Want a Hard-Wearing Roofing Option for Your New Home? Look No Further
Metal is an obvious choice for its strength and durability when designing industrial buildings. Over the last decade, however, the number of metal roofs on residential homes has dramatically increased, which is a clear sign that homeowners and builders are becoming more aware of its benefits.
Around 14 percent of residential homes now have a type of metal roof, and the number keeps growing. Metal roofs aren’t just for warehouses, tiny shipping container houses, or boxy contemporary homes anymore. They are more often being used on the Farmhouse, Colonial, and other traditional styles that have a modern, transitional slant. There is a variety of metal roofing out there that will look at home on any house.
The standing-seam metal roof on this outstanding 4-bedroom, 4.5-bath Tuscan style luxury home plan with Texas design influences imparts a contemporary vibe while maintaining a sense of traditional aestheitc (House Plan #136-1030).
Higher Cost for a Longer Life
The average lifespan of an asphalt roof is somewhere between 12 and 20 years. That means you’ll have to find a contractor, purchase materials, get the roof replaced, haul the junk to the landfill and repeat the cycle three to four times during your time as a homeowner. With metal roofs, you are buying some time. Steel and aluminum last upwards of 50 years. And copper? That roof is sure to see the next century! While the cost of a corrugated metal roof is typically 20% to 50% higher than that of an asphalt roof (and a metal standing-seam roof is four to five times higher, more if you opt for copper), it’s a one-and-done kind of deal. Once they are installed, metal roofs are a low-maintenance roofing system and may actually turn out to be cheaper in the long run.
Metal roofs (especially standing seam) have several advantages:
• Increased weather resistance. This is thanks to the very minimal seam connecting the strong panels of the standing-seam roof.
• Essentially immune to rotting and difficult for water to penetrate and leak inside.
• Fire resistant. Should an ember land on the roof, your house won’t be licked by flames.
• Wind resistant. They’ve been rated for winds up to 140 miles per hour and stay right where they belong in many hurricane zones.
• Snow shedding. They are resistant to winter weather, helping shed ice and snow more quickly to prevent build up or collapse.
Although the cost of the initial installation can be steep, your purchase also comes with the peace of mind that you won’t be shelling out money for expensive repairs or replacement for decades.
A metal roof like the standing-seam variety shown here makes sense in so many ways and may be more affordable for some on a smaller house, like this 1,212-sq.-ft., 2-bedroom, 1-bath Country style home plan with contemporary design touches (House Plan #126-1836).
Switch to Sustainable
If you’ve ever built a home, you’ve probably spent time late into the night reading reviews and comparing costs while you decide which material best suits your project. If the project is replacing or deciding on the material for your roof, we recommend you think not just about cost and materials but also the sustainability aspect. Without much research, you will find many arguments for why switching to metal will do good for both the planet and your pocketbook.
First, let’s set the record straight about asphalt roofs. Every year approximately 20 billion pounds of asphalt shingles are dumped into landfills across the United States. Not exactly what you’d call an eco-friendly building material. There is the option to recycle the shingles, but that still doesn’t get to the root of the problem. These shingles contain a carcinogen that is highly toxic to the environment. Asphalt shingles also contain crude oil which maintains our dependence on fossil fuels. Depending on the pitch of the roof, asphalt shingles need to be replaced every decade or two.
Luckily, metal roofing is a more sustainable option for the roof over our heads: it is considered one of the most environmentally friendly and sustainable roofing materials out there. It contains thirty to sixty percent recycled materials and is fully recyclable at the end of its lifetime. Most people choose aluminum or steel for the sake of cost efficiency, but copper is another option. Metal roofs are lightweight, so newer houses can be designed with an overall lighter structure to save on building costs and to reduce its carbon footprint. Metal can be considered a cool roof, in which the metal surface reflects heat and provides protection from the sun’s UV radiation to keep the home’s temperatures comfortable during the cooling season. For older houses, metal roofs can usually be installed over the existing roof to eliminate some major landfill waste.
The standing-seam roof on this one-story 3-bedroom, 3-bath Contemporary style home plan lends a sleek appearance to the design and, unlike asphalt roofing, brings the advantage of being fully recyclable and sustainable (House Plan #175-1134).
When you say “metal roofing” there are probably still lots of people who wrinkle their nose at the conjured image of the corrugated tin roofs of a barn. And you yourself may be surprised to hear that a whole new genre of metal roofing has hit the market over the past 20 years, providing a more varied color palette than traditional asphalt shingles. There are styles, textures, and finishes that suit every type of home, from the cozy cottage to chic and modern designs. Quality residential metal roofing typically comes in two different styles – standing-seam and other metal sheets or shingles.
Metal shingles give your home the classic, refined appearance of traditional roofs. The metal is cut and shaped into a tile, wooden-shake, or slate look. Metal tile has the graceful curves of the classic tile, but the lightness and strength of stone-coated steel. They are typically treated with several layers of finish to give them a rustic appearance.
Panel-style or “standing-seam” metal roofs feature clean lines and smooth surfaces. The standing-seam variety offers a modern twist to the traditional look of metal roofing without trying to disguise the material. These vertical sheets of standing-seam metal have raised ribs every 12 to 16 inches on average, adding a contemporary industrial look to the home’s exterior. The sleek, economical panels, whether standing seam, Spanish tile style, or other shapes, are pre-painted and available in a wide range of color options.
Plug “metal roofs” into your search engine, and you won’t believe how many variations you will find. Honestly, you’ve probably cruised past many metal roofs, some that looked like the typical corrugated tin roof we talked about and others that didn’t look a thing like steel or aluminum.
Metal roofing can be had in many varieties beyond the most popular standing seam. Top: These roofing panels look like Spanish tiles when installed on the roof but have many of the advantages of metal roofing (courtesy of Livingston Roof Pros). Bottom: Metal shingles take on the look of stained shakes on this roof, but they can be made to look like slate and other traditional roofing materials as well (courtesy of Classic Metal Roofing Systems).
Need a Contractor?
Because a metal roof is a big-ticket investment, you want to make sure you invest the time in finding a contractor right for the job. Like most big home-improvement projects, installing a metal roof requires specific tools and skills. It's a different process from a more typical roof installation, and it takes a specialist to install most types of metal roofs. The best way to find an experienced contractor is through recommendations made by neighbors or friends.
If you don’t know anybody with a metal roof, you can opt for a contractor-finding site like the Metal Roofing Alliance to get started. Home.Advisor is another site that offers the benefit of finding local contractors who have gone through a pre-screening process. A different route is to get in contact with builders and architects who have experience with metal roofs, and ask them for their suggestions.
Installing a metal roof takes the expertise of an experienced professional, especially on roof with complications like dormers and varying slopes, as on this 5-bedroom, 3-bath Country style home plan (House Plan #153-1313).
And the cherry on top? The investment of a metal roof is sure to increase the value of your home. From lower energy bills and less pressure on your home’s infrastructure to the first impressions brought on by curb appeal, durability never looked so good.