Did you know the demand for metal roofing for U.S. home re-roofing projects reached 18% in 2022? That’s a 6% increase within just three years!
One of the chief reasons behind that growth is that more homeowners now know metal has a long lifespan. It depends on the base material, but metal roofing types can last about 40 to 80 years. By contrast, asphalt shingles, the most common roofing type for homes, only last 20 years.
So whether you have a new building project or need to re-roof an existing one, consider investing in a metal roof.
This guide explains the different types of metal roofs to help you pick the right one for your project, so read on.
Metal Roofing Types Based on Style
The three common types of metal roofing include corrugated, standing seam, and stone-covered.
Corrugated metal roofs often cost the least, but standing seam roofs can be more durable. The stone-covered ones cost the most but offer more aesthetic and customization options.
Corrugated metal roofing systems consist of wavy-surfaced metal roof panels with exposed fasteners. The “corrugations” or waves give the panels extra strength and rigidity. These features help prevent them from sagging.
While corrugated metal roofing systems are affordable, their exposed fasteners can still fail. Outdoor elements, from rain to wind and UV, can damage them, putting the roof at risk of leaks.
Fortunately, high-quality corrugated metal roofs use special sealants to help prevent fastener damage. Expect these to cost more, though.
Standing seam metal roofing systems feature wide, flat sheets with ribs on each side. The ribs, or vertical legs, hide the fasteners that secure the panels on the roof sheathing.
The hidden fasteners interlock the panels and give the roof a sleek and streamlined look. Their placement also makes them less likely to sustain damage from external elements.
Stone-coated metal roofing systems start with metal sheets rolled into panels. Their manufacturers then use stone granules to coat the panels. This combination is why they often cost the most of all types of metal roof panels.
Still, the stone granules give the metal roofing panels more texture and dimension. They can even help reduce the heat flow penetrating indoor spaces by up to 70%. They also provide soundproofing features that can dampen the sound of heavy rains.
Popular Types of Metal Roofing Materials
The most popular types of metal used in roofs are aluminum, copper, steel, and stainless steel. All are available as corrugated and standing seam systems. However, most stone-covered roofing systems only use steel as the base metal.
Many types of corrugated metal roofing panels use aluminum due to its malleability. This makes it easy for manufacturers to shape it into the wavy pattern of corrugated roofs. They can also hammer it down into flat panels without damaging it.
Another benefit of aluminum is that it’s lightweight. It’s nearly three times lighter than iron. Despite that, it’s rust-resistant and very flexible.
Because it doesn’t rust, aluminum is an ideal choice for many climates, even coastal ones. So if you live near the sea, this metal roofing is one of your best options.
Aluminum corrodes, though. However, unlike ferrous metals like iron, it doesn’t develop orange or reddish flakes. Instead, the corroded area forms a white or dull gray layer.
The good news is that when aluminum corrodes, the layer it forms further strengthens it. The oxidation also doesn’t eat away at the metal, unlike what rust does to ferrous metals.
Like aluminum, copper doesn’t rust, but it oxidizes. In copper, oxidation creates a greenish-blue coat called verdigris. It protects the metal by slowing down corrosion.
That’s why many old buildings worldwide still have their original copper roofs. Some are already centuries old, but experts say they can last even longer: up to 1,000 years!
Copper is relatively lightweight, too. It also resists fire, mildew, pests, and hail damage and doesn’t need painting or finishing. Thanks to these characteristics, it’s among the longest-lasting roofing materials.
However, copper is also among the most expensive metals used in roofing systems. Still, if you want a long-lasting, rust-resistant, low-maintenance roof, go with copper.
Steel is a rugged, impact-resistant metal ideal for roofs in hail-prone areas. It also has good wind- and fire-resistance properties. Some of the top options in the market are Worthouse, McElroy Metal, and Butler roof panels.
If you feel worried about a steel roof rusting, don’t. While plain, bare steel rusts, roofing panels don’t do so quickly. They undergo specialized treatment and coating that allows them to defy rust.
Those specialized treatments make steel roofing cost more, though. Most high-quality products cost more than asphalt shingles. Their installation is also tricky, even dangerous if done by a non-professional.
Stainless steel is steel, which means it also has iron and carbon. However, it contains chromium and, sometimes, nickel, too. The addition of these other alloying materials makes stainless steel rust-resistant.
Its ability to resist rust is why stainless steel metal roofing types have grown popular. It also resists heavy wear from impact, abrasion, and friction. It even has the highest fire resistance among all other metals used in structures.
Another great thing about stainless steel is that it’s infinitely recyclable. The recycling process doesn’t alter its structure, either. Because of this, stainless steel is among the greenest, most sustainable building materials.
All those incredible features make stainless steel roofs expensive, though. If you do an online search, you’ll find that their prices are at least two times more than those for steel roofing. But compared to copper, stainless steel is more affordable.
Invest in the Right Metal Roof
Aluminum, copper, and steel (including stainless steel) are all popular metal roofing types. They’re also available in various styles, including corrugated and standing seam.
However, since the price of metal roofs varies widely, be sure to consider your budget. Regardless of your choice, it should last a long time with proper installation and care.
For more related reading, check out our site’s lifestyle section! You can find other home improvement ideas and guides there.