Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing

Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing

Virtually all roofing systems the industry has to offer present certain advantages of use, benefits and drawbacks. Metal roofing is not an exception, and just like any other roofing system it offers benefits, and drawbacks. For instance, the initial cost of metal roofing is often sited as a major drawback. However, it all depends on the perspective you take. We will come back to the initial cost of metal roofing investment in a bit, and analyze it in greater detail, but for now lets focus our attention on the benefits of metal roofs.

Longevity of Metal Roofs

One of the dimensions for measuring any given roofing systems attractiveness is its longevity, which can be well over fifty years in metal roofing. Fifty years! Imagine, thats half a century, but you can only get such a long lasting roof, when it is installed by a well trained metal roofing installer. It means that the installer not only follows the metal roofing manufacturers installation requirements, but also takes into account the overall condition and functioning of the roof in question, and make any and all, necessary improvements, changes and adjustments with regard to roof ventilation, insulation, roof deck condition, and other factors that comprise a fine working roof.

With regard to the longevity of a metal roofing system, it is important to keep in mind that not all metal roofing systems are created equal. For instance, I once had the displeasure of working with a fine looking metal shake roofing system by Atas manufacturing, that was poorly designed, did not have a good wind uplift, lacked in terms of metal shake lock design, which compromised its reliability, and required a roofing pitch of at least 7 to 12, which indicated that the system was prone to leaking. This system was called Rumba Shakes, and I had no choice but to install it because it was specified by the client, who ordered that metal roofing system. Well, we did the best we could with it, and that roof still functions fine today, but we were quite worried about the small locks of the metal shakes during the installation.

Later on, when we received an order for an installation of another metal roof with similar metal shake design and blue color, I came to find out that the manufacturer has discontinued this particular metal roofing system for reasons unknown to me. As a result, I had to spend quite a bit of time before we finally found a manufacturer who agreed to purchase blue color aluminum coil and stamped the metal shakes for our order. Interestingly enough, the new metal roofing system was made with noticeably lesser gauge or thickness of aluminum, yet the design of its locks was far superior. This makes a big difference, because the lock is a critically important feature of any interlocking metal roofing system.  The new alternative metal shake system was way more reliable than a similar looking, but functionally inferior rumba shake we have installed before. Take a look at the photograph I took of the two shakes side by side.

You may also note, that the functionally superior shake with the larger lock also looks more like a shake and it uses less aluminum for the shake itself. Sustainably speaking, we are talking about going green in style here!

At this point, you are probably asking yourself what is the whole point of my rant about the lock mechanism features of these two metal roofing systems? Well, I will tell you from the installers perspective, we want to do the job right the first time and never have to come back again. I am talking about reliability of a metal roofing system, and although generally speaking, metal roofs ( are far superior compared to conventional roofs, not all metal roofs are created equal. When you go with a metal roof that has flaws in the design of the system or its flashing, you may well encounter unpleasant problems, such as roof leaks down the road. So, this is just a little something to be aware of.

Here is the alternative metal roofing system we managed to get, picture take during installation on an IHop in Brighton, MA

Thus, we have established that not all metal roofing systems are the same, and that as a consumer you should do the due diligence, and research metal roofing materials you are interested in, before committing to any particular system. One of the ways to learn more about metal roofing materials and the system specific benefits is to go to a Roofing supply warehouse and ask to speak to a person in charge of the metal roofing products division. You can ask them if they can recommend a good metal roofing system for your particular situation. Be sure to ask, why they think that the recommended system will work well for you. In other words, they should explain the benefits of a metal roofing system they recommend. They can also refer you to metal roofing contractors who install this particular system. But your homework is not done here, in fact it only begins

Energy-Saving Colors of Metal Roofs

One of the benefits of modern metal roofs is the wide selection of cool roof rated colors designed to reflect solar radiant heat, reducing the heat gain in your home during the summer and helping to save money on AC costs. When the night sets, in the summer, a metal roof will quickly emit the heat gained back into the atmosphere, where as asphalt shingle roof will remain hot for hours.

Ice-Dam Prevention

In the winter, a metal roof can help you prevent ice dam formation, and ice build up. Modern metal roofs are coated with specialty coatings that allow snow to slide off the roof, virtually eliminating ice dam formation. In places where falling snow is undesirable, a metal roof can be equipped with specialty snow guards.

Dont Neglect Aesthetics!

Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing

A metal roof can set your home apart from the rest. Did you know that when you are looking at any given house, its roof is half of what you see? Replacing an existing mediocre looking asphalt shingle roof with a more attractive metal roof will do wonders for the curb appeal of your home. Not only that, it will increase the value of your property.

Maintenance and Repairs

A metal roof that was installed correctly will help you eliminate unnecessary roof repairs and expensive maintenance down the road. This is another way that you could be saving money in the long run.

Now, you have heard the tales of incessant noise from a metal roof when it rains, right? Well, guess what? that is not the case at all with modern metal roofing. I fact, they are awfully quiet, but do not get sleepy, yet!

Metal Roofs are TRULY GREEN

Have you heard that saying that green proponents often use; Reduce, Reuse, Recycle! Well guess what? Metal Roofs are made from a significant proportion / content of recycled metal, and likewise can be recycled at the end of their service life. But it is going to be very long life, of course, given that you found a good metal roofing installer to do it right in every regard.

And speaking of green building and sustainability, modern metal roofs, such as sheet metal roofing systems, can be outfitted with thin-film PV solar roofing panels that can transform solar energy into electricity to power your home.

If you have a question about a metal roofing system you are considering, ask away in the comments, and we will answer it on this roofing blog. And no self promotional posts please.

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