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Metal Roofing Pros and Cons


Let me guess, you have a wonderful home, but your roof is starting to show some signs of age with perhaps a few roof leaks starting to develop here and there. Lets face it, your roof is your first and only line of defense from the rain and snow, and natures’ elements. Obviously your roof plays a very important role protecting your home and you expect it to provide that same reliable protection for years to come. But, after some 12 to 17 years your aging roof has developed a few cracks in the asphalt shingle and you begin to wonder if it is time to get a new roof so that your home would be safe and protected by a great looking roof.

The scenario above is very plausible, indeed, and if you are one of the many homeowners faced with a dilemma of having to get a new roof for your home, you are likely in the process of researching various roofing options including asphalt shingles, and other viable alternatives including metal. As you probably already know, metal roofing boasts a great variety of colors, styles, and materials available in coated steel, aluminum, stainless steel, zinc, and copper. In terms of profiles, you can opt for traditional styles such as metal shingles and shakes that resemble the look of cedar. You can even get a metal roof that looks like natural slate.

Standing Seam Metal Roof

Standing Seam Metal Roof

For people who like the look of clean architectural lines, there is also an architectural metal roofing system called standing seam. Regardless of which particulat profile you end up selecting, you can put your outmost confidence in longevity and durability of metal. Afterall, metal roofs can last three times longer than conventional asphalt shingle roofs, provided that they were installed by specially trained installeres, for a metal roof will only be as good as the people who’ve installed it. For the value-minded homeowers, there is a more affordable, corrugaded metal roofing system to consider as an alternative to standing seam.


Metal vs. Shingles

Metal Shingles Roof

Metal Shingles Roof

Metal roofing offers many advantages and benefits compared to an asphalt shingle roof. For instance, metal roofs are fire retardant, which would keep your home safer if there ever was a fire in the forest or neighboring buildings. A metal roof can help keeping your home cool during the summer, which is great because now you can safe money on air conditioning costs, as well as do the right thing for the environment.

Green, Eco-Friendly, & Energy Efficient

Standing Seam metal roof

Standing Seam metal roof

Metal Roofing is fully recyclable at the end of its service life, which by the way, may outlast your home! Since metal roofing can be recycled, there will be no wasted materials going into the landfills, which is always the case with asphalt shingle roofs.

Energy Star-rated metal roofing is green building material, which means that materials being used are sustainable and safe for humans and the environment. The use of green building qualified materials also means that the materials used in your project will likely outlast most conventional building materials. In other words, because green building is all about efficient and sustainable use of resources. Did you know that roofing with metal can help you earn LEED green building credits for your new construction project, provided that you are building in accordance with green building practices.

As the owner of a new metal roof, you can now receive $500.00 in federal tax credits at the end of the year to encourage and reward homeowners for investing in an energy-efficient and long-lasting metal roof.

A metal roof also offers excellent return on the investment, which means that aside from the beautiful curb appeal, a metal roof will actaully appraise the value of home in the range of approximately 90 to 95 cents on a dollar spent. Not too bad considering the fact that you will be saving money on air conditioning costs, wile avoiding any unnecessary roof repairs and maintenance. Majority of modern metal roofing systems do not require any major maintenance.

Go Solar!

PV Solar Laminates on a Standing Seam Metal Roof

PV Solar Laminates on a Standing Seam Metal Roof

Modern systems such as standing seam can be easily upgraded with roof-integrated solar PV panels. – Thic can help drastically reduce your electric bill and pay for itself in 7 to 10 years. Not too bad for somebody who plans to stay in their home for a while. Not to mention that there are also solar PV credits made available by the federal and state governments.

In a nutshell, metal roofing is a great investment for somebody who plans to stay in their home for a while, because eventually metal roof will pay for itself. The only drawback is that you can expect to pay more money upfront than you would for an asphalt shingle roof, but over time math will surely work in your favor. You can see the way it works by looking at the cost overtime. Clearly, metal roofing pros far outweigh cons, and it is really just a matter of how long you plan to stay in your home.


