Metal roofing has drastically gained in popularity over the last decade as homeowners and builders have become increasingly aware of its many benefits. Long service life, energy savings, and superior wind resistance are just a few of the advantages of metal roofing.
Metal as a roofing material is nothing new and, in fact, dates back as far as the 9th century B.C. Today’s metal roofing is much different of course, and in the last 20 years new metal roofing materials have hit the market – a whole family of products that look like shingles, tile, wood shakes, or slate.
Still the most common metal roofing system is the vertical panel. It’s probably the one you’re most familiar with and conjures up images of barn roofs or farm houses. Different profiles in vertical panels, however, are available in a wide range of materials and colors. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll narrow it down to two profiles: exposed-fastener and standing-seam. Exposed-fastener panels are those panels that are attached to the roof deck below by fastening through the panel itself. Nails or screws with rubber washers keep the water out. Standing-seam panels are attached to the roof deck with clips or fastening strips. Those clips or fastening strips are concealed by the next panel. In terms of water-tightness and maintenance, standing-seam is the better product.
A few things to look for in a metal roof: the material and the finish.
Metal roofing materials include galvanized steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc alloys. All have properties that will affect the price, longevity, and appearance of the roof. Our recommendation for a metal roof material is for a Galvalume®. Galvalume® is 55% aluminum-zinc alloy coated steel sheet that gives you the strength and rigidity of steel and the corrosion-resistance of aluminum. Most, if not all, metal manufacturers offer products made with Galvalume®
Two types of finishes / coatings are predominate in metal roofing. Siliconized-polyester is an economical and long-lasting coating and has been used for years. Kynar 500®/Hylar 5000® fluorocarbon coatings have excellent color retention, chalking resistance, and durability. Both are excellent coatings and will carry finish warranties from 20-30years. If you are considering a deeper, darker color for your metal roof, we recommend a Kynar 500® / Hylar 5000® finish. These products feature a Kynar 500® PVDF resin-based coating and finish. Kynar 500® is a registered trademark belonging to Arkema Inc.
Copper, stainless steel, and zinc are unpainted metals used in roofing. Copper is probably the more popular material and can make a striking addition to any building. Copper is a highly durable material that should last in the neighborhood of 50 years. Although there are products to keep copper from weathering or “turning”, copper will turn first to a medium brown and much further down the road, becoming a patina green. The downside of copper is a higher upfront cost than other metals and it is a soft metal and will show “oil-canning” or waviness more.
Again, some advantages of metal roofing include long lifespan, energy-savings, wind resistance, environmentally -friendly, and fire-resistant. The average life of a non-metal roof is 17 years whereas metal roofing will last 2 to 3 times longer, possibly the last roof you will have installed. While other roofing materials begin to deteriorate the minute they are installed, metal roofing is resistant to UV rays and high winds.
Lighter colors of metal roofing reflect heat effectively and many colors are ENERGY STAR® rated – some manufacturers color offerings are virtually all ENERGY STAR® rated. Tax credits are available for metal roof installations and metal roofing can qualify for points in the LEED program.