Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing

Metal Roof

A roof replacement is not a cheap investment, but it’s a worthwhile one, as roofs are one of the most important parts of your home. If you’re looking for a new roof and considering metal roofing, you’ll want to know the pros and cons of metal roofing. 

Metal roofs are becoming increasingly popular, and with good reason. Not only are they an eco-friendly option, but metal roofing offers a lot of benefits, as metal roofs are durable, low maintenance, long-lasting, and hold up against rough weather. 

But first you’ll want to go over all the pros and cons of metal roofing to decide if it’s the right choice for your home. Here’s a list of the advantages and disadvantages of metal roofs. 

In this article, we’ll cover:

What Are the Pros of a Metal Roof?

Long Lifespan

With a lifespan of 40 to 70 years, metal roofs have a much longer life expectancy than other roofing materials such as asphalt shingles, which typically only last up to 20 years. Copper roofs can last even longer than other types of metal – up to 100 years. 

How long a metal roof lasts include factors such as weather conditions and maintenance of the roof’s finish coating. Damage to metal shingles expose the metal to heat and moisture, which can cause rust and shorten the roof’s lifespan. 

Eco-Friendly

Because asphalt shingles need to be replaced every 15 to 20 years, each year a huge quantity of used shingles wind up in landfills. About 7 million to 10 million tons of asphalt shingles waste is produced every year. Plus asphalt shingles are made from petroleum products, meaning that fossil fuels are used in their production. 

Not only can metal roofs be recycled when they are retired, but most metal roofs are made of 25% to 100% recycled materials

Metal roofing is an environmentally friendly option that prevents landfills from overflowing with old roofing materials. 

Durable and Weather Resistant 

Known for their incredible durability, metal roofs are effective at weathering rough weather conditions. They hold up against strong winds, hail, fire, and snow. While they can suffer dents from hail, otherwise metal roofs are largely storm-resistant.

Metal roofs are resistant to winds up to 140 mph, making them ideal for areas that experience high winds, like coastal hurricane regions or Tornado Alley. 

During the winter, metal roofs are resistant to snow accumulation. Snow and rain easily slide off the slick metal. Furthermore, metal roofing quickly warms up in sunlight, causing snow to melt faster than on conventional shingle roofs. 

Acting as effective temperature regulators, metal roofs keep the home cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Darker-color roofs absorb more heat and lighter colors better reflect heat and sunlight. 

Low Maintenance

Metal roofs require almost no maintenance and are easy to upkeep. They do not crack like shingle roofs, and they are resistant to moss, mildew, and rot. They don’t accumulate snow during winter storms, as snow slides off the metal panels.

Metal roofs should be inspected once a year to check for damage or debris. For maintenance, homeowners need to keep their roof and gutters free of debris such as tree branches, leaves, snow, and ice. Homeowners can wash off their metal roofs with a garden hose or sweep off debris with a broom. 

Energy Efficient

Metal roofs reflect UV rays and heat from the sun, helping your home temperature stay stable. A conventional shingle roof can reach 150 degrees F on a sunny day, but under the same conditions a cool roof, like metal, can be 50 degrees F cooler. Not only do metal roofs keep the house cooler, they also reduce cooling costs. Having a metal roof can save you up to 25% on yearly power bills

Visual Appeal

A visually modern option, metal roofs come in a broad selection of different colors, metals, shapes, textures, and paint finishes

Styles for metal roofs are varied, as they can be designed to look like shakes, traditional asphalt shingles, slate, clay tiles, or vertical panels. There are several types of metal roofing to choose from, including aluminum, copper, steel, tin, and zinc. With over a hundred different colors available, there are plenty of options for a style and color best suited to your home. 

Metal roofs are an aesthetically attractive choice. However, the aesthetic of a metal roof could be considered a downside for some, since not everyone likes the look of a metal roof. 

Fire Resistant

Metal roofs are fire resistant and have a Class A rating, the best and safest fire rating for roofs. 

Because of their resistance to fires, metal roofs protect homes from flying sparks or embers. They are an especially great asset in areas that experience a lot of wildfires or lightning strikes. 

