You’ve seen it on houses around your neighborhood. Maybe you’ve stopped by a booth at your local home show and talked to a sales rep. Now that your asphalt shingles need replacement, you are seriously considering metal roofing for your home. What are the benefits? Besides the high cost, are there any other cons to this style of roofing?
Consider the good news first. Metal roofing is a green alternative. Besides being made of recycled materials, metal roofs are actually more energy efficient for your home. An older study (1985) reported that homeowners saved up to 20% on their heating bills using metal over other more traditional styles of roofing.
Also, because the metal sheets are so lightweight they can be installed directly over your existing shingles, eliminating the need to dispose of them and saving space in the landfill. Because of the durability of this style of roof, you may never need to replace it which also saves landfill space in the future.
Roofing industry experts say that the 20 to 40 year warranty most metal roofs carry is fairly conservative. A properly installed aluminum or steel roof should last much longer. That means that the inflated price up front will be spread over the extended life of your roof. Also, when you consider that there is virtually no maintenance necessary over that long life, it adds up to less hassle and unexpected repair costs.
Safety is another plus. Metal roofing is fire resistant and may even qualify you for a reduction in your home insurance. Ask your broker to confirm whether that applies in the area you live.
The appearance of metal roofing is both a pro and a con, depending on what your tastes are. Many homeowners like the look of standing seam steel roofs. These sheets have a lip on one side that fits over top of the next sheet, giving it an historical, seamed look. Other types of metal, such as aluminum, are often shaped and formed to resemble slate or tile roofing. Some are even made to look like shingles.
This is where other homeowners find the appearance slightly unattractive. Because of the shine and glare that metal roofs can have (especially when wet), the formed styles may look artificial. Try opting for a sleeker, more traditional metal roof style. To ensure a genuine look, think of the historic buildings that have steel or copper roofs (the Washington Monument and many European structures) and replicate that classic appearance.
Metal roofing is installed in large sections, making it more difficult to alter during a renovation. Putting on an addition to your steel roofed building may mean major roofing work is added to the cost. Also, because it lasts so long, the look of your roof can’t be easily changed once the metal is up.
Besides those appearance and alteration issues, many homeowners balk at the upfront cost of metal roofing. Generally, it will run around 3 times the cost of standard asphalt shingles. Weigh that cost over the life of your roof for the best comparison. That means that if the roof lasts three times as long (and that’s not unreasonable to expect), it will be the same cost over the long term.
If you aren’t living in the home of your dreams or have serious plans to move in the next decade, metal roofing is less likely to pay off for you. The material may increase the value of your home, but it may also deter potential buyers if they aren’t sold on the idea.
Metal roofs are not loud and are built to be resistant to hail storms and strong winds. They come in a variety of different finishes and are an environmentally friendly alternative. Metal roofing does offer lifelong protection for a premium price. You just need to decide whether that price is worth it to you.