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13 Types of Metal Roofing

As a homeowner, one of the most critical aspects of your house is the roof. If you are interested in learning more about the different types of metal roofs, including their positives and negatives, continue reading this article.

Blue sky, large open geen field with green trees, top of a metal roof. sunny day

As a homeowner, one of the most critical aspects of your house is the roof. Roofs protect your home and the contents it contains. A roof also improve the value of your home and add to its curb appeal. 

When it is time to replace your roof, it is essential that you have all the information to make the best choice for your needs, budget, and personal preference. Unfortunately, you may not even be aware of all the options available to you.

If you are like most homeowners, when you think of a roof, you automatically think about asphalt shingle roofs. However, there are many different types of roofs, including metal ones. There are a large number of benefits and options that come along with a metal roof. 

A metal roof is low maintenance and lasts for a long time. Metal roofs come in different materials, styles, sizes, and colors. They also have different panel sizes from which you can choose. 

If you are interested in learning more about the different types of metal roofs, including their positives and negatives, continue reading this article to get all of the information you need.

Types of Metal Roofing

Aluminum Roofing

Open green field with sun shining, old wooden fence, log cabin with brown metal roof

Aluminum is one of the lightest roofing materials you can find on the market. Even though it is lightweight, it is not a weak material. On the contrary, it is durable roofing material. The strength to weight ratio is the highest for aluminum roofing when compared to all the other roofing metals. 

This ratio means that aluminum provides the same amount of strength as a heavier material. In addition, it is easier to install than other metals because it is lighter and easy to carry. 

The panels of an aluminum roof are intended for an architectural roof and not a structural roof. They are easy to maintain and come in many color options. Aluminum resists corrosion and does not rust. It is perfect for areas that receive heavy rains as well as those on the coast. 

Aluminum roofing is so light that it weighs about five pounds per square foot. This means there is less stress on your house when you have an aluminum roof. It is also malleable, making it easy to construct different profiles and designs. 

Aluminum is more likely to dent than other metal roof materials, especially steel. This is more likely when you live in an area that has extreme weather like hail. It may also dent from the weight of heavy branches or debris. 

Copper Roof

Blue sky with white clouds, upper view of city and buiding with a copper roof

A copper roof is a long lasting roof that has a unique look. It stands out and cannot be mistaken for another material. As copper roofing ages, it changes color as it develops a protective layer. The color changes from that of a shiny new penny to a brown patina or blue-green color. 

Many homeowners select copper because of its unique colors. The color the roof turns depends on the area in which you live. Copper roofing is one of the most expensive metal materials for a roof. It has the highest of all the metal roofing costs. You can also find copper tiles, panels, sheets, and shingles. 

Copper roofs have a long lifespan and can outlive just about any other type of roofing material. It can last as long, anywhere from 60 years to longer than 100 years. As a result, you are likely to find a copper roof on historic buildings

Copper also becomes corrosion resistant as it changes color. So not only does it give the roof a unique color, but it also provides a layer of protection against rust.

You are more likely to see copper used as an accent for a roof instead of the entire roof because it is an expensive material. In addition, copper is a softer material and can be dented by debris or hail. Copper can be found in two thickness, which is 16 ounce and 20 ounces. 

Tin Roofing

Close up of a stormy sky, tin roof

Tin roofs are rarely used today. In modern roofing, if you hear the term tin roof, it is often referring to steel roofing. However, there was a time when tin was used for roofs.

Tin roofs are made from rolled steel that is then coated with tin. The tin is bonded chemically to steel. This helps prevent the roof from cracking, which means it is more durable. 

Tin has been used for roofing since the 1700s, but it was not used in the U.S. since the late 1800s. Nevertheless, it has become a standard material because it is light and easy to install. 

Over the past 100 years, tin has fallen out of favor as a roofing material. Aluminum was used instead. This makes tin no longer available. As a result, you are unlikely to find the material to be used for your roof. 

Zinc Roof

Blue sky, white home with gold trimed windows and a gray zinc roof

Zinc roof is incredibly similar to copper. It has a beautiful and unique look to it that will patina over time. Many of the zinc panels used today are one of two styles. One is pre-patinated, and the other is one that has not developed a protective layer that will change its color. 

A zinc roof is popular and common throughout Europe. It did not catch on in popularity in the U.S. because it was expensive. Zinc has a striking appearance, and it really stands out. 

When the zinc is exposed to carbon dioxide and moisture in the air, the protective layer of zinc carbonate forms. This is also the process that gives the roof a gray or blue patina. 

In addition to changing the color, this process creates a protective layer that prevents it from rusting and corroding. This is especially important for those living on the coast. 

A zinc roof will last anywhere from 80 years to longer than 100 years. It is considered a lifetime roof. Partially due to their durability and longevity, zinc roofs are expensive. When the roof patinas, it may create a chalky residue in the areas where water runs off. 

