The Pros and Cons of Metal Roofing (Buyer’s Guide Included)
Choosing metal roofing for your roof replacement is a huge decision. Because it’s such a big decision, you need to be sure it’s the right one.
I know that sounds like a lot of pressure. But you’re about to invest a lot of money in your new roof.
Doesn’t it make sense to know the positives and negatives of metal roofing before making your final decision?
For over 30 years, Bill Ragan Roofing has helped thousands of homeowners find the right roofing material for their roof replacement. Because of this, I’ll be giving an unbiased look at metal roofing to help you determine if it’s right for you.
To start this article, we’ll do a quick recap of the two types of metal roof systems to determine which one is recommended for residential roofing. After that, we’ll get to an unbiased look at the pros and cons of metal roofing.
By the end of this article, you’ll have a good idea if metal roofing is right for your roof replacement.
The two types of metal roofs
There are two types of metal roof systems, standing seam and screw down panel. While both systems have their place in the industry, one is recommended for residential roofing.
(Screw down metal roof)
A screw down panel (also known as exposed fastener) metal roof is just what it's called; it's screwed down. The screws are screwed through the metal panel, leaving no room for the metal to expand and contract when it goes through thermal expansion.
Because of this, you’ll pay to get the screws replaced every 5 years or so to prevent leaks or before a strong storm tears the entire metal roof off.
(Standing seam metal roof)
A standing seam metal roof system is a series of metal panels locked together at the seams or seamed mechanically. Standing seam panels are fastened under each of these ribs (standing seams) to allow the panels to glide back and forth when expanding and contracting.
You can get a screw down metal roof over your home. But it’s better used over a carport, garage, back screened-in porch, barn, and anywhere that’s not a living or workspace.
If you’re seriously considering metal roofing over a heated living space, I strongly recommend a standing seam metal roof due to its expansion capabilities. Because of this, the rest of this article will cover the pros and cons of a standing seam metal roof.
The 4 main pros of standing seam metal roofing
Now that you know we’ll be covering a standing seam metal roof for the rest of this article let’s get to the pros.
Standing seam metal roofing has 4 main pros, including improved curb appeal, durability, and more.
1. Standing seam metal roofing improves curb appeal
The first pro for standing seam metal roof is what it does for your home’s curb appeal. A standing seam metal roof has a cleaner and more visually appealing look than 3-tab or architectural asphalt shingles.
If you get a standing seam metal roof over your entire home, it will drastically increase your home’s curb appeal. But that won’t be an option for a lot of people due to the cost (more on that in a minute).
(Standing seam over deck)
That’s why many homeowners like to use it on front porches, side porches, back porches, bay windows, and more to take their asphalt roof’s look to the next level. No matter how you want to use standing seam metal roofing, it will improve your home’s curb appeal.
2. Standing seam metal roofing requires less maintenance
Every roof needs maintenance throughout its life to keep it running smoothly. But the type of roofing material on your home determines how often you’ll need it.
That brings us to the next pro of a standing seam metal roof; it doesn't require as much maintenance as other roof types. After it’s installed, no maintenance is required except at the penetrations such as vent pipes, gas pipes, etc.
Besides that, cleaning is the only other general maintenance needed, and that’s a personal choice for each customer. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get your standing seam metal roof checked out every year or two.
Roof maintenance still gives your contractor the chance to catch potential problems, clear any debris that could cause damage, and ensure you get the most out of your standing seam metal roof investment.
3. Standing seam metal roofing is long lasting
One of the biggest (if not the biggest) pro of standing seam metal roofing is that it’s long-lasting.
As long as it’s properly installed and your attic is adequately ventilated, there’s no reason you shouldn’t get at least 30 years out of your new standing seam metal roof. Under the ideal conditions, your new standing seam metal roof could live for 50 years.
Be aware, if the painted finish on the metal panels is scratched or damaged during installation, the exposed fresh steel will rust due to dew or moisture in the air. This will shorten the lifespan of your standing seam metal roof.
