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What is Metal Roofing?

By S. Mithra
Updated May 17, 2024
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Metal roofing can bring a home beauty, durability, and reduced energy costs. Available in countless colors, styles, and textures, this versatile type of roofing has several advantages over standard asphalt shingles. Many homeowners opt to install it for reliable protection against sun, wind, snow, and rain without sacrificing a striking visual effect.

In comparison to other roofing options, metal roofing provides distinct advantages. It's more durable than asphalt tiles, lasting between 30 and 60 years with a lesser degree of disintegration and decomposition. Metal can be more expensive to install, however. It is much lighter than other kinds of tiles, which puts less stress on your rafters and walls.

Metal is naturally extremely fire resistant, so those living in wildfire areas often feel safer with a fireproof surface. Ceramic tiles, also fire retardant, have a similar cost to metal roofing, but have a specific architectural style and heavier weight. With its better ability to contract and expand with heat, metal offers solid protection against hurricane winds, feet of snow, sleet and hailstorms, and heat waves.

The right style of metal roofing will complement any home's architecture, from Victorian to contemporary to Craftsman. This is because the metal can be coated with any color pigment or textured to resemble the striated grain of wood or the chiseled surface of slate. The arrangement of the sheets on the roof can also be completely customized, unlike the standard grid of shingles. Homeowners can have vertical slats, offset rows, small tiles, or large sheets to suit their preference.

Since metal roofing reflects a great deal of the sun's energy, it can end up saving a homeowner money over the life of the roof in electricity and heating costs. For instance, a light-colored roof could save 20% in air conditioning expenses in summer. While the cost of the roofing itself is relatively high, similar to wood shake, the cost of installation may be significantly lower because it can be installed directly over an existing asphalt roof with no demolition. In some states, metal roofing reduces a homeowner's insurance. People concerned about environmental impact also prefer this type of roofing because it can be constructed from a high percentage of recycled material.

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Discussion Comments

By roofwalker — On Jul 09, 2008

Metal roofing can save up to 40% in cooling costs and up to 38% on homeowners insurance. It reflects up to 70% of the solar radiation absorbed in your attic by asphalt roofing, and also cools your home by re-emitting up to 90% of the absorbed solar radiation. Metal roofing is also light enough that it can be installed directly over your existing roofing saving the landfill.

By sheds — On Apr 19, 2008

It's an excellent post, which described pros and cons of metal roofing.


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