Metal Roofing – Types, Pros & Cons, Prices and Manufacturers

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.

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Here’s a comprehensive list of metal roof pros and cons, starting with its advantages


Multiple Metal Options

There’s a metal for every home.

From galvanized steel on the affordable end to copper as the pinnacle of elegance, your options also include Galvalume steel, aluminum, zinc and weathering steel. Our Guide to Different Metal Roofing Materials has all the details including prices.

Range of Styles

One of metal’s advantages is that it can be formed into any style.

Whether you prefer a classic metal panel roof, modernistic curves or want the look of slate or wood, metal meets the demand. Most metals are manufactured in most styles for combining your preferred metal with the desired appearance.

Good Long-Term Value

Initial cost vs. value over the life of the material is one of the most debated metal roof pros and cons. Metal lasts 3-6 times longer than cheaper roof types, so metal’s lifetime cost very competitive.

Energy Efficency

All metal roof types reflect heat from the sun. Installation methods that leave an airgap between the roofing and the roof deck further reduce heat penetration. Additionally, metal keeps heat in during winter. In short, metal roofs lower AC and heating costs compared to asphalt shingles.

Resists “everything” Including Fire

With metal, your home is protected from the elements, insects, algae staining and mold.

There are metal roof pros and cons regarding fire. The good news is that metal resists fire from windblown sparks. The bad news is below.

Lightweight and Easy to Install

A list showing pounds per square foot of material tells the story:

  • Aluminum: .45 to .8
  • Zinc: .9 to 1.25
  • Steel and copper: 1.0 to 1.5
  • Asphalt shingles: 2.0 to 4.0
  • Lightweight concrete tile: 6.5 to 8.0
  • Standard clay and concrete tile: 9.0 to 14.0

Easy installation leads to lower installation cost than heavier and more complex roofing systems like tile and slate.

Sheds Rain, Snow and Ice

These elements glide off metal roofs. Ice is listed in both metal roofs pros and cons, so see the Cons for the rest of the story.

Aluminum And Copper Handle Coastal Salt Spray Like Champs

Both materials form a patina. It’s a type of oxidation, but instead of the corrosion continuing deeper, the patina protects the inner metal core.

Can Install Over Some Existing Roofs

If the roof has a single layer of 3-tab asphalt shingles, it can probably remain. This saves a few bucks on tear-off. There is a potential downside listed below.

Easy to Maintain

Many homeowners do nothing to their metal roof, and it keeps looking great. Hose it off or have it professionally cleaned if needed. Coatings are long-lasting: Acrylic paint (10-20 years), Kynar (up to 30 years) and stone coatings (up to 50 years).

Green Building Material

Steel roofing is about 35% recycled material. The number can be as high as 95% for aluminum. All metal roofing is recyclable.


Here is the downside in the pros and cons of metal roofs.

Higher Upfront Cost for Some Metals

Steel roofing is competitively priced to slate, wood shingles and shakes and premium asphalt shingles. Installed cost climbs with aluminum. Copper and zinc are even pricier – though on par with slate and high-end tile.

Potential Corrosion of Galvanized

Steel rusts. Galvanized steel finished in acrylic paint will rust quickly if scratched or where cut edges aren’t painted. Kynar protects galvanized better, but can still be scratched and lead to corrosion. Galvalume is the least susceptible to corrosion, though not impervious.

Poor Coastal Performance for Steel

When salt spray frequently contacts a steel roof, rusting is a given.

The Noise Factor

Heavy rain and hail makes a lot of noise on metal roofing.

Dents, Dings and Imprinting

Metal can dent in heavy hail or when branches 2”-plus in diameter fall on it. Walking on a roof can dent it. If there are shingles or uneven spots in the roof deck below, walking on metal panels can also imprint the shape of the underlying material onto the steel.

Ice Dangers

Every year, homeowners are struck and injured by ice sliding off metal roofing. If you live where ice is common, learn about proper ice removal before winter arrives.

Traps Fire

Metal roofing keeps fire out. It also prevents firefighters from breaking through the roof to vent the heat and smoke. The result is a higher potential for loss of life and property if a fire starts in a metal-roofed home.