It's crucial to hire a local roofing contractor that has experience installing metal roofs and takes all the proper precautions to protect the finish during installation.
4. The painted finish on a standing seam metal roof
All of the major steel panel manufacturers use a patented process to apply a painted finish called Kynar 500. This painted finish is a huge pro of standing seam metal roofing.
Kynar 500 protects the standing seam metal panels from the elements and keeps the color you choose from fading. After your standing seam metal roof is installed, you’ll have a 30-year paint warranty on your metal panels.
Even though the paint has a 30-year warranty, it doesn’t mean it’s going to disappear after 30 years. But after the paint warranty expires, you should start budgeting to replace your standing seam metal roof.
The 3 main cons of standing seam metal roofing
Now that you know the 4 main pros of standing seam metal roofing, you’re ready to get to the cons. Just like the pros, there are 3 main cons to a standing seam metal roof.
1. Standing seam metal roofing is expensive
The first con (and most important to homeowners) is that standing seam metal roofing is expensive. Let’s compare the most commonly used asphalt shingle (architectural) roof to a standing seam metal roof.
A two-story house with a little complexity, good accessibility, and using architectural (dimensional) asphalt shingles will cost around $4.76 per square foot. You can expect a standing seam metal roof to be more than double and almost triple the cost at around $15.00 per square foot.
This is a big price jump, and most homeowners avoid a metal roof for this reason. But if you want a new roof that your grandkids will have to worry about 50 years down the road, a standing seam metal roof is a great option.
2. Oil canning can occur on a standing seam metal roof
The next con to a standing seam metal roof is the fact that oil canning can occur.
(Oil canning on a standing seam metal roof)
Oil canning happens when installers fasten the metal panels too tightly together. This gives the metal panels room to expand longways but no room to expand sideways.
When this happens, your standing seam metal roof will show signs of oil canning that starts with a “bubbling” look which eventually turns into a wavy look on the metal panels.
It doesn’t cause any functionality problems. But oil canning does cause an aesthetic issue that some homeowners don’t like.
If curb appeal and aesthetics are a big deal to you, just be aware that oil canning is a possibility on a standing seam metal roof.
3. The noise factor when rain hits a standing seam metal roof
Just like oil canning, the next con isn’t a functionality problem. This con (and one of the most asked questions) is the noise factor of a standing seam metal roof.
You will get an echo from the rain hitting your standing seam metal roof. It’ll be quieter if it’s installed over solid decking because the wood (decking) between the metal panels and your ceiling helps absorb some of the noise.
You can also add wood fiber insulation boards between your roof’s decking and your metal panels to help with the noise. While these boards provide an extra layer to absorb sound from rain, they won’t completely block out a heavy downpour.
No matter what, a standing seam metal roof will make some noise when it rains. Even with what I mentioned above, it’s impossible to completely drown out the sound of rain when there's a heavy thunderstorm.
The guide you need to buy your new roof
Now you know the pros and cons of standing seam metal roofing. Remember, while you can get a screw down metal panel roof over a heated living space, I don’t recommend it.
After reading this article, you should have a good idea if metal roofing is right for your home. But what if you’re unsure or just want to know your other roofing material options?
If this sounds like you, you need a guide that helps you make the right decisions. That’s exactly what The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Roof does for homeowners like you.
The buyer’s guide includes the pros and cons of the different roofing materials, how much your roof will cost, how to hire a great roofing contractor, and more. Learn everything you need to know about buying your new and get The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Roof today.
The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided high-quality roofing services to thousands of homeowners in Nashville and surrounding areas since 1990. No matter if you need a complete roof replacement or just simple roof repairs, you can count on us to provide education, guidance, and quality workmanship backed by a lifetime warranty.
If you’re local to Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Belle Meade, Sumner county, and other surrounding areas, don’t hesitate to contact us today.
Here’s The Complete Guide to Purchasing a Roof to help you find the right roofing material, hire a great roofing contractor, and so much more.