Metal roofing is most often made from steel or aluminum, and occasionally from other kinds of metals such as copper or zinc. Steel roofing is considered to be one of the strongest, most durable roofing materials. It's low maintenance and highly resistant to fire (even more so than aluminum roofing), to mildew and rot, and to mice, insects, and other critters. Steel can also withstand winds of up to 110 to 150 miles per hour. Steel roofing can outlive your home, lasting for 50 years or even longer.
Steel is an excellent choice for homeowners looking for a low-maintenance roofing material with a long lifespan. | @ fotolia.com / Rony Zmiri
The Basics of Steel Roofing
Steel roofing typically comes with two different kinds of coating: galvanized steel and galvalume. Galvanized steel roofing is coated with various thicknesses of 100% zinc and is slightly less protective than galvalume, which is steel coated with both zinc and aluminum in order to further protect the roofing material from corrosion and rust. Steel roofing is also very lightweight, usually weighing around 150 pounds per square. Most steel roofs are constructed with standing seam steel panels, which lock together underneath.
A steel roof is generally best for hot and dry areas of the country prone to fires, such as California or the Southwest. Steel roofing also works well in areas that experience large fluctuations in temperature, as steel will be able to easily expand and contract as temperatures change.
Costs of Steel Roofing
Steel roofs are initially more expensive than the cheapest roofing materials, though their energy efficiency and durability can save you money in the long run. In terms of cost, steel roofs fall somewhere between the cheaper asphalt roofs and the more expensive slate or clay tile roofs.
Depending on the size and shape of their roof, most homeowners spend between about $4,000 and $8,000 for steel. Steel panels cost between $7 and $13 per square foot, while steel shingles cost between $3 and $8 per square foot. While these costs are higher than the upfront prices of asphalt shingles, steel roofing has a much longer lifespan and lower maintenance costs than asphalt.
Energy Efficiency for Steel Roofing
Metal roofing is one of the most energy efficient roofing materials, and steel roofing is no exception. Steel reflects heat and light extremely well and can keep your home cool during hot summers. Metal roofing such as steel roofing is also particularly excellent material for mounting solar panels, and it is always 100% recyclable.
Cons for Steel Roofing
Steel roofing costs more up front than other kinds of roofing material. Additionally, steel roofing, like all metal roofing, can dent easily, and scratches in the coating can lead to rust or corrosion.
Bottom Line: Steel Roofing for Longterm Durability and Fire Resistance
While a steel roof costs more initially, it can save you money on energy bills and costly roof repairs in the long run. Especially if you live in a dry, hot area prone to fires, steel roofs are a smart, low-maintenance choice for your home.
To get started finding a contractor who can help you install a steel roof, check out HomeAdvancement's database of local professionals.