Metal Roofing: Buyer’s Guide

In this guide, we'll discuss the benefits, drawbacks, costs, and top manufacturers of metal roofing, followed by the installation process.
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To provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date guides and cost figures, we gather information from a variety of local licensed contractors, pricing databases, and industry experts. Learn more.

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Reviewed by JC Sanjuan — General and roofing contractor with over a decade of experience in residential and commercial construction. He specializes in project management, quality workmanship, client satisfaction, and solving roofing challenges.

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When it comes to choosing the right roofing for your home, metal roofing stands out as a top choice. Over the years, metal roofs have become more popular, and for good reason. Metal roofs offer a unique mix of durability, aesthetics, and environmental benefits that’s hard to match.

In this guide, we’ll discuss the benefits, drawbacks, costs, and top manufacturers of metal roofing, followed by the installation process. Whether you’re building a new home or considering an upgrade, you’ll find this buyer’s guide to be a helpful resource.

Let’s get started.

Benefits of Metal Roofing

ribbed metal roof under blue skies

Here are some of the most popular benefits of metal roofing:

Highly durable

One of the most significant advantages of metal roofing is its incredible durability. Unlike other materials that can deteriorate quickly, metal roofs can withstand harsh weather conditions such as heavy rain, strong winds, and extreme temperatures. They are also resistant to mold, mildew, and pests, lasting often over 50 years.

Very energy-efficient

Unlike asphalt materials, metal roofs can reflect solar radiant heat instead of absorbing it. Typically, they can reduce cooling costs by 10-25%. This means lower energy bills for you, especially in sunny climates like Florida. Their energy efficiency extends beyond just savings, contributing to a comfortable living environment inside your home.

Different aesthetics

Metal roofs come with many design and color options. Whether you prefer a sleek, modern look or a traditional, rustic appearance, there’s a metal roofing style to match. With metal, you can tailor your roof to complement your home’s architectural style and potentially increasing its market value.

Fire resistance

Metal roofing is non-combustible, meaning it won’t ignite during a lightning strike or a wildfire. This safety feature is a plus particularly in areas prone to lightning storms or in rural settings where wildfires are a risk.

Environment friendly

For those conscious about their environmental footprint, metal roofing is an excellent choice.

Most metal roofing materials have a substantial amount of recycled content and are fully recyclable at the end of their life. As result, there is less landfill waste and conservation of natural resources, making metal roofing a green option for the eco-minded homeowner.

Minimal maintenance

Routine maintenance is usually as simple as a periodic inspection and cleaning off any debris, leaves, or branches. Unlike other roofing materials, metal doesn’t need frequent repainting or sealing.

Drawbacks of Metal Roofing

There aren’t many negative things to say about metal roofing. However, the following are some of the common concerns and issues homeowner may have:

Noise

One common concern with metal roofs is noise, especially during heavy rain or hail. While this can be mitigated with additional insulation, it’s something to consider if your area experiences frequent storms.

Denting

Even though is likely unusual, metal roofs can get dents. Depending on the type of metal, your roof may be susceptible to denting from hail or heavy branches. Materials like copper and aluminum are softer and more prone to this type of damage compared to harder metals like steel.

Expansion and contraction

Metal roofs expand and contract with temperature changes. If not properly installed, this can lead to loosening of fasteners and seams over time, potentially causing leaks.

Cost

While metal roofing is cost-effective in the long run, the initial investment is higher than traditional roofing materials like asphalt shingles. This upfront cost can be a barrier for some homeowners.

Limited roofers with metal roofing experience

Not all roofers know how to install metal roofs. Finding a skilled contractor with experience in metal roofing can be more challenging than finding one for more common roofing types.

Types of Metal Roofing Materials

These are the most common type of metal roofing materials you’ll find in the market:

Aluminum

aluminum metal roofing

Ideal for coastal climates, aluminum roofing is highly resistant to salt corrosion. It’s lighter than steel and naturally resistant to rust, making it a top choice. While it’s more expensive than some other materials, its resistance to corrosion make it a worthwhile investment, especially in areas like Florida where humidity and salt air are factors.

Steel

steel metal roofing panels

Steel is one of the strongest and cost-effective metal roofing materials. It is usually coated with zinc or a zinc-aluminum alloy to prevent rust. Steel roofs can be finished with a variety of paints and coatings, allowing for a range of color and style options.

