Q&A / 

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is an amazing product. I've had the pleasure of working with this time-tested material for many years. Not only have I personally installed it, it was used on many of my jobs when I was still actively building. If you have a metal roof on your home or business, you know how durable they are and practically maintenance free. Older tin metal roofs need an occasional coat of paint, but more modern metal roofs have factory-applied paints that seem to wear like iron.

A sheet-metal roof can take many forms. The common style that you may be most familiar with is the standing-seam metal roof. This roofing product comes in long sheets and the joint between adjacent pieces of the roofing is formed with an interlocking vertical seam that stands above the flat area of the roofing panel.

Master roofers can take flat coils of tin-coated steel and make a flat-lock metal roof. The seams in this style are soldered to make them weather tight. Flat-lock roofing was very popular in the early 1900's, and was commonly used on low slope roofs that often were placed over large front porches. This style gets its name because the seams between pieces is hammered flat. When the roof is complete, it's nearly flat, with only minor humps at each soldered seam.

Another very popular material is corrugated metal roofing. This roofing material has a wavy shape and is used on shacks, sheds and sometimes pole buildings. It's not considered as weathertight as other metal-roofing materials when subjected to extreme wind-driven rain. This roofing is extremely do-it-yourself friendly, and it tends to work best on roofs that have steep slopes that shed water quickly. Corrugated metal roofing is the only material I would ever suggest a homeowner try to work with, and only on some outbuilding.

When you go to install a metal roof, you must pay attention to details. The slightest mistake can result in a leak. You need special tools to work the material. Most metal roofing can't be successfully installed by a rookie. I would venture to say that supply houses that sold most metal roofing would not in their right mind sell it to a beginner.

There are many things you must do when installing metal roofing to ensure you don't void the warranty. If you intend to have this installed on your home, I would encourage you to get the written instructions from the manufacturer and take the time to read how the job should be done. Make sure the roofer you hire will do the job as is called for in the instructions.

The metal roof cost estimate you receive may take your breath away. It's absolutely more expensive than asphalt roofing, even the top-of-the-line shingles that come with a superb warranty. But keep in mind that a metal roof could last 100 years or more and offer you complete peace of mind. In certain situations, metal roofing is a smart financial choice if you want to eliminate the need to ever have to install a second or third roof in your lifetime.

Part of the reason the cost is high is that metal roof installation is a somewhat slow process, and you need skilled craftsmen working with the metal. When you compare this to the simple laborers needed to install regular asphalt shingles, you can see why labor costs can be much higher.

If you're considering a roof like this and want to get different metal-roofing prices, be sure to compare systems that are nearly identical. There can be wildly differing prices when you look at a standing seam roof vs. a flat-lock or other metal roof. It also pays to study the warranty. Longer warranties often cause prices to be higher because better material is used or the replacement costs on future warranty claims is built into the cost of the material.

Residential metal roofing is appealing to many who look for it to keep them safe in addition to being dry. If you live in a part of the USA that is prone to wildfires, you know that metal roofing helps protect your home from fires started by glowing embers that drop from the sky during firestorms. Those with wood roofs or worn asphalt shingles have much to worry about, but if you have a metal roof, you can rest a little easier in the event you're forced to evacuate your home.

If you're serious about using metal roofing, give standing-seam metal roofing a serious look. This style has a classic look and looks stunning on certain homes. This roofing material is commonly used as a starter strip about four or five feet up from the lower edge of roofs for those who live in areas of heavy snow. The metal roofing is an excellent method of stopping the leaks that result from pesky ice dams. You won't make a mistake installing it on your home.

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