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Everything you need to know about Metal Roofing for Residential Homes


If you’re considering getting a new metal roof for your home, that’s a substantial investment. There are many things to consider—the climate in your area, the style of the home, and the durability and longevity of the roof you’re spending money on. Before you make such a decision, it’s good to have all the facts. Here’s everything you need to know about metal roofing for residential homes.

Metal Roofing Basics

You would be excused for thinking “People put metal roofs on their houses? Aren’t those the rusty old things they use to cover barns? But times and technology have changed dramatically in recent years, and today’s metal roofs are modern, advanced, and highly versatile.

Most metal roofs are made with steel or aluminum, although copper and zinc roofs are also available. Both copper and zinc look stunning, but are more expensive and typically reserved for commercial properties or luxury homes. For most residences, steel or aluminum are used. Steel roofs are galvanized or treated with Galvalume. This prevents them from rusting. The metal is finished in a factory. Just like with cars, the metal for roofs is given many coats of primers, color finishes and topcoats. This is to ensure longevity, as most metal roofs will last decades, even outliving their owners. The metal is cut into pieces that interlock. A metal roof also includes caps and trims to make a waterproof seal.


A traditional roof, made of asphalt shingles or shakes, will last about 10-20 years, which isn’t a very long time. Once the roof has reached its end of life, it usually goes into a landfill, as the materials aren’t easily recycled. A metal roof is very different however. Metal roofs usually last a very long time—50-70 years, in fact—and are 100% recyclable. Metal roofs also require far less maintenance than traditional roofs. A metal roof won’t succumb to insects, mildew, or rot. If you plan to live in your home for a long time, a metal roof is likely worth investing in, as you won’t need to keep replacing it. It’s entirely possible that a metal roof lasts for the entire life of the house, so it’s the better value.


For its whole life, a metal roof will continue to look great. Traditional roofs, however, can start to really look worn out after a few years. The aesthetics of metal roofs are also highly customizable, giving you many more choices in shapes, styles and colors than traditional roofs. Do you want the fastener panels hidden, or exposed? Will you choose a stock color, or have a custom color made just for you? Will you go with a classic metal look, or have the metal made to look like some other material, such as ceramic tiles or wood shakes? The choice is up to you! Metal can be made to look like almost any kind of room you can imagine. If you’re having trouble choosing, a reputable contractor should have a gallery of past projects that you can look through, to give you some ideas.


Traditional roofs aren’t friendly to your air conditioning bill. This is because they are heavy, and absorb a lot of the heat from the sun. Even at night time, they release heat into your home, driving up cooling prices. Metal roofing, however, can be finished in such a way that up to 70% of the sun’s energy is reflected back. A metal roof also dissipates heat much more quickly. This adds up to a typical savings of 10-25% on cooling costs for the average home.

As mentioned above, metal roofs have a very long life, and the entire roof can be recycled. Also, because they’re so lightweight, they can be installed over an existing shingle roof, negating the need to send that roof to a landfill. Metal roofs are also usually made with recycled metal, further enhancing their eco-friendliness.


Metal is the best choice for fire resistance, as it isn’t combustible. You may want to check with your insurance company, as some are known to give a discount on a home with a metal roof. Metal roofs are also highly wind resistant, because they’re so strong. Most metal roofs can withstand winds of up to 120 miles per hour, which is much more than what a shingle roof could withstand. Metal roofs also make your home safer from lightning strikes, as they can disperse electrical charges to the ground.


Metal is lightweight, and therefore easier and faster to install. Despite this, however, metal roofs need to be installed by a professional. A lot of skill and expertise is required to ensure the roof is fully waterproof. When looking for a contractor to install a roof, make sure the company offers a guarantee, and check their references. Also, make sure to go over any contracts carefully, to make sure the contractor will support the roof, in case there’s any trouble.


A common misconception about metal roofs is that they are noisier in the rain than traditional roofs. The good news is while this may have been true decades ago, today this is no longer the case. Metal roofs no longer directly installed over your roofing surface. Instead, a metal roof comes with strong sheathing that goes between the metal roof and the existing roofing surface of the home. This enables the metal roof to effectively reduce noise from rain, other precipitation, windblown debris, and other extreme weather conditions.


This may not apply to you, but if your home is governed by a homeowners association (HOA), you should consult them before putting a new roof on your home. You may want to check the CC&Rs (covenants, conditions, and restrictions) of your HOA, as some have rules against using a metal roof. If this is the case, you may simply need to have a meeting to educate the HOA regarding what a modern roof actually looks like. Some HOA boards can be convinced once they’re aware of the aesthetic options available.


While it can be argues that metal roofs are a worthwhile investment, it is worth mentioning that a metal roof costs more upfront than a traditional shingle roof, as it’s made with premium materials. While you’ll save money on repairs, maintenance, and climate control, those savings take time to be realized. If you’re not planning to keep your home for the long-term, you may not feel that a metal roof is worth the extra investment.


There are a lot of advantages to going with a metal roof. It lasts much longer, is much stronger, and is more aesthetically versatile. It also offers ecological benefits and long-term savings. If you plan to keep your home for a long time, metal roofing may be your best choice.