36 thoughts on “Metal Roofing Pros and Cons

  1. Solar Cafe

    Just a small point, Steel Metal roofs will not last as long as aluminum roofing, because they are subject to corrosion once the paint coating wears down…

  2. Tony

    What is the approximate cost of metal roofing? I saw about $700.00 on the costs pages, but is that for steel or aluminum roof?

  3. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Hi Tony, what you saw was a hypothetical example that illustrates how metal roofing works out better vs. asphalt shingle in the long run:

    http://www.newenglandmetalroof.com/metal-roofing-cost.html

    There is not a significant difference between steel and aluminum metal shingle, although steel shingle is about hundred dollars less per square.

    As far as the cost goes, one story, simple gable roof (like a ranch type house) with overtop installation of steel shingle metal roofing system would be around $750-800 per square installed with lifetime warranty. But, if you add complexity and tear offs, then the price does go up quite a bit. Feel free to use http://www.newenglandmetalroof.com/roofing-calculator.html to get a ballpark idea as to how much a new metal roof with lifetime warranty will cost.

  4. Philadelphia Roof Company

    We have had a recent increase in the number of inquiries specifically about metal roofs. While we’re unsure about the reason for this change, we have noticed that several homeowners did mention that they are looking for a “green roofing option.”

    I’m encouraged by this development, since many don’t automatically think of metal as a potential roofing material.

  5. Gomez

    One point of contention with the article: Federal tax credits may not be claimed in both 2009 and 2010, once the maximum $1500 has been reached (calculated as 30% of the cost of the project(s)). The Energy Star website (http://energystar.custhelp.com) is quite clear about this. If, for instance, $5,000 was spent on qualifying projects in 2009, then a $1500 credit could be claimed for that tax year. If less than $5,000 was spent in 2009, then 30% of the project amount could be claimed as a tax credit. The difference between $1500 and the credit claimed in 2009 could then be claimed in 2010 on additional projects, but no more than $1500 could be claimed for the two years combined.

    The exception to this is for projects involving solar, geothermal, wind energy, and fuel cells, which do not have a $1500 cap. These non-capped projects can also be combined with capped projects. For instance, one could put a new metal or reflective asphalt roof on their house and claim the $1500 credit, followed by solar (or any other non-capped project), for which they could still claim the full 30% of cost. But no further tax credits for capped projects could be claimed for 2009 or 2010.

    Hope this clarifies the issue.

  6. Susan

    Our pine trees are constantly dripping pitch on our roof – what will this do to a metal roof? How do you prevent ice dams in roof valleys? Thanks for your help

  7. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Hi Susan,

    I highly doubt the tar from pine trees may damage the paint on a metal roof. It won’t in any way affect the metal itself, so overall a metal roof will not be affected by it. Only the actual tar stuck to the roof will make the roof look dirty and will be difficult to remove (if not impossible).

    As for ice-dams in valleys. It all depends how the valley was installed. I assume we are talking about asphalt shingles, as metal roof should not be affected by ice, if it was installed correctly. Back to asphalt shingles – it is important that Ice and Water shield was installed under shingles and in my opinion the shingles should be woven. As for actually preventing ice dams (assuming ice is already a problem), it is best to improve the ventilation and insulation of your roof and attic space. You may also have an open valley, which is a wide metal valley pan, usually “w” shaped, to prevent water from going from one side to the other. Ice is more likely to slide off the metal valley. I would advise against running the heat cables along the valley, unless everything else failed and you absolutely do not want to (or cannot afford to) get a metal roof.

    Best of luck, and feel free to ask more questions.

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  9. Roger Rolf

    I have a metal roof and live in south florida. I was told not to pressure treat the roof just hose it off. After two years It appears that the paint has corroded in the valleys of the roof. The roof was a silver color and brown spots, such as mildew looking stains, are now appearing in the valleys. How do you recommend getting rid of these stains or do I need the roof repainted.

