Traditional metal roofs can add a distinct charm to your home, but you may not know that there are many options beyond the classic “tin roof.” With modern metal roofing products, you can achieve the benefits of metal, while creating a unique look for your home and staying within budget.

Metal roofs provide extended longevity, superior weather resistance, and improved energy efficiency. But not all metal roofs are the same. Metal roofs have evolved from a simple piece of tin attached with nails to beautiful standing seam construction, available in many options like copper and painted aluminum. Before you choose a metal roof, consider these common types to determine which is right for your home.

Types of Metals Used for Roofs

If you are considering a metal roof for your home, one of the first decisions you will need to make is which metal you will use. There are several options, but three of the most common in the U.S. are steel, aluminum, and copper.

Steel Roofs

Steel is the most common material for metal roofs nationwide. Many of the roofs that are referred to as “tin roofs” today are actually made of steel. This type of metal roof is extremely strong but is light enough that it typically doesn’t require any additional framing or support to install.

In addition to the shiny silver option which creates a “tin roof” look, steel roofs can be painted many different colors to achieve your desired appearance. Some paint options also increase rust resistance and energy efficiency. In addition to a variety of color options, steel roofs come in different shapes which can mimic the look of asphalt shingles and even clay tiles.

With prolonged exposure to corrosive environments, like coastal areas with a high concentration of salt, steel naturally rusts. However, modern steel roofs are coated with other metals to delay or prevent rusting. A zinc coating creates a galvanized steel roof while a combination of zinc and aluminum coating creates a Galvalume steel roof. Both galvanized and Galvalume steel roofs can withstand natural aging, even in coastal environments.

Aluminum Roofs

Aluminum is also a popular choice for roofing, though it can be slightly more expensive than steel. Like steel, aluminum can be painted a variety of colors. In addition, aluminum roofing comes in many different shapes to create a custom look for your home.

While both steel and aluminum are lightweight compared to asphalt shingles and clay tiles, aluminum is typically even thinner and lighter than steel. Aluminum roofing, while lighter than steel, can provide comparable protection because it has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of any common metal.

Unlike steel, aluminum doesn’t contain iron, so it doesn’t rust. Instead, when aluminum is exposed to corrosive environments, it forms a thin, hard film which actually makes the metal stronger. This natural resistance to corrosion makes aluminum a popular choice for homeowners in coastal areas.


Copper Roofs

Copper is a less common – but still popular – roofing material. It can be costly when compared to steel or aluminum, but homeowners who make the investment can create a truly unique look for their homes.

Like aluminum, copper is naturally resistant to rust. When exposed to the elements, copper oxidizes to an attractive green color which can add to aesthetic appeal while improving the strength of the metal. On the other hand, copper is a softer metal than aluminum or steel, which can lead to denting as the metal is exposed to falling limbs, large hail, or other debris. However, the mailability of copper can also be a boon for homeowners looking to add intricate detail to their roofs.

Types of Metal Roof Installation

Once you’ve chosen the material for your metal roof, you must also decide how it should be installed. There are two main types of metal roof installation – exposed fastener and standing seam. Each option comes with its own benefits and potential drawbacks, so you’ll want to make the decision carefully.

Exposed Fastener Metal Roof Installation

Exposed fastener metal roofs have visible connections between the metal and the roof’s substructure. Typically, the edges of roof panels overlap, and the fastener is screwed through both panels and into the roof deck or framing.

Exposed fastener installation is typically a more economical choice than standing seam because it is less labor-intensive, which can reduce the cost of installation. Also, exposed fastener systems can be used with thinner, wider panels, further reducing the overall cost of the roof.

However, there are drawbacks to exposed fastener installation. For one, some homeowners dislike the look of fastener heads disrupting the clean lines of their metal roof. Additionally, this type of installation can be more prone to leaks as each fastener creates a hole in the metal and poses a potential leak if it corrodes, moves, or is otherwise damaged. Finally, fasteners hold the roof panels in place, preventing them from expanding and contracting with changing temperatures. This can cause fastener holes to enlarge as the metal expands, exacerbating weaknesses in the roof and sometimes leading to leaks as roofs become advanced in age.

Exposed fastener metal roof.

Standing Seam Metal Roof Installation

Standing seam metal roof panels are designed to lock together without the need for external fasteners. This type of metal roof installation is typically more labor intensive, and therefore more expensive than exposed fastener, but it provides several benefits that can outweigh the additional cost.

A standing seam roof provides clean, uninterrupted lines which can greatly improve the aesthetic appeal of your metal roof. In addition to a cleaner look, standing seam installation removes the threat of fastener failure and the leaks that can result. A standing seam roof can also expand and contract easily with changing weather, further improving durability.

Standing seam metal roof.

With metal, you can enhance the durability of your home’s roof without sacrificing aesthetic appeal. However, not all roofers can install metal roofs, or offer the highest quality metal products. If you are considering metal for your home’s roof, turn to a roofing company with years of experience with metal, a wide variety of materials, and a customer service team that can guide you through the options.

Metal Roofing from Complete Roofing

Complete Roofing is a local, licensed, and insured roofing company with locations on the Mississippi coast, Alabama coast, North Carolina coast, and in the greater New Orleans area. We install, repair, and replace all types of residential and commercial roofs – including metal.

With Complete Roofing, you’ll receive the highest quality craftsmanship plus your choice of resilient materials and outstanding customer service. Our team can answer your questions, help you choose the right material for your home, and even handle your insurance claim start to finish.

To contact a metal roofing specialist in your area, use the following links for our 4 general areas or click your city for express service:

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