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5 Metal Roofing Types: Which Is the Best Option for Your Home?

Written by Charlotte Granville

Published on October 2, 2023


5 Metal Roofing Types: Which Is the Best Option for Your Home?

We reveal the pros and cons of each metal roofing type to help you decide which one is best suited to your home.

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information, we consult a number of sources when producing each article, including licensed contractors and industry experts.

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If you’re thinking about installing a new roof and plan on staying in your home for a long time, metal roofs are worth the hefty price tag of around $41,000. Metal roofs don’t typically require much maintenance or repairs for up to 50 years, and in addition to their longevity, they’re environmentally friendly, energy-efficient, and durable. 

If you’re interested in installing a metal roof for your home, there are a variety of types to consider.

Metal Roofing Types and Their Pros & Cons

All metal roofing types are both durable and long-lasting, but they each have their strengths and weaknesses. To figure out which metal roof is right for you, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each type.

1. Aluminum

Aluminum is one of the best metal roofing types, thanks in part to its longevity and strong wind and fire resistance. While other roofing materials like asphalt, wood, and concrete can degrade over time, aluminum roofs are resistant to rusting and typically show fewer signs of wear and tear. Aluminum is also easier and cheaper to install than most other metals due to its lightweight, costing between $4 and $14 a sq.ft.

Pros of aluminum roofing:

Wind and corrosion-resistant – Aluminum roofing is a great option for homes located in coastal climates due to its ability to prevent salt and sand corrosion. It’s also extremely wind resistant, making it an ideal candidate for homes subjected to hurricanes. Installing an aluminum roof could even get you a 10% to 20% discount on your insurance.

Eco-friendly – Aluminum roofing can contain up to 95% recycled product and is usually 100% recyclable. It can also be installed over existing shingles, saving wasted materials. Cool roof options are also available for aluminum roofing, which can help prevent homes located in warm climates from overheating, saving on energy consumption. 

Cons of aluminum roofing:

Prone to denting – Because aluminum is a softer metal, hail storms, and other forms of impact and can dent or damage the roof. So if you live in an area prone to this type of weather, an aluminum roof may not be the best option for you. 

2. Copper roofing

Copper roofing has been used as a building material for centuries, most notably on cathedrals, castles, and even the Statue of Liberty. Costing around $24.55 per square foot, it’s a popular roofing option due to its strength, energy savings, and resistance to damage and blemishes. 

Pros of copper roofing:

Energy efficiency – A copper roof reflects UV rays instead of absorbing them, keeping your house cool, and saving you money on air conditioning during the summer months. 

Long-lasting – Though its bronze color may change to shades of green over the years due to corrosion, copper roofs can last anywhere from 60-100 years. It also develops a patina through oxidation over time, giving it a unique appearance that can boost curb appeal. 

Cons of copper roofing:

Prone to denting – Copper is a softer metal and can be prone to denting, especially during significant hail storms.

Expands and contracts – For homeowners in climates where temperatures change frequently, copper tends to expand and contract, which can lead to failure in the flashing and consequently cause damage to your home.

3. Standing seam metal roofing

Standing seam metal is one of the most durable and longest-lasting metal roofing types available. While it does come with a hefty price tag, costing up to $30 per square foot, a standing seam metal roof is one of the longest-lasting options and requires little maintenance.

Pros of standing seam metal roofing:

No exposed fasteners – Standing seam metal roofs have fasteners that are concealed, which eliminates the possibility of any moisture leaking through. While other metal roofs feature panels nailed together, standing seam metal panels overlap each other which also makes them resistant to wind. 

Rust and fire-resistant When coated with Kynar, standing seam metal roofs are both fire and rust-resistant, making them extremely durable in most conditions.

Cons of standing seam metal roofing:

Expensive – Standing seam metal roofs typically cost more to install than other metal roofing types. 

4. Steel roofing

Steel roofing is one of the most common materials for residential metal roofing systems today, mostly due to its recyclability and relatively low pricing at around $18.00 a square foot. The two types of steel often used are galvanized steel and galvalume steel. These types are coated with a combination of other metals like aluminum and zinc, which prevent the steel roof panels from corrosion.

Pros of steel roofing:

Durability – Steel is one of the hardest metals available, which makes it a good option if your home often faces extreme weather conditions like snow or hail.

Cons of steel roofing:

Rust – While a steel roof is normally resistant to red rust, if the steel core becomes exposed at any point, it will start to develop white rust, which can degrade the metal over time.

Oil canning Galvalume panels can sometimes be susceptible to oil canning, which can make the roof look somewhat distorted or wavy. This won’t affect the structural integrity of the roof, but it can affect the overall aesthetics of your home.

5. Zinc roofing

While zinc is often used as a special coating for other metals like galvanized steel, it is also sold in sheets and roofing panels. Zinc is incredibly environmentally friendly, which is completely recyclable and able to be reused. It is also one of the more affordable metal roofing types, costing around $8.00 a square foot.

Pros of zinc roofing:

Long-lasting – Zinc is one of the longest-lasting metal roofing materials, with a lifespan lasting well over 80 years. It’s also fire resistant and prevents the production of mold, making it an ideal candidate for most climates.

Doesn’t rust – When zinc is oxidized, it forms a protective layer known as patina. This layer protects the metal from rusting and reforms if it becomes scratched or damaged, making for a self-healing roof! However, bear in mind that this patina causes the metal to darken over time.

Cons of zinc roofing:

Installation risks – Zinc roofing needs to be installed by a licensed professional with relevant experience working with this material, as an improper installation can cause moisture damage to your home in the long run.

Choosing the Right Metal Roof: A Lasting Investment

As you evaluate these metal roofing types, it’s important to consider both the costs associated with installing your roof and its long-term value. Some metals may have higher upfront costs but offer long lifespans with very little maintenance. Others might be more affordable initially but could require a bit more care over the years.

To make the most informed decision, consider consulting with roofing professionals in your area, who can provide you with insights tailored to your home. But regardless of the material you opt for, you can be sure that a well-selected and properly installed metal roof can be a valuable investment, offering years of both protection and aesthetic appeal for your home.

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Charlotte is a home remodeling specialist at Fixr.com. With a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications, she analyzes industry data to provide homeowners with the best advice and visual representations of the home improvement sector. She is passionate about promoting sustainability within the home, and with a personal interest in interior design, she is always up to date about the latest home remodeling trends.