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Metal Roofing Buyer's Guide

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SMI Number 1: What is a Metal Roof? Uses, Types, & Definitions


What is a Metal Roof? Uses, Types, & Definitions


Whether you notice them or not, metal roofs are everywhere. You probably wouldn’t normally think to look at the roofing material on a home, but if you take a drive down any road in any city, you’re likely to find at least one house or building donning a metal one.

But how much do you know about metal panels and roofing systems? Did you know that it often requires very little maintenance after it’s installed? Or that you can choose from a variety of looks and styles, like standing seam or stamped options?

Why Choose A Metal Roof?

SMI Why Choose A Metal Roof?


Metal roofing is specifically engineered to last decades longer than any other roofing material. Actually, many consumers ultimately decide to purchase it because it’ll be the last roof that they ever have to put on their home or business. Depending upon the type of metal used, most metal roofs last 50+ years without any signs of degradation or corrosion.



When comparing different materials, like wood, concrete, metal, plastic, or glass, metal easily stands out as the strongest and most durable. If properly installed, metal roofing is designed to withstand:

  • Strong winds
  • Debris (leaves, sticks, etc.)
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Hail
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Rodents and other animals

Not to mention, metal is a Class A fire-rated and noncombustible material, meaning its fire resistance is the highest grade possible.



The level of upkeep needed to maintain a metal roof is generally minimal, especially if the roof was correctly installed. General upkeep would include looking for leaves, branches, and other debris that could get stuck on the roof and in the gutters around twice a year and after strong storms. Also, a concealed fastener roof, like standing seam, will generally have less upkeep than an exposed fastener roof.



There are a number of reasons that metal roofing is environmentally friendly. First, most metals are highly recyclable, meaning that any tear-off metal, old panels, or even manufactured excess scraps can be recycled and used in future products. These metal materials can either come as pre-consumer or post-consumer recycled content:

  • Pre-consumer recycled materials – Scrap content during the manufacturing stage that has been recycled for future use.
  • Post-consumer recycled materials – Excess materials that have already been in the possession of a consumer at one point in time and have been recycled for reuse.

Second, there are even some metal coils and sheets that are made of already-recycled metal. For example, nearly 95% of all aluminum roofing is made up of recycled materials. Third, many metals, like zinc and copper, are found in the environment or in the Earth’s crust, which means they can be naturally replenished and sustained over time.



One of the best parts of owning a metal roof is the variety of warranty options made available by the metal manufacturers or suppliers. Two of the most common are weather-tight warranties, which cover leaks in the roofing system, and paint warranties, which cover certain levels of degradation of the paint system that is applied to the metal substrate. Warranties can vary quite a bit depending on where you live, the climate the roof will be exposed to, the type of roofing material used, and the type of paint system used on the coil. Be sure to thoroughly read the warranty documents ahead of time and ask questions before you buy.


Cost Savings

The table below represents a cost comparison between 60 years worth of both mid-range shingle roofing (three in total) and metal roofing (one in total). In this scenario, the mid-range cost for one architectural shingle roof is around $8,700 and the cost for one Galvalume® Standing Seam with Kynar 500®, a high-end paint system, roof is about $19,201. Even if the shingle roof lasted 20 years, you would need to pay for the shingle roof three times and the metal roof one time in a 60-year span, making metal a more economical choice.

SMI Metal Roofing Cost Savings Chart

Common Uses for Metal Roofing


One of the biggest reasons metal roofing is commonly chosen in commercial applications is due to its superior weather resistance to wind and water, especially in areas where hurricanes or other tropical weather is a concern. Even when the structure isn’t in a tropical location, metal roofing gives business and building owners the peace of mind that their roof is destined to last and not need constant upkeep. Common commercial uses include hospitals, schools, stores, hotels, government buildings, churches, and much more.



The residential market is booming as homeowners begin to realize that metal roofing will actually save them money in the long run. A lot of homeowners don’t think their roof is big enough to warrant paying for a metal system, but we are here to tell you that the size of your roof doesn’t matter. These systems can be used on something as small as a brick or stone mailbox.



Since metal panels begin as a coil or sheet, it has the ability to be formed and cut into many different shapes, sizes, and lengths. This variety, along with the durability, variety of colors, and eco-friendly qualities, gives architects many benefits to using metal roofing to create aesthetically pleasing structures.



Have you ever been inside of a warehouse, factory, or other industrial building where you look up and see the roof from inside? This is a good example of structural metal roofing, which is when metal panels are installed over open framing or on structures that span long lengths and are attached directly to the frame or purlins (additional support beams added to the roof frame).



Like structural applications, barns and other agricultural buildings are common uses for metal roofing. Agricultural structures traditionally use a lap seam profile, which is when the ends of the panels overlap each other and have sealant or exposed fasteners holding the two panels together.

Metal Roofing Types and Options

The popularity of metal roofing is often to due its versatility, variety of options, and ability to be customized for each individual structure, which includes color, shape, style, and much more.

Material Types

Metal is a very broad term when it comes to roofing, especially because there are nearly 100 metals on the periodic table of elements. Some of the most commonly used metal materials used in the industry are:

  • Galvalume coated steel
  • Galvanized steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Aluminum
  • Zinc
  • Copper


Panel Styles

Standing Seam – Standing seam metal roofing refers to metal panels interlocked together at the edges to form a seam, which stands vertically. A true standing seam system uses the concealed fastener method of installation, meaning the clips and fasteners are hidden beneath the surface and not visible to the naked eye. Standing seam roofing is considered the superior and the better-protected choice when compared to exposed fastener systems.

Exposed Fastener – Exposed fastener metal systems, considered the less expensive and more economical choice, are installed with the heads of the fasteners visible on the top of the panels. When an exposed fastener roof is installed, the fastener goes directly through the metal and into the roof deck. Exposed fasteners have classically been used in agricultural or industrial applications.

