Metal roofs are becoming more popular in both new construction and roof replacements. Could this material be the right choice for your roof? Here is a look at the advantages and drawbacks of metal roofing.
Metal Roofing: The Advantages
Outlined below are some of the reasons metal roofing is such a popular choice among modern homeowners.
Metal Roofs Are Lightweight
One of the biggest advantages of a metal roof is its light weight. In fact, metal roofing is considered one of the lightest of all roofing materials available on the market today. While conventional asphalt shingles can weigh up to 3.5 pounds per square foot and wood shingles and shakes may weigh up to 4.5 pounds per square foot, clay and concrete tile can tip the scales at as much as 10 pounds per square foot. This can place significant stress on the structure of your home. Metal roofing, in contrast, typically weighs between 1 and 3 pounds per square foot depending on the material’s thickness and profile.
The lightweight nature of a metal roof enables homeowners to save on engineering and building the supporting structures. For those who are building new homes or using the roofing for an addition, it is often possible to reduce the number of roof supports needed because the metal is so lightweight.
Metal Roofs Are Fire-Resistant
Most metal roofs have the best fire resistance rating available, Class A, because they are non-combustible. This means that flying embers or sparks will not ignite them. However, it is important to keep in mind that the roof’s general classification also depends on any materials that are beneath its surface that could catch on fire in intense heat. For example, metal roofs that have been applied on top of combustible materials such as wood shingles will have a lower rating as a result.
Metal Roofs Are Long-Lasting
Although not the cheapest material available, a metal roof can last for up to 50 years when installed properly. Metal can stand up to high winds, sheds snow easily, and effectively seals out water while resisting fire, insects and mildew.
Other roofing materials do not fare as well. For example, a flat roof of tar and gravel or fiber cement shingles lasts around 25 years, while modified bitumen roofing and asphalt shingles have a roughly 20-year lifespan. Wood shingles and shakes last for up to 30 years.
Keep in mind, however, that the workmanship, climate conditions and damage caused by severe weather can impact a roof’s lifespan regardless of the material.
They Can Stand Up to Hurricanes and Tornadoes
Metal roofs are ideal for those living in areas that are prone to hurricanes and tornadoes because they can stand up to the high winds and other conditions seen in such storms. In fact, many metal roofing systems can handle winds exceeding 140 miles per hour, like those seen in an F2 tornado. When attached with clips or screws, wind should not be able to get underneath metal roof panels.
Metal Roofing: The Drawbacks
Here are some of the downsides of metal roofing to keep in mind.
Metal Roofing May Be Noisier Than Other Materials
Although metal roofing is not as noisy as most people imagine, it will be noisier than thicker materials like tile or slate during a heavy rainstorm or hail. However, their noise levels are about equivalent to other thin materials, such as wood or asphalt shingles. Those who are concerned about noise can ensure that they use quality materials with structural barriers that can reduce the drumming effect caused by rain or hail. Sound-reducing insulation can also help keep this effect to a minimum.
Metal Roofing Is More Expensive Than Other Materials
One of the biggest drawbacks of a metal roof is its high initial cost. Although it does cost more than asphalt shingles, its price is comparable to other premium materials, such as concrete tile. It is significantly cheaper than synthetic or natural slate and clay tile. However, its long-term durability and reduced need for seasonal maintenance means that those who live in their home for an extended period can enjoy a reasonable return on their investment with a metal roof.
Metal Roofs are Prone to Denting
Metal roofs are robust and designed to stand up to typical weather conditions. However, in areas that experience large-sized hail on a regular basis, some denting may occur, particularly if the roof is composed of a soft metal such as aluminum or copper. Those living in areas where this is a concern can avoid this problem by choosing metal roofing shingles, shakes or metal roofs that have patterned structures to provide additional rigidity. In addition, choosing higher-gauge steel can increase a metal roof’s durability.
Learn More About Metal Roofs from the Northern Virginia Roofing Contractors at Adelphia Exteriors
Whether you want to determine the suitability of a metal roof for an upcoming roof replacement or you are considering using this material on a new home, the professionals at Adelphia Exteriors can help. Contact us today to discuss the best materials for your roofing project.