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Pros and Cons of Various Metal Roofing Materials Pros and Cons of Various Metal Roofing Materials

Pros and Cons of Various Metal Roofing Materials

Metal roofing has some clear advantages over conventional options. They have a long lifespan, are fire-resistant, and easy to install. Elemental factors play a role in finding the best type of metal for your home. Check out this list of the main types of metal most commonly used in roofing.

Copper Roof

Copper roofing is the oldest material 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 with contact from 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.

Overall, metal roofs provide a great eco-friendly option for both residential and commercial buildings. Contact a professional roofer to help you pick the right type of metal for your climate and region today.


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– Aaron J, Elizabethtown, PA

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