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Metal Roofing 101


A new roof is a substantial investment for your home. You need to consider the climate of your area, the color and style you want, and the roof’s durability and longevity. Before you make any purchasing decisions, it’s beneficial to have all the information, including details about the material used. If you are considering a metal roof for your home, read on to find out everything you need to know about it.

Metal Roofing Basics

When you think of a metal roof, you might think of some rusty covering on an old barn. But today’s metal roofs are completely different. In both style and technology used, metal is actually a modern, advanced material. 

Metal roofs are typically made from steel or aluminum, although some others are made from copper or zinc. Copper and zinc are very beautiful, but their extra expense limits them mainly to specific commercial properties or luxury homes. Most home or business owners will therefore stick with steel or aluminum. Steel roofs are galvanized or given Galvalume to prevent rusting. The metal is finished in a factory. Similar to finishing the metal on a car, roofing metal is given multiple coats of primers, color finishes and topcoats. This is to ensure that the coating will last, as most metal roofs will outlast the person who buys them. The metal is cut into shingles or panels that interlock. A metal oof includes accessories such as caps and trims, to form a waterproof seal.


Traditional roofs, made of shakes or asphalt shingles, are not built to last for a very long time. In fact, they usually need to be replaced every 10-20 years. Sadly, the materials are not easily recyclable and often end up in landfills. Metal roofing, on the other hand, lasts for decades and is 100% recyclable. If you plan to live in your home for a long time, a metal roof is clearly a more sound investment, as it doesn’t need to continually be replaced. In fact, a properly-installed metal roof can last for the entire life of the building itself, making it the better value.


Compared to shingles, metal offers a lot more choice when it comes to style and colors. For example, you can choose whether to have the fastener panels hidden or exposed, choose a stock color or have a custom color made, or you can even choose metal that’s been made to look like ceramic tile or wood shakes. Essentially, metal can be made to look like almost any roofing style you can imagine. 


Traditional roofs are heavy and absorb heat. Even after the sun has set, these materials release their heat into your home, driving up prices for air conditioning. Metal roofing, on the other hand, can be finished so that up to 70% of the sun’s energy is reflected away. A metal roof also dissipates surface heat much faster. The end result is that air conditioning bills are usually 10-25% lower with a metal roof.

Metal roofs are often made with recycled materials, and as mentioned above, the entire roof can be recycled at the end of its long life. Because of its light weight, a metal roof can even be installed over top of an existing shingle roof, sparing the need to add those shingles to a landfill.


Metal is not combustible, making it the best choice when it comes to fire resistance. In fact, your insurance company may offer a discount a home with metal roofing.

Due to its strength, metal is also extremely wind-resistant. A metal roof can withstand winds of up to 120 mph—much higher than that of a traditional shingle roof.

Metal roofing can disperse electric lightning charges to ground, making your home safer from lightning strikes.


Metal roofs need to be professionally installed. While it might not seem like a difficult job, but skill and expertise is involved in making sure the roof is watertight. Look for a reputable company that can guarantee their work, and check their references. If a contractor gives you a quote, read the entire document carefully, as well as their warranty to make sure they’ll support the product in the event of any trouble.


A metal roof has many clear advantages and is an excellent choice for many people. Its longevity, strength, aesthetic versatility, ecological benefits, and long-term cost savings make it a highly attractive option. If you need to replace your roof, and you plan to stay in your home for the long-term, a metal roof may be the best choice for you.