Lightweight

Metal roofs are a very light roofing material, weighing approximately half of what asphalt shingles weigh. A lightweight roof is better for your home, as it doesn’t put a heavy strain on your house’s structure.

What Are the Cons of a Metal Roof?

Cost

Metal roofing costs more than other kinds of roofs. Even though metal roofs are costly upfront, they save homeowners money in the long run on energy bills. Additionally, you won’t have to replace a metal roof as frequently as other types of roofs. 

Since metal roofs can be two or three times as much as other roofing materials, it only makes sense to fork out the money if you plan to stay in your home long enough to benefit from the long-term cost savings. 

Dents

Although metal roofs are durable and sturdy, that doesn’t mean they’re completely impervious to denting. Metal roofs do not dent easily, but they can suffer dents if bombarded by golf-ball sized hail or large tree branches

Aluminum and copper are softer metals, making them more prone to denting. If you live in an area that can get hail storms, you’ll want to invest in a sturdy metal material less likely to dent such as steel. 

Noise

Some people enjoy the pleasant white noise of rainfall on the roof, but the pitter-patter of raindrops on a metal roof can be loud and annoy some homeowners. Attic insulation helps decrease the drumming noise, but it will not eliminate the noise entirely. 

However, contrary to popular belief, metal roofs are not significantly louder than asphalt shingles. So long as metal roofs are installed over solid wood decking or sheathing and have proper attic insulation, a metal roof should not sound much louder than other types of roofing. 

Slippery Surface

Due to their slick and smooth surface, metal roofs are dangerous to walk on. Never climb up onto a metal roof without first taking proper safety precautions. If you need to walk on your metal roof, wear shoes with soft rubber soles. Shoes with hard soles can damage your roof. 

Rust

Metal roofing is more susceptible to getting rust from salty coastal air, so certain types of metal work better in coastal areas, such as aluminum and zinc. 

However, the outer coatings applied to metal roofing make it highly resistant to rust, so it is rare your roof will suffer from corrosion unless the outer coating is damaged. 

Wavy Roofing

Because metal expands and contracts as it heats and cools, extreme heat can make the roof look wavy and pull fasteners loose. 

HOA Restrictions

Homeowner associations can be an obstacle to installing metal roofs if their regulations prohibit homeowners from installing them on their home. 

If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, you need to check the HOA’s regulations before looking into metal roofing as an option for your home

FAQ About the Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing

Do metal roofs attract lightning?

The popular myth that metal roofs attract lightning is false. Metal is a good conductor for lightning, but metal does not attract lightning more than any other kind of roof. 

Metal roofs are actually safer in lightning storms due to the fact that they are less flammable and better able to withstand lightning strikes. 

Will a metal roof affect wifi?

If you have a good wifi connection, installing a metal roof won’t affect your internet connection. However, if your wifi connection is already weak and spotty, then putting a metal roof on your home could make a poor wifi connection worse. 

Are gutters necessary for a metal roof?

Gutters are important for protecting your property. Without gutters, your house can suffer structural or foundational damage from rain and snow. Your metal roof will be fine without gutters, but your house’s foundation, garden beds, and siding will suffer water damage. 

Are metal roofs bad for coastal areas?

Metal roofs perform fine on homes near the coastline. The salty sea air does make them more susceptible to rust, but a protective coating should keep rust from forming on metal roofs.  

Some metal types are better suited for coastal homes than others, such as aluminum and zinc. 

Can you put solar panels on a metal roof?

If you’re considering going green and installing some solar panels, then metal roofing is well-suited to hosting solar panels. As long as they are properly installed, solar panels should not damage your metal roof. 

Ready to Get a Metal Roof?

If you’re planning on having a new roof installed on your home, you should hire a professional roofer. Working on a roof can be dangerous and is a job best left to trained experts. The installation process for metal roofing is extra challenging and very difficult to do yourself without specialized equipment.

 Do you want to get a new roof, but don’t know where to start? LawnStarter offers an easy way to find a roofing company near you.

Main photo credit: George | Pixabay

Danielle Gorski

Danielle Gorski

Danielle Gorski lives with her family in Texas. She has a degree in Professional Studies and a minor in marketing. Her hobbies include reading, drawing, and writing.