Higher Repair Costs on Large Panels

Metal is quite tough. But material and labor costs are higher when large panels must be replaced compared with replacing a few shingles of any material.

Now compare metal roofs with asphalt shingle 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.

Galvanized Steel | Galvalume Steel | Weathering Steel | Aluminium | Zinc | Copper


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


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


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 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


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


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


Here are your style options for each roofing material.


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.


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.


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 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


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


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

Here’s a helpful summary table:

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
Copper $950-$1,500 100-150lbs
Panels, shakes, shingles


Materials Cost | Material Cost Factors | Installation Costs | Installation Cost Factors 

Your new metal roof cost will be $5.85 to $17.50 per square foot depending on materials used. Average metal roof costs per square foot installed are:

  • Galvanized steel: $7.85
  • Weathering steel: $8.10
  • Galvalume steel: $9.75
  • Aluminum: $11.40
  • Copper: $12.15
  • Zinc: $14.65

Bear in mind that while the cost of a metal roof versus asphalt shingles is much higher , metal lasts much, much longer

This metal roofing price guide includes cost details below. Those are followed by brief reviews for the top-selling manufacturers of metal roofing panels, shingles, shakes and tiles.


Many homeowners want to know itemized metal roofing costs because they plan to install the roof themselves or at least want to know how their money will be spent.

Metal roofing materials cost includes a lengthy parts list with more than just the primary panels, shingles or tiles. You’ll also need to buy:

  • Accessories: Trim, fascia, soffit, ridge cap, end cap, underlayment when needed and other parts to complete the entire roof package.
  • Installation supplies: Bolts, screws, nails, battens when used, adhesives and other fasteners specific to the metal and roof style.

The table in this section includes materials only. Installation labor costs are below.

Galvanized Steel $4.30 sq/ft
Weathering Steel $4.65 sq/ft
Galvalume Steel $5.40 sq/ft
Aluminum $6.80 sq/ft
Copper $8.55 sq/ft
Zinc $10.25 sq/ft


Our Metal Roofing Options page shows a range of prices for each metal. Cost factors are:

  • Metal gauge: Thicker metal (lower gauge) costs more.
  • Type of coating: Longer-lasting coatings like Kynar and Hylar cost more.
  • Style: The more fabrication that goes into the material, the higher the cost.
  • Type: Panels cost less per square foot than shingles, shakes and tiles.
  • Accessories: You’ve got options that range from low-cost basic accessories to higher-cost styles that dress up your roof.

Note: Online metal roof prices are often much too low for two reasons.

First, residential metal roofing material prices are hard to find online. Most materials are only available to contractors through local wholesale distributors. These distributors don’t sell or make their prices available to the public.

So, some reviewers rely on barn/shed metal roofing prices that can be found online or in home improvement stores. These materials are often much cheaper and not suited to residential use.

Secondly, most metal roof cost reviews don’t understand that the accessories and supplies required for the roof cost more than the panels, shingles, shakes or tiles.

Our pricing reflects costs for good-quality, residential material and all the “extras” required to complete the roof.


Metal roofing is available in panels, shingles/shakes and tiles. Shingles and shakes are installed alike, but the others have unique installation techniques. As a result, cost varies.

This table shows metal roof labor costs for each type—they reflect the money you’ll save with DIY installation. Where on the range your installation will fall depends on the factors below.

Panels $1.75 – $3.35
Shingles & Shakes $2.60 – $4.40
Tiles $3.00 to $5.15


Labor cost is affected by:

  • Who you hire:

Your options range from handyman services to metal roofing specialists. It is important that the company you hire be licensed, insured and use a crew with plenty of experience installing the type of metal roof you choose.

  • Whether battens are used:

Battens, also called strapping and stringers, are sometimes installed beneath metal roofing to allow airflow. The air cools the roof and removes moisture that might otherwise damage the roof deck.

  • Complexity of the roof:

Cost rises for homes with more than four sides and that has dormers, multiple elevations, chimney protrusions and similar obstacles.

  • Roof slope and height:

Labor costs on very steep roofs, especially with 2+ stories, are higher.

  • Tear-offs:

Removing old roofing and disposing of it adds up to $1.75 per square foot.

