Keeping Your House Cool with a Metal Roof

Published August 7, 2014 by Whirlwind Team

describe the imageIs it time for your roof to be replaced? Are you making energy efficient modifications to your home or planning to build a new construction project that qualifies as a green home? If so, consider the benefits of metal roofing. Metal roofs are not only affordable and extremely durable, they can also be modified to provide reflective properties that keep your house considerably cooler in the summer months. With proper installation and ventilation, homeowners with metal roofs can save as much as 15% to 25% on summer cooling costs, depending on a building's construction.

Add to that the extremely low-maintenance requirements of a metal roof and it's not surprising that so many residential and commercial contractors are turning to metal roofing products for their projects.

What's So Hot about Cool Metal Roofs?

Many people misunderstand the cool properties of metal, thinking a metal roof means a hot surface - so how can it be cool? There are several factors at work. However, the quality of your materials and construction has much to do with whether or not your metal roof delivers the cool and energy efficient properties you are planning for. Make sure you work with a reputable vendor and an experienced metal roofing contractor to make sure your roof performs to its maximum advantage.

Non-Absorptive - Did you ever climb on your asphalt roof when you were a kid? If so, you remember how warm the roof felt long after the summer sun had set for the night. This is because asphalt roofing shingles, just like wood, tile and concrete, absorb heat. Even when the heat is no longer present, most traditional roofing materials still radiate stored heat for long afterwards. This heat radiates right into your home, most specifically into the attic space, which can put considerable demand on your cooling system.

Metal roofs reflect light and heat and because they have a low thermal mass, they don't absorb it. Once the exterior temperature cools off, they cool off. Combined with specialized reflective coatings that can re-emit heat, your attic will stay noticeably cooler through the summer and you're cooling system will notice the difference.

Efficient Ventilation - Remember how we said you want to work with an experienced metal roofing contractor? Here is one of the key reasons for that: efficient ventilation of your metal roof will go a long way towards enhancing its cool, energy efficient properties. Proper ventilation, using a combination of soffit and ridge vents, will keep hot air circulating out of the attic space. This ventilation system is also important during the winter months to help vent attic moisture out of your home so it doesn't collect in the attic space, leading to mold and mildew issues.

If you live in an exceptionally hot area of the country, take the cooling process a step further and choose metal roofing products with an integral airspace between the back of the metal panel and the roofdeck and underlayment. This extra space further blocks potential heat transference from the metal to underlying building materials.

Low-Maintenance Cool - Typically, traditional roofing materials have be be repaired on a regular basis - especially after a particularly nasty storm - and replaced about every 15 to 20 years. This is a costly cycle. Compare this with the fact that metal roofing products consistently last upwards of 50 years or more without ever needing to be replaced, and many of them have warranties of up to 40 years. That is exceptional staying power and makes the first cost of a cool metal roof significantly less than the lifetime costs of most other more traditional options.

It's All about Aesthetics - Metal roofs have come a long way since their corrugated or Quonset hut days. Today's metal roofs are made to replicate virtually any roofing system you could want, including shake and tile. They can be made in virtually any color, which can enhance your home design but do keep in mind that lighter colors are less heat absorptive than darker colors.

It's Cool to be Green - Finally, metal roofing systems are a preferred choice of those who are designing sustainable buildings. Most aluminum roofing systems are made from 98% recycled materials. They come pre-engineered and pre-fabricated, which cuts down on production and transportation costs. The long life cycle of a metal roof, as mentioned above, also increases their desirability for sustainable buildings. Finally, when the roofing system needs to be dismantled and replaced, the entire thing can be recycled again.

Are you interested in learning more about the advantages of metal roofing for your next home or commercial construction projects? Contact Whirlwind Steel. Our clients are continuously amazed at the difference metal roofs make for their buildings both in the summer months as well as the rest of the year.

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