In this guide, will will cover the history of residential metal roofing, environmental considerations and compare metal roofing vs. shingles, with the side by side comparisons for steel shingle roofs, aluminum standing-seam roofing, zinc, and copper roofs.
Believe it or not, there was a time when residential metal roofing was pretty much unheard of in the United States. Then came along the metal roof of Monticello, which was commissioned by our third president, Thomas Jefferson who was inspired during his stay in Paris where many roofs were covered with zinc, which is not only beautiful, but also long lasting building material. Thus, inspired by the idea of a long lasting and durable roof made of metal, Thomas Jefferson further developed Monticello roof design, and that was how metal roofing became a new statement of high-end, residential architecture. Although, several other people followed the suit, metal roofing didn't really take off in America (until recently) the way it did Europe.
Of course, there were many residential hand crafted tin roof systems installed in the 19th century. Some of them are still standing today. The problem with tin roofing is that it either requires special coating, or needs to be repainted every now and then to prevent rusting. In Europe, where primary metal roofing material was zinc it was not a problem because zinc roofs can last well over 100 years with no maintenance required. The long and short of it is that with the exception of corrugated metal roofs used in of agricultural and industrial buildings, residential metal roofing never really took off in America until the end of 20th century, when it became highly regarded for its energy efficiency, longevity, durability, green building compatibility and environmental considerations.
Zinc Roofs in France
Nowadays, metal roofing is by far the fastest growing residential roofing product in America. Metal roofing has gained a lot of awareness and credibility due to its superb reliability, great looks, energy savings, and architectural appeal.
Metal roofing vs. Asphalt shingles
Although, asphalt shingle roofs remain the dominant roofing product in America, metal roofing has been steadily gaining market share becoming popular with the homeowners who want an energy efficient, environmentally friendly or green, and long lasting roofing system. From the environmental perspective, metal roofing is a far superior material because it's made of metal, which makes it fully recyclable. Asphalt shingles, on the other hand, are a petroleum based product that cannot be effectively recycled, nor can they last long enough to justify its detrimental affects on the environment. Our landfills are filled with asphalt shingles, but the situation is starting to improve slowly as metal roofing is becoming more prominent.
Metal roofing Materials and Systems
There are two metal roofing systems options that homeowners can choose; standing seam metal roofing, and metal shingles roofs. With standing-seam homeowners can attain the modern look and style for their home. Although standing-seam metal roofs look modern, they have been used in Europe for well over a century. Another option is metal shingles roofing, which offers a traditional look that where accustomed to. If this traditional in a sense that metal shingles resemble the look asphalt shingles, which may work well for the historical homes, and for anybody who wants more with "traditional" look for their home.
Cedar Shakes and Metal Tiles, Yes they are real, and they are made from metal!
There's also an option of metal shakes, which can work great for somebody who wants to upgrade their roof to a style that resembles traditional cedar shake roofing. The difference of course, is that with metal shakes there is no problem associated with rotting, cracking, chipping and splitting associated with cedar shakes.
For someone who wants to emulate the look of Spanish tiles, there are stone coated steel metal roofing tiles that weigh a fraction of the weight of clay tiles.
Metal roofing prices
The least expensive metal roofing system is comprised of metal shingles that form a four way inter-locking design and can last well over 50 years providing reliable protection and energy savings. Metal shingles roofs system is the least expensive because it's the easiest system to install.
A similar roof would cost $12,000 to $25,000 for a standing-seam metal roof. It would cost $25,000 to $50,000 for a copper standing-seam roof. The pricing for a zinc standing-seam roof would be similar to the cost of installing a copper roof.