11 Things You Didn't Know About Metal Roofing

Published May 15, 2017 by Whirlwind Team

things you didn't know about metal roofs

As metal roofs become a more common choice, we thought it would be nice if we gave you a little tutorial about metal roofing. It's OK; there's no test at the end.  We just want to address some of the little-known details about metal roofing and even bust a couple of myths that may have you concerned.

Here are 11 things you may not have known about metal roofing.

1. Metal roofs are affordable.

If you take into account the real, or total, cost of installing and owning a roof you will find that metal roofs are a very affordable choice. A metal roof may have a higher initial price but the reduced maintenance and repair needs coupled with the energy savings a metal roof can provide will make it a more economical choice than other roofing materials.

  • No missing shingles
  • No replacement for 50 years or more
  • Long warranty periods
  • Hardly any repair and maintenance

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2. Steel roofing material is more durable than any other premium roofing material.

A metal roof is a long-term investment, especially when you compare its performance against other premium roofing materials such as cedar shakes, slate, and tile.

Traditional Material

Metal

 

Cedar shakes begin to crack, dry out, and rot after 20 years

Lasts for 50 years or more

Concrete tiles crack and fail after freeze-thaw cycles

 

Resists damage from freezing and thawing

Natural slate and clay tiles can crack and break randomly, endangering those below

 

Does not crack and fall off

Slate and clay tile are heavy materials requiring additional structural support

Is even lighter than composite shingles and requires no added support

 

Slate and clay tile break on impact

Metal does not

 

You cannot walk on slate or clay tile without damaging the roof

You can walk safely on a metal roof if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions

 

Slate and tile perform poorly in extreme weather events

Can withstand high winds, hurricanes, ice, snow, and fire

 

Tile roofs require special cement, adhesives, and fasteners to meet minimum wind resistance requirements in many areas of the country

 

Properly installed metal roofs are rated for winds up to 140 mph or more

Slate has high wind uplift potential and is not recommended for windy areas at all; the only fasteners are nails and wire hangers

 

See above

Tile does not shed snow well

Easily sheds snow, ice, and rain, preventing ice dams and water damage to the building

 

Cedar shakes are 3 1/2 times more expensive than aluminum when you take into account how long each lasts

 

Last decades without replacement or repair

Metal is at least 30% less expensive than the cheapest slate or tile roofing material available, whether you choose steel, copper, or any other metal. It doesn’t even require repainting.

3. Metal roofs are not ugly.

Today’s steel roof is not the rusted, corrugated tin mess you remember from grandpa’s farm. Coatings and finishes mitigate rust and steel roofs are not likely to dent or become damaged.

If you do want the rusty look, though, you can get it without the actual rust problem.

4. Metal roofs can be designed to fit the style of the current structure.

Metal roofing comes in many colors, including custom colors. Metal roof panels can be any:

  • Texture
  • Design
  • Pattern
  • Style

All metal roof systems are suitable for any architectural style, including asphalt or composition shingle if you so desire.

5. Metal roofs are not noisy.

In fact, a metal roof can be quieter than other materials. Solid sheathing is attached to the underlayment to muffle noise from rain, hail, falling branches or stray golf balls.

6. Metal roofs don't block mobile device reception.

If you can successfully use your smartphone or tablet inside a typical structure with metal roofing and framing, a metal roof shouldn’t stop you.

7. Metal roofs are superior in extreme weather.

Some of these details were already stated, but they bear repeating.

Metal roofs:

  • Unbeatable in protecting from ice dams and hail damage
  • Shed snow quickly, preventing water from backing up on the roof and leaking into the structure
  • Protect your structure from wildfires and other fire; metal has the highest fire rating of any roofing material in the industry
  • Provides protection from major damage in a hurricane with a 140 mph or higher wind rating
  • Do not blow off when properly installed
  • Do not require extensive repair after a weather event
  • Save on energy in hot, sunny climates by reflecting heat rather than absorbing it like asphalt shingles
  • Do not attract more lightning strikes than any other material

About that last point: structures with metal roofs actually survive lightning strikes better than traditional roofs because the charge dissipates over a larger area of the roof, even if it isn’t grounded.

Other materials tend to melt or catch fire. Fire bad.

Get your free copy of our Metal Roofing Guide today »

8. Most critters don’t like steel roofs.

So far as we know, there are no varmints, bugs, or other critters that like to eat metal. You should not find holes made by termites, mice, rats, or another pest.

It doesn’t mean they won’t get in some other way, but it won’t be through the metal roof!

9. Metal is the most sustainable roofing material available today.

  • Steel is 100% recyclable and contains a high percentage of recycled material
  • Steel will not lose strength no matter how many times it is recycled
  • White or light colors and reflective coatings reflect and emit heat away from your structure, lowering energy bills

Metal roofs are easy to insulate, lowering your energy bills all year long and reducing your carbon footprint. Also, you can save room in the landfill by installing a metal roof over an existing roof. You won’t need to haul old shingles and other waste material to the dump.

10. Metal roofs earn LEED points in several categories.

Green building and LEED certification is something many builders and owners hope to achieve. Steel roofing can earn a variety of points toward a LEED certification, such as:

  • Sustainable sites - metal roofs reduce heat island effects and meet low slope and Solar Reflective Index Requirements
  • Water efficiency - easily install accessories to collect water run-off
  • Energy and Atmosphere
  • Materials and Resources
  • Cool roof

11. Metal roofs are more common than you think.

Industrial buildings have long used metal roofing. Residential and commercial buildings are beginning to pick up on the great benefits of metal roofs. You won’t drive too many miles down the road these days without sighting a metal roof, whether you know it or not.


If you have more questions about metal roofs, give Whirlwind a call. We would be happy to answer them.

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