METAL ROOFING 101
If metal roofing is new to you, you probably have a lot of questions. In the next few paragraphs, we’ll help you get enough information to make an informed decision regarding your next roof.
What exactly is a metal roof?
When it comes to roofing, there are a lot of choices available. You may choose your new roof because of the type of building it will cover, the climate or weather, color or style or how long it will last. Whatever your reason, roofing can be a significant investment, and you want to make a wise choice. That’s where metal comes in. But if you haven’t had a close look at metal roofing in the past five years, you may need to look again. What exactly is metal roofing, and why is it better?
Metal roofing is not new, in fact, it has been in use for over 1500 years. Believe it or not, some of those roofs are still in service today (think European cathedrals). Yet, many folks still think metal roofing is the rusty stuff on old barns. Metal roofing solutions today are nothing like that, and are very advanced in both style trends and technology.
Let’s look at the prevalent materials used in modern metal roofing. Metal roofing is usually made of steel, aluminum, copper or zinc. Natural metals like copper or zinc, while beautiful, can be expensive, and are usually found in commercial applications, luxury homes, trims or accents. Most commercial and residential metal roofs are made from steel or aluminum. The steel used for roofing is given a rust-resistant galvanic treatment (galvalume or galvanized) that significantly improves its weather resistance. Steel or aluminum is manufactured into rolled sheet metal coils and pre-finished in a factory. Much like car finishes today, the roofing metal receives multiple coats of baked-on primers, color finishes and UV-resistant topcoats that will last for decades. Metal roofing can then be formed into panels or shingles with interlocking sealed seams to create a watertight roofing system. Metal roofing systems include the roof panels themselves, and associated trims such as ridge cap, hip cap, gable trim, valleys, and eave trim for a complete watertight envelope.
Disposable or Permanent Roofing?
You may never have thought of roofing this way, but asphalt, composition or shake roofing are all… well, disposable. They have a relatively short lifespan of 5 – 20 years, and then they have to be replaced. So, we pay for them all over again, and shovel the old roofing material off to the dump. In fact, every asphalt shingle you see today, regardless of price-range, will end up in a landfill in the relatively near future. Startling thought, isn’t it? In contrast, metal roofing is one of the most economical and highest value permanent roofing solutions available today, and is 100% recyclable. Why is metal permanent? A properly installed quality metal roof can last for the life of your building. Even after many years of service, metal roofing can be repaired or refinished to extend its life even further. So your roofing choice comes down to:
- Do you want to buy and re-buy, and re-buy short-term roofing?
- Or spend a little more to buy a one-time, more permanent roofing solution?
A metal roof can outlast a composition roof by three to four times, making it an outstanding value over its long life cycle.
What about style and color?
Let’s see, shingles – black, brown, tan… 3-tab or sculptured. Metal, on the other hand, offers enormous variety and possibilities. Many profile shapes, exposed or hidden fastener panels, hundreds of stock and custom colors, metal vintage shingles, stone-coat, panels that look like ceramic tile, clay tile or wood shakes – and the list goes on. Metal has become the chameleon of roofing materials, ensuring that there is a metal roof that is perfect for you.
Is it environmentally-friendly?
Standard roofing choices, like asphalt, composite or wood have been around for decades, and haven’t changed much over time. Most of these roofing materials can be heavy and heat-absorbing, slowly releasing heat into your attic long after the sun goes down. Metal roofing with Energy-Star cool roof finishes can reflect away up to 70% of the sun’s radiant energy and dissipate surface heat quickly, keeping your home cooler and lower your air conditioning bills up to 40%. But the differences don’t stop here. Standard roofing may only last a decade or two, and then it’s destined for the landfill. In fact, 11 million tons of shingles per year end up in landfills worldwide, where they will remain for 300 years. Conversely, steel roofing is a material that is 100% recyclable, and never has to occupy a landfill. Brand new roofing panels actually contain up to 70% recycled steel. Metal roofing is lightweight and strong, about a third of the weight of standard roofing. Because of this, a metal roof can be installed directly over an existing roof without overburdening the roof structure or adding to landfill waste from shingle removal.
Other benefits of metal roofing?
Metal roofing is strong on safety benefits, setting it apart from other roofing materials. For instance:
- Metal roofing from Metal Panels Inc. carries a UL-Certified class “A” rating for fire resistance, the highest rating awarded. Being incombustible, many insurance companies offer significant discounts for metal roofing.
- Metal roofing from MPI carries a UL-Certified class “IV” rating for impact resistance, giving you peace of mind that an attractive roof can be plenty tough, too.
- Metal roofing when properly installed, can be extremely wind-resistant and will hold up in winds up to 120 mph – well beyond what a shingle roof can handle.
- While metal roofing doesn’t attract lightning any more than other types of roofing, it has the unique capability to be able to disperse the charge to ground (Faraday Cage principle) making your home safer from lightning and less likely to catch fire.
- Metal roofing over solid decking makes no more rain noise than other roofing materials.
- Metal roofing often increases the resale value of your home.
What about roof installation?
If you’re thinking about installing your roof yourself, regardless of the type of roofing material you choose – a word of caution. A basic roof may look simple enough, but creating a watertight seal around vent openings, skylights, chimneys, crickets or valleys should best be left to a professional installer. They can recommend the correct roofing solution for your structure. If you want your new roof to be watertight and guaranteed, you need to hire a certified and insured professional for the job. Get quotes from two or three reputable companies, and check their references. Have contractors explain their quotes, and read the fine print to make sure there aren’t any critical exclusions. Read the manufacturer’s warranties to see if they really stand behind their product.
As you can see, metal roofing has many advantages. It has factory finishes designed to last for decades. There are nearly no limits to color or design. Metal is safer, stronger and lighter than any other roofing material. Metal roofing benefits our environment and saves energy. It most likely will be the last roof you will ever need. And, of course, you can choose metal roofing because it simply looks great. So, making the right choice may be easy after all. Make it metal roofing by Metal Panels Inc.