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    7 Most Popular Types Of Metal Roofing Compared (Pros & Cons)

    Metal roofing offers an affordable way to have a forever roof. That’s right, you don’t need to modify your home, and in most cases, you won’t even need to modify the existing roof trusses. Many homeowners have decided to switch to metal roofing because of the beautiful and unique options that are available, separating their homes from the asphalt roofs that all of their neighbors have.

    Beautiful, long-lasting, and a good return on investment? Let’s break it all down along with the best types of metal roofs so that you can decide if metal roofing is right for you!

    Why Choose Metal Roofing?

    One of the biggest reasons homeowners are choosing metal roofs is because of the extended lifespan that they have. Almost all types of metal roofing can last from 50 to 100 years, and in some cases, they’ll be good for what seems like an infinite amount of time. 

    Metal roofs last longer than most other materials because they are weather, insect, and fire-resistant. They also require minimal maintenance, meaning that you might never have to work with it again after it’s installed. Those are some amazing benefits. Best yet, metal roofs are almost always made from sustainable, recyclable materials that help ensure you’re doing your part to take care of our planet. And although the cost upfront is more than an asphalt roof, the return on investment makes it worth it. Once you install a metal roof on your home, you’ll likely never need to replace your roof again as long as you own your home.

    Types of Metal Roofing + Pros and Cons of Each

    There are a number of different materials used for metal roofing, and three basic ways that it’s installed. These three different ways are referred to as the types of metal roofing.

    • Hidden fastener metal roofing
    • Exposed fastener metal roofing
    • Stamped metal roofing

    Each of these types comes with its own benefits and disadvantages. But despite those different benefits, homeowners most often choose their roofing type based on the look that they want.

    Hidden Fastener Metal Roofing

    hidden fastener metal roofing

    These systems are one of the most secure and resistant to erosion because there are no fasteners (screws) exposed. However, while this style does offer more security and long-term strength for the home or commercial business that it’s installed on, it can often be more expensive.

    Exposed Fastener Metal Roofing

    exposed fastener metal roofing

    The exposed fastener types of metal roofing are the most popular types because they offer a nice, clean look even with visible screws. And, best of all they aren’t as expensive as hidden fastener roofing. Now, the big downside that you’ll notice with this type is that it’s not as resistant to aging and can break down over time, especially around the exposed fasteners.

    Stamped Metal Roofing

    stamped metal roofing

    Our last type is one of the newest types of metal roofing, and it’s known for its ability to resemble other roofing materials. Stamped metal roofing is often the most cost-effective type of metal roofing, and it’s also one that comes in a variety of colors. The downside to stamped metal roofing is that it can sometimes be less resistant to weather and thus not last as long.

    Common Metal Roofing Materials

    Metal roofing is typically made from recycled and recyclable materials. This makes metal roofing a sustainable option in addition to being extremely durable and long-lasting. You can feel good about choosing a metal roof, knowing you’ve made an environmentally-friendly choice that’s worth the cost.

    Here are a few of the most common types of metal roofing materials and their pros and cons.

    Galvanized Steel Roofing

    This is one of the most common types of metal roofing material and for good reason. Steel comes in a variety of different styles and color options, and the return on investment is great. With steel being one of the more affordable metal roofing options and lasting 40-60 years, it provides an excellent option for homeowners. On the downside, steel is more susceptible to corrosion than other metal roofing materials like copper or zinc.

    galvanized steel roofing

    Pros:

    • Affordable
    • Durable
    • Relatively low maintenance
    • Flame and rot-resistant (like all metal roofs)

    Cons:

    • More susceptible to aging and corrosion
    • Heavy
    • Shorter lifespan than some other metal materials

    Copper Roofing

    Copper is another type of metal roofing that’s chosen because it’s practically impervious to the elements. Copper roofs, when installed correctly, are resistant to rust and corrosion and, in general, last a lifetime. Copper is extremely durable and looks stunning even when compared to other metal roofs. What’s unique about copper is although it won’t corrode, it can change in appearance and color over time. Many homeowners actually find this desirable the color of oxidized copper, known as patina, is absolutely gorgeous. This makes copper roofs exceptionally striking because the color will change based on the weather conditions over time.

    copper roofing: one of the popular types of metal roofing

    However, a metal roof made from copper will be more expensive and can be difficult to get your hands on depending on where you live. Although the price is higher, you will never have to replace your copper roof for as long as you live, and the color and appearance will evolve over time.

