Once prevalent in commercial applications, metal roofing has since won the hearts of many homeowners. As a result, many different styles, materials, colors, and finishes have emerged to cater to varying needs.
Below, we look at the different types of metal roofing available in the market. We hope you will find one that suits your needs and preferences.
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Metal Roofing Materials
Before we get to the styles, it is essential to discuss the different metal roofing materials. When most people hear the term metal roof, they almost always think about steel. And they are usually right in most cases. Steel is the most common type of roofing material, but it is certainly not the only one.
What Other Types of Roofing Metals Exist?
Steel is popular for its durability and low maintenance. But it is its cost-effectiveness that gives it an edge over other metals. Otherwise, most of them outshine it in various aspects. The rest include:
If you live in a coastal environment, then you know the damage salty water can do to a metal roof. Aluminum is the antidote to this problem. The metal is corrosion-resistant and never rusts.
Aluminum is also preferred for its lightweight nature. It only weighs five pounds per square foot, making it the lightest metal roofing material available. That means it can never put a strain on your roofing structure.
However, aluminum falls short in several aspects. Compared to steel, it is more prone to denting and is less available in the market. But the most significant drawback is its high price tag. It will cost you $10 to $14 per square foot to buy and install an aluminum standing seam roof.
We only include this option for the sake of knowledge. Otherwise, this roofing material is virtually obsolete. The term tin roof persists, though. However, people only use it when referring to steel or aluminum roofing. Tin disappeared from the scene over a century ago, and aluminum took its place.
Copper develops a blue-green or brown coating over time, giving your roof a unique and beautiful look. The layer also gives it anti-rusting qualities, making it appropriate for use in coastal environments.
What sets copper apart is its extra long-lasting qualities. A copper roof can last for more than 100 years. Only zinc can compare.
Just like aluminum, copper is less available and is also more prone to denting. Moreover, it is one of the most expensive metal roofing materials. A standing seam copper roof will cost $16 to $21 per square foot for materials and installation.
Zinc roofs are rare in the United States due to their high cost. You will pay $19 to $23 per square foot for materials and installation.
However, zinc roofing is popular in Europe, and it is easy to see why. Like copper, zinc will patina over time, making your roof stand out aesthetic-wise. The beautiful blue or gray patina also acts as a protective layer against corrosion. Therefore, the material is a favorable option if you live near a coastline.
If you install a zinc roof, you may never have to think about roofing ever again. Like copper, it can last for more than 100 years. However, drawbacks are inevitable for any material. Besides the steep price, zinc is limited in availability and is susceptible to chalking.
5 Types of Metal Roofing
With the subject of metal roofing materials out of the way, we can now discuss the different types of metal roofs available.
Standing Seam Metal Roofing
Standing seam is hands down one of the best metal roofs for residential and commercial applications. The steel panels feature a flat area sandwiched between raised vertical legs.
What makes the roofing system unique is the concealed fasteners. The panels attach to the roof deck using clips, eliminating the need for making holes through the panel’s surface. The design not only makes the system watertight but also gives the roof a streamlined appearance.
How Much Does Standing Seam Metal Roof Cost?
Being the best metal roofing system comes at a cost. Standing seam metal roofing is one of the most expensive metal roofing. The price of a 24 gauge standing seam panel with Kynar paint finish ranges from $2 to $4 per square foot. The price is lower for galvanized panels and higher for specialized painted finishes.
Advantages of Standing Seam Metal Roof
This system has no exposed fasteners. That makes it attractive and modern looking, but it also has functional benefits. For one, the screws are unlikely to wear over time since the panels shield them from the elements.
The absence of penetrations through the face of the panels also eliminates the risk of water leaking. Moreover, how the panels attach to the deck allows for thermal movement. That eliminates potential problems such as oil canning, noise, and fastener withdrawal.
All these qualities combine to make standing seam the most durable system in the metal roofing family. You can tell by the weathertight warranties available for consumers that manufacturers are also confident in this system.
Disadvantages of Standing Seam Metal Roof
As we mentioned earlier, being the best comes at a cost. Standing seam panels are expensive. High installation prices further exacerbate the cost.
Still on installation, standing seam is the most challenging type of metal roofing to install. In fact, there are not enough contractors with the technical skills and tools needed to handle the task. DIY is out of the question.
Corrugated Metal Roofing
Corrugated metal roofing is the best metal roof for residential applications that will not break the bank. It is an exposed fastener roofing system that features roll-formed steel panels with wavy or boxy shapes.
Corrugated metal roofing is one of the most affordable metal roofing systems. Its lightweight nature and exposed fasteners also make it one of the easiest roofing systems to install.
How Much Does Corrugated Metal Roof Cost?
A corrugated metal roofing panel will cost almost half the price of a standing seam panel. That makes it one of the least expensive options on the market. You should expect to pay $1.5 to $2 per square foot for a 24 gauge Kynar painted panel.
If you want to save, consider a galvanized option. It costs between $1 and $1.5 per square foot. Panels with specialized painted finishes are also available from $2.5 to $3.5 per square foot.
