Metal Roofing Myths – Costs – Metal Roof vs. Shingles

Not too long ago, back in the early 2000s, if you were to tell me anything at all about any sort of metal roofing, I would have thought that “surely you must be joking!”. 😉 In fact, I’d most likely, immediately form a mental image of an old and rusty metal roof such as the ones you can still see on some old barns and factory buildings. But today, that’s no longer the case for me. I invite you to hop in for a ride as I bust some popular metal roofing myths to set the record straight! 😉

old-school-metal-roof

After having been involved with metal roofing as an installer and later as an in-house sales consultant advising homeowners on various types of energy efficient exterior remodeling options including aluminum shingles, steel shingles, and standing seam metal roofing for well over a decade, I have developed a true appreciation for this truly remarkable roofing option, and I would like to share some of the counter-intuitive insights I’ve learned with you! I would also like to dispel and debunk some of the common and persistent myths associated with viability of metal as a roofing alternative for residential and commercial installations.

What you will learn:

Top 5 metal roofing myths debunked to help educate homeowners considering the installation of a new metal roof. Plus a Bonus Myth and lots of great info that will help you whether you are homeowner, a contractor/builder, or a home inspector.

After reading our myth-busting guide, you will gain a better understanding and appreciation for metal as a premium roofing material of choice sought after by many home and building owners who want an energy efficient, long-lasting, and reliable roof.

Myth 1: A metal roof has a higher chance/risk of attracting a lightning strike.

Reality; No, having a metal roof does not increase the chances of your home getting struck by a lightning, but if your house does get hit by a lightning, a metal roof will simply dissipate the electric charge, because it will act as a Faraday cage. And since metal is a non-combustible material, your roof will not catch fire. – This can further be a great benefit to those who happen to live in dry and heavily-wooded areas that are at a high risk of forest fire.

Myth 2: A metal roof will cause a lot of noise from falling raindrops, especially when it’s pouring heavily

Reality; most likely you are envisioning an old and rusty corrugated steel roof that you can often see on old metal barns. But, this myth could not have been further from the truth!

Modern metal roofing is typically installed over solid sheathing such as plywood or solid wooden boards that comprise your roof deck. With solid sheathing underneath, and specialty underlayment in place, your new metal roof will make no more noise than a regular asphalt shingle roof.

modern metal roof

Myth 3: A metal roof costs a lot of money compared to shingles.

installer on a metal roof

Reality; although at first, it may seem like metal roofing costs a lot, if you look at the cost of metal roofing over a long-enough period of time, you will realize that it is actually the best remodeling investment a homeowner can make.

Quite naturally, you may be surprised to hear this, but a metal roof will actually cost less than an asphalt shingle roof if you stay in your home long enough. An energy star-qualified and CoolRoof-rated metal roof is an energy efficient and long-lasting roofing system that will not only increase the resale value of your home, but it will also maintain around 90% in potential recouped value (if you were to decide to sell your home) over many decades of reliable service, while also helping you attain significant savings by reducing your home cooling costs. Did you know that an Energy Star rated metal roof can provide as much as 35 percent in energy savings on your cooling costs during the hot summer months?

A metal roof installed right is a very long lasting roofing system, and it may well be the last roof you will ever have to install on your home, provided that you get a quality installation from a qualified metal roofing contractor.

Amortized Cost Explained

Since a properly installed metal roof is likely to last 50 years or longer compared to an asphalt shingle roof that has a strikingly-shorter average expected lifespan of just 12 to 17 years in the US and Canada according to New England Metal Roof and National Association of home builders.

Now, if you consider the cost of a metal roof over its expected lifespan, you will get the initial cost divided by 50 years to arrive at the cost of a metal roof on a per year basis. We can do the same calculation to find the cost of an asphalt roof on per year basis.

Consider the following example:

Let’s say that your home requires a new roof and you decide to save money by purchasing a “less expensive” asphalt shingle roof. With an asphalt shingle roof installed by a reputable company your costs will likely be as follows:

$450.00 per square of asphalt shingles installed, which comes to $9,000 for a 20 square roof, for both materials and labor.

