If you’re on the market for a new roof, the roofing material you choose will have a big impact on the cost, performance, maintenance and durability of your roofing system. While there are asphalt shingles, wood shakes, composite tile and concrete tiles, a metal roof far exceeds them all. At Metal Roofing Hamilton, we are firm believers that a metal roof is the best option for any building (whether that be industrial, commercial, residential or agricultural). Not only does it last 50-70 years, but there are countless other benefits. In this blog, we’ll talk about the advantages of metal roofing and compare it to other roofing materials.
Metal Roof Benefits
Metal beats out conventional roofing materials in several ways:
1) Metal Roofing Lasts A Long Time
Metal roofs are known for their longevity. A properly installed quality steel roof can last 50 to 70 years by sealing out water, protecting against high winds and easily shedding snow. Metal roofs are also fire resistant and protect your home against mold, insects and rot.
According to a study by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the following comparison shows how long other roof materials are expected to last. Please note that extreme climates, poor installation and damage from storms can shorten any roof’s expected lifespan.
- Asphalt shingles — 20 years
- Fiber cement shingles — 25 years
- Modified bitumen roofing — 20 years
- Wood shingles and shakes — 30 years
- Tar and gravel (flat roof) — 20–25 years
- Metal roof — 50-70 years
As shown, metal roofs far outlast any other roofing material. Most major metal roof manufacturers also back their products for 20 to 50 years (because they know the durability of steel roofing). Products with painted finishes typically have a 30-year limited warranty. Materials finished with extremely durable resin-based polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) coatings have 50-year warranties. (Kynar® is the trade name of one very popular PVDF coating.)
2) Metal Roofing Is Lightweight
Metal roof panels weigh around 1-3 pounds a square foot, depending on the material’s thickness and profile. A steel roof is one of the lightest roofing materials on the market. By comparison, here are typical weights of other roofing materials:
- Conventional asphalt shingles — from 2 to 3.5 pounds per square foot
- Textured (architectural) asphalt shingles— from 3.5 to 5 pounds per square foot
- Wood shingles and shakes—from 3.5 to 4.5 pounds per square foot
- Clay or concrete tile—5.5 to 10 pounds per square foot
Because metal roofing is lightweight, you can save money on supporting structure engineering and construction. In fact, if you’re building a new house or adding an addition, you can often downsize or cut down on the number of roof supports because metal roofing’s lightweight.
3) Metal Roofing Can Often Be Installed Over Existing Shingles
A great benefit of steel roofing is that it can be installed over existing shingles as long as the existing roof surface and decking beneath it are stable, flat and rot free. Many metal roofing contractors install steel roofs over one layer of asphalt shingles (please remember to check local codes and the manufacturer’s specifications before doing this).
Of course, tearing off the old roof so you can start with flat, sound sheathing certainly gives you a much cleaner starting point. But leaving the old roof in place also has advantages. For example, it:
- Decreases labor and haul-off expense of stripping the old roof
- Creates an additional insulation barrier for improved energy efficiency
- Reduces the amount of debris and disruption to your home and yard during the project
- Adds additional sound insulation for rain and hail
4) A Metal Roof Installs Fast
Metal roofing panels are sold in large sheets (typically 3 feet wide by 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, or 16 feet long) or in multi-shingle sections (12-36 inches wide) which makes the installation process quicker, easier and less expensive. Installing a metal roof on your home can cut down the installation process by a day or two. This is especially important if a storm is coming and you need a new roof quickly. Plus, there are a considerable amount of cost savings if you can shorten the duration of your roof installation.
5) Metal Roofing Is Fire Resistant
Because metal roof materials are noncombustible, they typically have a Class A fire rating (the most fire-resistant rating). A steel roof can protect your home from flying sparks and embers.
6) Metal Roofing Can Reflect Heat
Metal reflects sunlight’s radiant heat, reducing midday heat gain. Because of this reflective property, you save energy used for air conditioning during the day. In fact, federal rebates are offered for metal roofing that has appropriate pigmented coatings that meet EnergyStar requirements. You can get a 10% tax credit up to $500 (not including labor).
Regarding metal roofing’s insulation value in both heat and cold: While the material itself has a low insulation R-value, metal roofing can be applied over foam insulation that has extremely high R-values. Furthermore, many systems employ a dead-air space between the metal surface and the roof deck beneath it to reduce heat transfer and thus increase energy efficiency.
7) Metal Is Great At Shedding Snow & Rain
Because of the way the panels interlock and the hard and slippery surfaces, metal roofing is practically impervious to rain and snow. Furthermore, the dark tones of metal roofing quickly warm to the sun, promoting snow melt.
8) Steel Roofing Is Environmentally Friendly
Petroleum and fossil fuels are used in the production of asphalt. In addition, asphalt roofs need to be replaced every 15 to 20 years, so the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that nearly 20 billion pounds of old asphalt shingles are dumped in landfills each year. Metal roofing is almost completely recyclable and can be used to produce new metal roofing sheets.