  • Distance:

Roofing companies factor travel time and cost when estimating jobs.

  • Cost of living:

Metal roofing estimates are higher in regions such as the Northeast, Northwest and major metro areas where the cost of living is high.


These are the top-selling national brands. Local or regional products might also be available where you live.


Here are some manufacturers who specialise if metal roof panels


This brand has the widest range of metal panel types – concealed fastening, exposed fastening, standing seam, insulated panels and curved roof panels.

There are multiple styles in each type. Gauge options are 22, 24, 26 and 29 depending on the style.

McElroy Metal:

McElroy also has a large selection of all metal roof panel types. Standard core is 26 gauge galvalume with Kynar 500 PVDF or silicone modified polyester (SMP) coating. Optional gauges are 22, 24 and 29. The company also produces aluminum panels in a few styles.

ABC – American Building Components:

ABC makes seven steel panel series in a spectrum of colors. They include standing seam, concealed fastener and exposed fastener panels.  Steel gauges are 26 and 29 in galvalume and G90 galvanized.


Seven panel styles are offered including standing seam and concealed fastener types. Core/substrate options are galvalume, G60 and G90 galvanized steel.  Gauges are 24, 26 or 29. A nice selection of silicon-modified polyester colors are available.

Fabral offers MiaSolé Flex Series flexible solar panels on four of its metal roof panel series. The copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) panels have an efficiency rating of 16%, about equal to the efficiency of silicon PV panels.

Premier Metals:

This brand offers ribbed and standing seam roofing panels in galvalume. Gauges are 24 and 29. A good range of colors including Kynar 500 coatings are available.

Classic Metal Roofing Systems:

Classic is a leader in aluminum shingle and shake roofing, but it does make panels in both .032” aluminum and G90 galvanized, 24-gauge steel. They are standing seam panels in a limited number of styles. Kynar 500 and Hylar 5000 coatings are used.


Foe metal shingles, shakes or tiles try one of these manufacturers

Classic Metal Roofing Systems:

Classic produces five lines with shingle, shake, slate and tile looks. All are made from aluminum in thicknesses from .019” to .032”. They are coated with Kynar 500 and Hylar 5000. Classic offers a lifetime, non-prorated warranty on its aluminum products.


This is s.016” galvanized steel roofing. The brand makes three lines that mimic wood shingles, shakes and stone slate. They’re available in a range of Kynar and Hylar coating colors. EDCO backs them with a lifetime warranty, which is unique for steel roofing.


This leading asphalt shingle brand makes Matterhorn steel roofing products in 30-gauge shakes and slate and 28-gauge tiles. Kynar and Hylar coatings are used.


Tamko MetalWorks shingles, slate and tiles are 28-gauge products coated with Kynar 500 and Hylar 5000 in multiple colors.


The brand makes 29-gauge Milan steel shingles and 26-gauge Met-Tile steel tiles. Both are finished in Kynar 500 coatings. McElroy uses a unique PVDF technique to create authentic wood and stone looks on its products.


Four textures, woodgrain, smooth, embossed and slate, are available in these .019” aluminum shingles. They are coated with proprietary Fluoroceram that includes 70% Kynar 500.


The brand makes slate, shingle, shake and tile styles, all stamped from aluminum. The coating used is called Alunar that includes Teflon to strengthen the integrity of the film. InterLock also makes copper shakes, shingles and tiles in 12oz to 20oz weights.


Jamie Sandford - Owner and Lead Editor at RenoCompareJamie Sandford is the Chief Editor at RenoCompare (find out more). Jamie has been involved in construction for over 30 years. Straight out of college, Jamie worked with construction crews for the television, film and theatre industries for over 12 years. In his thirties, he turned his attention to DIY decorating and construction, working on many house renovations and remodels. During this time he started to specialize in home flooring and in 2013 he launched the Home Flooring Pros website. Two years later he launched RenoCompare.

“I’ve seen interior design, remodeling, and construction from both sides of the street, contractors on one side and homeowners on the other. My aim is to close the gap between the professionals and the consumers and make it easier for both sides to work smoothly and effectively side by side. At RenoCompare we want to save you time and money by giving you the information you need as simply and as quickly as possible!”

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