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What You Need to Know About Metal Roofs

November , 2022 | 14 min. read

By Joe Martinez

standing seam metal roof

Whether we like it or not, there will come a day when it's time to replace the roof on our homes. The question is whether you should replace it with shingles or choose to replace your existing roof with metal. Once relegated to high-end homes, metal roofs are now available to the masses. That’s because the cost and complexity of installing a metal roof have come down significantly in the past few years. Today, fifteen percent of all roofing installations are metal. 

Our family here at RoofCrafters has been installing metal roofs for families just like yours, one roof at a time since 1993.  We love the luxurious look that a metal roof adds to a home just as much as you do, but we also know there are some apprehensions and questions that can come along with the big change. 

If you’ve been thinking about changing your roof from shingles to metal, allow us to provide you with some food for thought. In this article, you'll learn the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about metal roofs, such as how long they last, how noisy they can be, if they rust, and many more. Let's dive in!

What Are My Metal Roofing Options?


should i get a metal roof


Over the past 20 years, metal roofing has become one of the most desired roofs in the industry. Metal roofing was popular in the early 1900s. And even with its recent reemergence of popularity, you won’t find many houses in neighborhoods that have metal roofs. But why? We attribute this to the upfront costs of metal.

You can expect to pay two to three times more for a metal roof than you’d pay for asphalt shingles. In some cases, metal can even cost four or five times the cost of a standard shingle roof. The cost will vary depending on the metal type, the panel profile, and the installation method. To get a realistic idea of cost, you’ll need to understand the three factors to choose the roof type that’s right for you. Aluminum, steel, and galvalume are the 3 most popular types of metal roofing.

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Aluminum Roofing


Aluminum is one of the most natural energy-efficient metal roof materials out there. It is highly reflective, fire-resistant, and non-corrosive. So, if you live on or near saltwater this would be a great choice for metal roofing material because it will not rust. Aluminum roofing comes in different thicknesses and typically for roofing we use a .032, .040, or .050 mil thickness. The higher the number the thicker the aluminum roofing. Thicknesses of .032 and .040 are the most popular on residential roofs.

contrast color home-1-1

Aluminum comes in a mill finish or with a paint finish. Mill finish will provide you with a raw metal look and it will oxidize into a naturally beautiful raw metal finish. It comes in a wide variety of paint colors too. Most of the paint finishes come with a 40-year paint warranty with some manufacturers offering a 45-year paint finish warranty.

Steel Roofing


Steel roofing is the most popular material used for metal roofing. Steel roofing is galvanized steel that is hot-dipped or coated in a zinc coating. Steel is less costly and can be as effective and efficient as other metal roofing materials. The steel most commonly used for roofing is 24 gauge, 26 gauge, and 29 gauge. Don't be fooled, unlike aluminum, the lower the number the thicker the steel metal roofing.

metal roof house

Because steel is a corrosive metal, steel roofing requires a paint finish. Paint finish warranties range from 20 years to 45 years. Depending on the thickness, type of panel, and metal roofing manufacturer you choose. Steel roofing can be cost-effective. It offers a wider range of prices depending on which profile you want, the thickness of the metal, and the paint warranty. 

Galvalume Roofing


Galvalume is also a metal that has a steel core and is coated with aluminum to prevent corrosion. Galvalume is much like steel roofing and comes in the same thicknesses, 24 gauge, 26 gauge, or 29 gauge. It’s also available in all 4 of the different panel profiles.

standing seam metal roof with valleys

The main difference with galvalume, it only comes as a mill-finish metal. If you want a paint color you must go with an aluminum or steel roof. This makes it slightly less expensive and easier to install. The painted materials can get scratched during installation if it’s not handled carefully. It’s also a great option to use around or anywhere near saltwater.

Are Metal Roofs Noisy?


Most people tend to think that metal roofs are noisier in the rain than traditional asphalt or tile roofs, but that isn't exactly the case. Why? Well, your roofing material of choice, in this case, metal, isn't installed directly over your living space; there is an entire roof deck separating the two.  Due to the roof deck, metal roofs can actually reduce noise from rain, hail, and other extreme weather conditions we Floridians often face more effectively than others.  

Do Metal Roofs Rust?