Stamped Profiles – If you like the look of shingles, shake, tiles, or more textured surfaces but still want the longevity, cost and durability metal offers, it’s possible with metal stamped profiles.


Metal Panel Seam Types

Snap-lock – Metal panels that have been carefully rollformed with specific panel profile edges that snap together and require no hand or mechanical seaming during installation. Snap-lock seams tend to be a little more popular in the roofing industry because they are engineered to defend against the elements while making installation a little easier on the contractor.

Mechanical Seam – Mechanically seamed panels are also rollformed with specific edges that line up with each other on the roof. Once the two edges are put together, a hand or mechanical seamer is used to bend the edges and lock the panels together. 

Tee Panel – A type of standing seam where two panel edges come together and are connected at the top by a cap, which is then mechanically seamed in place to lock the panels together. Once the seaming is complete, the top of the standing seam is in the shape of a “T”.

Exposed Fastener Lap Seam – Exposed fastener lap seams are when the overlapping ends of the lap panels are fastened down to the deck from the top of the panel.

SMI Metal Panel Seam Types


Metal Panel Rib Rollers

Rib rollers are the “patterns” or striations rollformed into a metal panel between the seams. These can be used to assist with the installation of the roof or just for curb appeal. Common rib rollers include:

Flat – No indents between the seams

Ribbed – Some shape or indentation between the seams

  • V-Ribs – “V” shaped panel indents
  • Bead – Longer, rectangular panel indents
  • Pencil – Circular panel indents

Striated – Small consistent indentation lines in the panel (can help reduce oil canning)

Corrugated – Larger, constant waving of the metal panel

Clip relief – A stiffening rib adjacent to the seam that allows the space for a clip


Metal Thicknesses

The metal coil that is rollformed into metal roofing panels comes in many different thicknesses. Standing seam metal panels come in a variety of thicknesses (typically between 22 and 26 gauge) with the most common steel thickness being 24 gauge and aluminum between .032 and .040 inches. For face-fastened systems, 26 or 29 gauge materials are usually used.


Colors and Finishes

Having control over the color and overall look to your structure is one of the most appealing parts of choosing metal. Because of the overwhelming demand for both bright and earth tones on roofing systems, paint companies, like Sherwin-Williams or Valspar, created tested and proven paint systems that add style to a home’s exterior while still reducing chalking, fading, chipping, and other color degradation.



» Learn More About Metal Roofing Uses, Types & Definitions!

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SMI Number 2: 7 Reasons a Metal Roof is the Best Choice for Your Home or Business


7 Reasons a Metal Roof is the Best Choice for Your Home or Business

#1: You don’t want to ever buy or replace another roof

It’s one of the most common reasons we hear from metal roof buyers: They don’t want to buy another roof in their lifetime. It’s true that metal systems are more expensive in the short-term as a one-time expense, but it actually becomes the more cost-effective solution in the long run because it won’t require replacement for at least 50 years or more. So if you’re planning to stay in the home or building you currently inhabit, buying a metal roof ensures that you won’t be purchasing a new replacement roof every 10 to 15 years.

SMI Metal Roofing Cost Savings Chart

#2: You want the best protection for your home and your loved ones

The people and the memories on the inside of your home are priceless and unable to be replaced. A leak or fire originating from the roof on a home can spell disaster in more ways than anyone could imagine. This is why it’s so important to be cognizant of how different roofing materials perform and are tested to resist against potential hazards. Bias aside, metal is one of the most protective options to use as your roof because:

  • Metal is Class A fire-rated and noncombustible, making it the most resistant to catching on fire.
  • Many metal materials are given a Class 4 UL 2218 rating, which means it won’t puncture or damage the metal during a hail storm consisting of at least 2-inch diameter hailstones.
  • Reputable metal companies put their panels through additional testing to further measure its safety and performance, including wind uplift tests (UL 580), water penetration tests, and air infiltration tests.
  • Metal panels actually weigh less than traditional asphalt shingle roofing or concrete tiles and put less stress on the structure of a home over time.

All of these tests and facts sum up to one thing: Protecting everyone and everything on the inside.

#3: You want to get the most out of your investment

As we’ve mentioned, a metal roof is an expensive investment that you want to benefit greatly from. Since it lasts longer and has a higher one-time cost in the short run, a building or home with a metal system has an increased property value (typically anywhere from 1 to 6% higher). This can also contribute to how easy it is to resell a structure, especially if the roof is in good condition and wouldn’t need to be replaced by new owners. This can come in handy if you plan to put your home or building on the market.

Additionally, metal roofing can lower home insurance premiums because metal is much less likely to fail from fire, high winds, and wind-driven rain damage than other types of roofing. On the contrary, insurance could also be more expensive because the roof itself is worth more and would make any replacements higher for the insurance company to cover. There are a lot of other factors that play into the cost of insurance, such as location and other problem-causing risks, which should be discussed with the insurance company.

#4: You are worried about extreme weather events damaging your roof

Weather events are unpredictable, but the best you can do is prepare ahead of time by purchasing exterior products with designed and tested durability; one of which is a metal roof. If you know you live in a high wind zone, a place with high snow or rainfall patterns, or a region threatened by hurricanes or tornadoes, it might be the best choice to buy a roof that can withstand the elements far better than other materials.

#5: You want your roof to be a brighter or more vivid color

Perhaps one of the biggest selling points for metal roofing is that it can come in virtually any color, including both bright/vivid colors and earth tones. Metal coil manufacturers partner with reputable paint companies, such as Valspar (Sherwin-Williams) or PPG, that develop paint systems specifically designed for metal panels. In addition to the variety of color options, these paint systems are thoroughly tested in a real outdoor environment to ensure it can last decades, which is why trusted metal systems are backed by paint warranties.

