During the last decade, the frequency with which we’ve been asked about and have installed Metal Roofs has increased significantly. We are enthusiastic about this trend; we think that for the right building and the right owners, Standing Seam Metal Roofs are very sensible.
However, as with every roofing product, there are benefits and drawbacks which must be weighed. Following is a summary of five factors to consider so you can make an informed choice about whether metal roofing is right for you and your building.
When properly installed and maintained, no other roofing material can outlast a metal roof. It is one of the most durable materials you can use for roofing: it is resistant to fire, insects, mold/mildew, and rot and it should last as long as the building upon which it is installed.
The one concern usually raised about the longevity of metal roofs is rust; if this is a concern for you due to your environment, you can consider a galvanized metal roof. Galvanized steel is steel coated with zinc and, with proper care, can last over half a century with no signs of rust or deterioration. To this end, most of the metal roof manufacturers we work with warranty their products for up to 50 years.
Better able to deal with New England Weather:
A key consideration for any roofing material – especially here in Connecticut – is how will it stand up to extremes in weather. There is no doubt that metal roofs are uniquely suited for this challenge.
First, let’s consider precipitation and, especially, cold weather. The overlap of the interlocked panels in a standing seam installation and the imperviousness of the metal surface enable a metal roof to not just be water resistant but to be waterproof. During cold winter months, the reflective nature and slipperiness of a metal roof will melt ice and snow and allow it to slide off your roof. This happens with such ease that we install ice guards to prevent it from falling all at once in areas where a hazard might be created.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a metal roof is much better able to deal with the heat of a New England summer. Metal will reflect heat from the sun (as much as 40% according to some studies) which minimizes afternoon heat gain. Also, metal roofs quickly lose any gained heat when the sun is blocked by clouds, when it sets, or even when a slight breeze blows. These two factors translate into a cooler attic and savings on your AC bill.
When people think about metal – especially steel – one of the first things that comes to mind is density. Which might be why people think metal roofs are heavy. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, Metal Roofing is one of the lightest materials you can use for a roof.
For example, the weight of a “square” of three-tab asphalt shingles (roughly enough to cover a ten foot by ten foot area) is between 225 to 275 pounds; thicker and more ornate Architectural Asphalt shingles covering the same area run between 300 to 450 pounds.
By comparison, 28 gauge steel metal roofs – a fairly typical thickness – will run approximately 75 pounds to cover the same area. Even a thicker application – say 24 gauge standing seam steel – weighs 135 pounds per square, about half as much as a comparable three-tab asphalt material. So metal roofs are definitely lighter than any other material you can use on your roof.
For some people, there is nothing more relaxing than the sound of raindrops gently falling on a metal roof; in fact there are some Apps out there that emulate this sound as a cure for insomnia. However, when that gentle pinging transforms to an oppressive pounding from torrential rain or, worse, hail or sleet, trying to sleep under metal can become downright distracting. If this is a concern, the potential for noise can be reduced via a number of approaches.
First, if your roof is currently asphalt shingles, you can consider installing metal right on top; the existing roof will serve as a sound barrier. If that is not desired or practical, noise can be reduced by selecting metal roofing materials with designs less likely to create or conduct sound. Corrugated metal generally vibrates more than flat roofing so you might want to avoid it. Flat or Standing Seam metal will hug the roofdeck better and therefore be less noisy.
Lastly, a variety of treatments of the roof deck to limit the impact of noise from the roof can be implemented. First, thicker sheathing or underlayment can be used. Insulating panels are available which fit between sheathing and underlayment to reduce sound (and heat transfer). Finally, attic insulation can also help if your particular roof allows for this.
Homeowners considering a metal roof are well aware that the initial cost can be more than their friends or neighbors pay for roofing; especially when compared to asphalt or architectural asphalt roofs. But this is for the initial out-of-pocket cost.
Because of the long-term durability of and lower maintenance costs for metal roofs, you ultimately save the difference if you stay in the house for a long time. If your time horizon to stay in your home is limited – less than five years – the initial cost of a metal roof might not make the most economic sense. However, a metal roof may increase the curb appeal if not the resale value of your home so that should be factored into your thinking.
In summary, we believe in the aesthetic as well as intrinsic value of metal roofing. There is a reason homeowners are turning more and more to this material in the Northeast and we’d be happy to discuss it with you– contact us.
We work with some of the most reputable and well-known providers of metal roofing material in the industry: Englert, Firestone and Peterson Aluminum Corporation. We’d be happy to answer any questions you might have, provide some samples of metals that would work on your building or provide a free estimate.