    Pros:

    • Beautiful color that changes over time
    • Extremely durable
    • Corrosion-resistant
    • Long life-span
    • Lighter than steel

    Cons:

    • Expensive
    • Material availability is lower than most metal roof options
    • Can be susceptible to dents

    Zinc Roofing

    Zinc is an exotic metal roofing material that isn’t as common in the United States. It’s similar to copper because it’s extremely beautiful, durable, corrosion-resistant, and will patina over time as well. Zinc roofing materials are even more rare and expensive than copper but you will get a lifetime roof with either option. Over time, zinc will develop a blue-grey patina versus the green patina you see on copper roofs.

    zinc roofing

    Pros:

    • Corrosion-resistant 
    • Can last up to 100 years
    • Beautiful and rare
    • Low maintenance

    Cons:

    • Very hard to find
    • One of the most expensive options
    • The metal can over-oxidize which causes build-up

    Aluminum Roofing

    Aluminum roofing is very versatile and affordable. This type of material has been used as an alternative to asphalt shingle, tile or slate because of its versatility. Aluminum roofs come in many different color options but are lighter than steel which makes them easier to install and less expensive.

    aluminum roofing material

    With aluminum being lighter weight, they are more susceptible to denting than steel roofs and their lifespan maxes out around 50 years.

    Pros:

    • Lightweight
    • Malleable
    • Some color options

    Cons:

    • Slightly less durable than steel roofing
    • Can be higher maintenance
    • Lower lifespan 

    As you can see, there are lots of great options for metal roofing materials. They all come with their own set of ups and downs, but ultimately they will be more durable and unique than a traditional asphalt shingle roof.

    Is Metal Roofing Right For You?

    If you’re unsure at this point, there are a couple questions you can ask yourself to determine if metal roofing is right for you. It’s important to evaluate your needs and what you want to get out of your roof.

    Questions you can ask yourself:

    Do you want a lifetime roof?

    If you’re planning on moving within the next 5 years, then replacing your asphalt roof with a metal material might not be for you. Metal roofs receive the best return on investment when you live in your home for a long time. If you’re going to move out of your house before a regular asphalt roof would need to be replaced, then investing in a metal roof doesn’t make as much sense. With that being said, a metal roof could improve the value of your home depending on the market.

    What is your budget?

    Determining your budget will allow you to assess what type of roof you’re able to purchase. As we’ve discussed, metal roofing is more expensive. If the price of a metal roof isn’t in your budget, then the investment wouldn’t be worth the high upfront costs.

    Do you like the aesthetic of a metal roof?

    You should be happy with not only the functionality of your roof but also how nice it looks. If having a copper roof that can change color over time is pleasing to you, then it’s a great choice! You can also consider the color of your home currently and imagine what a metal roof might look like with your existing trim and siding.
    The world of roofing materials is vast and seemingly endless. Even within asphalt, metal, or wood roof materials, you have tons of options and variations to consider. If you’d like to continue reading up on metal and other roofing materials to find out what’s best for you, check out our post on the 5 Best Roofing Materials for Your Home.

    Dmitry Lipinskiy
    Host of Roofing Insights YouTube channel CEO of Storm Group Roofing Founder of Roofing Business School

    Recent Articles

    Roofing Online Business School
    Our school will teach you everything you need
    to know about the roofing business
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    December 9th - 10th, 2021
    Rosen Centre
    9840 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819

    1 Comment

    1. I really like how you described the metal roof as the “lifetime roof”. Getting one single roof for my house without ever needing a replacement sounds like a smart way to invest in housing materials rather than constantly getting replacements. As soon as I find a metal roofing provider in the area, I’ll definitely have them help me with some renovations.

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