Some homeowners do not like the white streaks left behind. In addition, zinc panels are difficult to find because there are only a few manufacturers of zinc materials. Zinc roofing costs more than many other roofing materials.

Steel Roofing

Arial view of a tropical yellow hotel with teal steel roof, palm trees

A steel roof is the most common type of metal roofing material available. It does come in different finishes, so they each have a different look. However, when you hear the term metal roof, this is the material to which most people are referring. 

Steel is an alloy that is made from iron and other elements. While steel was commonly used on commercial buildings, it is now being used for residential roofs. This is because they are affordable, long lasting, and require low maintenance. 

Steel roofing does not need a large amount of maintenance, especially when compared to other types of roofs. However, it is helpful to remove debris on a regular basis. This includes removing branches, leaves, and other debris from gutters. When they are not removed, it can cause corrosion on the roof. 

Steel roofs must have an annual inspection and washing. A steel metal roof does not rot or mildew. Therefore, it can resist a rodent or termite infestation. Not only that, but it is fire-resistant, as well. As long as it is installed properly, a steel roof has a Class A fire rating making it perfect for areas with wildfires. 

A steel roof is the least expensive of all the other metal roofs. This type of roof will last about 40 years to 60 years, as long as it is installed correctly. A steel roof is strong, and it can resist warping, chipping, or cracking. It can survive winds as strong as 140 miles per hour, as well as impacts from falling objects. 

Steel roofs are heavier than most other metal roofs, which puts more stress on your house. In addition, it does not resist corrosion well and is not ideal for a house that is in an area with a large amount of moisture. 

Corrugated Roof

Close up of a blue sky with white fluffy clouds, house with gray corrugated roof and white gutters

A corrugated roof is made from a metal sheet that has been rolled into a form to create metal roofing panels. These metal panels are then attached to the roof using screws. These panels are considered exposed fastener panels. This means that the fasteners are visible on the surface of the panel. 

The corrugated panels have a traditional shape that is wavy and round. This roof is lightweight, affordable, durable, long lasting, energy efficient, and simple to install. Due to their durability, these metal roofing panels are ideal for residential and commercial roofs. 

These sheets of metal are more durable and strong because they have been corrugated. This corrugation process folds the metal to give it ridges and grooves. Steel already has a high tensile strength, and corrugation increases it further. 

Corrugated metal roofs have steel coils. The roof has a layer underneath that is typically galvanized. They may be painted or left unpainted. 

Slate Metal Roof

Close up of a cloudy sun setting sky and a gray slate metal roof

A slate metal roof combines the classic beauty of a slate roof and metal. This roofing material reproduces the beauty of slate with a metal roof coating. It has aluminum panels that interlock with fasteners that are concealed.

Slate metal resists wind and does not rust. It lasts longer than slate but is available at a lower price. This type of roofing provides homeowners with a roofing option that looks like slate but with the benefits of aluminum. 

Tile – Inspired Roof

Blue sky, white clouds, red brick house with brown tile roof

A tile-inspired roof is a metal tile roof that looks like a ceramic tile roof but has the benefits of metal while removing some of the disadvantages of tile. It is lighter in weight than a traditional ceramic roof. Many people prefer clay tile roofs. From the road, your roof will look like tile roofing, and most people will not be able to believe that it is, in fact, metal.

Metal Shake Roof

Gray sky, close up of metal shake roof

A metal shake roof is intended to look like a hand-split cedar shake. A homeowner selects this type of roof because they want a roof that looks wood shakes but provides benefits that only metal can offer. In addition, this roof has a distinct and unique look. 

A metal shake roof panel comes in different sizes. They are attached to the roof deck with concealed clip systems or a flange nailed into the top of the shingle. These panels are installed in a staggered pattern. This helps to prevent repetition. In addition, this roof style has more texture and dimension.

Metal shake singles are typically constructed from steel or aluminum. If they are steel, they are coated with a post forming stone coat. 

Standing Seam Metal Roofing

light blue sky, tops of green and yellwo trees, white home with a gray sanding seam metal roof

Standing seam roofing is one of the more familiar, popular, and common patterns for a roof. Batten roofing and standing seam roofing are similar in many ways, but they have some differences. First, they are clearly metal roofs in appearance. This roof has ribs that are raised, and every 6, 9, or 12 inches are run vertically along with the panels. 

A standing seam roof is self-sealing and has raised ribs along the edges of the panel that interlock to provide a water tight seal. The ribs of a standing seam metal roof come in varying widths, typically 3/4 to 1 1/2 inches high and 1/2 to 3/4 inch wide. As a result, each system you find has variations in appearance, seal effectiveness, and ease of use. 

