From damaging leaks to constant repairs, it’s easy to see why so many homeowners eventually turn to metal roofing to solve their woes. But is a metal roof really that much better than regular old shingles?
If strength was the only thing that mattered in a roof, metal would be the clear winner. Nothing will hold up to wear and tear or extreme weather like a metal roof! And if you’re concerned about household heating and cooling costs, installing a metal roof could even help save energy.
There’s a reason more homes don’t feature metal roofing. It’s very expensive! Plus, unlike shingles, metal roofing may amplify outside noise and is much harder to patch or extend in the future.
Would your home benefit from a sturdy metal roof? Here’s everything you need to know about the pros and cons of this popular material:
What Are the Pros of Metal Roofs?
Durable and Built to Last
You can’t beat the strength of a metal roof. Even the most durable shingles can’t compete with this material.
According to Bob Vila, shingle roofs can last up to 12 to 20 years. Meanwhile, metal roofing can last up to 70 years, with almost all metal roofs lasting at least 30 years.
Keep in mind that not all metal boasts the same hardness and strength. Softer metals like aluminum and copper will not hold up to harsh weather and should be reserved for homes in temperate climates.
Unlike shingles made of wood or asphalt, metal panels aren’t susceptible to rot. They also won’t harbor mold, mildew, moss, or fungi.
This characteristic won’t just keep your metal roof looking new for longer. It can also mean a longer lifespan overall for your home’s roof and the surrounding materials.
Keep out Wildlife
Squirrels, bats, raccoons, and possums are just a few forest animals that will call your attic home if given the chance. While older homes are most vulnerable, any shingled roof could be a potential entry point for these critters.
Metal roofing cannot be chewed or ripped away by rodents, insects, and other wildlife. This material won’t just keep the local fauna from crawling into your home’s interior. A metal roof will also resist any damage they’d cause by trying in the first place!
Protection Against Fire and Extreme Weather
There’s a reason why metal roofs are the go-to in many regions. If you need a roof that can hold up to everything Mother Nature throws at it, metal is the most obvious solution.
Metal roofs resist intense winds that would rip off traditional shingles without a second thought. Most metal roofing can withstand winds up to 140 miles per hour. Some can withstand wind speeds up to 180 miles per hour.
A metal roof is inherently fire-resistant, making it a great option for those living in wildfire-prone areas. Plus, despite common misconceptions, metal roofs may be safer in the case of a lightning strike.
Homes with heavy-duty metal roofs may even be eligible for insurance discounts!
Less Likely to Leak
It’s important to note that no roofing material is entirely leakproof. But metal roofs are less likely to spring leaks than their shingled counterparts.
Recycled and Recyclable
A metal roof is the best option for anyone who cares about building a sustainable home. While wood and asphalt shingles typically end up in the trash at the end of their lifespans, metal roofing can be easily recycled. Plus, many types of metal roofing are made from previously recycled materials.
Improve Household Cooling
The fact that metal roof panels are recyclable is just one factor that makes this material eco-friendly. Once installed, a metal roof can improve your home’s cooling efficiency.
During the day, metal roofing reflects much of the sun’s heat back into the atmosphere. This results in less heat being transferred into your home. Metal also cools much faster than asphalt, so your roof won’t retain heat for long after the sun sets.
Prevent Ice Dams
Switching to a metal roof won’t guarantee ice dams are a thing of the past. But a high-quality metal roof may be less likely to allow ice dams to form than traditional shingles.
Metal offers fewer places for snow and ice to “adhere” to the roof, so fallen snow is more likely to slide off the roof rather than build up and form an ice dam.
What Are the Cons of Metal Roofs?
High Initial Cost
With its long list of benefits, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that metal roofing is more expensive than shingles. On average, a metal roof will cost 2 to 3 times as much as shingles at installation.
With that said, metal roofs have much better life expectancies than shingles. Many homeowners actually save money long-term on repairs and maintenance.
One of the most cited reasons homeowners opt for shingles over metal roofing is the potential for unwanted noise. Metal roofs can amplify the noise of falling rain or hail as well as let in general noise pollution from nearby traffic or neighbors’ properties.
While this is a very real concern, it’s not as big of a factor in metal roofs as many people believe. Proper insulation can limit the noisiness of a metal roof to that of traditional shingles. An attic can also prevent noise from reaching your home’s main living spaces.
Prone to Denting
Metal roofing resists most environmental damage. But it’s not bulletproof. A metal roof will dent with impact just like the exterior of your car.
High-gauge metals can be used to protect your roof from potential denting. Homes in areas with severe storms — especially those that produce hail — should be outfitted with the most durable metal possible.
Not Impervious to Rust
The other type of damage metal roofing is vulnerable to is rust. Rust can occur if water is able to collect on the roof rather than flowing off.
A metal roof that is properly installed and maintained will be very unlikely to form rust. As with many aspects of homeownership, prevention is the best strategy!
Difficult to Match
Compared to shingles, metal roofs are more difficult to patch or add onto in the case of a home expansion. Finding the exact metal used to create the original roof can be hard. Even if you’re successful in your search, environmental exposure will likely mean that your old and new roof panels are slightly different colors.
Selecting a new roof might not be the most exciting part of homeownership. But it is undeniably important to the future of your home and everything inside!
Metal roofing has garnered countless fans thanks to its sheer durability. Even those living in temperate climates (where things like heavy winds and large hail are extremely rare) can appreciate the reliability of a sturdy metal roof. And if you care about limiting your environmental impact, then a recyclable metal roof is clearly better than asphalt shingles.
Fortunately, the few drawbacks of metal roofing are far from dealbreakers. If a metal roof is within your budget, then potential issues like denting or color-matching are unlikely to deter you from investing in such a durable material.
Are metal roofs common in your area? Do you think the longevity and peace of mind provided by a metal roof offset the initial cost? Share your thoughts in the comments below!