Now, lets assume that this asphalt roof will have lasted for 15 years before developing some leaks… So, you the homeowner will have to hire a roofer to repair the leaks, which will probably cost you another $1,000.00, not too mention much aggravation!

Now, let’s say that temporary fixes done to the roof have helped to shelter your home for a couple more years before new leaks arrived at the scene. At this point you’ll probably have to get another “inexpensive” roof that will likely last for another 15 years or so before it has to be replaced again.

Now, let’s do the math:

At a year zero – the decision making point for purchasing a new roof, we invested $9,000.00

After 15 years we hire a roofer to patch up the some roof leaks, which ended up costing us another $1,000.00.

Now, after another year, at year 16 from the initial decision making point, we will have to pay for the installation of another asphalt shingle roof, which will cost us another $9,000.00.

Thus, at year 16 we’ll have already spent a total of $19,000.00

Fast forward another 15 years, and at year 31 we will have to spend yet another $9,000.00 for a grand total of $28,000.00

Now let’s take a look at what would happen if we decided to go with a metal roof:

Say we hired a specialty contractor who installs metal roofs, and after a brief in house estimate, we were able to negotiate a great deal at $800.00 per square for a new metal roof including materials and labor.

Thus, our modest-sized home will get a new metal roof for 20 times $800.00, which comes to $16,000.00.

Now consider the fact that our house has one of the most gorgeous roofs in the entire neighborhood! 🙂 Keep in mind that we will also be saving considerable amounts of money on our home cooling costs every summer.

Now, let’s say that our metal roof has increased the value of our house by $10,000 – the so-called recouped value, which you would receive for your home if you were to sell it after the installation of a metal roof.

Now factor in the fact that we have zero maintenance costs, and our professionally installed metal roof.

Thus we, have the initial cost of $18,000 minus the recouped value ($10,000) of a new metal roof that our home will maintain for many decades. Now factor in the energy savings and zero maintenance costs, and you can see how a metal roof is actually much less expensive compared to traditional composition shingles when you look at the big picture.

Myth 4: A metal roof is easily susceptible to premature rust and corrosion.

Reality; modern metal roofs are designed and built to last for many decades. For instance, steel, which is one of the most common types of metal roofing has a special coating, a protective layer of zinc and aluminum bonded to the steel. – This galvanized or galvalume steel is then further coated with a high quality paint such as Kynar 500 designed to withstand some of the toughest climatic conditions, while being warrantied to maintain its color and not peel for 30 years. That’s why steel roofing manufacturers guarantee their roofing products to be corrosion free for 50 years.

There is also an aluminum roofing option, which is not a subject to corrosion. The steel roofing option will work great for most environments, snow or shine, with the exception coastal areas (within half a mile to the shore line) where there is a heavy concentration of salt in the environment.

Myth 5: A metal roof is easily susceptible to dents.

Reality; Modern metal roofs are built to withstand years of abuse from severe weather such as hail, extreme winds, and snow. Hail will not dent a metal roof, and extremely high winds are not a threat either, as many modern metal roofing systems are rated for 120mph winds. In fact, metal roofs perform extremely well in the hurricane. It is not unusual to see the metal roof with no damage, next to naked regular roofs that have lost all of its shingles and plywood to a hurricane.

As I am busting these myths, yet another common myth came to my mind! This one is a bonus! Please enjoy!

Bonus Myth: You cannot walk on a metal roof without damaging it.

Reality; While you should definitely take all the necessary precautions before venturing out for a walk on your roof, metal roofs are completely walkable. I would recommend using sport shoes with rubber soles, because they will provide good traction for your feet when on the roof. Avoid walking on your roof when its raining as you could easily slip and fall. Rule of thumb is to stay off the roof whenever its surface is wet. Contact your roofing contractor for special techniques on how to walk on the metal roof they have installed.

I hope that you enjoyed reading our myth-busters and that you have learned something new about metal roofing. 😉

I would love to get your comments and feedback on this article, as well as your request for another metal roofing article. If you have something to contribute, please feel free to offer your perspective in the comments section at the bottom of this page.

About the Author:

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