Standing seam sheets are sold in different sizes. The most common sizes are 3 feet wide by 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 feet long. Custom sizes are also available. The large sizes of the panels allow standing seam metal roofs to be quicker to install.

Batten Roofing

Batten roofing construction in progress, roof with wooden boards then metal roofing peices being placed over top

Batten roofing is the other familiar, popular, and common pattern for a roof. Standing seam roofing and batten roofing are similar in many ways, but they have some differences. First, they are clearly metal roofs in appearance. This roof has ribs that are raised, and every 6, 9, or 12 inches are run vertically along with the panels. 

Batten roofing has a wider cover cap, typically around 2 1/2 inches wide. It also has matching metal parts that are specially made for ridges, hips, edges, and connections.

Batten sheets are sold in various sizes. The most common sizes are 3 feet wide by 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16 feet long. These panels are large and quicker to install.

Screw Down Panel Metal Roof

Man in a brown jacket and black work gloves using an electric screwdriver to screw in metal roofing panels

This type of roofing is also referred to as an exposed fastener roof. The type of roof is installed by screws that are screwed straight through the panel. When this is done, it leaves no room for expansion and contraction. 

When there is no room for expansion and contraction, the screws eventually make the holes in the metal panels larger and will no longer stay secure. When this happens, you will have to contact a metal roofing contractors to replace the screws with the next size up. 

Sheet Metal Roofing

Bright blue sky, silver sheet metal

Sheet metal roofing goes by many different names, mainly based on the different profiles. These panels may be called face-fastened panels, screw-down panels, or through-fastened panels. Sheet metal is typically manufactured from galvanized steel in a thickness that ranges from 24 gauge to 30 gauge

For sheet metal roofing, there are large sheets, or panels, of different widths and lengths that overlap each other. These panels also have exposed fasteners. It can be painted or unpainted. 

Sheet roofing is the most affordable type of metal roofing. They also tend to be a lower quality metal. It is also easy to install. Sheet metal roofing does not last as long as other metal materials.

Which Type of Metal Roof is Best? 

Copper is the best roof material you can buy because it lasts too long. This is considered a lifetime roof material, as it can last for longer than 200 years. It has been used for centuries across the globe. It is considered the grandfather in the metal roofing industry. 

Copper is also a green material because it is 100 percent recyclable. Copper is also a soft material, which makes it a quiet roof, also. However, it is not the best material for a region that gets a large amount of hail, as that will damage the roof. One upside to copper is that a giant piece of hail will only dent the material. It will not puncture it as may happen with other metals. 

Copper is incredibly expensive, which may make it out of reach for some homeowners. However, if you consider how long the roof is going to last, it may not seem as expensive over the long term. 

What is the Best Metal Roof For Residential Applications?

A copper roof may not be something that every homeowner can afford. As a result, aluminum and stainless steel are great metal options for residential roofs. However, there are some factors to consider when determining the best metal roofing material. 

These include the cost because your budget is key. The strength of the material also matters, including the climate of the home. Consider the roof’s exposure to snow, rain, and direct sunlight. 

You also want to consider how much weight the house can hold. It is critical to consider the sustainability of the material and how much maintenance is required from you. It would be best if you considered the run-off of water that will have contact with your roof. The availability of the material matters also. 

Is Metal Roofing Worth the Price?

A metal roof is always more expensive than a nonmetal roof. Sometimes, metal roofing material is two to three times more expensive than other materials. Therefore, obtaining a metal roof for your home is an investment in your home.

It makes the most sense and is worth the price if you plan to stay in the house for a long time. The longer you stay in the home after installing a metal roof allows you to reap the return on the cost. 

A metal roof has a typical life expectancy of anywhere from 40 years to well over 100 years, depending on the material. In addition, metal roofs are safer as they will not spark or catch on fire as a result of lighting or wildfire. 

They are also energy efficient and friendly to the environment. In addition, metal roofs are 100 percent recyclable and typically contain about 25 percent to 95 percent recycled material. 

What is the Cheapest Metal Roofing?

The cheapest metal roofing material is corrugated metal. This type of material is typically made from galvanized steel. This is the most common type of metal roofing material. 

The average cost of corrugated metal is typically less than $3 per square foot. It varies, but you can often find it for less than that. Most other types of metal roofing material are going to be much higher than that per square foot. 

It is critical to carefully select roofing material, especially as you are finding low prices on it. Most often, lower prices equal lesser quality materials. Therefore, you must carefully select your metal roofing materials. 

Are Metal Roofs Better Than Shingles?

Most roofers install asphalt roofs more often than metal ones. Each one has its own positives and negatives. From an affordability standpoint, asphalt is the better option because it is less expensive. It is several thousands of dollars cheaper than a metal roof.

