One of my favorite movies with Paul Newman and Liz Taylor is Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. When I think of a tin roof, I think of an old North Carolina tobacco barn or a shack in Mississippi. So much for my memories! Today’s “tin roof” is actually a very high quality product and one of the greenest building materials available. It’s typically produced using as much as 90 percent recycled metal and reflects up to 95 percent of the sun’s heat. These metal roofs will reduce your cooling bill, saving you money over time. Properly installed, a standing seam metal roof can last 50-plus years with little or no maintenance.
So if metal roofs are so “cool”, why are the overwhelming majority of new residential roof installations fiberglass shingles? Aside from tradition, it really comes down to cost:
- Metal roof contractors usually charge higher labor costs because it is a more involved process and requires specialized training and experience. Compared to traditional roofer, the labor pool for metal installers is much smaller.
- A crew can tear off and install a typical 2000-foot shingled roof in one day, where a metal roof will take about three days.
- Residential metal roofing typically costs 2 to 3 times more than traditional shingles.
I always thought a shingle warranty of 20, 25 or 30 years meant that was the guaranteed lifespan. Turns out that stated warranty is typically only for manufacturer defect and does not cover deterioration from wind, hail, fungus, ice, snow, or heat. In other words, that 30-year shingle will most likely need replacing in 15-20 years. Considering a metal roof will last 4 times longer, the cost over the life of your 30-year mortgage makes it a sound investment.
One of my other memories of metal roofs is the reason they still get a bad rap: their shiny, metallic, commercial look. However, modern standing seam metal roofs have lost their shed image and are now available in a wide array of colors and finishes. The metal can also be formed to resemble traditional shingles or even a matte finished shake. And the rust you see on so many old metal roofs? Today’s material is made of corrosion resistant steel with a special coating and oven-baked paint that provides excellent corrosion and rust resistance.
There is no material better suited for protecting your home from wind (120 mph rating available), hail, rain, rot, and fire than a modern metal roof system. Though the initial cost may seem high, keep in mind it is virtually maintenance free and can last nearly a lifetime.
I’m glad I did the research and learned why more and more homeowners are making the extra investment and purchasing a modern metal roof system. If you are looking at building or replacing your roof, you may want to take a look at this “hot” roofing option!