SMI Metal Roofing Cost Savings Chart

#6: You want a sustainable, eco-friendly roof

There’s no doubt that metal roofing is one of the most eco-friendly options in roofing, which applies in a number of ways:

  • Metal is highly recyclable, meaning leftover pieces, tear-off panels, or damaged parts can be recycled for future use.
  • There are metal coils and sheets that are made up of previously recycled materials. This is especially true with aluminum, as nearly 95% of aluminum roofing is from already recycled materials.
  • Metal panels have the option for a highly reflective color/finish and therefore a higher Solar Reflectance Index (SRI). SRI refers to how reflective a surface is of the sun’s rays, which allows the material, or metal panels in this case, to absorb less heat from the sun exposure.

#7: You want more time between maintenance responsibilities on your roof

The level of upkeep needed to maintain a metal roof is generally limited. This is especially true if the roof was correctly installed. That being said, performing regular maintenance, both structurally and on the surface of the panels, shouldn’t be overlooked, as it could make or break a system. This is especially true if a serious problem exists and the building owner is unaware of it.

» Learn More About Reasons a Metal Roof is Best for You!

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SMI Number 3: Metal Roofing vs Shingle Roofing: Which Should I Choose?


Metal Roofing vs Shingle Roofing: Which Should I Choose?


If you’re in the market for a new roof, you might be questioning the type of roof that will work best for you and your home or building. And while it’s great to have so many options, such as asphalt shingles, metal, wood, tile, or concrete, it can also be overwhelming to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of each type of roofing material. Luckily, there’s not just one answer for every building, which gives you the freedom to discover the available options, ask any and all questions, and finally make a choice based on factual research.

Metal Roofing

Metal Roofing

Advantages of Choosing Metal Roofing

  • Lightweight – One of the major benefits of metal is that it’s a very lightweight material. First, it’s easier for the installers to handle and transport up on the roof during the rollforming and installation process. Second, it doesn’t weigh down and put unnecessary stress on a structure, which reduces frame damage and preserves the integrity of the building.
  • Longevity – Perhaps one of the biggest differences between metal and shingle roofing is the length of its life. For metal roofing, it’s expected to last at least 50 years until signs of degradation begin to show. Different metal materials, such as copper and zinc, have even been known to last 100 or more years in some instances.
  • Lower long-term cost – A metal system is typically less expensive in the long-term because one metal roof lasting 50+ years can easily outlast at least three asphalt shingle roofs (one lasts 15-20 years). 
  • Fire resistance – Metal panels are Class A fire-rated and noncombustible, making them the most resistant to catching fire. This is especially important in areas prone to wildfires because if hot ashes or embers fall on a metal roof, it’s much less likely to catch on fire than shingle roofing.
  • Weathering performance - When compared to different materials such as wood, concrete, metal, plastic, or glass, metal easily stands out as the strongest and most durable in regular and extreme weather conditions. 
  • Environmentally friendly – There’s no doubt that metal is the more eco-friendly option to roofing. Not only is leftover or unused metal recyclable, many sheets and coil are made of already recycled or reused materials.
  • Energy efficiency – In addition to metal roofing’s environmental benefits, it also has energy efficiency advantages. Many metal coil and sheet manufacturers now offer cool roofing, which are highly emissive metal panels that release absorbed heat in higher temperatures and retain heat in cooler temperatures.
  • Increased property value – Since it lasts longer and has a higher one-time cost in the short run, a building with a metal roof has a higher property value. This can also contribute to how easy it is to resell a structure, especially if the roof is in good condition and wouldn’t need to be replaced by the new owners.
  • Low maintenance The level of upkeep needed to maintain a metal roof is generally minimal, especially if the roof was correctly installed. The manufacturer’s maintenance guide will provide instructions on how to care for your new roof, but general upkeep would include looking for leaves, branches, and other debris that could get stuck on the roof and in the gutters.
  • Roofing over or retrofitting over old roof – For a cost-effective solution, roofing over or retrofitting over your existing roof is one way to save. Opting to install a metal roof over the one that is already on a structure eliminates tear-off costs and reduces the amount of waste potentially ending up in a landfill.
  • More color availability Perhaps one of the biggest selling points for metal systems is that they can come in virtually any color, including bright/vivid colors and earth tones.
  • Insurance benefits – In some situations, a metal roofing could lower home insurance premiums because metal is much less likely to fail from fire, damage, etc. than other types of roofing. That being said, there are a lot of other factors that play into the cost of insurance, such as location and other problem-causing risks.
  • Variety of looks Metal roofs come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from panel systems such as standing seam systems to exposed fastener systems. Metal is also available in a variety of other looks that mimic shingle and tile systems.

Disadvantages of Choosing Metal Roofing

  • Higher one-time cost – It’s true, metal roofing is more expensive than shingle roofing as a one-time cost. In addition to the higher cost of materials, there also could be a higher price point for labor and the equipment needed to complete the job, though it’s dependent on where the installers are getting the metal panels.
  • Limited qualified contractors – Finding a qualified and experienced metal roofing contractor or installer will make or break an installation, especially since nearly all potential problems stem from some kind of installer error. When compared to shingle roofing installers, there are significantly fewer installers who are equipped and skilled at installing metal systems.
  • More labor intensive – Metal roofing is a precision installation that is much less forgiving than a shingle roof installation. There is virtually zero room to make errors, which is why metal panels must be installed by a trained craftsperson. This typically means it’s a little more of a labor-intensive process that could take up more time.
  • Oil canning – One of the biggest disadvantages of metal roofing is oil canning, the visible waviness in the flat areas of metal panels. Unfortunately, oil canning is an inherent characteristic of nearly all cold-rolled flat metal, thus it is not normally a cause for rejection of a system.
  • Municipality issues There are some communities or Home Owners Associations (HOAs) that do not allow metal roofing to be installed on a new or existing home within its jurisdiction. Common reasons for the ban:
    • Metal is often thought of as looking “industrial”
    • Inconsistent or goes against the look of a neighborhood
    • Can have high-glare issues
  • Insurance drawbacks While metal roofing insurance benefits exist, there is the potential for drawbacks as well. It’s true that some homeowners could get a break on premiums because metal is less likely to damage, but it could also be more expensive because the roof itself is worth more and would make any replacements higher for the insurance company.

