Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing on Houses (Material Types & Cost Guide)

Metal roofs, once relegated to the countryside with more barns and silos than communal homes, also have deep roots in military circles, making countries like the United States, Australia, India and New Zealand the first to adopt this roofing material.

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Made by British architect/engineer Henry Palmer, this strong, lightweight, easily transportable and corrosion-resistant material was used by builders and roofers as early as the 1840s.

By 1900, metal roofs had cemented the place of this material in the history of architecture by becoming an integral part of our cultural identity.

In fact, some types of corrugated and non-corrugated sheet steel are installed in the same way as tiles and shingles: The overlapping of several sheets is the most moisture-resistant roofing material on the market today.

Metal roofs are generally manufactured using a process called roll forming. It is a highly automated method that speeds up production and reduces production costs.

But a metal roof is not the solution for every building on the planet, and there are as many advantages as disadvantages to the choice of metal over alternative materials.

Types of metal roofs (material)

In the past, the only metal roof options were corrugated cardboard or non-corrugated metal roofs.

Today, the choice of materials varies from steel and aluminium to copper and zinc. Steve Collins of Bridger Steel mentions 5 metals currently used for roofing and offers contractors and consumers this commentary on each of them :

  • Copper is extremely durable, but expensive. So, if you value aesthetics, open your wallet wide.
  • Aluminium is resistant to corrosion in salt water. For people who live in areas where the atmosphere is salty, aluminium is therefore the ideal choice.
  • Zinc is also corrosion resistant and competes with copper as the most durable roofing material. Yet zinc is unlikely to cost as much as copper.
  • The steel is available in 3 variants: Galvanized, galvanized and patinated steel each have their own merits, depending on the type of roof you are trying to achieve.
  • Pewter still exists, but it is not used as much as it was before the Second World War. Nowadays you might have to place a special order if you have your heart on tin.

Advantages of metal roofs

Greening of metal roofs

Let’s look at the benefits of metal roofing for homes:

  1. These roofs last forever, up to 70 years (or more).
  2. Metal is energy efficient. You can save up to 25% on your energy bill.
  3. Because metal roofs are reflective, they do not absorb heat.
  4. Even the most difficult environmental and climatic conditions do not affect metal roofs.
  5. Take advantage of a variety of metal choices in terms of price, style and performance.
  6. Maintenance is child’s play; no annual cleaning or maintenance is required.
  7. Metal roofs save homeowners time because they no longer have to wash, soil or spray the roofs.
  8. Steel roofs are the embodiment of sustainability and the choice of homeowners who want to protect the environment.
  9. The metals are 100% recyclable and are ideal surfaces for mounting solar panels.
  10. Thanks to the precision of the measurements and cuts, there is not much waste in the production process.
  11. Metal is one of the most fire-resistant roof coverings on the market; it is class A.
  12. Elegant and modern, metal adapts to all kinds of looks and is available in many colours and styles.
  13. No preliminary design is required for metal roofs because metals are much lighter than other materials.
  14. Benefit from thick/strong metal options that offer maximum protection against environmental damage.
  15. Metal roofing can increase the value of a dwelling and drastically increase its resale value by 85.9%.
  16. Because of the fire resistance, you probably pay less for your home insurance.
  17. Guarantees on metal roofs are extended, often from 30 to 50 years.
  18. Consumers can choose between vertical panels with butt joints or metal shingles.
  19. Metal roofs don’t attract lightning. The bolt cannot pull if it is hit, for example if it hits a pebble.
  20. Metal roofs are impervious to rot and insects, so your roof is likely to remain free of termites, fungi and moulds.
  21. Yes, metal production takes place on both sloping and flat roofs.
  22. You can recycle your metal roof. Try the traditional shingles!
  23. You don’t have to remove your old roof unless your municipality needs it.

Disadvantages of metal roofs

Although metal roofs are very good, they also have some disadvantages, which we will examine below:

  1. Metal roofs are fire-resistant, but not fire-resistant.
  2. Not all homeowners like the look of metal roofs on their homes.
  3. Expect higher installation and material costs for most metals.
  4. Metal roofs can be scratched and dented and leave inconspicuous marks on asphalt shingles.
  5. Metal roofs are not always the best choice of material for people living in hail-sensitive areas.
  6. Metal roofs expand and shrink under the influence of extreme temperatures.
  7. A metal roofer is required for proper installation. Not all contractors are trained to cover the roof with metal.
  8. Standing on metal roofs, tempting fate. Incorrect movement on these slippery surfaces can lead to skidding and fall injuries that can lead to permanent disability.
  9. You could lose your sleep in a storm. Some people find noise romantic, and you might find it boring.
  10. If you remove the original roof, take these extra costs into account when calculating your budget.
  11. Roof shutters are more visible with metal than with shingles. So if you prefer openings over veneer, metal may not be the best choice.

