When it comes to roofing, you have a lot of choices to make. There are more materials than you can count on your fingers, and each is used for specific reasons. Even if you decide that a metal roof is the right way to go, you still have four common materials to choose from. Metal roofs are some of the toughest and most reliable in the business, but each metal has its own specific pros and cons. If you’re looking for the best metal roof, it will depend on the application. So we’ll break it down and show you which metals are best for meeting the most common needs.
For Fast Installation & Strength: Steel
Steel has the lowest installation cost of any metal roofing material. It is also the most available and easiest to have installed. It is the most common commercial roofing metal, and because of that, roofers have lots of experience working with steel. This allows them to plan and execute steel installation with less effort than any other roofing metal.
While on the subject of steel, it is also the strongest metal used in roofing. This makes it the best choice in places with frequent high winds, intense hail, or heavy snowfall.
For Harsh Climates: Aluminum
All roofing metals are weatherproof. Even if they aren’t naturally resistant to water and corrosion, they are treated to provide protection.
That said, there is one type of climate that is particularly hard on metal roofs: the coastal climate. When a roof is close enough to the ocean to be exposed to salt spray, the salt adds elements of corrosion that most metals cannot handle. In this case, aluminum is by far the best metal to use. It does fine in coastal conditions. In fact, other metals will be treated with an aluminum finish whenever salt is a concern. Skipping that treatment and using aluminum from the start is usually cheaper and easier.
For Aesthetics: Copper
Copper is the runaway winner when it comes to aesthetics. It is usually chosen because it is considered a beautiful metal. The original copper color is eye-catching, and many people like the unique patina that develops over time.
Despite all of that, steel and aluminum can be painted. For specific aesthetic designs, one of these metals might prove to be the superior choice.
For Longevity: Zinc or Copper
One of the reasons to get a metal roof is that it lasts a long time. Every metal used in roofing is very strong, tough and durable. They all hold up against extreme weather well, and they all do fine against sun damage.
Despite that, zinc and copper roofs outshine the other metals. With the exception of some of the cases mentioned above, zinc and copper roofs are expected to last longer than any other metal, and they both regularly last longer than 100 years. It’s difficult to say which would last longer for any given roof. They are both extremely resistant to corrosion. They are also softer metals, so even if they dent, they are hard to puncture. Both metals become tougher over time because of how they oxidize. They are also the two most expensive roofing materials, depending on market conditions.
For Cost: It Depends
This is the hardest category to identify. First, metals are commodities, and their prices are always changing. Additionally, there is a difference between having the lowest initial cost and being the most cost-effective.
For the initial cost, steel is usually the best bet. It’s possible for steel prices to spike on occasion, but in most cases, steel will cost less than any other roofing material.
Steel is also usually the least cost-effective metal for roofing because it doesn’t last as long. Even though it is treated to resist corrosion, steel roofs will usually show signs of oxidation after 50 years or so (and possibly sooner if the metal is damaged). Meanwhile, copper and zinc roofs gain protection as they oxidize, and there are examples of both roofs that are several centuries old.
Because of that, zinc and copper are the most cost-effective roofing materials. On average, a zinc roof will cost a little less than a copper roof, so we can call it the most cost-effective option.
If you want a metal roof, you have a lot of options. Each metal has its strengths and weaknesses, so you can choose the one that checks all of your boxes and has the most to offer your building.
To go over your options in more detail, contact Paradigm Roofing today. We can install any of these roofing materials along with a huge range of additional styles. If you want the best roof you can get in Collin County or other areas of Dallas/Fort Worth, we’ll be happy to install it.