Metal roof installation, materials, prices and manufacturers

Metal Roofing Pros and Cons

Take a look at an aging asphalt shingle roof, and you will notice the cracks, curling, missing granules and chipped off pieces of failing shingles. Unattractiveness and unavoidable roof leaks are all part of the inevitable reality and demise of an asphalt shingle roof. The costly roof replacements and hassles associated with finding the right roofer to install yet another roof that is destined to fail again in some 10 to 15 years, are not a good options.

Fortunately, there is a better alternative – a new metal roofing system that can be the last roof you will ever have to install. Metal roofing is a sustainable building material that is not affected by nature’s elements, which cause asphalt shingle roofs to start deteriorating as soon as they are installed. Metal roofing is not affected by nature’s elements such as sun, rain, snow and ice. Metal roofs are not affected by biological agents such as moss growth, mildew and fungus that are common on asphalt and cedar shingles in wooded areas, on roofs positioned in the northern direction. These natural elements can reduce the lifespan of an asphalt or cedar shingle roof by as much as 50 percent, but they are not a problem for metal roofs.

Metal roofing materials offer unparalleled advantages over asphalt shingle. Metal is an inorganic material that lasts significantly longer than asphalt. Cool metal roofs possess a high degree of thermal emittance (ability of materials to absorb and release radiant thermal energy – heat), which allows them to quickly cool off as soon as the source of heat (the sun) is removed. High thermal emissivity of metal roofs allows them to cool much faster than asphalt shingles, and minimal contact with the roof deck prevents transfer of heat inside your home. Modern metal roofs are coated with special Cool Roof paint with solar-reflecting pigments. Metal roofs reflect most of the solar heat, hence they never really get hot enough to transfer much heat into the attic space, keeping your house much cooler than one roofed with asphalt shingles. Metal roofs are usually made from 50 percent or more of recycled metals, and can be completely recycled at the end of their service life.

In wooded areas with a high chance of wild fire, a metal roof is the best defense for your house against burning down. Durability of metal roofs allows them to easily withstand even large diameter hail storms without much damage. In fact, many roofing systems come with fire, hail and wind protection guaranty. Most metal roofs can easily withstand hurricane winds of 110 mph and some are rated for up to 130 mph winds. Home insurance companies in 20 states provide home insurance discounts of up-to 35 percent.

Metal Roofing vs. Asphalt Shingles

Lets take a look at how metal roofs fare up against asphalt shingles, when subjected to strong hurricane winds. When storm winds reach the speeds of 70 miles per hour and higher, most asphalt shingle roofs will be partially, or in some cases completely blown off the roof. That would be the likely outcome when the proper nailing procedures of the shingles were followed during roof installation.

Asphalt Shingles Roof blown off by strong wind.

Blown-off shingle roof

On the other hand, a metal roof on the other hand is designed to withstand wind uplift of at least 110 mph, which exceeds building code requirements of Miami Dade county – the strictest building code in the US, due to frequent hurricanes.

A properly installed metal roof will outlast ANY asphalt shingles roof by at least a factor of three. Unlike asphalt shingles, a metal roof does not require roof maintenance, and roof leaks and repairs should not be and issue if a metal roof was properly installed.

Ice Dams:

Ice dams haunt homeowners in the northern US and Canada, as they cause numerous roof leaks, which often go undetected for months. Ice dams are a problem caused by a combination of poor roof ventilation and inadequate insulation of attic space. Poor insulation and air leaks let the warm air escape from your living room into the attic space, and a lack of ventilation prevents this air from escaping the attic space through ridge or gable vents. This warm air trapped in the attic space warms up the roof deck and slowly melts the snow, which is sitting on the roof. Melted snow water starts running down, it refreezes along the eaves, forming ice dams. As ice dams grow bigger and more melted water runs underneath the piled snow and down the roof, it reaches the wall of ice already formed. The trapped water has nowhere to go, so it backs up under your shingles and may leak inside your house. One of the benefits of metal roofs is that in the winter, specially coated metal panels shed snow and ice, and prevent ice dams build-up along the eaves of your roof. Metal roofs are the only real solution to effectively fight ice dams problems, because Ice and Water shield fails all too often, and it is not always possible to improve insulation and ventilation of your roof, due to pre-existing conditions. Thus, metal roofing can be a very helpful option for people who own homes in areas with heavy snow fall.

Metal Roofing Costs:

From the standpoint of initial investment, metal roofs are costly (usually two to three times the price of asphalt shingles roof). Therefore, buying a metal roof when you plan to stay in your house for a short period of time does not make financial sense. However, if you plan to stay in your home for a while, then investing in a new metal roofing system is a wise decision. A metal roof can provide many great benefits to the homeowner. To name a few, savings on cooling costs during hot summer days, aesthetic curb appeal, reduced home insurance premiums, longevity and reliability, peace of mind and many jealous neighbors :).

For a business owner, who needs reliable and economical roofing system, corrugated steel roofing will provide long-term protection at prices comparable to the cost of premium asphalt shingles.  Corrugated steel roofing made out of Galvalume sheet metal will last 2-3 times longer than asphalt, and the only maintenance required would be resealing and tightening of exposed fasteners every 10-12 years. Many corrugated metal systems are coated with Kynar 500 cool roofing coating in a wide specter of colors. When installed on a sizable commercial building, or farm barn, it will provide tremendous energy savings and roof protection at an unbeatable value.

Corrugated metal roofing panels

Standing Seam Metal Roofs:

Some metal roofing styles, like standing seam metal roofs, offer distinct architectural style and can be used as structural roofing panels installed directly over steel I-beams, spaced 4 feet apart, which minimizes building time and costs of erecting large space metal building. Such buildings are used as warehouses, office buildings and even power plants. Standing seam roofing is a widely used residential metal roofing system, especially popular in the north-eastern states such as New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, upstate NY and Massachusetts. Standing seam metal roofs can be integrated with thin-film Solar PV panels to generate electricity, and reduce Solar system installation time and costs.

Metal roof installation video:

Standing seam roofs are installed using concealed fasteners, and do not require any maintenance once installed. However, unlike corrugated metal roofs, standing seam roofing is made out of thicker gauge metal and takes longer to install, which increases roof installation prices. Roof installation costs of standing seam metal roofs are some of the highest in the residential metal roofing industry, surpassed only by specialty metal roofs like copper and zinc roofing.

Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+

with 2 comments

Written by admin

November 1st, 2012 at 9:02 pm

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2 Replies to “Metal Roofing Pros and Cons”

  1. Chris says:

    Is the weight difference between standing seam metal vs. existing composite asphalt shingles on a residence, enough to warrant reinforcment of typical residential roof framing? Or should an existing roof be able to support the load of the metal?

    Thank you.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Chris,

    Here is a couple things you should consider first.

    I always recommend removing ALL shingles before installing a standing seam or any type of vertical panels metal roofing (i.e. corrugated steel roofs) because the shingles will telegraph or punch through the metal panels and you will see ugly horizontal lines.

    Also most local building codes do not allow more than 2 layers of roofing materials on the roof, unless approved by a structural engineer. So installing a metal roof as a third layer is not “legal”, though will not really affect the roof at all, because when you consider the snow load on a shingle roof, it’s much more weight than a metal roof, and snow will just fly off of metal roof in the winter (unless there is a snow retention system in place). But back to point one – you really should not install a vertical panels metal roof over shingles.

    That out of the way, even the thickest gauge steel metal roof weights much less than any asphalt shingle roof, so no reinforcement is required at all.

    Good luck.

    PS – I just noticed you are from Texas, so snow is never an issue for you 🙂

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