Copper

copper roof showcasing its timeless beauty and long lasting qualities
Source Infinite Roofing and Construction

Offering a distinct look that ages to a beautiful patina, copper is a premium choice. It’s extremely long-lasting and virtually maintenance-free but comes with a higher price tag. Copper is often used for special features like accent roofs or dome roofs, where its unique appearance can be showcased.

Zinc

zinc roof with a standing seam profile

Zinc is known for its ability to ‘heal’ scratches over time. It forms a protective layer (patina) which not only gives it a different appearance but also promotes extra resistance to corrosion. Zinc is an eco-friendly choice as it’s 100% recyclable and requires less energy for manufacturing.

Metal Roofing Profile and Styles

Metal roof panels come in different profiles, shapes and styles. Here are some of the most common ones:

Standing seam metal panels

house-with-a-standing-seam-metal-roof

 

Standing seam roofs have vertical seams that create a sleek, modern look. They’re great for contemporary homes and can make your house stand out. These raised seams are not only for looks but also help avoid water filtrations. They’re installed using a special clip system that accommodates thermal expansion and contraction we mentioned.

Corrugated

corrugated-metal-panels

Corrugated roofs have wavy patterns. They’re a classic choice, often seen on barns and country homes. They’re practical and can handle different weather conditions.

Shingle and tile shape

Some metal roofs mimic the look of traditional shingles or tiles. They can give your home a classic appearance while keeping all the benefits of metal.

Why You Should Consider a Metal Tile Roof in Florida

Things to Consider When Choosing Metal Roofing

Now that you have an idea of metal roof’s features, pros and cons, here are other factors to consider if you’re opting for this roofing material option:

Higher labor costs

As mentioned, metal roofs required more skill than other types of roofs. The complexity of installing a metal roof often means higher labor costs compared to standard roofing materials.

Resale value

In case you plan to sell your home, investing in a metal roof can increase your home’s resale value. Prospective buyers appreciate the durability, low maintenance, and energy efficiency of metal roofs, which can make your property more attractive in the competitive real estate market.

Location

The cost of metal roofing can vary depending on your location. Factors like local market trends, availability of materials, and environmental conditions (like coastal air, which may require specific materials like aluminum) play a role in determining the final cost.

Insurance premium

Because of their durability and lower risk of damage, your homeowner’s insurance might offer you lower insurance premiums.

Metal Roofing Costs

The cost to replace a metal roof is around $36,181 on average, or about $18.09 per square foot for a typical 2,000 square foot home. High-end metals like copper can cost $39 per square foot or more.

Installing a metal roof over an existing asphalt shingle is an option. It can save you about $1.50 per square foot, or around $3,000. However, it’s better to remove the old roof. That way, you have peace of mind that the roof decking has no damaged wood and is solid for the new metal roof.

For new construction, the cost is slightly cheaper as there is no need to remove old material. The cost to install metal on a new home can range cost on average $14 per square foot.

Here is the average roof replacement cost for a 1-story home with a metal roof by home size:

Home Size Lower-End Mid-Range Higher-End
1,000 $16,280 $18,090 $24,420
1,250 $20,350 $22,613 $30,525
1,500 $24,420 $27,135 $36,630
1,750 $28,490 $31,658 $42,735
2,000 $32,560 $36,180 $48,840
2,250 $36,630 $40,703 $54,945
2,500 $40,700 $45,225 $61,050
2,750 $44,770 $49,748 $67,155
3,000 $44,770 $49,748 $67,155

Top U.S Metal Roofing Manufacturers

Many companies make metal roofing panels and systems in North America, but only a few stand out for quality and reliability. The following names are industry veterans, offering a wide range of metal roofing products:

