shingle roofs have their advantages. Shingles are easy to install, are relatively durable, and come in a wide variety of colors. But if you’re planning on keeping your home for a long time you’ll need to replace the shingles several times. That’s a significant recurring expense. In addition, a shingle roof may not provide the protection from storms that you want, particularly if you live in an area that may be affected by severe winds from tornadoes or hurricanes.
Metal roofs are another option, one that provides much-improved durability and longer life. But with these advantages come other factors that you’ll need to consider. So let’s examine the pluses and minuses of metal roofs, so you can see if the scales tip towards making the decision to invest in metal roofing.
A well-built and installed metal roof may be the last roof you’ll ever need for your home. Manufacturer’s warranties of up to 50 years are not uncommon, with a lifespan of up to 70 years a real possibility. By contrast, an asphalt shingle roof is good for 20-30 years. Rust-proof coatings add an extra level of protection, and steel and aluminum roofs can usually be painted as necessary.
Metal roofs offer some real advantages in home protection. Metal roofs are resistant to common problems like insect damage, mold, or rot that can plague wooden roofs, and will stand up to high winds better than shingles. During winter, snow and ice slides easily off of metal roof surfaces, preventing potential damage during a cold winter. And if you live in an area that can be affected by wildfires, a metal roof provides excellent protection from sparks and windblown embers.
Durability and long life come at a cost, however. Prices for a metal roof can run as high as $500 or more per 100 square feet of roofing, particularly if you’re buying a premium product — that’s much higher than the cost of a traditional shingle roof. However, if you’re looking at a long-term investment, remember that this is a one-time expense, and you won’t need to replace a high-quality, properly installed metal life during your lifetime. And you’ll reap the benefit of other cost savings, as we’ll see below.
Metal roofs offer the potential to save money in cooling costs — a nice bonus if you live in a warm climate. The radiant nature of a metal surface means that sunshine is reflected, rather than absorbed, so your cooling system won’t have to handle the extra heat produced by a traditional asphalt shingle roof. The savings can be substantial — as much as 40% in cooling costs, according to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Metal roofs are produced from a variety of different metals, including steel, copper, and aluminum. Depending on the material, falling branches or large hail can cause dents. In addition, it’s important to check to see whether the roof material you’re considering can be walked on, in case tradesmen such as chimney sweeps need access to the roof. Steel roofs are typically more dent-resistant than softer materials like aluminum, so do you homework and check to see if the roofing is warrantied against dents.
Most metal roofs are produced at least in part from recycled materials, and the materials in a metal roof are 100% recyclable at the end of their lifespan. That presents quite a contrast to typical roof shingles which mostly end up in the local dump when they’re removed from a home. In addition, metal roofs provide an excellent surface for the installation of solar panels, and provide a consistent runoff surface for rainwater harvesting.
While the sound of rain on a tin roof is iconic, you may prefer a somewhat quieter domicile. Metal roofs can be noisier than conventional shingle roofs during rain storms, but that can be alleviated to a large extent by the addition of extra insulation during the installation. Be forewarned that extra cost will be incurred if you go that route.
As we’ve seen, there are pros and cons to consider when deciding on whether a metal roof is right for you. Add up the pluses and minuses we’ve discussed here and consider all of them when making your decision. One other factor to consider is aesthetics. A traditional standing seamed metal roof can be a striking addition to your home, and there are an increasing number of styles of metal roofs to choose from, including roofs that replicate the look of traditional slate, shake, or shingle roofs.
Installing a metal roof can be done quickly, but it requires special training, tools, and the right hardware to ensure that the panels fit properly and allow for contraction and expansion with changing temperatures. Be sure to work with a company that’s experienced in metal roof installation and can provide you with a number of different roofing options to consider.
Interested in learning more about metal roofing for your home? Call us and we’ll be happy to help you examine all the different roofing options available for your home.