Advantages of Corrugated Metal Roofing
A corrugated metal roof is a cheaper alternative to standing seam metal roofing. The panels and accessories are cheaper to buy and install.
Moreover, the installation process is straightforward. And you will not have a hard time finding a contractor with the relevant skills, experience, and tools for the job. You can even handle the installation yourself if you are a regular DIYer.
Disadvantages of Corrugated Metal Roofing
The system features exposed fasteners that go through the metal surface and attach to the roof deck. Apart from giving the roof a bumpier and less sleek look, exposed screws can cause a number of problems. For one, there’s a heightened risk of water leakage.
The gasket will also degrade over time due to UV exposure, thus necessitating replacements. Moreover, this method of fastening does not allow room for expansion and contraction. Therefore, the fasteners will eventually back out due to temperature fluctuations.
These fastener issues mean the roof will require regular maintenance. Manufacturers are also reluctant to warrant roofs with too many screw penetrations.
The high risk of water leakage makes corrugated metal roofing unsuitable for low-slope roofs. Industry standards dictate that you should only install an exposed fastener roofing system on roofs with a minimum slope of 3:12.
Specialty Roofing Panel Systems
Consumers who prefer the look of conventional roofing systems can still enjoy the benefits of metal roofing. Manufacturers have come up with metal roofing designs that mimic traditional roofing materials such as slates, tiles, and shingles.
These designs are more durable and long-lasting than their traditional counterparts since they are made from metal. They also come in a wide range of color options and are lightweight and energy-efficient. These are qualities you will not find in slates, tiles, or shingles.
Metal Shingle Roofing
You don’t have to adopt the traditional look of standing seam or exposed fastener systems to install a metal roof. Metal shingles combine the classic look of asphalt shingles with the strength of metal to create a roofing material that can last up to three times longer. They are available in steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc materials.
If you want to buy metal shingles, you will pay between $3 and $5 per square foot. The cost increases to between $8 and $12 per square foot when you include installation costs. However, you will need to cough up more dollars for copper and zinc options.
Metal Slate Roofing
Metal Slate Roofing mimics the look of authentic slate roofing without the high cost and weight. That’s right. Traditional slates are not just more expensive than metal but also weigh significantly more.
Therefore, buying the steel version will put less strain on your roof structure and pocket. Also, you can save more on installation costs since metal is easier to carry and install.
If you want a metal slate roof, you should expect to pay between $3 and $5 per square foot. On the other hand, you would pay between $6.5 and $15 per square foot were you to go for authentic slate roofing.
Metal Tile Roofing
The weight of clay tiles is around 600 to 650 pounds per square foot. It increases by 15% when it rains since the tiles will absorb moisture. The weight can cause damage to your roof, and it could even cave in under pressure.
On the other hand, metal tiles are significantly lighter and will not strain your roof. Moreover, they will not stretch your budget since they don’t cost as much as traditional tiles.
Buying metal tiles will cost you between $4 and $6 per square foot. The price is higher than other metal roofing options we have discussed thus far, but it is way cheaper than buying clay tiles.
Traditional tiles will cost between $10.50 and $18.50 to buy and install. Remember, the cost is exclusive of reinforcements you would add to your roof to handle the weight.
Advantages of Specialty Roofing Panel Systems
As we mentioned before, these types of roofing systems enable you to enjoy the advantages of metal roofing while maintaining a classic look. Compared to their traditional counterparts, they can serve you longer and are more resistant to weather and debris damage. They are also available in multiple color options.
In the case of metal slate and tiles, you can save a lot in costs while also protecting your roof from damage due to excess weight. That is because both authentic slates and tiles cost more and are much heavier.
Disadvantages of Specialty Roofing Panel Systems
Although the roofing systems are cheaper than the traditional versions, they are more expensive than other metal roofing options. They are also more costly to install.
The following table compares the prices of different styles of metal roofing.
Metal Roofing Style
Cost of Materials (per sq. ft.)
Installation Costs (per sq. ft.)
Total costs (per sq. ft.)
$1.5 – $5.0
$6.5 – $7.0
$8.0 – $12
$0.9 – $1.75
$4.5 – $5.5
$5.0 – $8.0
$3.0 – $5.0
$5.0 – $7.0
$8.0 – $12
$3.0 – $5.0
$6.0 – $10
$8.0 – $12
4.0$ – $6.0
$7.0 – $10
$11 – $16
Metal is arguably the superior roofing material despite its drawbacks (which are few). Its durability and versatility are unmatched. Metal roofs can last for 50+ years when properly installed and maintained. They are also energy efficient and are available in different styles, colors, and finishes.
It can get overwhelming with so many metal roofing options, especially if you don’t know where to start. Hopefully, we have shed more light on the subject to help you make an informed choice.
We leave you with a piece of advice. Should you choose any of the options discussed above, we recommend hiring a professional installer to ensure you enjoy all the benefits of metal roofing.