The average life of an asphalt roof is around 17 years, but a metal roof can last up to 50 years; some even come with a 50 year warranty.
Most roofs today are typically constructed with a combination of fiberglass and asphalt or with wood shingles. Tar is used for some small, flat roofs, but rubber is rapidly becoming an alternative because of its ease of use.
However, as people have become more concerned about the environment, new trends have developed in the roofing industry that uses materials which require less maintenance and have less negative effects on the environment, such as metal roofs.
Most Common Metal Roofing Materials
The most common metal roofs are made with either aluminum or steel, but copper is also becoming another popular choice. Metal roofs are very architecturally versatile with enough styles, such as Spanish tile, cedar shake or slate, to match any home or neighborhood. Even the steel roofs have a wide variety of coatings to create almost any effect you want.
Metal roofs have a lot of advantages over asphalt roofs:
- Longer life-asphalt roofs begin to decompose immediately, whereas a metal roof does not
- Lower long-term maintenance costs-metal roofs just need an occasional hosing, while, asphalt roofs require frequent maintenance and repairs Savings on heating and cooling energy costs
- Add re-sale value to the property
- Good for the environment-made from recycled steel and aluminum
- Fire resistant
- Discounts for insurance
- Possible energy tax credit incentives
- Metal roofs have interlocking panels for maximum wind resistance
- Wide variety of patterns, styles, custom colors and designs
The primary disadvantage of metal roofs is the initial cost. However, if you consider that an asphalt roof has to be replaced roughly twice during the life of a typical metal roof, then the cost-effectiveness of a metal roof becomes obvious.
Top Uses of Five Primary Metal Roofing Materials
There are five primary types of materials used for metal roof, which we will discuss below.
- Steel: The most common metal roof is made of steel. Manufacturers have done a lot of research and have found the best methods to protect it from rust. The steel usually has a zinc coating, a sealant and is coated with a heavy-duty paint, which protects the steel from the corrosive effects of weather.
- Stainless steel: Because of the way that stainless steel is made, it does not rust. Therefore, it does not need the extra coatings that normal steel does to prevent corrosion. However, stainless steel costs more and is an expensive alternative. Fortunately, there are special coatings for stainless steel that make it more visually appealing to avoid the commercial look of cold steel.
- Aluminum: if you prefer a material that doesn’t have the possibility of ever rusting. However, it does need a coating so that the roof looks more natural. Aluminum is lightweight and is the most popular choice for residential roofing, but there is some worry that this finite natural resource could be depleted.
- Copper: Copper roofing has become more popular because its shiny color can be used as an accent for residences and buildings. Unfortunately, copper weathers over time to a greenish color, so you don’t get that shiny effect forever but can last up to 100 years if installed correctly. Even as its color changes over time, some people may still find the reddish-gold tint or the blue-green patina attractive. The downside of copper is that it’s also very expensive.
- Alloys: There are other special alloys available in the market which have more strength or may last even longer than other metal roofs. Whatever your requirements, there may be an alloy that meets your needs, but be prepared to pay a higher price.
Metal Roofing Materials Breakdown
All roofs must have some type of material as a layer of protection between the roof and the house. There are several types of underlayment materials that will serve this purpose.
For many years, most roofs used building paper w saturated with asphalt to act as a weather barrier between the building structure and the roofing materials. Choosing the proper underlayment for your roof will give it a longer life by keeping out moisture and inclement weather.
Today, we have many different alternatives for roofing underlayment materials, such as fiberglass, synthetics, rubberized asphalt and organic based. If you prefer going green, certain synthetic or organic underlayments might qualify your home to become Leadership in Energy, and Environmental Design (LEED) certified.
Regardless of your preferences, there are a wide variety of roofing and underlayment materials available for just about any architectural design that you want to create. If you have any questions about metal roofing or any other roofing concerns feel free to contact me, I am here to help!