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Metal Roofing: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

metal roofing

When considering the roofing of your home, metal is one option. It is an alternative to the most commonly used roofing material: asphalt.  In this article, we’re going to take a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of metal roofing.

The Good

When properly installed, a metal roof has a long life span. It is able to seal against water, survive rough winds and shed snow easily. It is also resistant to fire, rot, insects, and mildew. Warranties vary between companies, usually from 20 to 50 years.

Metal roofing is one of the most lightweight roofing materials available. Depending on the gauge (for steel) and mils (for aluminum), metal roofing can weigh 5 to 15 times less than clay tiles and about 6 to 18 times less than concrete shingles. In fact, some metal roofing products can be applied on an existing roof without the need to add extra structural support.

Metal roofing can be purchased in panels or shingles. Metal shingles can be made to look like asphalt but have the durability of metal. Panels have standard widths which make them easier and quicker to install, especially compared to smaller shingles that are placed individually over the roof surface. A shorter installation process also means a lower installation cost. Furthermore, the lightweight nature of the materials also helps reduce costs by removing the need for extra supporting structure.

Due to its high reflectivity, metal roofing can act as a partial radiant barrier, protecting against infrared light and radiant heat. A radiant barrier is the only type of insulation that can protect against radiant heat but is usually an extra cost when insulating the attic. With a metal roof, you may be able to skip the radiant barrier.

The Bad

One of the main disadvantages of metal roofing can be the initial price, depending on the type and thickness of your metal roof. Because of the special tools and skills required to install a metal roof, hiring a professional installer is a good idea. Unfortunately, that could make your installation costs significantly higher. However, this high initial price is balanced by the material’s longevity and durability. It can also be noisier than other types of roofing material, especially during rainstorms and hailstorms. The noise can be controlled with proper installation.

Some metals will also restrict access to the roof, which is a problem, especially if an unrelated project requires roof access. While allowing for easier and faster installation, wider roof panels may make it harder to modify or repair your roof.

The Ugly

Denting could also be an issue during extreme hail storms. If a large enough hailstone hits an aluminum or copper roof, denting is likely to occur. However, there are metals available for roofing which are dent resistant.

The paint on the metal roof can also be a problem. This is where most metal roofs show visible wear and tear. Peeling, chipping, fading, scratching and chalking are all problems that can occur. Walking on these painted surfaces may also cause wear. Check with the manufacturer to know whether your metal roofing can withstand walking.

When to Choose Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is for homeowners who want to invest in a highly durable roof. By paying a higher upfront cost, you ensure that your roof is leak-proof and that repair jobs will not be a regular occurrence.  Leaks can cause extensive damage if left unchecked. These repairs often pop up as hidden costs with less expensive roofing materials.

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