The choice to put a metal roof on your house is a significant financial investment, particularly in comparison to materials like asphalt composite shingles. However, there are a number of valid reasons for making this switch, including the increased durability and value of metal roofing. You’ll need to budget carefully, but many homeowners find that metal roofing provides a great return on investment and lasts two to three times longer than a traditional roof.
In this guide, we’ll break down the benefits of a metal roof and the costs of different types of metal roofing materials to help you decide whether a metal roof is right for your house.
Benefits of Metal Roofing
While you may associate metal roofing with storage structures like barns and sheds, the search for durable, energy-efficient roofing materials has led many homeowners to explore the benefits of a metal roof. Here are some of the main benefits of opting for metal roofing.
Greater Longevity and Durability
Perhaps the number one reason homeowners look into metal roofing materials is for their longevity. Any homeowner who has had to replace shingle after asphalt shingle knows that traditional roofs have a lifespan of between 15 and 30 years. Metal roofs, on the other hand, tend to last between 30 and 50 years.
Additionally, while metal roofs can become dented, it typically takes quite a bit of pressure to do this. By contrast, it takes much less force to tear or damage asphalt shingles.
Ease of Cleaning
Metal roofs tend to be much easier to clean than shingles. They stand up well to a simple pressure washing, whereas asphalt shingles can grow moss and algae that must be carefully washed off.
Energy Efficiency and Eco-Friendliness
As homeowners become more aware of the wider environmental effects of heating and cooling their homes, many begin to prioritize efficiency as both a means of saving money and protecting the environment. Metal is a highly reusable material, with many metal roofs being made of about 30%–60% recycled metal. Their high durability also means they don’t need to be replaced as often, whereas torn and damaged asphalt shingles end up in the landfill.
Additionally, since most metal roofs are reflective, they direct the heat of the sun away from the building they cover, blocking heat and lowering cooling costs. Even non-reflective metal can be treated with special paint that blocks UV rays. Experts typically estimate that you’ll save about 20%–30% off the cost of cooling your home in the summer with a metal roof.
Read Also: How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
Improved Resale Value
Those looking to purchase a new home may be willing to pay more for a house with a roof they won’t have to replace any time soon. Depending on where you live and the type of metal roofing you select, you could see a 60%–85% return on your total costs. Not to mention, a new metal roof could improve the curb appeal of your home and increase its resale value.
Weather and Fire Resistance
Metal stands up to severe weather events like hail, high winds, and heavy storms much better than asphalt shingles. Alternatively, if you live somewhere that’s prone to wildfires, metal resists fire and smoke damage extremely well.
How Much Does Metal Roofing Cost?
In general, the upfront cost of a metal roof is much higher than the cost of a roof containing asphalt shingles. However, given a metal roof’s durability, the overall cost of installing and maintaining it is much lower than needing a total roof replacement every 15 to 20 years.
Here are some of the most common metal roofing materials and how much they cost to purchase and install. The overall prices are calculated for the average American roof size of 1,700 square feet.
Aluminum roofing is a good choice if you live near the ocean, as it’s resistant to corrosion and saltwater damage. It’s also relatively inexpensive, costing between $3.15 and $6 per square foot for the shingles alone. Since aluminum is a fairly easy material to work with, installation costs are relatively low—you can have this type of shingle installed for between $9 and $16.50 per square foot, which is about $15,500 to $28,000 total.
The downside of aluminum is its appearance, as it doesn’t tend to age well and dents rather easily. It also expands and contracts more than other metals typically used for roofing, which can put wear and tear on the roof and cause creaking sounds as temperatures change.
Not only is copper roofing extremely durable and lightweight, but it’s one of the most attractive options for metal roof tiles. However, it’s among the most expensive roofing materials, costing $14 to $25 per square foot. The total cost for a new copper roof is around $21 to $39.70 per square foot, which is around $35,700 to $67,500 for a 1,700-square-foot roof.
Corrugated metal roofing is one of the least expensive metal roofing materials, but it’s not as durable as other materials. Corrugated metal panels have a wave-like appearance that allows for simple installation because the grooves of each wave fit together seamlessly. The panels can also easily expand and contract under changing temperatures, and they’re lightweight and can be installed over an existing roof.