Asphalt Shingle Roof

Shingle Roofing 

Advantages of Choosing Shingle Roofing

  • Economical in the short term – As mentioned before, shingles are cheaper than metal roofing as a one-time cost, which appeals to a lot of homeowners. This fact alone accounts for the vast majority of shingle installs.
  • Easier to install & replace – Shingles require less time and labor for both installation and replacement. Shingles come prepackaged and ready to be immediately nailed to the deck. With metal roofing, you have to handle finished panels that could be cumbersome, attach the metal panels to the decking using screws instead of a nail gun, connect the panels together, and finally install the flashing. All of this requires more time, labor, and skill on the part of the installer.
  • Less expensive repairs – Going along with the ease of installation and replacement, shingles are also much easier and cheaper to fix in the event a failure occurs. Most shingles can be removed one at a time near the source of an issue and require fewer materials to fix. Metal roofing is more complex because the full-length panels are all connected together and more difficult to replace one at a time.
  • More installers – Shingles are relatively simple and easy to install, which is why there are more contractors who are able to install shingles. While it’s still important to find a qualified and experienced installer, it’s generally easier for consumers to find contractors who can install a shingle roof.
  • Foot traffic – The ability to walk on or put weight on shingle roofing is another reason that shingles are easier for the installers. Once they have been secured to the structure, the shingles can be walked on or used as support for the installer while providing greater traction. With metal roofing, you want to minimize how much foot traffic the metal receives, as it could dent, scuff, or buckle under pressure.
  • Readily available – Depending on where you live, shingles are commonly sold at local distributors and retailers.
  • Coast-friendly – Metal and shingles can both be installed in coastal regions, but the warranty on a steel roof is likely not offered on a structure within a certain distance from the coast. Most coastal applications require the use of aluminum in order to receive any kind of warranty from the manufacturer. Shingles, specifically asphalt or composite shingles, are heavier and easier to replace in the event they sustain wind damage.
  • More warranty coverage – Shingle roofing can come with a number of warranty offers from both the manufacturer and the contractor, such as manufacturer error, material defect, algae growth, wind resistance, and contractor error.

Disadvantages to Choosing Shingle Roofing

  • Short lifecycle – Depending on the shingle material, style (3-tab or architectural), and coating you purchase, most shingle roofs last an absolute maximum of 25 years.
  • Higher long-term cost – Shingle roofing is cheaper as a one-time cost, but it typically ends up costing more in the long-run. As described earlier, one metal roof would outlast at least three shingle roofs, and those three shingle roofs would end up costing $7,000 more than the one metal system.
  • Intrusive install – Shingles are attached to the roof with nails that go through the surface of the shingle and into the roof deck underneath. This is a very intrusive process of creating holes in the material that could very easily compromise the structure if improperly installed.
  • Color limitations – If you’ve ever looked at a shingle roof, you’ll notice that more often than not, they are very dark, dull colors. There’s little opportunity for bright, vivid, or light-colored paints because a shingle’s base material is saturated with asphalt and then granules made of a dark granite material are added for color, UV protection, and fire resistance.
  • Heavier – Though there have been advances in recent years to reduce the weight of shingles by using less of the base material, asphalt shingles are still heavier than metal panels. The additional weight can be stressful to the structure of the building and could cause problems over time.
  • Fire concerns – Shingles made today are often Class A fire-rated but contain asphalt, a combustible material, which is a semi-solid form of petroleum. The granules added over the asphalt coating help bring the shingles to a Class A fire rating by making it fire-resistant on the surface, but if a flame or fire reaches the asphalt coating, it is more likely to combust.
  • Low recycling – Believe it or not, asphalt shingles can actually be properly recycled. Despite this fact, 11 million tons of asphalt shingles still end up in landfills every year in the U.S. 
  • Damages easier – Shingles, especially 3-tab shingles, are damaged far easier than metal roofing, especially during extreme weather conditions such as wind, hail, and snow. Also, if an adhesive is not applied correctly or becomes damaged, the shingles can lift or even rip off one at a time.
  • Holds heat – Heat rays from the sun are drawn to asphalt shingles because its dark colors absorb the warmth. This heat is held on to by the shingles and can be transferred as solar heat into the home or building. This can cause air conditioners and other cooling devices to work overtime to balance the indoor temperature, which could increase energy costs.
  • Mildew, mold, & algae If there is excess moisture and a lack of access to the sun, shingle roofing is more susceptible to growing mold, mildew, or algae.
  • Oil-based product The primary ingredient of asphalt shingles is oil (petroleum), and as a by-product, the cost for shingles can swing dramatically as the cost per barrel of crude oil changes. Not only this, but oil based products are generally non-recyclable and are manufactured from non-renewable resources.

» Learn More About Metal Roofing vs Asphalt Shingles!

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SMI Number 4: How to Choose the Best Material for Your Next Metal Roofing Project


How to Choose the Best Material for Your Next Metal Roofing Project

As a potential buyer, it’s vital to know the pros and cons of the five most common materials used in metal roofing: Galvalume, aluminum, zinc, copper, and stainless steel.

