Metal is quickly becoming the preferred roofing choice for homeowners. Lasting over 75 years, metal roofs offer long-term reliability and help lower insurance premiums and energy bills. This comprehensive guide explains the benefits and considerations with choosing a metal roof.
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The importance of a sound roof dates even back to the time of the Founding Fathers! George Washington had repeated issues with his wood-shingled roof at Mount Vernon, leading to the more recent "Save Mount Vernon's Roof" campaign to fund necessary repairs. In contrast, Thomas Jefferson, known as an architect and engineer, chose tin metal shingles for his Monticello estate due to their light weight and durability. Jefferson even advised others to opt for tin over shingles, emphasizing its superior qualities as a roofing material:
Thomas Jefferson is quoted as saying: "I would advise you to cover with tin instead of shingles. It is the lightest, and most durable cover in the world."
Without further ado, let's dive into the advantages and potential drawbacks of metal roofing.
The most significant benefit of a metal roof is its lifespan. Metal roofs are far more durable and longer-lasting than traditional asphalt shingles. A standard metal roof can last 75+ years when installed by a professional. Higher-end metal roofs, such as field-locked standing seam and aluminum shingles, can last generations and generations to come. Even more decorative zinc or copper metal roofs can even last well over 100 years!
Metal roofing products are extremely wind resistant and can withstand years of abuse from high winds. Wind ratings can be as high as 140 MPH on many styles of metal roofing, reducing the need for periodic costly maintenance that other roofing materials often require.
Many insurance companies offer reduced premiums for homeowners with metal roofs. Metal roofs are more durable and weather-resistant than other roofing materials, which means they are less likely to require repairs or replacements. By upgrading to a metal roof, you could save money on your homeowners' insurance premiums over time. Insurance companies look favorably on metal roofing because research has shown that homes with metal roofs receive less damage from storms and house fires, which means the company is much less likely to have to pay an insurance claim. Durable and fire resistant, metal roofs are usually the most appealing to your insurance company.
The Metal Roofers always has a licensed insurance adjuster on staff ready to help you through the complicated process!
Metal roofs save you on energy costs by reflecting the sun’s heat away from your house. Energy Star-rated metal roofs can save homeowners up to 50% in energy costs. The surface of a metal roof is typically 100 degrees cooler than traditional asphalt roofs [source: MRCA]. Most metal roofs have special coatings that improve the thermal performance with infrared blocking pigments that reflect up to 60-90% of solar radiation back into the atmosphere rather than into your home [source:energy.gov].
In contrast, asphalt shingles absorb a lot of heat, and that heat doesn’t stop at the roofline. The warmth makes its way into the structure of your home and increases the indoor temperature by up to 20 to 25 degrees [source: Florida Solar Energy Center]. Shingle roofs also weaken and curl up over time, making it less of a full-proof barrier for the effects of rain, wind and other environmental forces, and necessitating roof maintenance and earlier replacement.
A good example of how metal roofs reflect heat is comparing it to the metal hood of your car. The hot engine below and the even hotter sun above, the metal hood cools very quickly once the engine is off and parked in the shade. The metal dissipates heat so well that, in just a few minutes, the hood of the car will feel cooler to the touch than it is outside.
Now think about asphalt pavement on the street. It absorbs heat from the sun, and the asphalt retains the thermal energy stored. That’s why you can see steam rising after a cooling rain. The relatively poor solar reflectivity makes asphalt one of the worst choices for energy-efficient roofing. Dark colored asphalt shingles can reach temperatures as high as 160 degrees during the day and will continue to transmit that heat down into the home long after the sun goes down like the pavement after it rains.
Metal roofs are not noisy in the rain. Depending on the installation method, they can be quieter than your traditional asphalt shingle roof. This is one of the most frequently asked questions we hear from homeowners interested in metal roofing.
A decibel is the unit of measurement to describe the level of sound. The lowest decibel (dBA) level is complete silence of 0. When you whisper to the person next to you, the decibel raises to approximately 30 dBA. A light rainfall is approximately 50 dBA, and a normal conversation is 60 dBA. 86 dBA and above would cause hearing damage.
