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Metal Roofing Materials Compared: Copper, Aluminum, Zinc, & Steel

May 12, 2022

A large two-story home featuring a beautiful, dark-colored metal roofMetal roofing has some clear advantages over conventional options. They have a long lifespan, are fire-resistant, and are easy to install, in addition to being stylish and durable. Elemental factors play a role in finding the best type of metal roofing material for your home, so it’s essential to do your research before deciding on a specific style. Check out this list of the main types of metal most commonly used in roofing and how they may or may not be a great option for your home.

Copper Roof

Copper roofing is one of the oldest materials used around the world. It can last for 200 years or more in ideal conditions. From an environmental standpoint, they are 100% recyclable. Copper gives your roof a unique look, but because it is in demand, it is more expensive than other options.

Copper is a softer metal with a lower melting temperature. It is not ideal for some regions with extremely hot temperatures. In areas prone to hail, copper roofs may become dented or bent out of shape. While this is a problem, it can still be a better option than harder metals punctured by heavy hail. The soft material is one of the quieter options when it comes to rainfall on the metal.

Aluminum Roof

Aluminum has a resistance to salt making it desirable in coastal communities. The outer layer of aluminum oxidizes from contact with the oxygen in the atmosphere, sealing the metal from any future corrosion. This protective layer gives the aluminum a longer life.

A full aluminum roof, like copper, is more expensive than aluminum-plated options. Sometimes in an effort to reduce cost, the panels of aluminum are too thin. Hail and heavy winds can damage the roof, creating leaking, holes, and other problems.

Zinc Roof

Zinc has a natural ability to mold into many shapes, giving it an advantage for commercial buildings. It has a lower melting point, requiring ¼ of the energy it takes to process steel or copper. It is also 100% recyclable, making it an environmentally-friendly option.

Over time, zinc develops chalking—a white powder on the surface. This is not necessarily an attractive quality but washing can help. Water can also make a discoloration pattern on the roof’s surface if left unpainted. Hail and high winds can cause damage depending on the thickness and design of the panel.

Steel Roof

Steel is one of the most common types of metal roofing. Known for durability and strength, it offers a reliable solution for both commercial and residential buildings. Steel is one of the most reused materials on the planet. It also makes it one of the least expensive options on the list. There are three main types of steel roofs:

  • Galvanized steel – Galvanized steel has a layer of zinc on the inside to prevent corrosion.
  • Galvalume steel – Similar to galvanized, but with a coating of aluminum and zinc for better protection against salt and other environmental elements.
  • Weathering steel – Weathering steel was originally designed for bridge construction. It does intentionally rust and is not normally used for an entire roof but may be an accent section instead.

Metal Roofing Made Easy

Overall, metal roofs provide a great eco-friendly option for both residential and commercial buildings. However, your roofing materials are only as good as the company that’s installing them. After all, you can have a great metal roof but, if it’s not installed properly, it won’t function as well as it should. Fortunately, you can turn to the local metal roofing experts at Erie Metal Roofs.

Since 1976, we’ve helped over 100,000 satisfied customers get the metal roof of their dreams with 40,000 of them coming back for additional home improvement services. Our metal roofs are constructed using investment-grade, stone-coated steel roofing panels designed to stand the test of time. All of our technicians are highly experienced and factory trained, and we proudly maintain an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. For additional peace of mind, we offer a no-nonsense, Lifetime Limited Warranty that is transferable to the next homeowner, so your investment will always be protected.

Contact Us Today

For more information on top-of-the-line metal roofs from Erie Metal Roofs, contact us today. We’re happy to walk you through our products and services, answer any questions you may have, and even give you a free quote for your project.

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The installation team was a real pleasure dealing with. They were very polite, friendly and knowledgeable. They even took the time to make a cozy hang out in our yard with the fire ring and...
Dianne M.
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Great company. Good product and reasonable prices. Very professional. As a construction worker myself it's nice to see a contractor that is on the ball. I would definitely hire them again!
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The Sales reps were very informative and respected the fact that I had done significant research in advance. As such, I had to keep prompting them to skip the sales pitch and get to the...
Gary S.
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I'm most satisfied with the aesthetics of the overall job. The roof seems to be doing a great job, and I don't have any problems with my roof anymore.
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Great company great experience. We love our roof and appreciate the salesman and install crews. We would defiantly recommend Erie to anyone.
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