Metal roofing Costs

red metal roof

When you see all the numbers we’re going to confront you with, you might think you need a calculator, but relax.

These are average values based on relatively recent studies. As a homeowner, you probably know that labour and material costs can fluctuate greatly, depending on the market and the availability of materials.

Here are some of the costs you need to know so you can make an informed decision about the most suitable type of metal roofing for your construction without burdening your bank account.

  • -The average cost of a metal roof in 2020 is between $9,545 and $16,582, but this is only an estimate.
  • -depending on the size and availability of materials, your contractor is likely to charge between $5 and $14 per square meter to install it, as long as these market rates prevail.
  • -Labour costs associated with the installation of all types of metal roofs average between $ 2.30 and $ 5.80 per square meter. Unusual angles and/or roof characteristics may not be taken into account.
  • – Asphalt shingles cost between $1 and $4.25 per square meter, so a metal roof might not be as expensive as you might think in comparison.
  • -4 to 5 dollars per square meter for the underlayment, which increases the life span and integrity of the metal roof.

Metal roofing Cost by type of material

  • – Aluminium roofs cost between $3.25 and $5.75 per square meter.
  • – Copper roofs are expensive; you spend between $14 and $22 per square meter.
  • – A golf platform roof costs only $1.80 to $2.50 per square meter.
  • – Standing seam metal roofs cost $4 to $12 per square meter.
  • – Durable steel roofs are relatively cheap, between $3.35 and $4.50 per square meter.
  • – Iron roofs have the widest price range, from $3.25 to $14.65 per square meter.
  • – Zinc roofs, such as standing seam roofs, cost between $5.65 and $11 per square meter of installation.

Can a metal roof be installed over shingles?

Yes, it is possible, but you will have to check with your municipal building department to make sure that local law does not prohibit it.

In addition, there may be regulations in your area that require a complete rather than a partial separation.

Many owners have had a lot of success by leaving their old roof, but in some cases you can get into trouble.

Failure to remove shingles can be costly if the shingles are affected to such an extent that they form mould, moisture and other toxic substances.

If you notice that your existing roof is in poor condition, it can be counterproductive if you hit it with a new metal roof.

Is there a solution? It will cost you a lot of money, but if you don’t want to remove your existing roof, give up a ventilated metal roof when you hire a roofer and let the fuzzy strips lift the metal so that toxins can escape through this clever ventilated roof design.

Can you paint a metal roof?

As long as you are prepared to take the necessary precautions and follow a reprocessing process that takes into account the uniqueness of metals, why not? Follow these 4 steps and you can do it yourself if you feel comfortable.

Step 1: If your roof is brand new, the experts recommend letting it age every 6 months before painting it. If you cannot wait, rinse the foil applied during galvanisation with a 50/50 dilution of vinegar and water.

The roof then has to be rinsed at about 2500 psi to remove any other agents that may have been applied to the metal during the production process. No electric washing machine? Rinse every inch of the roof with a water/sodium trisodium phosphate solution.

Step 2: Buy a primer and top coat that are exclusively intended for metal surfaces. Some manufacturers recommend acrylic latex paints, others recommend oil-based alkyd resin paints that require a galvanised metal primer substrate. Primers prevent rust formation and promote the paint-on-metal bonding process.

Step 3: Take care of yourself. Metal roofs with a low water level are extremely dangerous. In addition to good ventilation and eye protection, you need shoes that allow you to walk on the roof without falling off during work. If you have a steeply sloping roof, the danger can be even greater. The straps attached to the lifeline can form a safety net to help you feel safe when carrying out this project.

Step 4: An airless sprayer does the job faster and more evenly than brushes and/or rollers and you don’t have to stand on your roof as long as you use less sophisticated painting tools. On a windy day, for obvious reasons, things don’t go well.

Metal roof maintenance

The thicker the mastic and the coating applied to the metal in the factory, the longer your roof can last without the inconvenience of cleaning.

But if you invest the time, money, energy and other resources to install a metal roof – and you realise that low maintenance is the main reason why you choose metal – it doesn’t mean that your roof can’t be cleaned from time to time. The products made for this task can be found everywhere, or you can rely on vinegar or soap and water.

If you want to change the color of the roof, that’s a different matter. Use a polymer coating to restore the roof surface to its former state while at the same time changing the overall appearance of the building.

Dark colors are harder to cover than light colors. So if you have a red roof and the colour is saturated with metal, a light roof colour may not be the best option.

Whatever you decide, be careful not to scratch or damage your metal roof by using abrasive materials when cleaning it.

You found a scratch on your roof that disturbed your appearance? Clean it with a cloth and petrol and then use the lacquer. It’s always a good idea to consult an expert before tackling one of these beautification projects, and it can’t hurt to have one on the hotkey.

Ancillary equipment

Metal Roofing Buying Guide

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