With so many different options on the market, it can be tricky to decide which types of metal roofs are best for your home or building. From classic copper to innovative steel, each type of metal roofing material has its unique advantages. Let’s explore the different types of metal roofing materials, as well as their pros and cons.
Types of Metal Roofing Materials
Galvalume Metal Roofing
Galvalume, a flat rolled steel-based metal roofing material, combines three of the most high-performing metallic coatings used in roofing today — steel, aluminum, and zinc.
- Least expensive
Compared to other high-quality metal roofing materials
- Corrosion resistant
Galvalume’s chemical formula was specifically designed to combine the toughness, strength, and self-healing properties of zinc with the rust-resisting properties of aluminum.
- Easy to handle & install
Another benefit of Galvalume is that it’s not as temperamental as other metals used in the roofing industry, like copper and zinc. Installers don’t have to worry as much about leaving fingerprints, deep scratches, etc., on panels because Galvalume is tougher and a little more tolerable.
Aluminum Metal Roofing
Aluminum is the most lightweight roofing material on the market, but don’t let that fool you. Aluminum roofing is still very durable. The strength-to-weight ratio is higher for aluminum than the other types of metals used for roofing. This means you get the same amount of strength or more without having to use a heavy material that’s harder to work during installation.
- Suitable for use in coastal environments
Aluminum has much better corrosion resistance than steel products, especially in harsh coastal environments where saltwater can wreak havoc on a metal roofing system.
- Warrantied product
Aluminum metal roofs come with a variety of warranty options, including paint, substrate, and weathertight warranties, which help to protect your investment and provide peace of mind that the roof or wall system will last.
- Self-healing & no red rust
Aluminum is unique in how it handles the minimal corrosion it experiences. When it does corrode, it doesn’t red rust as steel does; instead, it oxides and forms hard oxidation (or oxide film) on its coating, which protects the aluminum.
- Lightweight & strong
Aluminum is one of the lightest metal materials, especially compared to steel products.
- Highly recyclable
Metal is almost always recyclable in one way or another, and aluminum is one of the most reusable and sustainable metals in the world.
Zinc roofs have been known to last anywhere from 60 to 100 years.
Since zinc is a natural metal extracted from the ground, zinc’s toxicity levels are low, even after fabrication. Homeowners and business owners do not have to worry about toxic run-off or ground pollution surrounding their zinc roofing.
- Self-healing characteristics
Zinc has an outer protective layer that prevents corrosion, scratching and other panel markings. If wind or another element were to scratch the surface of the zinc roof, the metal’s protective layer would fix and correct itself over time.
- Easy to form
Architects and contractors often use zinc in their projects because it’s a softer metal and can be easily shaped into different profiles for roll forming, gutter forming, and seam creation.
Copper Metal Roofing
Considered to be the grandfather of metal roofing, copper roofs have been used for centuries around the world. Copper is an extremely long-lasting metal that in ideal environments, can last well over 200+ years. Copper roofs are 100% recyclable too, making them wonderful green roof options.
Compared to different metal substances and other roofing materials such as shingles, concrete, or tiles, copper is extremely lightweight.
Copper is a durable element and can withstand numerous decades as a roof.
Copper is often referred to as a premium roofing material, as it enriches the outside of a building and adds a metallic reddish-orange/brown focal point to a structure. As the copper ages, it develops a blue-green covering called patina, which happens because of oxidation and sun exposure.
Though not as recyclable as zinc, copper can be recycled and reused if still in good condition.
Copper can be soldered, unlike other roofing materials. This means roof/wall flashings and gutter joints can be weather-tight with a soldered connection.
Stainless Steel Metal Roofing
Steel is popular since it’s one of the cheapest metal roofing materials. It has three primary types: galvanized, galvalume, and stone-coated steel. Galvanized is made from steel coated with zinc, which makes it more resistant to corrosion. Galvalume is coated with aluminum, which also increases its resistance to corrosion. It also usually comes painted and has a wide variety of color choices for homeowners to choose from.
As mentioned before, stainless steel is used in some of the world’s most powerful and sturdy metal products.
Stainless steel is specifically designed to withstand extreme weather and temperature climates. In addition to efficiently reflecting thermal temperatures away from a building, stainless steel doesn’t become brittle or crack during cold temperatures and keeps the warm air from escaping a structure.
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