Now that summer is on its last leg, homeowners across the country are racing to finish residential repairs before the arrival of winter weather. But in many cases, preventing pesky cold season problems such as leaks and loss of insulation can be resolved with metal roofing.
To help us discern from fact and fiction in the metal roofing vs. shingles debate, we asked Metal Roofing Alliance member Todd Miller (of Isaiah Industries) to walk us through metal roofing as a heating and cooling solution. Here are five common misconceptions about metal roofs debunked:
1. Metal Roof Myth #1: Style and color options are limited
The various slate, shake, shingle and tile profile products offer great opportunities to help make sure that your home’s roof matches the style of your neighborhood.
There is a visualizer on the Metal Roofing Alliance website to help see what different styles and colors of metal roofs would look like on your home. We recommend determining what you’d like to accomplish with your next roof and then investigate roofing materials to find what best meets your needs. Are you looking for durability? Low weight? Fire safety? Energy efficiency? Beauty? Recycled content? Establish your criteria and then look for a roof that fulfills them.
2. Metal Roof Myth #2: Metal roofs in warmer climates will overheat your home
In southern climates, tile roofs have become almost cultural. For example, people retire to Phoenix and they want a home with a tile roof. It’s just a desired “look”. However, the reality is that tile roofs absorb heat all day long, making the home warmer, and they continue to radiate that heat into the home even after the sun goes down. Metal roofs, on the other hand, do not absorb heat and even reflect heat away, keeping homes naturally cooler. Homeowners often report energy savings of up to 20% and even more after they have a metal roof installed on their home. It’s important to keep in mind, too, that metal roofs are available today that look like clay barrel tile. So, some of those tile roofs you see in southern states are actually metal!
3. Metal Roof Myth #3: Your metal roof will freeze in a cold climate
Because metal does not absorb moisture, it is not impacted by the hot-cold, wet-dry seasons. Unlike other materials, it does not absorb moisture that later freezes and breaks down the roof. Metal is one of the most stable building materials used today, and is well known for its low weight – high strength ratio. Metal roofs can also help avoid wintertime ice dams by quickly shedding ice and snow.
4. Metal Roof Myth #4: It will be noisy when it rains and attract lightning
While metal conducts electricity, it in no way “attracts” it. Lightning hits the highest object regardless of what material it is. That said, a metal roof can be grounded if desired by the property owner. There is absolutely no evidence that metal roofed structures are more likely than structures without metal roofs to be struck by lightning.
As far as rain noise, that complaint just never occurs. If the home has an attic space and attic insulation, no objectionable noise from rain is reported by building occupants. In fact, some homeowners were looking forward to the soothing sound of rain falling and very disappointed when they couldn’t hear it.
5. Metal Roof Myth #5: Metal roofing isn’t as sustainable as other materials
Metal roofs are well known for their durability and longevity, as well as their energy efficiency, making them a very green roofing option. Additionally, steel roofs typically have recycled content of around 35 percent and, for aluminum, that number jumps to 95 percent.
Non-ferrous metals like aluminum and copper will perform the best in highly corrosive environments such as salt water coasts. In very warm climates, lighter-colored roofs will have the greatest reflectivity for summer time energy efficiency. However, the recent inclusion of reflective pigments in the coatings of many higher quality metal roofs allows those products to be energy efficient as well. On homes where ventilation may be limited, there are special things that can be done such as installing the roof up on battens to help prevent condensation. Specifying a breathable underlayment beneath the roof can also be helpful.