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Types of Metal Roofing

Metal roofing has now established itself as a popular choice for homeowners. While the cost benefits of metal roofing are the main driver of metal’s increased use and popularity, it is fair to say that when it comes to residential roofs no amount of cash savings would be sufficient on its own. Residential metal roofs need to look good too!

So the other reason for metal’s surge in popularity is the large range of options and types of metal roofing. Style-wise metal roofing has come along way since the days of commercial corrugated metal roofs.

In this RenoCompare roofing guide we will look at the different types of metal roofing, their pros and cons, average costs per square foot and what style options are available for each type.

Fore in-depth analysis of metal roofing pros and cons and pricing you can also refer to our more detailed guides:

The following table is a summary of that information.

Type of Metal Roof
Price
Weight
Style Options
Galvanized steel $585-$875 100-150lbs
Panels, shakes, shingles, tiles
Galvalume steel $815-$1,200 100-150lbs
Panels, shakes, shingles, tiles
Weathering steel $735-$850 100-150lbs
Panels, shakes, shingles, tiles
Aluminum $950-$1,225 45-80lbs
Panels, shakes, shingles, tiles
Zinc $1,165-$1,750  90-125lbs
Panels
Copper $950-$1,500 100-150lbs
Panels, shakes, shingles

Galvanized Steel Roofing

The most popular type of metal roofing has a track record of durability dating back two centuries. Galvanized steel has a carbon steel core hot-dipped in zinc. The process creates a chemical bond that resists corrosion.

Galvanized steel holds paint well and is offered in many colors. About 35% recycled steel is used, and the roofing is recyclable. The downside is that galvanized steel roofing will rust if the zinc coating is scratched without being treated and painted. For this reason, it is not suitable to coastal climates with salty sea air.

Thickness: 24 to 28 gauge

Weight: 100-150 pounds per square

Installed cost: $585 to $875 per square

Galvalume Steel Roofing

This type of material has the same advantages as galvanized steel with one upgrade: Its coating is aluminum and zinc alloy. Aluminum is very resistant to corrosion and prevents the spread of rust from scratches that are through to the carbon steel core. Galvalume is a brand name that is used to describe several brands of steel roofing with similar coating.

Galvalume steel roofing is available unpainted, coated in clear acrylic and painted in many appealing colors. Its most significant flaw is that the coating can develop micro-cracks when stamped, so it’s typically used in roofing styles with minimal stamping. A finish coat of Kynar or Hylar also compensates for potential cracking of the alloy.

Thickness: 24 to 29 gauge

Weight: 100-150 pounds per square

Installed cost: $815 to $1,200 per square

Weathering Steel Roofing

A606 and A588 steels were developed for low-maintenance industrial applications. Left uncoated, the outer layer of steel oxidizes. The rust protects the inner steel core from further deterioration. Weathering steel is used for full roofs or accents. Also called weathered steel, it currently has a small but growing share of the steel roofing market. It has a rustic charm that translates well to residential use.

Thickness: 20 to 26 gauge

Weight: 100-150 pounds per square

Installed cost: $735 to $850 per square

Aluminum Roofing

Aluminum roofing combines superior resistance to corrosion and lightweight strength. It’s the metal of choice in coastal areas. The outer layer of the material quickly oxidizes to produce aluminum oxide, a type of patina that protects the underlaying metal from corrosion. Aluminum stamps easily, so is used in every metal roofing profile. Most aluminum roofing is prepainted, but bare aluminum is used too. Recycled content is 85% to 95%, about 150 aluminum cans per square foot, and it’s recyclable.

Aluminum roofs cost more than steel, and thinner gauges are more susceptible to damage from hail and windblown debris.

Thickness: About .02” to about .032”

Weight: 45-80 pounds per square

Installed cost: $950 to $1,225 per square

Zinc Roofing

Solid zinc roofing is long-lasting and has a unique look. The material resists corrosion, even when scratched, due to the patina it develops. Because zinc has the lowest melt point of any metal roof, less energy is used in the production of this ecofriendly material. It’s recyclable too. Zinc roofing is used for full roofs and for accents. As a soft metal, zinc is susceptible to damage from hail, high winds and falling debris.

Thickness: 24 to 28 gauge

Weight: 90-125 pounds per square

Installed cost: $1,165 to $1,750 per square

Copper Roofing

This metal roofing is superior in beauty but comes with a higher price tag. Copper roofing lasts 100+ years. It doesn’t corrode, but develops a blue-green patina most homeowners find appealing. The roofing can be treated to hinder or speed patination. Patina develops rapidly if the roofing is exposed to coastal salt spray.

Copper is sometimes used to cover entire roofs, but more often serves as an accent material on dormers, cupolas, ridges and other small sections. Rainwater containing copper patina will stain other surfaces, so water must be properly channeled off copper roofing to avoid this.

Thickness: .016” to .027”, also classified by weight – 12oz to 20oz per square foot

Weight: 100-150 pounds per square

Installed cost: $950 to $1,500 per square

Options for Each Type of Metal Roof

Here are your style options for each roofing material.

Galvanized Steel

An appealing range of styles is made from galvanized steel. Shake, shingle, slate and tile designs have a lower profile than wood, stone and clay/concrete counterparts.

Standing seam roofing systems are the most popular panel type. Curved standing seam panels for the entire roof or as an accent are a recent development and give any home a modern vibe.

You have other options. Most are named after the shape of the profile: R-panel, U-panel, IR-panel, flat, CF, AP and ribbed panels. Manufacturers use slightly different terms for some of their panel profiles. Corrugated panels are produced in profiles from about 1/4″ to 7/8” high.

Panels have lower initial cost, but replacing a damaged panel is costlier than replacing a few shingles or shakes.

Galvalume

Your Galvalume panel options are similar to galvanized and include R-panels, ribbed styles, corrugated and curved metal roofing.

As noted, Galvalume coating can be damaged with complex stamping, so bare shakes and shingles aren’t produced from this material.

However, several manufacturers make stone-coated Galvalume shingles, shakes and tiles. The stone coating offers protection to the steel. It raises the profile for a beefier, more authentic look. Stone coatings in lighter hues reflect UV, so help keep the roof cool. Warranties are as long as 50 years for stone coated Galvalume, but cost is significantly higher too.

Weathering Steel

A more limited range of panels is made: R-panel, western rib, standing seam and corrugated. Most weathering steel has a 30-year warranty.

Aluminum

Aluminum roofing is most popular in shingle, shake and slate styles. They are thin, light and easy to install. Tiles mimic clay and concrete counterparts, but with a lower profile. These materials will damage more easily, so steel is a better choice where large hail or high wind is likely or if your home is surrounded by large trees.

Standing seam panels in many profiles are thicker than other aluminum roofing materials and weigh about 33% more. They are still light compared with steel. Curved aluminum panels are

Zinc

Standing seam panels are most common for residential zinc roofing. Curved panels are produced. Batten seam systems and tiles are also available.

Copper

Your residential copper roofing options are standing seam systems, shingles and shakes. All styles are suitable for coastal areas.