When it’s time for a new roof, most homeowners opt for asphalt shingles. They are the industry standard and the most common type of roofing material. But many roofing contractors also offer durable metal roofs, and it's an option you should consider. “A growing trend in roofing is installing metal roofs and the reason is they last twice as long as an asphalt shingle roof," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. "But remember you’re going to pay more. It’s not unusual to pay two to three times as much.”
That extra investment can be well worth it. Contemplate the pros and cons of the metal option the next time you’re in the market for a new roof.
- Consider the cost: Metal roofs can cost two to three times as much as asphalt shingles. The cost for metal roofing ranges from about $6 per square foot for a painted, steel covering to as high as $20 per square foot for a copper roof.
- Look at the lifespan: Asphalt roofs need replaced every 15 to 20 years; whereas a metal roof, properly installed, can offer a 30- to 50-year life span.
- Installation: Installing a metal roof is much easier than laying down asphalt shingles, and replacing panels is quick and simple. Most metal roofing materials are formed into panels or sheets which are laid on the roof structure and then fastened.
- Durability: Water won't damage metal in the same way it does asphalt. Standing seam metal roofs, one of many varieties, use screws and gaskets to secure the roof to the structure, and they’re not exposed to the elements, which helps prevents leaking and damage during storms.
- Know the rules: Homeowners associations and local laws can limit residential installations of metal roofs. Look in your neighborhood covenants or city ordinances to find out if they’re allowed on your house.
Ryan Westfall, with Westfall Roofing in Tampa, says if you haven't looked at metal roof options lately, you should. “It’s the most durable roof you can put on your house. It’s also the most energy efficient you can put on your house. It’s the least maintenance that is required of any roofing in the industry. The only con to a metal roof is the cost. If you can afford a metal roof, it’s the way to go. It will be the last roof you ever put on.”
And this isn't your grandpa's metal roofing. It’s available in numerous styles and colors and can look like wood, slate or even asphalt shingles. “What a lot of homeowners don’t know is that metal roofs come in an assortment of colors. You can get white, brown, black, and beige, gray - any color you want.”
Angie’s List Tips: Hiring a contractor to install a metal roof
- Get multiple, written bids from reliable, local roofers. Ask them for a cost-benefit analysis of traditional roofs, as well as metal ones and then carefully evaluate that information to make the right choice for you.
- Make sure that roofer has plenty of experience working with metal roofs. A metal roof system is all interlocked and screwed down, as opposed to being nailed, and typically takes about twice the time to install.
- Roofing is a dangerous job and homeowners should ask for proof of insurance when hiring. If the contractor cannot provide this documentation, that’s a red flag. Highly rated insurance agents on Angie’s List recommend contractors hold at least one million dollars in both liability and worker’s compensation insurance coverage. You can also ask to be added to the contractor’s policy as “additional insured.”
- As with any large purchase, weigh the pros and cons of a metal roof for your family’s individual circumstances.