Rain on asphalt shingles is approximately 46 dBA compared to rain on a metal roof at 52 dBA, based on data from the Acoustic Group at the University of Lulea, Sweden. Most humans can not tell the difference if two sounds are less than 8 decibels apart. This 52 dBA number also does not account for newer installation methods that lower this substantially with layers secured in between the metal and your home.
The most overlooked energy efficient benefit of a metal roof is the ability to install solar panels. Metal roofs provide the ideal surface for solar panel mounting. They are strong, yet lightweight and can support the weight of solar panels. Designed to maximize roof cooling, metal roofs can help extend the life of your solar panels too. When solar panels get too hot, their efficiency decreases, and they produce less electricity. Because metal roofs are engineered to dissipate heat quickly, they can help keep your solar panels cooler and operating at their maximum efficiency longer.
When it comes to installation, mounting solar panels on a metal roof is a straightforward process. The panels are attached to the metal roof using clamps or brackets that are specially designed to fit the metal roofing system. The installation process is non-invasive and does not require any cutting or drilling, making it a clean and easy process that can be completed in a matter of days. Installing solar panels on an asphalt roof can be a more complicated process that voids the warranty of the roof. When solar panels are installed on an asphalt roof, they require mounting hardware that is anchored directly to the roof's surface. This installation process can damage the shingles, which can lead to leaks and other problems.
Metal roof ventilation offers numerous benefits to homeowners. As metal roofs reflect more of the sun's radiation than other materials, a well-ventilated attic helps expel excess heat, reducing the burden on air conditioning systems and lowering energy consumption. Proper ventilation prevents moisture buildup by allowing warm, moist air generated from activities like cooking and showering to escape the attic before condensing on cooler surfaces. This prevents the growth of mold and mildew, which can lead to structural damage and negatively impact indoor air quality.
In addition to creating a healthier living environment, metal roof ventilation helps regulate indoor temperatures and preserve air quality, resulting in an overall energy performance improvement for the home. Ventilation systems work by allowing warm air to rise and escape through ridge vents, while cooler air is drawn in through eave or soffit vents, maintaining proper airflow balance. By incorporating a well-designed ventilation plan in a metal roofing project, homeowners can enjoy the combined benefits of energy efficiency, reduced condensation issues, and a more comfortable living space.
A metal roof offers significant safety benefits in the event of a lightning strike. Contrary to the belief that metal roofs attract lightning, they do not increase the likelihood of a strike. Instead, they provide a low-resistance path for the lightning to safely discharge into the ground, reducing the risk of fires or explosions. Metal roofs are designed with aluminum rod protection systems that evenly distribute the energy from the lightning before grounding it safely outside the house. This prevents the lightning from entering the home or damaging the electrical wiring. Furthermore, the multi-layered steel construction of a metal roof is engineered to withstand the shock impact of lightning, ensuring the safety of the structure and its occupants. Overall, metal roofs offer a more secure and reliable option in the face of lightning strikes compared to other roofing materials.
Metal roofs are made of up to 95% recycled content depending on the material used. Traditional asphalt roofing shingles are not recyclable and add up to 20 billion pounds per year of waste in U.S. landfills, according to the EPA.
Modern metal roofing materials are much lighter than traditional roofing materials, like asphalt shingles or concrete tiles. The lightweight metal makes the installation process easy and helps you save on engineering and building the supporting structure.
Metal roofs are protected by layers of metallic and polymer coatings.
With traditional asphalt shingles, homeowners often find themselves having to repair or replace their roof every 5-10 years due to wear and tear, storm damage, and other issues. Metal roofs last decades with no maintenance required.
When it comes to the resale value of your home, a metal roof is an investment that can yield a high return. According to the 2020 Cost vs. Value report, a new metal roof can add up to 60% of its cost to the resale value of your home. Additionally, a metal roof may make your home more attractive to potential buyers, especially if they are looking for a low-maintenance, long-lasting roofing option.