  10. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Hi Roger, what type of metal roofing system is installed on your roof? Do you know the manufacturer of your metal roof? If so, I would contact the manufacturer and request that they replace the panels that have corroded. Majority of metal roofing systems are Kynar coated, which gives the owner at least a 20 year paint finish protection for their product. Most metal roofing panels are warrantied against corrosion as well. Thus, if the metal roofing panel paint finish fails prematurely, you are entitled to a warrantied replacement of corroded panel at manufacturers expense. You may need to provide a copy of metal roofing warranty issued by the manufacturer. This piece of paper that describes the warranty should be given to you by the contractor who has installed your metal roofing system. If you do not have any papers, then contact the manufacturer, and find out what type of metal roofing coating they recommend to coat over the stained panels. You can also buy the paint, and reapply it after you have applied metal roofing coating on the corroded panels. If manufacturer gives you a hard time in resolving this issue, then send me the pictures of your roof, and the manufacturers name, and I will post your story to deter others from buying products from this manufacturer in question.

  11. jimmy goulet

    In the marine bus. for over 40 Y. , I have restored many wood fishing vessels with laminations of
    fiberglass rovings & epoxy resin – stapled with S.S. roofing staples at mid-lamination(sealing the staple)
    finishing with U V stabilised color coating- What’s wrong with this idea if you know how to handle
    the materials? With the price of raised standing seam…………….

  12. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Hi Jimmy,

    I’m not sure what you mean and never heard of SS roofing staples, especially for boats.

    In any case, I think I can answer your last question. If you are referring to installation + material costs, then standing seam starts at somewhere around $1000 per 1 square … if roof is very simple, it can be little cheaper. But keep in mind that the old asphalt roof must always be removed before standing seam is installed. If you were referring to material prices, then you need to specify the metal, and it all depend on the quantity. the first couple of 100 sq. ft. will cost almost $7 per foot… after that the price goes down.’

    Hope I could help.

  13. l.ynne

    It is said that Metal roofs safe energy in the summer. How about the winter?

  14. Roofing Wizard Post author

    The biggest benefit of a metal roof in the winter is that metal roofs are coated with special coatings that shed snow and ice, which helps prevent ice dams on your roof. http://www.newenglandmetalroof.com/blog/how-to-prevent-ice-dams.php As far as saving energy, having a well insulated attic, walls, and energy efficient windows will help save energy. Metal roof will provide sound protection against the snow and ice, while a good energy efficient house insulation will do the trick and help you reduce your energy bill by as much as fifty percent, if not more!

    Alex

  15. Sherry

    We plan to put a metal roof on the house we are beginning to build. However, recently, a roofing contractor at a Home and Garden show told us he gets lots of calls to repair metal roofs in our area, because freezing and thawing causes leaking after 5 years. Our architect was surprised by this- as she has planned for a number of metal roofs in high altitude, high snow areas like ours. Could this just be faulty installation or is there something else?

  16. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Most often, metal roofing leaks occur due to installer errors with metal roofing details, which constitutes a faulty installation of the metal roof. Detail work errors involve improper use of flashings such as skylight, end wall, and chimney flashing. Improper use of underlayment, or ice and water at eves can also contribute to a leaky metal roof. Quality installation and attention to the details is what separates a long lasting metal roof from the one that leaks. Metal roofs installed correctly, should not leak, nor require repairs. My best advice would be to stress the importance of finding a contractor that really takes pride in the details and quality of their work. Metal roof installed correctly can easily last 50 years and longer.

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  18. Joy

    I live in Houston, TX. Last year, temperatures were above 90 almost consistantly from May to October. My two-story asphalt roofed home is 10 years old. I have been reading about metal roofs and the energy conservation they provide. I have been in commercial buildings during rainstorms and been subjected to the loud sound of rain on the roof. Will installing the metal roof over my existing roof diminish the noise? Will it cause the roof to be less efficient ?

