The vast majority of residential roofs in this country are asphalt-fiberglass composition shingles [hereinafter referred to as “comp shingles”]. They’re inexpensive, relatively simple to install, and offer a variety of colors. But as people begin to stay in their homes longer and demand higher-quality construction materials, they are looking for more permanent roofing solutions. Metal roofing offers this solution to the homeowner.
Regardless of their name (20-year, 30-year, 40-year etc.) comp shingle roofs are being replaced every 15 years, on average. The average comp shingle roof my company replaced in 2007 was only 12 years old, and two of them failed after only six years, so some are being replaced much sooner. Older shingles can last into their twenties, but I’ve never seen a comp shingle roof on a house that is being lived in older than 22 years. Knowing this, let’s not kid each other about 40-year comp shingles being a reality—if they were, many permanent roofers would be out of a job.
In search of real permanent roofing, homeowners explore tile, slate, and metal. With a high cost and extreme weight of tile and slate, many are focusing on metal roofing as their choice to re-roof for the last time.
Installed properly, metal roofs can easily last 50-80 years or more. The base metal is the largest determining factor in the cost and durability of a metal roof, with copper being at the high end, aluminum mid-range, and steel (in various grades of galvanized or galvalume) occupying the low end. The method by which the metal roof interlocks and fastens also determines its installation cost and weather resistance. Hidden fasteners are more weather-tight but more time-consuming to install.
Most people think of metal roofing being limited to some variation of a vertical panel, but today’s most popular residential metal roofs resemble wood shakes, tiles, slate, or even dimensional shingles. Homeowners are often shocked to see all of the styles, profiles, and colors available. Most remark, “I had no idea metal roofing could look like that!”
Peace of Mind
Metal roofs can boast many extreme performance standards that assure homeowners of a weather-tight envelope. These include Miami-Dade wind uplift testing (the toughest such building code in the country) as well as U.L. 2218 Class IV hail-resistance (the highest hail rating which earns homeowners an insurance discount in some states). Metal roofs will also carry lengthy and sometimes complex warranties ranging from 20-50 years. Pay special attention to warranty coverage and exclusions to see what a metal roof is actually protected against, and what it is not. A metal roof may even carry separate warranties on the base metal and the finish—read these critically to differentiate quality from cheap!
Most metal roofs are made from recycled materials and all are fully recyclable at the end of their long service lives. Some offer dramatic increases in energy efficiency and even carry the familiar Energy Star label. Some can also be installed right over an existing comp shingle roof, saving tremendous waste out of a landfill. Additionally, one fully-recyclable metal roof replaces 3-5 comp shingle roofs over the same time period, keeping ALL that future waste out of landfills.
I just recently had a customer tell me that, after his metal roof was installed, his home was re-appraised at $90,000 higher than before! He received about a 230% return on the investment in his large metal roof. This is perhaps an extreme case but it is a legitimate one, and in today’s market we aren’t hearing much about drastic increases in home value. Metal roofing is one path to just that.
For homeowners who seek permanence, quality, dramatic good looks, and an Earth-friendly alternative to petroleum-based shingles, metal roofing is rapidly becoming the permanent roofing option of choice.
Classic Metal Roofing Systems of Kentuckiana