Is a Metal Roof a Good Choice for My Building?

installation of a metal roof

Is a metal roof a good choice for my building?

When you first mention installing metal roofing systems on structures in Texas to someone, they might look at you like you’re crazy. Isn’t this part of tornado alley, where hailstorms and high winds blow through? It can get pretty hot too, right? And with all that in mind, aren’t metal roofs noisy and distracting? 

In this article today, we’re going to talk about the positives of metal roofing systems and why a standing seam metal roof is one of the best roofs to have here in Texas. For either a commercial structure or residential property, metal roofing systems have so much to offer, you’ll wonder why you didn’t have one installed sooner. 

Is it cheaper to get a metal roof or shingles?

Upfront, absolutely not! A metal roofing system is going to cost more with the material and the installation. However, because metal roofing systems have a longer lifespan than asphalt shingle roofing, you get more ROI. That means in the long run, yes, metal roofing systems are less expensive than asphalt shingle roofing. 

Are metal roofs better than shingles?

Neither one is really better than the other. Some metal roofing systems may be better than others, just like some asphalt shingles are better than others. What determines which is better – a metal roofing system or asphalt shingle roofing – will start with your budget. Which can you afford when you need new roofing? 

The next decision-maker is the environment, your long-term goals, and your architectural design preferences. Metal roofing systems are often referred to as the Cadillac of roofing because of their cost. However, this fun little turn of phrase doesn’t specify which type of metal roofing system is the “Cadillac”, and there are different types available for both commercial and residential structures.  For either a commercial or residential property, your choices in metal roofing systems are as follows, each providing its own benefits and drawbacks.

  • Aluminum: A popular choice for coastal climates because of its corrosion resistance. This metal actually reacts instantly to its atmospheric conditions in a positive way, which is why it is so expensive. For budget purposes, you may consider metal roofing systems that use an aluminum coating instead.  
  • Copper: This material has been used for centuries, and some copper roofs are still standing today in many parts of the world as the original roofing material. A soft metal, it can be quieter than some other options, though this also makes it vulnerable to denting. It is completely recyclable, making it popular among those concerned with the environment, though it is not a budget friendly material.
  • Steel: If recycling is your concern, steel is the choice of all metal roofing system. Made from iron and other elements, it has been used in every building aspect possible for commercial structures for decades and has become a popular choice for residential construction in recent years.  
  • Zinc: For aesthetics, this is not the first choice because of the chalking that can occur.  The natural properties make it easy to form, making it popular for commercial properties that have amazing and different shapes for their architecture. The chalking can be cleaned, but if low maintenance is your goal, Zinc metal roofing systems aren’t for you. 

Can I put a metal roof over shingles?

Maybe and maybe not. It will depend on the condition of the current asphalt shingle roofing and the contractor installing the metal roofing. Not all roofing contractors will guarantee their installation of metal roofing systems when it’s installed over existing asphalt shingle roofing. Another consideration is the insurance – homeowner’s insurance doesn’t always provide coverage for roofing that is installed over other roofing materials, regardless of the material. 

When it comes to installing metal over asphalt, it isn’t a matter of the weight because metal roofing systems are the lightest weight roofing options in the industry. In regard to cost, yes, it will be cheaper if the contractor can and does leave the existing roofing material in place.

Does a metal roof lower your insurance?

There are a lot of factors that are considered when it comes to quoting homeowners or commercial structure insurance.  For homeowner’s insurance, a brick home will be cheaper than a wooden structure. For commercial property, the type of business that is conducted will affect the insurance rate. 

Because metal roofing systems are typically more durable, making them more damage resistant, the insurance company may see them to be less risky. However, it will depend on the type of metal roofing systems you choose too, as copper is easier to dent than steel. So, it isn’t as if you’re being rewarded for choosing metal roofing systems over shingles or other types of roofing with cheaper insurance. It is the material itself that is getting you the cheaper rate. 

Are metal roofs low maintenance?

Not really – this is just basic common sense with the surface maintenance required, which can be done with your routine inspections to make sure all is in place and secured. While you can do this yourself, remember that roofs are higher than they look from the ground, and the slope is steeper. Hiring a  professional maintenance service may be a better, and safer, solution. 

Keeping it clean of any debris, leaves, limbs is also recommended. The frequency of the cleaning, maintenance, and inspections will depend on the environment where you live. In a mild climate, you can schedule this process every 18 months. In climates where the weather can go from one extreme to the next, or you have a lot of trees, once a year is recommended.  

building with standing seam metal roof

A Few Last Words On Metal Roofing Systems

Always a concern is “Will metal roof rust?” and if it does, “Can a metal roof be painted?” For what metal roofing systems cost, you don’t want to spend money on something that isn’t going to look good forever, right? Well, yes, metal will rust if it doesn’t patina. However, there are coatings that can be applied prior to or after installation that will fight that oxidation and rust.

As far as painting metal roofing systems, yes, you can. However, it will take some prep work no matter what the paint can says. You also need to know that once you paint it, it will need to be repainted every three to five years to keep it looking good.