  19. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Hello Joy,

    I can only imagine what’s it like to be inside the home, covered with an asphalt shingle roof in the state like Texas. Asphalt shingle roofs don’t perform well in hotter climates. When subjected to thermal shocks, affects of rapidly changing temperatures in hotter climates, and exposure to the sun, asphalt shingle begins to disintegrate and lose its water resistant properties. This is the reason why asphalt shingle roofs don’t last very long in hotter climates such as Florida and Texas. With the metal roof you can get a long lasting durable roof that can last as long as 50 years while providing energy savings through reduced air conditioning load. Longevity and durability of the metal roofs are unmatched. Metal roofs perform extremely well in hurricane prone areas such as Florida and Texas. Most residential homes have attic spaces and solid sheeting over each the metal roof is installed. A layer of specially designed breathable synthetic roofing underlayment should be installed underneath metal roof. The solid sheeting of your roof deck, roofing underlayment, attic space and installation in the attic should provide adequate noise protection. By installing a cool metal roof rated by energy star you can obtain over 30% energy savings on cooling costs and qualify for stimulus package $1500 in tax credits for the qualifying energy star rated metal roof.

  20. Joy

    Where do I find a reputable installer? I drove around my neighborhood and did not see any metal roofs.

  21. Roofing Wizard Post author

    You can look for metal roofing contractors near you here: http://www.metalroofmanufacturers.com/metal-roofing-contractors.html. If you still cannot find a metal roofing contractor near you, then go directly to roofing supply warehouse near you and ask them to recommend a reputable metal roofing installer. There are many roofing supply warehouses near you that can help you. Search for places like ABC Supply, Harveys Industries, beacon supply. Go there directly and ask to speak to the person in charge of sales of metal roofing materials. They are the ones who would deal with the metal roofing contractors directly, and they can usually tell you who is a good installer. Let me know how it goes for you and I wish you best of luck!

  22. Jim

    Getting ready to have a new metal roof installed
    Questions:
    1) Can or should a metal roof be installed on top of an existing fiberglass shingled
    roof. (Single story home 1-1/2 to 12 pitch)
    2) Normal installation requires the existing roof to be stripped with 1×4′s and then the
    metal roof installed on top of the 1×4′s. If the roof is stripped with 2×4′s a
    grater amount of air is trapped below the metal roof (1-1/2″ vs 3/4″) is this a
    wise idea.
    I live on the Mississippi Gulf coast and we have a new 200 mph wind load roof
    requirement. This exceeds the International Building Code. I mention this because this
    may have a direct bearing on your answers.

  23. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Hello Jim,

    One of the advantages of the metal roof is that you can actually install it over top of the existing roof, which is nice because it eliminates the mess, saves money, and your all the asphalt shingle roof does not end up in the landfill. Now, the slope of your roof is very low, which means that only a few select metal roofing systems will actually work for your roof. Some standing seam metal roofing systems are designed for low slope roofing applications. As far as I know, most standing-seam metal roofs can withstand winds up to 110 miles per hour. I am confident that there are some standing-seam metal roofing systems that are designed for places such as the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Those are probably commercial grade structural standing-seam metal roofing systems. You may have to do your own research to find the manufacturer that offers this type of metal roofing system. I recommend contacting Fabral, Atas international, MBCI, and Follansbee. I am sure that at least one of these companies will carry the type of metal roofing system that your local building code requires.

    Now, I’m not exactly sure what you mean by your second question, but it is not a bad idea to do a complete tear off. This way you can ensure that your roofing deck is solid and that there is no rotting underneath the asphalt shingle. As long as you have a properly insulated attic space, and properly ventilated attic, the metal roof does not require any airspace between the roof deck and the panels. Specific questions regarding installation of a metal roofing system that meets the building code should be directed to the manufacturer. Please let me know how you make out with this, and what particular system meets the code. I will be glad to post this information as ensure that a lot of my readers will have the same question. Good luck!

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  25. Ty

    Jim,
    We are interested in installing a metal roof and want to install thermal solar panels on top of the new metal roof to heat our pool.
    What are the concerns or issues we should be aware of when drilling holes into a metal roof to do the solar panel install?

    We current have a solar system for the pool and want to keep this feature going forward.

    BTW,
    We suspect the leaks we have in our ashalt roof was casued by the solar installer 8 years ago.

  26. Mickey

    Do any manufacturers of metal roofing require that the original asphalt single roofing be removed before installation of metal roofing?

