Metal roofing is fast becoming America’s top choice for their roof—second only to asphalt shingles. But is it right for you? If your current roof is the cause of many costly headaches or you're looking to change up your aesthetic, consider this high-efficient, low-maintenance material.
Let’s look at the different metal roof options, their pros and cons, and costs, to try and find your perfect metal match.
Benefits of Metal Roofing
Metal roofing has plenty of other benefits than providing an idyllic soundscape during rainy days.
Durable & Long-lasting
A properly installed metal roof can last as long as the house—40 to 70 years! It’s also able to withstand most severe weather conditions from fire to winds up to 140 miles per hour. Plus, some metals won’t rust or corrode, calling for little to no maintenance.
Asphalt shingles are made with petroleum, a fossil fuel. And since they need replacing every 15 to 20 years, lots of old shingles go straight to landfills—20 billion pounds to be exact. Metal roofs are a more sustainable option since they’re made from 25% recycled materials and are 100% recyclable.
Metal roofs reflect sunlight rather than absorb it, which can reduce your cooling costs by about 25%. While metal roofs can be more expensive than other roofing materials, you’ll be making up for that difference come summertime.
Different Metal Roof Options: Pros & Cons
Within the overarching title of “metal roofing,” there are four main types of materials: aluminum, copper, zinc, and steel.
There are many pros to aluminum. It’s extremely lightweight, which will cause little stress to your home’s structure. It’s also corrosion-resistant, meaning it won’t rust, making it perfect for wet or coastal climates.
Aluminum is considered durable when compared to other roofing materials. However, it does dent more easily than steel. An additional con to consider is cost. This material is generally more expensive than steel, especially if you opt for a thicker grade to make it more resistant to denting.
Copper is a statement-making addition to any home, and over time it develops a gorgeous blue-green patina. Because of this, you can expect your copper roof to last at least 60 to 100 years or more. In fact, many historical buildings still have their copper roofs, proving this material can stand the test of time. Another pro of copper and its stunning patina is that it won’t corrode making it safe for coastal homes.
A major downside to copper is its cost. It’s one of the most expensive metal roofing materials and because of this, many homeowners opt for copper accents rather than a whole roof. Additionally, like aluminum, copper dents more easily than steel. You can avoid this by opting for thicker copper—20 ounces versus 16—but this will increase the cost by about 25%.
Similar to copper, zinc roofing is gorgeous and develops a distinctive blue-gray patina. It’s also corrosive-resistant and can last up to 100 years. As with copper, it’s very expensive, but it’s a worthy investment.
What makes zinc really unique is that it’s not common in the U.S. You’ll see it frequently on homes in Europe, but there are very few manufacturers in the U.S. Most of them import their zinc from Europe adding to the expense.
When people think of or talk about metal roofing, they’re usually referring to steel roofing because it’s the most common and economical metal roofing material. Of all the metal roofing options, steel is the cheapest—costing 35% less than aluminum and about a third of the price of copper or zinc. It’ll also last you 40 to 60 years, and while that’s not quite as long as copper, it’s still an incredible long-term value.
There are two key disadvantages to steel roofing to keep in mind. The first is that it’s not corrosive resistant, so it’s best for arid climates. If you live in an area with excessive moisture in the air, a steel roof could rust. The second disadvantage is that steel roofing is heavy, much heavier than aluminum, which could cause stress to your home’s internal structure.
Metal Roofing Costs
Here are the prices of the different roofing materials. These numbers indicate materials only and do not take into account installation costs.
- Steel: $2.00-$5.00 per sq. ft.
- Aluminum: $3.50-$6.50 per sq. ft.
- Copper: $13.00-$25.00 per sq. ft.
- Zinc: $13.00-$25.00 per sq. ft.
See if Metal Roofing is Right For You with HOVER
A metal roof is a perfect match for nearly any home. To see if it’s the right fit for your place, simply download the HOVER app. By using just a few pictures of your house captured via your smartphone, our software will create an interactive 3D model where you can test out different metal roofing options. Who knows, maybe a copper roof is just what you’re looking for!