Galvalume Metal Roofing

Galvalume® Roofing

Pros of Galvalume® Roofing

  • Comes with a variety of color options
  • Cost is among the lowest in metal roofing of anywhere from $75 to $250 per 100 square feet
  • Studies show corrosion resistance for 60+ years
  • Often able to be installed or retrofitted over existing roof
  • Easy to rollform
  • 100% recyclable
  • Often basked by weather-tight, paint, or substrate warranties

Cons of Galvalume® Roofing

  • Oil canning is a possibility
  • Paint systems are susceptible to chalking and fading over time
  • Can corrode quicker (via galvanic reactions) when in contact with dissimilar metals and materials, such as iron, copper, concrete, bricking, and treated lumber

Aluminum Metal Roofing

Aluminum Roofing

Pros of Aluminum Roofing

  • Medium price point of anywhere from $200 to $575 per 100 square feet
  • Highly recyclable and often made from previously recycled materials
  • Color options available
  • Lightweight
  • Strong
  • Will not rust in coastal applications
  • Abundant in the Earth's crust, making it readily available
  • Often backed by warranties

Cons of Aluminum Roofing

  • Natural color can become washed out or spotty over time
  • Dents easier
  • More susceptible to thermal movement
  • Oil canning is possible

Zinc Metal Roofing

Zinc Roofing

Pros of Zinc Roofing

  • Can last anywhere from 60 to 100 years
  • Eco-friendly
  • Low toxicity levels
  • Helps reduce the amount of energy absorbed into a structure
  • Patina develops naturally over time and protects the metal from corrosion
  • Easy to maintain
  • Easy to rollform

Cons of Zinc Roofing

  • Higher cost of anywhere from $600 to $900 per 100 square feet
  • Oil canning is possible
  • Susceptible to underside corrosion if moisture becomes trapped underneath the panels
  • Could fail if not properly ventilated
  • Few contractors skilled in working with or installing zinc
  • Manufacturer warranties often unclear with many exclusions

Copper Metal Roofing

Copper Roofing 

Pros of Copper Roofing

  • Lightweight
  • Energy-efficient
  • Durable for decades (100+ years in some instances)
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Recyclable
  • Naturally sourced
  • Solderable and works well as flashing and gutter joints

Cons of Copper Roofing

  • Expensive cost of anywhere from $500 to $1,000 per 100 square feet
  • Susceptible to expansion and contraction movements
  • Patina development can vary dramatically depending on environment (dark bronze to bright green)
  • Run-off from the roof can stain other materials
  • Oil canning is possible

Stainless Steel Metal Roofing

Stainless Steel Roofing 

Pros of Stainless Steel Roofing

  • Proven durability
  • Withstands extreme weather and temperatures
  • Low expansion and contraction
  • Backed by warranties
  • Variety of finish options
  • Performs well in high wind environments when correctly installed

Pros of Stainless Steel Roofing

  • Expensive price tag of anywhere from $400 to $1,200 per 100 square feet
  • Standing water can lead to galvanic corrosion
  • Limited color options
  • Oil canning is possible

» Learn More About the Pros & Cons of Metal Roof Materials!

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SMI Number 5: Lightning, Hail, Rust, & Denting: The Most Common Metal Roofing Myths


Lightning, Hail, Rust, & Denting: The Most Common Metal Roofing Myths


Myth #1: Metal Roofing Attracts Lightning

We are taught at a young age to never hold anything made up of metal during a thunderstorm because “metal objects attract lightning.” But did you know this is actually another myth?

The idea that metal attracts lightning is partly because most lightning rods put on top of buildings are made of metal. But these rods don’t actually attract lightning strikes; instead, the metal rod acts as a conductor of electricity and channels the electricity safely to the ground so it doesn’t damage the building. So what does this mean? Metal roofing does not increase the risk or likelihood of lightning strikes.

Actually, metal is one of the most preferred roofing materials when concerned with lightning safety because it's noncombustible (unlike some shingles or wood), meaning it’s incapable of igniting or burning if ever struck by lightning. 

Lightning & Metal Roofing

Myth #2: Metal Roofs are Noisy

There is a common misconception that all types of metal roofs make a lot of noise during rain or hail storms. While it's true that some systems and profiles can experience noise in certain circumstances, most are designed to be no louder or quieter than any other roof type. Luckily, you can have the roof installed in a way that makes noise as loud or as quiet as you prefer. 

Here are some ways to ensure metal roofing doesn’t experience unnecessary noise:

  • Having a solid roof deck to muffle noise
  • Restricting thermal movement 
  • Adding insulation 
  • Hiring an experienced installer


Myth #3: All Metal Roofs Develop Red Rust Over Time

It’s true that most metals rust or develop a patina over time when in contact with oxygen and water, also called oxidation. However, not all metals rust with the reddish-brown color that we typically associate it with. While rusting is an inherent characteristic of most metals, the metal coils and sheets that become metal panels are engineered to prevent rust formation for as long as possible. Let's go through each one:

  • Galvalume – The core substrate of Galvalume is steel, a rust-prone material, but it is continuously hot-dipped with 55% aluminum, 43.4% zinc, and 1.6% silicone. This coating combines the strength and cost-effectiveness of steel with the rust-resistance of aluminum. However, any steel roofing can rust if it’s scratched, perforated, cut, or not properly maintained.
  • Aluminum – Aluminum doesn’t develop red rust and corrosion is generally minimal as it ages, which attributes to its common use on the coast. Aluminum actually develops a white rust that blends well with the color of the metal.
  • Copper – Copper doesn’t rust, but it will develop a protective covering called patina, which develops due to oxidation and sun exposure.
  • Zinc – Zinc is another material that doesn’t develop red rust. In fact, when zinc is exposed to carbon dioxide and moisture, it forms its own protective patina layer called zinc carbonate, which helps further resist corrosion.
  • Stainless steel – This steel alloy is made up of at least 10.5% chromium, which makes stainless steel rust-resistant. That being said, there are architectural stainless steels specifically formulated to develop a patina similar to zinc.


Myth #4: Metal Roofs Dent Easily

Contrary to popular belief, metal roofing is actually very difficult to dent and even more difficult to puncture. There is always a concern among consumers that the first time a wave of hail rolls through, there will be dents all over the panels. In actuality, the average hail storm is very unlikely to cause damage or dent a metal roof. The possibility for denting increases as the size and quantity of the hailstones increase, but it would take a huge storm with extremely large hailstones to create any significant denting or penetration points.