    Thanks

  27. James

    Hello,
    Can you walk on a metal roof? Friends have told me the metal roof will dent or tear if you stand on it.
    How much harder is a metal roof to install versus an asphalt shingle roof, and the cost difference?

    thank you, James

  28. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Hello James,

    Yes you can walk on a metal roof. I recommend running shoes that will grip well into metal and provide good traction. Normally there should be no need for you to walk on metal roof, unless you are doing a DIY metal roofing installation. On average metal roofs cost two to three times what you would normally pay for an asphalt shingle roof. The higher price reflects more expensive cost of labor as metal roofing installation requires specialized installation. Metal roofing takes longer than asphalt shingles to install. It provides far better return on the initial investment, lasts a long time and is environmentally friendly.

  29. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Hi Mikey,

    To my knowledge, no manufacturer actually requires that asphalt shingles be removed off the roof before metal roofing is installed. Technically, metal shingles can be installed over asphalt, if there is only one layer on the roof.

    Standing seam should not be installed over shingles, as the horizontal lines from shingles will punch through the metal – the so called “telegraphing effect”. Also, if the standing seam is steel, there is a good chance of rusting, when installed directly over shingles. This is however a common practice in NH, VT and ME to do so.

  30. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Many standing seam metal roofing systems manufacturers do recommend to remove the old asphalt shingles before installing standing seam metal roof.

  31. ssticky

    Does anyone know where i can find UNBIASED info on metal roofing? I am tired of trying to find answers to only be met with a sales pitch. In skowhegan, Maine most roofs are steel. common sentiment is a good sales man came thru 50 years ago. most are rusty, now am sure “that would never happen nowadays we’re much more advanced” if it really can or will happen who knows.. what i want to do or was thinking is a 12 inch SIP with engineered wood beams in the pockets, spray EPDM with ~6-12 inch fiber mesh over the seams and recoated as many layers as recommended, plus one additional layer. Following the cure covering it with a airy material such as a THICK ‘shade cloth’ or low density felt to allow air flow and air space of sorts to soften any sound from hail or hard rain. Followed by standing seam, I prefer copper or copper coated although it ‘says IBPV stick on solar cannot be used with aluminum, can it be used on copper? Perhaps a powder coated zinc’ed steel if its available. Frankly, I do not like paint metal roofs. How to seal end seams and half round bottom edge so that rain clings/follows and gutters can be recessed, so leaves will blow off and ice/snow will slide, without taking out the gutters. how to attach um kickers or triangle lips that will direct snow/ice water away from skylights vents stacks etc. On copper you can solder them to the roof.

    Thank you very much,

  32. Filomena

    I was wondering which is better in the long run, and less likely to have problems the plain Metal Steel Roof or the Stone Coated Metal Steel roof. I am torn between the two and just can’t seem to decide which one. Some people say the stone coating comes off with time, others say that the plain metal steel roof discolours easily. Can you help out please!!??? The one installing the Plain Metal Steel Roof (strap and lock system) does not put ice & water shield on top of the existing shingles….the Stone Coated Meetal Roof will put the ice & water shield… I am totally lost as to what to do. Both are within $500 of each other.
    Help please and thanks….all the input is greatly appreciated

  33. Jim

    I am getting ready to install a replacement roof because my current roof was damaged in a hail storm. How will a metal roof hold up in a hail storm?

  34. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Most modern metal roofs are designed to withstand hail, and hold up just fine, but be sure to check your metal roofing system manufacturer’s warranty details regarding hail.

    Best!

    Alex

  35. Roofing Wizard Post author

    Hello,

    If you are worried about rusting, go with aluminum, or galvalume steel, coated with a Kynar 500 Paint Finish, which is normally warrantied for 30 years. Copper, Zinc, and Stainless Steel are also attractive, bare metal roofing options, if you can afford them.

    As far as gutters on your roof, you may want to work with your contractor to make sure that snow will slide seamlessly off a new metal roof, without harming the gutters. It may require a new guttering system, or leafless gutter protection. Englert Inc. has a good selection of gutters to consider for your project.

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