  • Worthouse: Known for high-quality metal products, Worthouse offers steel roofing designed to withstand nature’s forces. Their Supre and Ulta roof systems boast top fire safety ratings, hail impact resistance, and strong wind protection. Their Noble Matt roof coatings promotes durability, protecting against discoloration and rust. Committed to the environment, they generate less than 5% waste in manufacturing.
  • McElroy Metal: A veteran in the metal roofing business since 1963, McElroy Metal has grown from a small distributor to a nationwide operation. They offer a range of products, including standing seam roofs and metal panels, suitable for various weather conditions, especially in coastal areas.
  • Classic Metal Roofing Systems: As a division of Isaiah Industries, Inc., this company specializes in residential metal roofing shingles. A second-generation, family-owned business since 1988, they offer energy-efficient and lifetime roofing solutions with a wide range of color choices.
  • ATAS International: Starting as a siding and trim installer in 1963, ATAS has evolved into a leading metal panel manufacturer for roofing. Known for a range of premium panels, including modern options like the Modular and Curved series, they focus on sustainable, solar-ready roofing systems.
  • MBCI: Since 1976, MBCI has been a key player in metal roofing, offering a variety of metal roofing and wall products. Their product range includes the Craftsman series and standing seam panels, and they are actively involved with major industry alliances.
  • Englert: With over 50 years of experience, Englert excels in metal roofing and gutters. They are unique for using ULTRA-Cool™ low gloss coatings across their products. They offer a variety of color options in standing seam metal roofs, adhering to LEED standards and Energy Star ratings.
  • Tamko: Primarily known for asphalt shingles, Tamko also excels in metal roofing. Their MetalWorks® steel shingles are popular for their innovative designs, mimicking traditional slate, tile, or wood looks, and are made from G-90 standard steel.

Metal Roofing Installation

A new metal roof install includes complete removal of your existing roof covering and replacing it with new material.

These include replacement of damaged wood, weather resistant underlayment, flashing, vents and metal covering material.

Here is how roofers install metal roofs:

Step 1. Initial inspection
Before installation, a thorough inspection is conducted to check the condition of your existing roof and look for any underlying issues that need to be addressed.

Step 2. Removal of old roofing materials
Old materials like shingles or old metal, underlayment, and flashing are removed to create a clean surface for the new installation.

Step 3. Repair or replacement of decking
If the base layer beneath the roofing material is damaged or rotten, it may need to be repaired or replaced.

Step 4. Installation of underlayment
A weather-resistant underlayment is installed over the roof decking to provide an extra layer of protection against water infiltration.

Step 5. Flashing installation
 Flashing is installed around roof features like chimneys, vents, and valleys to prevent water penetration.

Step 6. Installation of metal roofing
The chosen roofing metal panel is installed according to manufacturer specifications and local building codes.

Step 7. Ventilation installation
Proper ventilation is key for a healthy roofing system. Vents are installed to allow air circulation, which helps prevent moisture buildup and extends the life of your roof. Ridge vents are installed at the peaks of the roof to provide a finished look and promote weather resistance of the roof.

Step 8. Cleanup
The work area is cleaned up, and debris from the old roof is removed.

Step 9. Final inspection
A final inspection by contractor and building inspector is conducted to ensure that the new roof meets quality standards and complies with local building codes.


FAQs About Metal Roofing

  1. Do metal roofs attract lightning?
    No, metal roofs don’t attract lightning. Lightning is attracted to the highest point, not the material. And if by chance, lightning does strike, a metal roof can help disperse the energy safely.
  2. Is metal roofing noisy when It rains?
    Not really. Metal roofs are usually installed over an underlayment, which dampens the sound of rain. They’re not any noisier than other types of roofs.
  3. Can I walk on a metal roof?
    Yes, you can, but be careful. Metal roofs are strong, but walking on them can cause damage, especially if you step in the wrong spot. If you need to go on your roof, it’s best to have a professional do it.
  4. Do metal roofs get hot in the sun?
    No more than other types of roofs. Metal roofs reflect sunlight, which can actually help keep your home cooler in the summer. So, they’re not any hotter than other materials.
  5. Do I need to insulate a metal roof?
    Insulation is a good idea for any roof, including metal ones. It helps keep your home comfortable and energy-efficient. Proper insulation can make a big difference in your home’s overall comfort.
  6. Can I paint my metal roof?
    Yes, you can paint a metal roof to refresh its appearance or change its color. Just make sure to use the right type of paint for metal roofing.
  7. What’s the lifespan of a metal roof?
    A well-maintained metal roof can last 50 years or more. Some even reach 70 years or longer.

Additional Resources

If you need help choosing the right material for your home, feel free to contact us. We’re here to assist with any inquiries you might have. Good luck!

References:
NRCA. (2012). SMACNA. Architectural Sheet Metal Manual. https://www.smacna.org

NRCA. (2023). NRCA Roofing Manual: Metal Panel and SPF Roof Systems. National Roofing Contractors Association. https://www.nrca.net/

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