SMI Metal Roofing Example

Myth #5: Metal Roofs Hold Heat in the Summer

This is another myth that we attribute to what we learn when we are young: Metal in the sun holds heat for a long time. While this is a true statement, it doesn’t always apply to all metal panels anymore. 

Advancements in technology and sustainability have contributed to the creation of cool metal roofing, which are highly emissive metal panels that have a high Solar Reflective Index (SRI). SRI refers to how reflective of the sun’s rays a surface is, which allows the panels to absorb less heat from the sun’s rays.


» Learn More About the Myths of Metal Roofing!

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SMI Number 6: 7 Common Problems That Could Affect Your Metal Roof


7 Common Problems That Could Affect Your Metal Roof


Metal Roof Oil Canning

#1: Oil Canning

Oil canning is defined as the perceived waviness of a metal panel and is an inherent characteristic of light-gauge, cold-rolled flat metal products, especially in the broad, flat areas of a metal roof or wall system. To be clear, oil canning is an inherent characteristic of nearly all metal. 

Think of oil canning as the metal being over-stressed and unable to hold a flat form, which causes the metal to give in and create visible waves. Oil canning is easily one of the hottest topics because it's be difficult to define and measure. There are a number of reasons that oil canning can occur, including:

  • Over-production—such as extreme pressure during the coiling of the metal
  • Frequent stress from coil slitting and rollforming panels
  • Inadequate space allotted for thermal expanding and contracting of the panels
  • Changes to the structure’s original form that puts tension on or moves the panels
  • Improper usage, handling, and storage by installers

Luckily there are ways to reduce the likelihood of oil canning, some of which include:

  • Purchasing a thicker metal
  • Using a rib roller, or striated, profile
  • Choosing a low-gloss or matte finish to reduce reflectivity
  • Buying tension-leveled (stretched) metal
  • Installing the roof over a flat “in-place” roof deck

Leaking on a Metal Roof

#2: Leaking

Let’s be honest: No one wants a leaky roof. In addition to having to pay extra for the roof to be fixed in most cases, a leak can also ruin other valuable items in your home or building. Metal roof leaks are a possibility; some of which are unfortunately out of our control, such as rain, wind, and other weather events. However, there are some due to human or installer error:

  • Failed fasteners
  • Failed seam
  • Failed flashing
  • Failed sealant or butyl tape
  • Use of inadequate installation details

Make sure you choose and partner with a reputable contractor with a good track record of quality installs, which will help reduce the likelihood of leaks springing up.


Scuffing or Scratching a Metal Roof

#3: Scuffing and Scratching

Like anything that has a paint system applied to it, metal roofing could be subjected to scratching or scuffing at any point during its lifecycle. Most manufacturers, contractors, and installers take extra precaution to handle coils and panels with care during the manufacturing, rollforming, and installation processes. 

But there is always the possibility that one or more of these parties improperly handles the metal and does some kind of surface-level damage, such as

  • The metal is improperly coiled or recoiled
  • Edge guards are not used to protect the sheet edges in shipping
  • Carriers do not handle the coil with proper lifting devices
  • The coil scrapes against a port of the rollforming machine
  • Tools or other items have been rubbed against or dropped on a panel
  • Panels are walked once installed and scuffed at heavy traffic spots


Metal Roof Corrosion

#4: Corrosion

Many people choose metal roofing because it defends against corrosion and degradation for decades, which makes it the last roof they ever have to purchase. Manufacturers and contractors are able to effectively help you choose a metal material that will best stand up to corrosion in the environment your home or building is in. 

Most metal panels and sheets have protective paint systems or coatings specifically engineered to resist corrosion, but there are special circumstances that could occur, including:

  • Underside corrosion
  • Saltwater corrosion 
  • Dissimilar metals
  • Rusting at cut edges


Dissimilar Metals

#5: Dissimilar Metals and Materials

Combining different metals on a roofing system can actually lead to interactions that could result in early degradation, staining, and potential failure of a system altogether. For example, if Galvalume comes into contact with one of these and is then introduced to an electrolyte, such as water, it’ll lead to galvanic corrosion of the anode (the more active material that has its electrons taken away by the less active material and ultimately leads to corrosion).

Have a discussion with the contractor regarding the products that will be in contact with your metal roof and ask if the metal material you chose will react well to it. 

Paint System Chalking & Fading

#6: Chalking and Fading

Chalking refers to the whitish residue that is visible on a painted or coated metal panel and is due to the paint resin breaking down from UV exposure.

Fading is when the pigment of the paint applied to the metal substrate breaks down (due to UV rays, water, pollution, chemicals, etc.), which causes a change in color.

Chalking and fading will happen no matter where you live. But the degree of chalk and fade truly depends on the environment and substances the roof is subjected to. Luckily, most reputable manufacturers offer paint warranties that cover chalking and fading exceeding a specified measurement over a period of time.

Metal Roof Installer Errors

#7: Other Installation Error

Miscellaneous problems that stem from installation errors, such as missing parts or accessories, loose screws, or poorly attached flashing, are sensitive subjects because it can be completely unpredictable. 

» Learn More About the Common Problems Associated with Metal Roofing!

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SMI Number 7: What is the Cost of a Metal Roof: Factors, Considerations, & Examples


What is the Cost of a Metal Roof: Factors, Considerations, & Examples


It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a pair of shoes or buying a new metal roof, it’s always the most important question: How much does it cost?

Here’s the short answer to that question: It depends.

What Factors Into the Cost of a Metal Roof?

