In many, many ways, metal roofing is remarkably different than every other roofing material available. One of the most important differences is the stark difference between inferior-quality “bargain” metal roofing, and high-end metal roofing that will last a lifetime, look good doing it, and reduce your utility bills all at the same time. Too many homeowners make the mistake of hearing about the benefits of metal roofing and, then, make dreadful choices when it comes time to choose their metal roofing product and fastening system. This type of metal roof installation is kind of like paying $50,000 for a car without a single option to increase its performance.
Metals and the Dynamics of Compensation
Anybody with even a basic grasp of metal properties knows that steel will rust and that aluminum isn’t as strong as steel. Most people also know there are common ways around these problems. An aluminum roof can be made just as strong as some forms of steel by making the aluminum thicker. A steel roof can be made largely invulnerable from all types of corrosion by installing a stainless steel alloy (steel and chromium) or by galvanizing the steel (coating the steel with zinc or aluminum and zinc). Thus, the initial strengths and weaknesses of the raw metal may bear little resemblance to the performance of the finished product.
In terms of high-quality metal roofing, the steel v. aluminum debate is one that often fails to yield a clear answer. Indeed, without knowing the specific location of your home, the pitch of the roof, the desired life expectancy, and the budget for your new roofing installation, it would be irresponsible to make a blanket recommendation. There is no substitute, no online forum that can replace the value of finding a reliable, local roofing contractor. Whichever way you decide to go, make sure your metal roof is designed to compensate for its inherent flaws. Choosing an aluminum that won’t rust but will show signs of denting after the first hailstorm or choosing steel that won’t dent but shows signs of rust after the first rainy season is a poor investment any way you look at it.
- Cost vs. Value Tip: Like a Lexus, metal roofing is coveted by many homeowners aware of its performance and durability. You should see a good rate of return on this investment when it comes time to sell your home.
The Quintessential, Fully-Loaded Metal Roofing Project
Metal roofing is one of the highest performing materials in the entire roofing industry. Pulling out all the stops for a new metal roof can lead to repercussions for the entire layout of your home. How’s this? Metal’s strength and lightweight means you can simultaneously reduce the pitch of your roof, while eliminating bulky support structures in your sub-roofing attic space. This can dramatically increase the amount of headroom and usable space in your attic, allowing for an attic conversion.
Needless to say, a project of this kind isn’t cheap, but if your alternative is to build a home addition or add a second story to your home, this move might just save you tens of thousands of dollars, while delivering the last roof your home may ever need. Rather than seeking out a roofing contractor, advice for a renovation of this caliber is probably best solicited from a general contractor, albeit one with some experience in metal roofing.
Country Roads and City Streets: Understand Your Roofing Environs
With all the various decisions, upgrades, and styles to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. While national metal roofing manufacturers may gear their marketing toward a national audience or a region that doesn’t apply to you, it’s important to understand local climatic conditions. Just as a family with 3 or 4 children is likely to value the Lexus LX Luxury Utility Vehicle and a young, urban professional with the resources to burn is more likely to go after the Lexus SC Coupe, your home and its environs is likely to determine the right choices for your metal roof.
The West Coast/East Coast Bias for Aluminum: I’m not talking about politics or college football conferences—any coastal region tends to have a high concentration of aluminum roofing. Any home within walking distance of the ocean is likely to experience a good amount of salt spray, for which aluminum is commonly considered the best roofing material, metal or otherwise. Keep in mind, though, that many homes along the coast are also susceptible to severe weather, so look for a thicker, more durable line of aluminum roofing.
The American Heartland: Less known for its metal roofing installation, the fierce wind and comprehensive weathering elements—most of the American interior experiences four distinct seasons—make high quality roofing, like metal, a great asset for your home. People in tornado alley, especially, will benefit from a roof that isn’t going to be spooked at the first sign of wind and flying debris. To this end, steel is probably best. Just make sure you have a fastening system that will accommodate the movement associated with temperature swings and thermal expansion and contraction.
Tacos and Hockey: This leaves the upper and lower extremes of the American Southwest and the far northern states, such as Michigan, Minnesota, North and South Dakota. Culturally, they may be identified by tacos and hockey, but their roofing demands are defined by heat and sun in the southern latitudes and cold and snow in the northern ones. The great advantage metal roofing holds over every other roofing material is the energy-efficient benefits of reflective coatings. Many roofing materials are great insulators, but metal’s unique ability to reflect the vast majority of the sunlight away from the home makes it the premiere roofing material of the American Southwest. As for you hockey fans, the strength of metal roofing is where the emphasis lies. Load-bearing roofs must deal with an incredible amount of weight and, again, no roofing material handles this problem better than metal.