12 Things to Know If You're Considering a Metal Roof

worker installing metal roof

Metal roofing systems are increasingly popular among homeowners, mainly due to their durability and good looks. With the concept of sustainability being fundamental to the building community, metal roofing is being looked at from a different perspective. For instance, their high recyclability and efficiency allow them to play a pivotal role in meeting energy star requirements. Not only are they attractive but also synonymous with durability and strength. If you are considering metal roofing, you should be fully aware of their pros and cons. Here are some factors to keep in mind before you go the metal roofing way.

1. Metal Roof Lifespan Depends on the Grade of the Sheets

If you plan to put a roof on any construction, you may want to consider high-grade metal roofing. Unlike other roofing materials that may degrade almost immediately after installation, metal is durable. Depending on where you buy, your metal roof could last as long as 70+ years. Notably, roofs made of interlocking metal shingles stay over 100 years since their installation without maintenance or replacement.

Metal roofs are also resistant to rot and mildew. Therefore, they cannot get damaged by termites- hence their longevity. This chemical structure makes it very difficult for these organisms to gain a foothold.

2. Metal Roofing Lowers Fire Insurance

One of the principal reasons why metal roofing has gained popularity is that it is virtually fireproof. Metal roofs are generally non-combustible, which typically makes them have a class A fire rating (the most fire-resistant rating) in many countries around the world. An advantage that makes most insurance companies offer up to 30 percent discount is the high fire resistance provided by the roofing material.

3. They're Easy to Transport and Install

man bolting metal roof

4. Metal roofing is very lightweight as compared to the weight of tile and concrete roofs. Hence, it is possible to apply a new roof on an existing one without installing additional structural support.

4. They Help Shed Snow

snow melting from a metal roof

Metal roofing is practically impervious to rain and snow because of how the panels smoothly interlock, creating a flat plane. Since the metal conducts heat quickly from the sun, snow slides off more rapidly than conventional roofing.

5. Reduces cooling and heating needs

Through reflective coatings and combined thermal breaks, metal roofs reduce the cooling cost by10-25%. Reflecting away most of the solar radiant heat helps keep the roof surface significantly more relaxed, thus limiting the amount of heat absorbed or transferred inside the house. Metal reflects most of the heat during the day without moving it into the home, while any heat absorbed is quickly released during the night.

6. They're Environmentally Friendly

Metal roofs not only have 25-95%recycled content, which is dependent on the material used but is also 100% recyclable at the end of their life as a roof. Recyclability, coupled with durability and long lifespan, makes metal an environmentally friendly roofing option.

7. They're Fairly Expensive

The prices of metal roofs are considerably higher as compared to other roofing materials. For example, compared to an asphalt shingle roof, a metal roof is at least twice as expensive. When budgeting for roofing costs, it is advisable to include the cost of disposal of old materials, removal of an old roof, and installation of the new metallic roof. It's also wise to ask for price estimates before any work begins.

8. They Can Be Noisy During Rain

rain on a metal roof

Unlike most roofing materials, metal roofs can be noisy, especially when it rains or hails. While the sound of rain on a metal roof is not what some people envision, it can be a slightly louder rumble, which can be a nuisance to homeowners. Adding additional layers of insulation solves this problem, but it will increase installation costs.

9. Some Dent More Easily than Others

dented metal roof

Although today's metal roofs design is to withstand extreme weather conditions, some metals can still get dented by large hail or fallen branches. For example, aluminum and copper are both softer than steel, making them more prone to denting.

10. Good Fasteners are Critical

Fasteners and clips are what holds a metal roof down on the seams. Improperly installed and falling grips can allow water to enter into the home through open spots, which can, in turn, result in mold growth and water damage. Additionally, when the fasteners or clips fail, they can cause the metal panels to expand and contract, resulting in the panels lifting.

11. Likelihood of Leakages

Just like any other roofing material, leaks are also a possibility in metal roofs. Most metal roof leaks often occur from a failure of either a seam or a fastener. To ensure that these problems don't happen, homeowners should choose an experienced contractor who knows how to do quality installations and follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

12. They Can Wrinkle

warped metal

Oil canning is a waviness visible in the flat areas of a metal roof and metal wall panels. It is sometimes referred to as "stress wrinkles" and can happen due to installation errors. Oil canning can occur for many reasons, such as inadequate space for the thermal expansion and contraction of metal panels resulting in unsightly dimples and wrinkles. Another cause for this phenomenon is a thin cheap metal that is highly susceptible to creases, tears, and punctures.

Therefore, to reduce the likelihood of oil canning, it is wise to purchase thicker metal and use a ribbed roller to break up flat spaces on the panels. Homeowners should also hire experienced roofers who know various ways to prevent oil canning.