If you’re about to install a new metal roof or if you’re replacing your old one, it might be good to consider your different options when it comes to the different kinds of sheet metal you can use.
Roofs are one of the elements in the house that is going to stay for a long time - people don’t generally change their roofs very often. This means that in terms of home renovations, roofs are pretty big decisions.
Choosing the Best Sheet Metal For Your Roof
The decision for which sheet metal to use for your roof might be bigger than you initially expected. It’s because the type of sheet metal you decide actually has several different implications. Southern Sheet Metal lays out the factors to consider when deciding the type of sheet metal for your custom fabrication and these include cost, material strength, weight, sustainability, energy efficiency, maintenance, and availability.
Here are some of the sheet metal options you can choose from and what makes them different from one another.
Being the third most abundant metal on the planet, it should come as no surprise that aluminum is a common material used for roofing. There are many reasons why aluminum is a good choice for roofs.
The first reason why aluminum is a good material for roofs is that it is lightweight. Being lightweight, contractors find aluminum easy to work with and install. Furthermore, its lightweightness is not detrimental to the strength and durability of aluminum.
In addition to it being lightweight and durable, aluminum is also corrosion-free. This is an important factor to consider when it comes to maintenance because being resistant to corrosion means that the roof will not suffer aesthetic and structural issues associated with rust.
Another factor is that aluminum is a highly recyclable metal. This is especially important for environmentally conscious people since almost all aluminum roofs are made of recycled aluminum. With its high recyclability, aluminum has become a more popular option for sustainability reasons.
Factors that some people do not like about aluminum is that its lightweight property makes denting easy. This means that aluminum roofs cannot take as much physical force as other roofs.
Furthermore, using aluminum in its natural color will eventually look bad as weathering will make the aluminum look washed out and spotty, but this problem can be easily addressed with certain roof coating products. Lastly, thermal movement is a concern for aluminum because the metal expands and contracts quite a bit - almost twice more than steel.
Stainless steel is another good option for metal roofs for several reasons. A valuable property of steel that people like is the strength of steel. Being a strong metal, this means that stainless steel roofs will be able to endure more physical force.
A branch falling on a stainless steel would not be as big of a concern compared to the same branch falling on an aluminum roof. Having a strong roof will also mean that it would need less maintenance compared to a roof using weaker metals. A stainless steel roof should be able to withstand more than 60 years.
Another property that makes stainless steel very ideal is that it comes with a wide range of finishing options. This means that having a stainless steel roof will give you more options to do afterwards in terms of durability and aesthetic options. Having a lot of aesthetic finishing options make it easier to match stainless steel roofs with the overall aesthetics of the building.
Things to consider about stainless steel is that it is pretty expensive. Depending on the finish, panel type, and finish, stainless steel roofs can cost $400-1200 per square. Sufficient drainage systems are also required because standing water is detrimental for stainless steel. Long-term exposure to water can lead to its corrosion.
Copper is an interesting choice for roofs because copper roofs have been around for thousands of years. Copper comes with several advantages. First, copper is lightweight which means that it’s an easy material to work with as well as a lighter load for the structure. In addition to being lightweight, copper is also solderable which makes it even more flexible to work with.
Copper roofs are also pretty durable, especially with examples existing today that have lasted more than a hundred years. In addition to being a relatively strong type of metal, copper is also very recyclable (although not as recyclable as zinc and aluminum). Lastly, copper roofs are considered to be highly aesthetic.
Considered a very premium material, copper roofs are very expensive, running about $500-1000 per square. This is because copper is not among the more abundant metals mined from the earth. Copper also has relatively high thermal movement which means that its contraction and expansion should be factored in when installing a copper roof.
While some people like the aesthetics of copper roofs, some don’t like how they look when they age. Through time, copper oxidizes which gives it a green-blue discoloration. This should be noted when considering copper as a roofing material.
Lastly, there is some concern for copper roofs because some people say that run-offs from copper roofs contain copper which eventually makes its way down to the ground and water sources. Thus, it is important to make sure that a copper roof has proper drainage systems to direct water into a safe place.
Each type of base metal comes with their own pros and cons which is why deciding the type of metal is a big decision. One thing to consider when it comes to choosing the type of metal for a roof is the environment you’re in and the weather your geographic location typically experiences.