Energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and available in a wide variety of materials, styles, colors, and designs, metal roofs are a valuable home addition.
Types of Metal Roofing
While many different materials are used to make metal roofs, the most common by far are steel and aluminum. In addition to being very cost-effective, these metals offer excellent durability and paint adhesion, and they galvanize easily (galvanization is the process by which a metal is weatherproofed).
Aluminum or steel roofing is your best bet for practicality and affordability.
Other metals, including tin and copper, are considered more to be decorative roofing. They are expensive and don’t take paint as well as steel and aluminum. If you’re looking for a practical, economical metal roof, aluminum or steel is the way to go.
- Steel Roofing: A steel roof can be of a lighter gauge (thickness) than an aluminum roof while still possessing the same relative strength. And even though steel is much more resistant to dents and scratches than aluminum, it is generally a more affordable roofing solution.
- Aluminum Roofing: Although aluminum roofs tend to be costlier than those made of steel, they are more corrosion-resistant. In fact, most aluminum roofs come with a corrosion warranty. The same cannot be said for steel roofs.
Metal Roof Construction
Once you’ve decided on a metal type for your roof, you should next think about how it will be built. The three major metal roof styles are vertical rib, standing seam, and tile.
- Vertical Rib Roofing: This type of roofing features sheets with low-profile “ribs” that run from the peak of the roof to the eaves. The sheets are 2 to 4 feet wide and come in custom lengths, which minimizes waste. Numerous colors and designs are available.
- Standing Seam Roofing: Similar to vertical rib roofs, standing seam roofs utilize ribs for structural as well as decorative purposes. The seams vary in width, height, profile, and orientation, and most manufacturers offer a broad color palette.
- Metal Roofing Tile: Metal tile systems come in horizontal interlocking panels and are available in different sizes, textures, and colors. It’s possible to purchase metal roofing tiles that simulate the look of other roofing materials such as asphalt, wood, slate, and stone.
Additional Metal Roof Considerations
Other terms you are likely to encounter when shopping for a metal roof are the “gauge” of the material and whether the fastening system is “exposed” or “concealed.”
- Metal Gauge: The gauge of a metal refers to its thickness, something that affects not only the strength and durability of the product, but also its price. A gauge of .26 is a common choice when balancing cost and durability. Note that gauge numbers are in descending order (i.e. a .26 gauge is thicker than a .29 gauge).
- Fastening System: An exposed fastening system is one in which you can see the screws. In a concealed fastening system, the screws are not visible. Aside from appearance, the other difference between the two is price, as concealed fastener systems tend to be more expensive. Most manufacturers offer metal roof systems with both fastening styles.
Metal Roofing Costs
- A typical steel roof, including installation, costs approximately $7 – $10 per square foot. For a roof with 1,500 square feet, that’s a total estimated cost of $10,000 – $15,000.
- Aluminum roofing generally costs $8 – $12 per square foot, or approximately $12,000 – $18,000 for a 1,500 square foot roof.
- If the existing roof must be removed and disposed of before installation, or your roof has a very steep pitch, expect to pay slightly more.