Types and Styles of Roofing Materials
The most common roofing options presented below cover more than 95 percent of all residential roofs in the United Kingdom, so unless you’ve got something unusual in mind like BiPV solar tiles – oh, wait, we’ve included those – or a vegetative green roof, the options you’re considering are likely discussed below.
Metal roofing materials will last about 30–50 years. Made of steel, copper, zinc alloy, or aluminum, metal roofs are slightly more expensive than their asphalt and wood counterparts. That said, they are significantly more durable.
Metal roofs are impact resistant and will serve you well in inclement weather (plus, the sound of rain on a metal roof is wonderful). Also, they need a lot less maintenance than most roofing materials. They are very energy efficient—while asphalt shingles tend to hover around the outside temperature (whether high or low), metal roofs act as a natural insulator. This keeps your home cooler during warm weather and warmer during cold weather.
Finally, their recyclability is unparalleled. Not only are most metal roofs created from recycled materials, but many are also 100% recyclable themselves.
Your great-grandfather’s home or barn might well have been roofed in metal, and some of those 100-year old roofs are still going strong.
Metal has enjoyed a recent resurgence led by demand for durability, eco-friendly roofing, and the introduction of new styles.
Metal roofing is still manufactured in rolls, but most are rigid sheet roofing with vertical-seam panels and modular press-formed panels that can be painted or coated with granules.
The manufacturing processes allow for a variety of appearance options including the traditional metal roof style and roofing made to look like shingles, shakes, and tiles. The most common metals used are aluminum, lightweight steel, and zinc. Copper metal roofs are a beautiful but costly specialty!
Pros and Cons
What’s good about a metal roof?
New styles can mimic shingles, shakes, slate, and tile, and dozens of colors are available
Metal is a 50 to 100-year roofing material with warranties of 30-50 years
Metal reflects solar radiant heat, so can keep your home cooler and control energy costs in hot weather when compared with asphalt
Many metal roofing profiles have a Class A fire rating
Some styles of metal such as corrugated and ribbed panels that are common to barn roofs can be installed quickly and on a budget
Metal sheds rain and snow better than most other roof materials, which helps prevent ice dams during extreme cold
Recycled materials are used in most metal roofs, and the roofing panels are 100% recyclable at the end of their service life
Today’s metal roofing products are surprisingly lightweight yet offer outstanding resistance to impact
Metal roofs look great on wood-sided homes, cabins, cottages, and those with simple, rustic design
Many residential metal roofs such as metal shingles, standing seam, and stone-coated steel tiles are designed to meet the most stringent building codes.
Before you choose metal, know its potential disadvantages:
The cost of metal roofing is higher (copper is in the league of its own as the most expensive option) than asphalt shingles and wood roofing, but that is usually offset by its durability and longevity
Without an attic space or a proper substrate such as solid sheathing (boards or plywood), metal roofs installed over open framing and directly over living space can be noisier than other materials when the rain hits it
The material can dent when hit with a heavy object, and replacing metal panels is costlier than replacing asphalt, wood, or tiles, although many metal roofing styles are rated to withstand large hail
In some situations, metal roofing can make it more difficult for firefighters from breaking through the roof to pour water on an interior fire