Although many types of metal can be made into corrugated sheets, galvanized steel or a less expensive alternative called Galvalume are the most common. These metal panels cost between $1 and $2.50 per square foot for the raw materials, or between $5.50 and $11.50 for materials plus installation costs. For a 1,700-square-foot roof, the total metal roofing cost comes out to about $9,350 to $19,500.
Standing Seam Panels
Standing seam is a type of roofing panel rather than a material, so you can purchase these roofing panels made out of several different metals. These panels have a vertical ribbed appearance, with the raised ribs concealing the fastening between the panels. Some of these panels can simply be snap-locked together, but others require special metal caps to fasten the pieces in place.
One benefit of having no exposed fastened parts is that the fasteners aren’t subject to weathering, moisture, wind, or other stresses that can break them down over time. Additionally, the ribs and unique locking mechanisms of standing seam panels allow them to expand and contract as temperatures change.
Typical standing seam materials include aluminum, steel, copper, and zinc. Depending on which material you choose, the panels will cost between $4 and $6.50 per square foot. Materials plus installation will run you about $10 to $17.65 per square foot, or $17,000 to $30,000 total. Keep relative metal costs in mind as well: aluminum and steel standing seam panels will typically cost much less than copper and zinc panels.
Steel Shingles and Tiles
There are several common types of steel roofing. Galvanized steel, which is coated with zinc to deter corrosion, is a popular choice for its strength and durability. A cheaper alternative is Galvalume, which is aluminum-coated steel. On the high end of the scale is stainless steel, which is a rare but striking choice—the Chrysler Building, for example, is roofed with stainless steel.
A 100-square-foot Galvalume panel costs between $75 and $250 and installs for a total of about $5.50 per square foot. Galvanized steel, which is a bit more expensive, runs about $3.35 to $4.25 per square foot, and materials plus installation come out to about $10 per square foot, or $17,000 to $25,000 total. Stainless steel is quite a bit more expensive at $10 to $16 per square foot for materials and as much as $15.50 more per square foot for installation.
A tin roof is usually made of a product called terne, which is a steel core coated with a tin alloy. It’s not as popular a choice as other metals, but it’s durable and highly corrosion-resistant. Tin can either be painted or left to develop a gray patina, which is a film that’s produced by oxidation over a long period.
The price of tin panels can vary based on the product, but many start around $3.50 and can be as expensive as $14. The cost of a tin roof, including installation, can range from $10 to $18.50 per square foot, for a total of about $17,000 to $31,450.
If you want a high-quality metal roof that’s more durable than aluminum and more affordable than copper, consider zinc. It can last up to 150 years and requires little to no maintenance due to its self-healing coating that covers scratches and scrapes. As long as the underside of the shingles or panels is sealed properly, zinc can resist corrosion entirely.
Zinc panels cost about $6 to $10 per square foot. However, labor can add on another $12 to $18 per square foot in installation costs for a total of $30,400 to $47,600.
Cost Comparison of Metal Roofing
|Material||Material price per square foot||Price per square foot||Price for 1,700 square feet||Approximate installation cost||Total cost|
|Galvanized steel shingles||$3.35–$4.25||$335–$425||$5,695–$7,225||$11,305–$17,775||$17,000–$25,000|
|Tin (terne) shingles||$3.50–$14.00||$350–$1,400||$5,950–$23,800||$7,650–$11,050||$17,000–$31,450|
|Standing seam roofing||$4.00–$6.50||$400–$650||$6,800–$11,050||$10,200–$18,950||$17,000–$30,000|
Is a Metal Roof Worth It?
Installing a metal roof has a greater upfront cost than asphalt composite shingles, but it lasts much longer and provides substantial energy cost savings. Metal roof costs are comparable to roofs made of wooden shakes or slate tiles, but metal is sturdier and more durable. Compare your current budget against the budget needed to maintain other roofing materials before making your choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the drawbacks to metal roofing?
One drawback to metal roofing is its appearance, as some people don’t love the look of metal. Additionally, metal roofs are much harder to install or repair on your own—you’ll almost certainly have to hire a roofing contractor. Another big downside to a metal roof is its price.
Does a metal roof affect cell phone reception?
No. A poor cell phone signal is likely the result of where you live, your home’s distance from a utility tower, harsh weather conditions, and the type of cell service carrier you use.
Is metal roofing a good option for protecting against hurricanes?
Yes. Most metal roofing materials can defend against winds up to 140 mph and come with warranties, which help ensure the lifespan of your roof.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at email@example.com.