Metal roofs have become more common as the years pass. Once associated strictly with large commercial buildings, they've become a popular option for residential homes. But if you've never lived with a metal roof, you're probably wondering what, if anything, makes them better than traditional roofs.
Do metal roofs function differently from clay, asphalt, or wooden roofs? Do they require extra care? These are only a few of the questions you're likely wondering about right now. Don't worry, we thought of them too at one time or another. It's why we do what we do now.
Thankfully, we can answer most of these questions by looking at the pros and cons of metal roofing, and we're going to share that knowledge with you. Here we've outlined the qualities that most differentiate metal roofs from other alternatives, good and bad. We hope this will help you decide on whether or not a metal roof is right for you.
The Pros of Metal Roofs
1. Excellent Durability
Metal resists damage from rust and corrosion better than asphalt shingles because it features no organic materials. In addition, asphalt shingle roofs have a life expectancy of between fifteen and forty years, whereas metal can last up to seventy years when properly maintained. The more outstanding durability means homeowners rarely have to re-roof during their lifetime if they go with metal.
Metal roofing offers weather protection all year round, regardless of the conditions. So whereas rain, ice, and even extended heat can cause asphalt tiles to crack, metal will endure such harsh conditions without issue. Their durability means they'll keep an undamaged appearance longer, too.
2. Fire Resistance
A fire that breaks out on your roof will quickly spread throughout your home. Thankfully, metal roofing is fire resistant, and many metal roofs boast a Class A rating, the highest fire resistance.
That same resistance comes with another big boon: insurance savings. Compared to traditional wooden roofs, homeowners with metal roofs pay smaller insurance premiums on average. Insurance companies are willing to cut prices because metal roofs have proven themselves to be durable.
3. Energy Efficiency
A metal roof's cool, light material reflects the sun's heat rather than absorbing it, making metal roofs ideal for warm climates like Hawaii. On average, metal roofs reflect up to 97% of the sun's heat, whereas asphalt shingles absorb 50-80% of the sun's heat. Trapping that heat raises the overall temperature of your home.
In addition, metal roofs reflect more sunlight, but they also have a lower surface temperature. When temperatures drop, they limit the amount of heat escaping your home. So any way you look at it, a metal roof can help you use less energy and save money.
Shingled rooftops create a severe maintenance issue when they trap moisture. The trapped water can crack or warp the shingles, exposing sections of your underlying roof to the elements. But perhaps worse, the trapped water becomes a breeding ground of fungi, moss, and algae.
The growing green you see is more than an eyesore. These growths weaken your roof further by trapping even more moisture and increasing weight. Overall, they can reduce the life of traditional rooftops by half.
Metal roofs don't have this problem. They'll maintain their clean look and durability without the possibility of being plagued by fungus. And with much less maintenance to perform, you'll spend more time enjoying the roof than trying to repair it.
5. Quick Assembly
If you're looking to build a new home, you probably know already that the roof takes quite a while to make. For shingles, this is especially true: their assembly and installation are precise ways to prevent the elements from reaching the inside of your home. Slowing things down even further is their weight and fragility.
Metal roofing is typically lighter than traditional asphalt shingles and requires less installation time. Most metal roofs can be installed in only a few hours, potentially shaving weeks off of your home's build time.
6. Increased Curb Appeal
The unique look of metal roofs makes them ideal for homeowners looking to add architectural style to their homes. Because there are so many different styles available, homeowners can choose a roofing material that matches the design of their home perfectly. In addition, due to its lightweight material, metal roofing often doesn't require extensive support beams on houses with flat or low slope roofs.
If you're worried that a metal roof will look noticeably unconventional, think again. Some styles emulate the appearance of shingles without sharing their construction. So whether you want a traditional or modern style, metal roofing will exceed your expectations.
7. Environmentally Friendly
Most homeowners can expect to replace their roof at least once during their life. Traditional materials like wood, clay, and asphalt already have short lifespans, and exposure to harsh weather conditions shortens it even more.
By lasting longer, metal roofs produce less waste. They're often built in part or entirely with recycled materials. Additionally, it's becoming more common for metal roof manufacturers to use chemical-free production techniques to reduce environmental impact.
The Cons of Metal Roofs
1. Higher Upfront Costs
For all the money that a metal roof can save you over time, that doesn't change the fact that metal roofs cost more to install. On average, they cost up to $15 per square foot, which is more than three times the price of asphalt shingles. So when looking at just those numbers upfront, it's easy to see why some homeowners won't consider metal.
However, you need to consider why metal roofing costs more. As outlined above, the materials are much more durable and will last longer than traditional options. Paired with lower maintenance costs, a metal roof becomes cheaper over the long term despite the higher upfront price.
Also, consider that different metals have different prices. With aluminium, zinc, tin, steel, and corrugated metal options, you can shop around to find a price point that suits you. Sometimes it's even possible to find metal for roofing that's less expensive than shingles.
2. Potential to Dent
There's a wild misconception that metal roofs are somehow softer than alternatives. Thus, while they are more resistant to rain, wind, and snow, they'll suffer dents from heavy hail. As rare as hail may be in Hawaii, it's something worth addressing.
While it's true that heavy hail can dent a metal roof, it's not as common as you might think. The stones need to be abnormally large to have any chance of creating an impact. Light hail might be noisy, but it will simply bounce off without causing harm.
Dents won't affect the structure of your roof, but they'll be highly visible. Repairing dents is much more complex than replacing shingles (and carries a higher cost). However, this is only a problem if you're looking to sell your home.
3. Metal Roofs Are Loud
We're all familiar with the sound of rain hitting metal. You may even immediately associate the sound with an old rooftop. It's hard to deny that when something hits a metal roof, it'll cause more noise than if it had hit shingles or wood.
The noisy metal problem isn't as prevalent as it once was. Roofers use special installation techniques to dampen the sound you hear inside your home when something hits your roof. It doesn't completely eliminate noise, but it can lower it significantly.
Pick Kapili Roofing & Painting for Your Metal Roofing Needs
At the end of the day, these disadvantages are incredibly minor when compared to the benefits of a metal roof. However, if you're still on the fence, you can ensure the pros outweigh the cons by putting your roof in the hands of skilled professionals.
That's why Kapili Roofing & Painting is here.
For over fifteen years, we've brought residential and commercial roof construction, replacement, maintenance, and inspections to the people of Hawaii. We're fully licensed, bonded, and insured, and all of the work with an extensive warranty. Contact us today for a free estimate.
We look forward to working with you!