Unlike shingled roofs that will depreciate your home's value, your metal roof will maintain your investment and give you a strong ROI (return on investment).
Having a metal roof installed on your home can be a very comforting feeling knowing that if and when you may decide to sell your home, you will be able to offer a transferable roof warranty to your new buyer.
Metal roofing comes in a variety of styles, colors, and textures, making it easy to match any home’s design aesthetic. Whether you prefer the look of classic asphalt shingles or the sleek appearance of standing seam metal roofing, there is a metal roof style to fit your needs.
Roofing materials are evaluated for their fire resistance using ASTM E108 or UL 790 Fire Tests, which assess three key aspects: the ability to resist fire spread into the attic, flame spread on the roofing surface, and generation of burning embers. Based on these tests, roofing materials are classified into Class A, B, or C, with Class A being the most fire-resistant.
Metal roofing is designated as Class A due to its non-combustible nature and superior fire resistance. The flame spread rate (FSR) of a material determines its classification, with Class A having the lowest FSR of 0 to 25. Fire-rating requirements for new constructions vary based on local regulations, and it's crucial to provide documentation of the roof's fire rating to pass inspection.
A metal roofing system is considered a "by assembly roof covering" as it requires underlying material specified by the manufacturer to achieve a Class A fire rating. As wildfires become more frequent and widespread, it's essential for homeowners to know what to look for in a fire-resistant roof and take necessary precautions to protect their homes.
When searching for the best roof for fire resistance, homeowners should consider the pros and cons of common roofing materials. For instance, while asphalt shingles often have a Class A fire rating, they are more flammable than non-combustible materials like metal. Insurance companies generally prefer metal.
Metal roofs can sustain any kind of climate and season. They are perfect for hot, humid climates since they resist moisture and reflect heat. Metal roofs are rust-resistant and waterproof, and the solid metal surface also resists algae.
The surface of the metal sheet is hard and slippery by nature, which makes it hard for snow and water to make a grip. In areas where there is heavy snowfall, having the snow easily come off your roof is a significant benefit, reducing the weight on your home. Metal roofs are also designed to be more resistant to ice damming, a common issue that occurs when snow on a roof melts and then refreezes at the roof's edge, creating a barrier that prevents melted snow from draining off the roof properly. This can lead to water damage and leaks in your home. Metal roofs are less likely to experience ice damming due to their smooth surface.
While the initial cost of installing a metal roof may be higher than other roofing materials, the long-term cost savings cannot be ignored. With a lifespan of 40-70 years, a metal roof can save you money on replacement and repair costs in the long run. Metal roofing energy efficiency can save you up to 30% on cooling costs each month.
Compared to other roofing materials, metal roofs come with a higher upfront cost. However, the long-term durability and energy efficiency of metal roofs can ultimately make them more cost-effective than other roofing materials in the long run.
Metal roofs tend to expand and contract with changes in temperature, which can lead to loosening of fasteners and the potential for leaks. However, this can be mitigated by proper installation techniques and regular inspections to catch any issues early on.
Metal roofs can be slippery when wet, which can pose a hazard to those walking on the roof. However, non-slip coatings and proper installation techniques can minimize this risk.
When considering a metal roof for your home, it's important to keep in mind that professional installation is required. This is not a project for DIY enthusiasts, as any installation errors can lead to serious and costly issues down the road. Metal roofing is a long-term investment, so it's crucial to choose a professional installer with extensive knowledge and experience to ensure that the job is done right.
Upgrading to a metal roof has many benefits that can make it a worthwhile investment for homeowners. With a lifespan of a minimum number of 50+ years, proven durability and safety, energy efficiency, and eco-friendliness, metal roofs offer a long-term solution that can increase the value of your home and save you money on energy costs. Additionally, with a variety of styles and colors available, metal roofs can be customized to match any home or neighborhood. While there are a few disadvantages to consider, they can be mitigated through proper installation and maintenance. If you're considering a new roof, a metal roof is certainly worth exploring as an option.