Metal Roofing Materials
In order to select the right metal roofing materials for your home or business, you will need to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the various options available from modern roofing companies. Copper, aluminum, and steel are the most popular types of metal roofing. All offer significant advantages over traditional asphalt roofing materials, but they have very different applications for modern residential or business buildings. Here’s an overview of the major differences between these popular products.
Types of Metal Roofing Materials
Steel is one of the most popular types of metal roofing for its high strength and relatively low price. Compared to traditional roofing materials, steel offers a much longer lifespan, better environmental sustainability, better strength and a lower long-term cost. Steel can usually withstand winds of 110-150 mph and can provide excellent leak-free service for 50 years or more.
Most steel roofing materials are made from galvanized steel, although stainless steel is also popular in some parts of the United States. Stainless steel has a very unusual and distinct look, however, and galvanized steel is generally preferable for residential use.
The major disadvantage of steel is that it can rust, so manufacturers typically cover their steel roofing products with a zinc or zinc-aluminum anti-corrosive coating. This coating lasts for about 20 years on average, at which point it needs to be reapplied. Steel roofing materials typically have a rating that indicates the amount of the zinc coating used in each square foot of metal. For example, G-90 galvanized steel has 0.90 ounces of coating per square foot.
As with other types of roofing, steel roofs come in many different colors and designs, including stone-coated steel and painted steel. Kynar paint offers additional protection against corrosion and oxidation.
If steel roofing materials are properly coated, they are a durable, strong choice for residential or business use. Steel roofing companies often remove an existing roof to install a steel roof, but steel roofing can be installed over existing roofing in some circumstances.
Copper roofing is beautiful, malleable and soft. It naturally resists corrosion thanks to the verdigris that forms over copper as it weathers. Because of this, copper usually doesn’t need any sort of extra coating. Its light weight means that it puts less structural stress on a building. It is an ideal material for areas that regularly see heavy snowfall.
Copper roofing gradually changes color as it ages due to the verdigris pigment, so older roofs take on a beautiful greenish hue. This creates a striking effect that appeals to many home and business owners. Copper looks great naturally and doesn’t need to be painted.
Although copper roofing has a number of desirable aesthetic traits, it is much more expensive than steel roofing. While many homeowners use copper shingles to roof small buildings, you might find that a full copper roof is prohibitively expensive for a residential home. However, copper is an excellent choice for commercial roofing in some areas because of its high material value. If a commercial building needs to be demolished, its copper roof can be recycled and sold for a decent return on the initial investment.
Strength is another factor to consider. Copper roofing is softer than steel and may take on dents and scratches more easily. If you live in an area that regularly experiences thunderstorms and hail, you should consider the potential added expenses of occasional dent repair. Shingles and sheets of copper metal roofing are available.
Aluminum is one of the most energy efficient metal roofing materials. It naturally reflects light and emits heat, so it can help you save on your electric bill. It’s also lightweight and extremely durable, although aluminum roofing is not as strong as corrugated galvanized steel. Aluminum roofing is more expensive than steel but generally less expensive than copper.
While aluminum has some natural resistance to rust, it still needs an anti-corrosive coating. Many different styles and colors are available. Aluminum is stronger than copper and lighter than steel.
Do not put two dissimilar metal roofing materials together, as this will cause corrosion. Regardless of which type of metal roofing materials you choose, you will also need to buy through an experienced supplier. Reputable suppliers generally offer a warranty against rust, which will help you to ensure a long lifespan for your new roof. They will also provide wind ratings and other crucial information that you can use to choose an appropriate roofing material for the building.