However, this is the only place where asphalt roofing materials rise above metal materials. And the cost may not matter too much if you plan to stay in the house for a long time. 

A metal roof is going to last much longer than an asphalt shingle roof. An asphalt roof absorbs water, which has a cycle of freezing and drying. This can cause the structure of the asphalt shingles to break down. This shortens the life of a roof with asphalt shingles. 

In general, roofs do not require a large amount of maintenance, regardless of the material. However, an asphalt shingle roof does require a small amount of maintenance, and a metal one requires even less than that. Asphalt roof shingles are fire resistant, but metal roofs offer better, more effective resistance. 

Metal roofs are better able to withstand extreme weather elements, such as hail. In addition, both materials are recyclable; however, most asphalt roofs are not recycled because of the time and cost intensive process to separate and recycle them. 

Metal roofs, on the other hand, can be used for scrap and are almost always recycled. In addition, metal roofs are more energy efficient. They are reflective and absorb less heat, which helps the roof stay cooler. 

Can a Metal Roof Be Installed Over Shingles?

Most of the time, yes, metal roofs can be installed directly over an existing roof with shingles. This is one of the reasons that homeowners are turning towards metal roofs. The old roofing material does not need to be ripped up for the installation of the new roof. This helps to reduce the time and cost of installation. 

Due to the lighter weight of the metal, installing the metal over shingles does not add a significant amount of weight to the house. You can even give you the extra benefit of having more insulation when you have one type of roof over another. 

It is essential that you ensure the current roof does not have holes or problem areas. If it does, you want to fix those before you put another roof on top of it. You also need to verify the zoning rules for your area to ensure metal over asphalt roofing materials is allowed. 

Are Metal Roofs Loud When it Rains?

No, metal roofs are not loud in the rain. There was a time when they were loud; however, the material and process for installing a metal roof has improved over time. It is possible to still have a metal roof installed in such a way that it is loud in the rain. 

If the roof does not have a complete roof assembly, and it is basically just an uncoated sheet of metal, you are going to hear the rain and any other thing that hits the roof. 

When the roof’s coating is thicker, it disrupts and dampens the sound waves and their reverberation. When the surface of the roof is irregular, it also is effective at dampening the sound. Most metal roofs have several layers of coating to help further reduce the sound. 

What are the Corrugated Metal Roof Types?

Corrugated metal roofs come in many types. It can come in varying materials and thicknesses. A corrugated roof typically is defined by the way it is manufactured, which impacts the way it looks. Corrugated metal roofing has a wavy design to it and does not have a standing seam panel.

Corrugated metal roofs can be galvanized steel, which provides durability at a lower price point. It is also measured by the thickness of the zinc coating it has. This is a protective coating that is defined by a numerical coating weight. For example, G100 is more resistant to rust for a longer period of time than G90. However, G100 is also more expensive. 

Aluminum is another corrugated roof option. It is also affordable and resistant to rust, making it ideal for coastal climates with a high amount of humidity. Zinc and copper are also metals that can be corrugated. Both of these materials are long lasting and have a distinct and beautiful appearance. Unfortunately, copper is the most expensive roof material. 

Corrugated roofing material comes in 7/8 inch, 3/4 inch, 1/2 inch, and 1/4 inch corrugated panels. This indicates the depth of the panel. The most common panels are 7/8 inch and 1/2 inch. The 7/8 inch panel is the most common of the two. 

The 7/8 inch panel is the strongest and least expensive option. It has deep ridges that give it a beautiful look. The ridges create a shadow effect. This option has a seam height of 7/8 inches, and the center is approximately 2.6 inches. 

Before the 7/8 inch option was available, the 1/2 inch was the popular option. While it is still available today, it is not as commonplace. On the 1/2 inch panel, the seams are 1/2 inch high. 

Which Metal Roof Color is Best?

There are many metal roof colors available from which you can pick when you are making a metal roof selection. However, there is not the best color for a metal roof when you are just taking the color into account. There are other factors it would be best you consider when making a decision about the color of your metal roof.

The first thing to consider is the material you are using for your roof. It is essential to know that some metal roofs will patina, which changes their color. If you are selecting a material where this occurs, you must understand how the color might change. 

After that, it is helpful if you consider the structure itself. For example, a brick exterior looks the nicest with a black or gray roof. However, when it comes to vinyl material, such as siding, it may be a little more challenging to select the best color metal roof. 

Not only does the material of the structure matter, but so does the color of the structure. You want to select a roof color that compliments your structure. At the same time, you do not want your roof to take too much attention away from the outside of your home. 

You also want to think about the area where the house is located. The local code of your area may dictate the material and color you can select for your roof. You want to find out if that is the case before you have your roof installed. If you are found in violation of the rules, you may be fined or have to remove the roof, or possibly both. You do not want to find yourself in that situation.