Cost of Materials

The cost of materials required for a project accounts for roughly 1/3 of the total price to install a metal roof. This part of the overall cost accounts for:

  • Metal panels
  • Flashings
  • Underlayment
  • Accessories
  • Other miscellaneous materials 

Cost of Labor

Accounting for another 1/3 of the price of a metal roof is how much the contractor and/or installer charges for the actual installation portion of the project. This accounts for:

  • Number of hours required to complete the project
  • Wages and salaries of contractor’s employees
  • Benefits and insurance for employees
  • Payroll taxes paid by the contracting company


Operating Costs

Finally, the last 1/3 of the cost is comprised of the operating costs that help keep the company in business and functioning in the market. This part of the cost could help cover:

  • Rent, supplies, and utilities of a building or office space used
  • Advertising and promotion
  • Vehicles and trailers needed to haul employees and materials
  • Equipment or machinery used to rollform, cut, and seam panels
  • Licensing and training required by industry or government
  • Insurance
  • Taxes


What Specifications Affect the Cost of a Metal Roof?

What is the Size of the Roof?

As you could probably already guess, the cost to complete a roofing job varies depending on the size of the roof. If you need help calculating the square footage of your pitched roof, which is different from the flat base area of a home, follow these instructions:

  1. Find out what the house base area, or the area of land, the house covers.
    1. If you have a home that is made up of numerous complex shapes, determine the area of the individual shapes and then add all of the parts together.
    2. Also, if you know you have a two-story home at 2,400 square feet, you would only use the square feet of one level (1,200 square feet).
  2. Determine your roof pitch, or how much the roof rises over 12 inches. For example, if your roof rises 8 inches for every 12 inches, the roof pitch is 8/12.
  3. From there, you will multiply the area by the typical slope correction values (these may vary slightly between manufacturers, but offers an approximate square foot value) shown in this chart:

    Roofing Square Footage Multipliers

  4. For example: If you have a 8/12 roof pitch on your home and a 1,200 square foot house base area, you would reference the multiplier in the chart for that pitch, or 1.202, and use this formula:

  5. Roofing Square Footage Multipliers


Commercial or Residential Project?

Typically, commercial metal roofing projects tend to cost more than residential projects due to the fact that more materials, time, technique, and labor are required on commercial buildings.

What Metal Material is Used?

The type of metal material makes a difference in the final price, as some metals come at a higher cost and some cost significantly less. Here are some average price ranges for just the coil and does not account for installation, other thicknesses, finishes, colors, locations, or special orders:

  1. Bare and painted Galvalume (24-gauge): $0.75 to $1.25 per square foot
  2. Painted Aluminum (.032” to .040”) : $1.05 to $1.60 per square foot
  3. Stainless steel (.015” to .024”) : $3.00 to $8.00 per square foot
  4. Copper (16-oz to 24-oz): $4.00 to $8.00 per pound
  5. Zinc (.7 mm to 1.5 mm): $3.00 to $6.00 per pound


What are the Order Specifics?

An attractive feature of metal roofing is the number of options available for buyers to choose from. At the same time, a number of these options on a quote or order can cause the price to fluctuate in either direction.

Width - Metal coil and sheets typically come in many different standard widths (anywhere from 48’’ to 16”) that manufacturers will cut to with no extra charge. If a customer or buyer needs the coil or sheets in a non-standard or customized width, it could lead to a higher price.


Gauge - The gauge, or thickness of the metal, definitely factors into the cost as well. The thicker the metal is, the higher the price will be. (For reference: The higher the gauge number, the thinner the metal is and vice versa.)


Color - Have you ever been to a car dealership and noticed that some cars are more expensive just because of the color? This same concept applies to metal roofing. Some colors are harder for paint companies to develop, some require extra materials to be added, and some might need one or more layers; all of which can increase the price.

Paint type - Going right along with the paint color is the type of paint system used to coat the coil, which can swing the price in both directions:

  • Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) – Highest
  • Silicone-modified polyester (SMP)
  • Fluoroethylene vinyl ether (FEVE) 
  • Polyester – Lowest

Seam type - There are essentially four general seam types used to connect panels in metal roofing: Snap-lock, lap, mechanical, and tee. Of the four, snap-lock and lap seams are the easiest to install. The more labor-intensive, and therefore more expensive, seam options are mechanical or tee seams.

Accessories - Accessories are the pieces and parts needed to ensure the metal roof performs to the best of its ability. Here’s a quick run-down of the different types and if one option is more expensive:

  • Clips (engineered vs non-engineered)
  • Rivets (requires a rivet gun)
  • Fasteners
  • Underlayment (mechanically attached synthetic vs fully adhered peel & stick vs ice & water shield)
  • Clamps
  • Sealant & butyl tape
  • Paint pens

Flashings/penetration zones - Another factor that can affect cost is the number of flashing zones and/or penetration points on a roof, which require more materials and labor-intensive precision cuts.

Where Do You Live?

Just like the cost of a home changes depending on the city, state, or even the country, not every product costs the same everywhere you go. Here are a few factors that weigh into why a metal roof might be higher or lower depending on your location:

  • The overall cost of living
  • The cost of labor (union vs non-union)
  • The prominent regional manufacturers in the area
  • Quantity of portable rollformers in the region
  • Where the materials are coming from


Will Anything Need Customization?

Like most products, customization typically comes at a cost. 

What is the Cost of a Metal Roof?

The best way for us to explain how much a real metal roof will cost is to give the quoted prices of actual projects that have been completed. Keep in mind, these prices capture one project based on its individual specifications.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing Costs & Prices

Standing Seam Metal Roofing Prices


Exposed Fastener Metal Roofing Prices

Exposed Fastener Metal Roofing Prices

» Learn More About the Cost of Metal Roofing!

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SMI Number 8: Things to Consider When Buying & Installing a Metal Roofing System


Things to Consider When Buying & Installing a Metal Roofing System


#1: Don’t go over your budget

It’s easily the most important aspect when you go to buy the new metal roof: Your budget. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to discover if you have budgeted enough to cover the cost of a metal roof, as it’s typically two to three times more than a shingle roof as a one-time cost. 

