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“Lifetime” Metal Roofs and Their Common Misconceptions

Like it or not, some fine day it will come time to replace your home’s roof. The question is, whether you should replace it with shingles or choose to replace your existing roof with metal. Once relegated to high-end homes, metal roofs are now available to the masses. That’s because the cost and complexity of installing a metal roof have come down significantly in the past few years. Today, fifteen percent of all roofing installations are metal. If you’ve been thinking about changing your roof from shingles to metal, here’s some food for thought. 

metallic roof

1.      How long do you want your roof to last? – This sounds like a trick question, doesn’t it?  Well, it’s not.  Depending on the type of material used on a roof, it can last anywhere from 15-70 years or more, provided it is installed correctly and maintained properly.  Asphalt shingles can last from 15-20 years.  Architectural shingles, typically last from 25-30 years on average.  That’s because they’re up to three times thicker than asphalt shingles.  Terracotta roofs last up to 50-years, but they’re twice as expensive as architectural shingles.  Metal roofs can last up to seventy years, depending on the type of metal used.  Like terracotta roofs, you can expect to pay more for a metal roof.  But you’ll recoup the cost down the road as long as you intend to stay in your home for years to come. 

2.      Aren’t metal roofs noisy? – Some homeowners refuse to consider a metal roof because they fear the noise will be unbearable every time it rains.  But this is hardly the case.  Once installed over plywood sheathing and underlayment, a metal roof is only 5-decibels louder during a driving rainstorm than an architectural shingle, according to This Old House.  They’re also far more durable during everything from hailstorms to wildfires.  Due to their high reflectivity, they’re more energy-efficient than a shingle roof.  During the summer months, metal roofs are actually 50 degrees cooler than their asphalt equivalent.  Best of all, they’re nearly maintenance-free provided they’re installed properly.

metal roof

3.      Don’t metal roofs rust? – There are four different metals used on houses nowadays: aluminum, copper, steel, and terne.  Choosing the right one for your home comes down to two factors – local conditions and price.  If you live near the ocean and are worried about corrosion, aluminum, copper, or zinc roofs are impervious to salt air.  But they are pricier than a galvanized steel roof.  However, an aluminum roof is lighter than other kinds of metal roofs and it has a higher strength to weight ratio than other metals, which makes it an ideal roofing material for hurricane-prone areas. 

4.      Aren’t metal roofs prone to lightning strikes? – Absolutely not. Not only are metal roofs, no more likely to be hit by lightning than roofs covered with singles, but if they are struck, they are 100% noncombustible. Typically made of steel with a protective zinc coating, a galvanized roof is also resistant to rust and high winds that accompany electrical storms. They are also less costly than other types of metal roofs without sacrificing longevity since they typically last up to 60-years. But they do need to have their protective zinc coating reapplied every 20-years. Terne roofs are composed of stainless steel sandwiched between layers of tin, are also highly corrosion and weather resistant. Corrugated metal roofs are also some of the most affordable steel roofing systems on the market. The downside is they have exposed fasteners and require more maintenance than other metal roofs.

5.      Is copper king? – If you want the ultimate in durability and ease of maintenance, you can’t beat copper. Copper roofs are corrosion resistant and they never need to be painted. They can last for 100-years or more. Talk about a lifetime warranty. The only downside to copper is that they are less dent-resistant than steel roofs. However, the cost of copper can also be a king’s ransom when compared to other metal roofs.

6.      Metal tile and metal slate roofs won’t rock the boat. – If you want the look of a slate or tile roof with the price and durability of steel, one of these products could be just the ticket.  However, the real reason some homeowners choose these over actual tile or slate roofs is the price and weight differential.  Metal slate and tile roof panels look like the real McCoy, but they cost half as much.  They’re also much lighter than tile or slate, which means you won’t have to risk your roof caving in after a rainstorm. Not only are clay tiles heavier, to begin with, they can absorb up to 15% of their weight in water.

terracotta roof

7.       What’s in a warranty? – While many traditional roofing companies offer “Lifetime Warranties” on shingle roofs, you need to read the fine print. Far from guaranteeing a roof for life, some roofing companies and manufacturers define lifetime as short as 5-years depending on the severity of the climate in a given area. According to State Farm Insurance, a homeowner will typically replace their home’s shingles 2-3 times over the course of 50-years, while those who install a metal roof will rarely have to install a second roof since they typically last from 40-70 years. Metal roofs are also impervious to fire, rot, and damage by insects and rodents.

Hi, my name is Nicole Corson and I am the owner of RoofCrafters Roofing and a very blessed mother of two beautiful daughters…and a handsome dog! In 2013 I decided to pivot when I had an opportunity to take my 12 years of experience in property management, property maintenance, and my passion for helping others by applying it to the roofing industry. Coming into a predominantly male industry, I am very proud to say I have created some much-needed structure for all our team and an exceptional customer experience for my clients. 

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