The Real Cost of a New Roof
Learn how roofers charge and how much roofing materials cost so you can negotiate the best deal.
Metal roofs were once relegated to industrial and agricultural buildings. No more. Beautiful and versatile metal roofs can mimic almost any other roofing material (shingles, shingles, slate), can stand proudly like natural metal (copper and zinc), and can be finished with a beautiful, modern rainbow of colors.
Metal roofs last decades longer than fiberglass and asphalt shingles. A typical tile roof has a useful life of around 20 years; a metal roof can last 60 years.
Longevity of the metal roof
More explains the long life of metal roofing than just the obvious difference between metal and, say, the asphalt and granules that make up a shingle. The metal roof itself is tough, but its finish is the secret to long life. Today’s metal roofing options typically have a three-layer finish:
- Protective coating
Bare metal is almost never exposed to the elements, unless you opt for a natural metal. Even then, natural metal often has a finish that protects it from abrasion.
These topcoats keep the metal shiny and weather resistant for many decades. When needed, metal roofs can also be painted, making the style change much easier (and less expensive) than buying a new roof.
Benefits of Metal Roofing
For environmentally conscious homeowners, metal roofs are a great option. Metal roofs last longer than almost all other roofing materials, are lighter to transport than shingles, require minimal maintenance, and are easily recycled at the end of their useful life. Although its upfront costs are higher than those for shingles, a metal roof will last up to three or four tile roofs.
If you plan to stay in your home for decades, or pass your home down from generation to generation, metal roofs are the smartest investment for life. If you plan to sell your home and want to provide a noticeable upgrade, a metal roof increases curb appeal. It tells potential home buyers that you have maintained your home well.
Almost all metal roofing products meet federal Energy Star program approval to reduce dependence on foreign oil sources, lower greenhouse gas emissions, and save consumers money on energy costs. Energy-efficient metal roofs reduce cooling costs by reflecting infrared radiation away from your home, rather than absorbing it and conducting it into cooled spaces.
Many homeowners mistakenly believe that a metal roof is noisy. Installing most metal roofs involves laying narrow slats or boards, either over the existing roof (to save money on roof removal) or over the base. These slats provide a narrow insulating space that prevents sound or heat from transferring into the home.
Cons of Metal Roofing
Proper installation of a metal roof is key to its longevity and good looks. Improperly installed metal roofs can show oil canning, which is uneven deformation on otherwise smooth surfaces. Changes in temperature can also cause metal to contract and expand, which can sometimes loosen mechanical fasteners.
Hiring a Roof Contractor
Due to its increasing popularity in residential applications, many roofers who have limited experience with the material offer metal roofing. Two great sources for finding trusted local metal roofing contractors with a proven track record are Angie’s List and the Metal Roofing Alliance.
Every estimate for metal roofing should include a site visit, measurements, and specifications for the installation method. Will your old roof stay or will it be transported? Will the new metal roof come with a warranty? How will callbacks be handled?
Ask the contractor for actual roofing samples, as some metal roofs are as thin as 29 gauge (very thin), while more substantial products are 24 gauge. This also allows you to see the true finish, rather than of a color swatch.