That being said, there's a pretty big difference between how much money have to spend on a new roof versus how much you are willing to spend on one. Here’s our piece of advice: Be realistic with how much you are willing to spend. You want to get the most out of your money, but you also don’t want to spend money you don’t have or don’t feel comfortable spending. 

Going slightly above or below your budget is normal, but once you start adding pieces, parts, and customizations to the roof, don’t be too surprised when the price increases beyond what you were expecting to pay. If you come to a point where you are too far over your budget, call a meeting with your contractor to discuss ways to cut back on costs.

Stick to Your Metal Roofing Budget

#2: Determine what you can do with your old roof

If you’re doing a total roof replacement, there are a couple different options of what you can do with your old roof. You might be able to choose what happens with your old roof, or it could be up to the contractor, as they are often well-versed in building codes and what can or can’t be roofed over.

  • Option #1: Tear-off & replacement
  • Option #2: Sub-purlin retrofitting
  • Option #3: Stick-framing retrofitting 
  • Option #4: Roofing over old roof

#3: Check with your municipality/HOA before you buy

Before you start getting quotes on a new metal roof, check with your municipality and/or your Home Owners Association (HOA) before you put down any money. There are some community organizations that don’t allow metal to be installed on a new or existing home within its jurisdiction.

#4: Choose the right contractor(s) for you

Before you get quotes and bids from contractors, you’ll need to narrow down the contractors you feel comfortable choosing from. There’s no point in wasting time on getting a bid from a contractor that you wouldn’t feel comfortable hiring to do the job, no matter how low the price is. To know if a contractor is trustworthy and can perform to the highest standards possible, verify the following:

  • They are licensed, insured, and in good standing with the building department
  • They have proven experience installing metal roofing
  • They are helpful, responsive, and able to answer your questions
  • They provide detailed explanations of available products and the installation process
  • They don’t require all costs to be paid 100% upfront
  • They have been recommended by family, friends, and neighbors, or positively reviewed by past customers 

Choosing the Best Metal Roof Contractor

#5: Get a variety of bids

Any time you’re shopping around for a high-price item with many different add-ons and options, you should always get more than one quote or bid on an item. So after you’ve met with the contractors, been given information, and asked a lot of questions, pick out a few contractors that you would feel comfortable getting quotes/bids from.

The next step is analyzing the quotes you received from the narrowed pool of contractors. First and foremost, make sure everything about the project is spelled out in the quote. Then, take some time to review the bids and make sure the following pieces/parts are included:

  • A full scope of the work to be completed
  • Roof specs:
    • Pitch/slope
    • Square footage
    • Layers
    • Number of flashings/penetrations
  • Material costs:
    • Cost of metal + quantity/size
    • Cost of underlayment + quantity/size
    • Cost of fasteners, rivets, or screws + quantity
    • Cost of clips or clamps + quantity
    • Cost of plywood or other roof deck materials + quantity/size
    • Cost of flashings or pipe boots + quantity/size
    • Cost of sealants or butyl tape + quantity
    • Any other material required (drip edge, gutters, etc.)
  • Labor costs:
    • Tear-off cost per hour + number of hours to complete tear-off
    • Installation cost per hour + number of hours to complete installation (includes panel install, roof deck install, accessory install, drip edge install, and other added materials that require time to install)
  • Available warranties


#6: Don’t always take the lowest bid

You might be drawn to a bid because it’s the lowest one you’ve received. Sometimes taking the lowest bid is perfectly fine, but there are times where it may spell trouble and lead to unnecessary problems. We recommend doing your research if someone does come in at a low bid by checking with references, referrals, customer reviews, and the contractor.

OK reasons for a bid to be low:

  • It’s a smaller business with less overhead costs to compensate for
  • The job or project isn’t complex
  • No tear-off of the old roof is needed

NOT OK reasons for a bid to be low:

  • They’re not using quality materials
  • They forgot to include a roof section, penetrations, materials, or any number of things
  • They’re using low-wage or less-qualified workers
  • They’re inexperienced and/or a newer business
  • If you require specific engineering for a system and they can’t validate they are providing one

So know you may be asking yourself: What quote/bid should I take? It truly depends on your situation and your judgement. Just remember to pick a contractor who:

  • Gave you a precise bid with the full scope of work to be done
  • Uses manufacturer provided installation details
  • Answered all your questions to your liking
  • Provided proof of metal roofing installation experience and knowledge
  • Most importantly: Choose a contractor who you trust to complete the job


#7: The price can quickly change

Once you have accepted a bid on the project, know that the price can quickly change at no fault to anyone. There are often unforeseen problems or additions, such as added plywood needed for a roof deck or another few feet of drip edge material needed, not covered in the quote and might need to be paid out of pocket. Discuss how these situations will be handled by your contractor before this occurs.


#8: Know what is or isn’t covered by a warranty

Warranties are a huge selling point of metal roofing and can offer peace of mind for many consumers that their new roof will perform as well as promised. It’s important to understand the different elements a warranty consists of, including how to apply, who or what company is offering the warranty, the duration of the warranty, inclusions or exclusions, and who to contact if a claim needs to be filed.

It sounds like a lot of information to keep in mind, but these eight considerations will make a difference when you go to buy your new metal roof.

» Learn More About the Best Considerations for Buying/Installing a Metal Roof!

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Sheffield Metals International:

Sheffield Metals is a leader in the distribution of coated and bare metal products, as well as engineered standing seam metal roof (SSMR) & wall systems. We specialize in providing painted Galvalume® and aluminum for the architecturally driven metal panel industry. Sheffield Metals has the ability to meet a wide array of needs with more than 50 colors continuously stocked. We can also match virtually any custom color to suit any project.


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