Depending on the type of material used on a roof, it can last anywhere from
15 to 70 years or more, provided it is installed correctly and maintained properly.
3-Tab asphalt shingles can last from 15 to 20 years.  Architectural shingles, typically last from 20 to 30 years on average. That’s because they’re up to three times thicker than 3-tab asphalt shingles. Terracotta roofs last up to 50-years, but they’re twice as expensive as architectural shingles.
Metal roofs can last up to 70 years, depending on the type of metal used. Like terracotta roofs, you can expect to pay more for a metal roof, but you’ll recoup the cost down the road as long as you intend to stay in your home for years to come.Are Metal Roofs Noisy?
Some homeowners refuse to consider a metal roof because they fear the noise will be unbearable every time it rains, but this is hardly the case.  Once installed over plywood sheathing and underlayment, a metal roof is only 5-decibels louder during a driving rainstorm than an architectural shingle, according to This Old House.
They’re also far more durable during everything from hailstorms to wildfires.  Due to their high reflectivity, they’re more energy-efficient than a shingle roof.  
During the summer months, metal roofs are actually 50 degrees cooler than their asphalt equivalent.  Best of all, they’re nearly maintenance-free provided they’re installed properly.
 Do Metal Roofs Rust?

There are four different metals used in houses nowadays: aluminum, copper, steel, and galvalume.  Choosing the right one for your home comes down to two factors – local conditions and price.  If you live near the ocean and are worried about corrosion, aluminum, copper, or zinc roofs are impervious to salt air. 

What’s Included in a Metal Roof Warranty?

They are pricier than a pre-painted galvanized steel roof.  However, an aluminum roof is lighter than other kinds of metal roofs and it has a higher strength to weight ratio than other metals, which makes it an ideal roofing material for hurricane-prone areas.Are Metal Roofs Prone to Lightning Strikes?

Absolutely not. Not only are metal roofs, no more likely to be hit by lightning than roofs covered with singles, but if they are stuck, they are 100% noncombustible. Typically made of steel with a protective zinc coating, a galvanized roof is also resistant to rust and high winds that accompany electrical storms.
They are also less costly than other types of metal roofs without sacrificing longevity since they typically last up to 60-years. But they do need to have their protective zinc coating reapplied every 20-years. Terne roofs are composed of stainless steel sandwiched between layers of tin, are also highly corrosion and weather resistant.
Corrugated metal roofs are also some of the most affordable steel roofing systems on the market. The downside is they have exposed fasteners and require more maintenance than other metal roofs.

If you want the look of a slate or tile roof with the price and durability of steel, one of these products could be just the ticket.  However, the real reason some homeowners choose these over actual tile or slate roofs is the price and weight differential.
Metal slate and tile roof panels look like the real McCoy, but they cost half as much.  They’re also much lighter than tile or slate, which means you won’t have to risk your roof caving in after a rainstorm. Not only are clay tiles heavier, to begin with, but they can also absorb up to 15% of their weight in water.
 What’s Included in a Metal Roof Warranty?

While many traditional roofing companies offer “Lifetime Warranties” on shingle roofs, you need to read the fine print of each company's warranty. Far from guaranteeing a roof for life, some roofing companies and manufacturers define a lifespan as short as 5 years depending on the severity of the climate in a given area.

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According to State Farm Insurance, a homeowner will typically replace their home’s shingles 2-3 times over the course of 50 years, while those who install a metal roof will rarely have to install a second roof since they typically last from 40-70 years. Metal roofs are also impervious to fire, rot, and damage by insects and rodents.

Is a Metal Roof a Good Fit for My Home?


When determining if a certain type or style of roofing is best suited for you, it all comes down to personal preference and budget. Also, it never hurts to get in touch with a local roofing contractor to come out for an inspection and help you decide your ultimate decision.

If you’re just starting out the process of delving into all things metal roofs, you’re probably getting ready to find and hire a local roofing contractor. To locate a great local roofing contractor that’s the best fit for you, RoofCrafters has provided a checklist of questions to ask your local roofing contractor, along with the right answers that you need to get back when you meet with these roofing contractors.

If you are in the South Carolina, Georgia, or Florida area, drop us a line on our contact page to begin your metal roof project. If you’d like to learn more about roofing services, feel free to browse the extensive resources located in our learning center.

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Joe Martinez

At RoofCrafters, our mission is to provide job opportunities for others to thrive and grow while making a meaningful impact within our communities.