From traditional asphalt shingles to wood and green roofs, there are more options for homeowners today than ever before. In some cases, your decision may come down to style as not every home is suitable for slate shingles. Budget is generally a concern, however, which is where metal roofing comes in handy.
Metal roofing is an interesting alternative to shingles, and comes in a wide variety of formats and styles. In the budget class, the selection does get thinner although our guide can remedy that. We're going to talk about the best cheap metal roofing, and touch on the cost to complete your project from start to finish.
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Will you Hire a Roofer?
Before you can get a grip on the cost of metal roofing, it's a good idea to consider how the project will be handled. In our experience, we found that most homeowners will hire a professional, although metal roofing is typically easier to deal with for the DIY crowd. If you don't like heights and want a water and fire-resistant roof, we highly advise hiring a professional.
For smaller jobs like storage sheds or cabins, you'll need to consider the cost of tool rentals. Standing seam metal roofing may be easy to install, but isn't in the budget friendly class. That means you'll need more than a good cordless drill to install metal roofing so familiarize yourself with things like duck bill snips and panel hemming tools. Most can be rented, and you can find out more about the cost of going the DIY route in our guide.
Cheap Types of Metal Roofing
The cheapest form of metal roofing we recommend are simple corrugated steel panels. Thinner panels aren't as durable to dents and dings, but are considerably cheaper than thicker gauge steel. With that in mind there are actually a few types of steel panels to choose from, which has an impact on both price and performance.
Corrugated Roofing Panels
The cheapest metal roofing is simple corrugated metal which can be found locally and online with ease. These panels come in different thicknesses and lengths with an exposed fastener design. While not as streamlined as the next step up, these panels certainly won't break the bank.
Corrugated roofing panels are typically sold in 8' or 12' lengths. You can find longer panels up to 20' as well, along with custom lengths from companies like Western States Metal Roofing. Length is an important specification depending on your project, but you'll want to pay close attention to the gauge if you care about longevity.
We found that corrugated steel roofing panels are sold in thicknesses from 29 to 20-gauge. The thicker the metal and lower the gauge, the more expensive it is. With that in mind, most metal roofing panels carried by hardware stores are around 30-gauge, which is thinner than what's available. A light hail storm can damage thin sheet metal, so consider the gauge before the color, brand or fastening system.
Keep in mind, corrugated metal roofing has exposed fasteners which doesn't provide quite as clean of a look. If you're looking for something more streamlined, you could consider standing seam metal roofing although it isn't exactly cheap. Most corrugated roofing is protected by one of the methods we'll describe below, but some come in colors instead of natural steel which will raise the price as well.
Galvanized or Galvalume Steel Roofing?
The next step after getting a rough idea of how thick you want your new metal roof to be is to think about how it's actually made. Both types of steel have similar specifications when it comes to weight and strength, but what's in these metal alloys is something you should be aware of. We're just going to hit the key points below, but you can read more about these materials in our guide.
The process behind galvanized steel has been around for hundreds of years, and you can find galvanized metal products all over the world today. That includes rooftops; where this material has remained dominant as a low-cost alternative to copper and tin.
Galavanized steel roofing consists of a solid steel core that's covered with a layer of zinc. This protects the core and prevents corrosion. Galvanized steel is highly resistant to scratching, but once that protective layer is broken, corrosion can set in rather quickly.
Metal roofing in the Galvalume class is made using a combination of steel, zinc, and aluminum. Steel is dipped into aluminum and zinc which leaves a durable coating behind that makes this roofing more resistant to the elements.
It offers the best protection in regions prone to harsh weather, and has self-healing properties to a degree. It's not ideal for coastal areas or any building that contains livestock, however, as ammonia can break down the protective coating.
Metal Roofing Costs
Several factors go into the cost of metal roofing aside from the things we've discussed. Thickness and length certainly play a part as you can see from our table. The difference between Galvalume and Galvanized steel can be significant as well with a $15-$25 difference depending on the size.
The one thing all of the brands in our table have in common are the fact they can be easily acquired across the United States. While we have just touched on a handful of brands, there are around a dozen manufacturers of metal roofing that don't sell directly to the public.
These panels are obtained through contractors with a few exceptions, and typically come with far more options than you'll find locally. ABC, McElroy Metal, MBCI, and the aforementioned Western States Metal Roofing are a few names that should be at the top of your list.
Metal roofing may not be as budget-friendly as asphalt shingles, but they are durable and versatile. Cheap metal roofing sheets aren't hard to find locally or online, so remember to keep our tips in mind when it comes to quality.