Quick Answer to "What are Different Types of Metal Roofing?":

The most popular types of metal roofing materials for homes are Steel (99%), Copper, and Aluminum.

Close up of a Nu-Ray Metals metal roofing made of steel and installed on a home in Woodinville, Washington.

Extended Answer to "What are Different Types of Metal Roofing?":

Types of metal roofing

There are three majors types of metal roofing: Steel, Copper, and Aluminum roofing.

Steel Roofing

Most metal roofs that you see are steel roofs. Steel is used on both residential and commercial buildings. The main reason for the high frequency of Steel use in roofing is because steel is easier to get and make into metal roofing. Steel lasts a very long time when primed and painted correctly. Steel keeps it’s shape and will look good for many years.

What are the Disadvantages to Steel Metal Roofing?

If the paint and primer are damaged, steel can rust. It’s very important to check your roof throughout the years and make sure the paint is in good shape.

What is the Cost of Steel Metal Roofing?

Metal roofing is one of the most expensive types of roofing. There are several reasons why it costs more. It is expensive to manufacturer, shipping is more of a challenge, and installation labor is more expensive. Metal installation requires very skilled labor. Metal is best installed by a metal roofing specialist that only installs metal roofs.

Copper Roofing

Copper is mainly used as an accent piece. Copper is extremely expensive so an entire roof would be out of the questions. We install copper on dormers and entry ways as an accent piece.

Copper has a very nice high end look throughout it’s entire life cycle and can increase the value of a home. Copper is resistant to fire, mildew, and hail. Copper roofing can last up to 50 years with proper maintenance. While copper is a very lightweight metal, it is very durable. Copper roofing tend to retain its strength regardless of folding into different shapes to accommodate a roof. Due to its reflective qualities, copper is considered energy efficient. Copper will start to patina over time and gain extra caricature.

What are the Disadvantages Copper Metal Roofing?

Copper is extremely expensive and requires special handling to install. Copper requires a special gloves to be worn during install so the oils on our hands do not patina the copper prematurely.

What is the Cost of Copper Metal Roofing?

What is the cost?

Aluminum Roofing

Aluminum can be installed on both residential and commercial buildings. Aluminum is best used around saltwater. Steel has special paints that can help with saltwater but aluminum will always last longer.

What are the Disadvantages Aluminum Metal Roofing?

Aluminum is softer and will show more imperfections in the roof deck. Because of this steel is used most often.

What is the Cost of Aluminum Metal Roofing?

Just like steel roofing, aluminum is expensive to manufacturer and transport. Labor is also expensive due to the expertise needed for installation.

What is Gauge Metal Roofing?

Metal roofing comes in several gauges (thicknesses). The lower the number the thicker the metal. 26 gauge (ga.) and 24 ga. are the most common thicknesses. 24 ga. will help hide more imperfections in the structure of the building.

Below are two diagrams, supplied by Nu-Ray, that show the different layers of elements that make up their 24 ga. and 26 ga. metal roofing material products. It is important to remember with steel roofing, 24 ga. metal is thicker than 26 ga. metal material. In addition to the metal itself, there are several layers of paint and coating that offer additive protection from temperature and weather and other forces that can cause damage to a roof.

26 Gauge D2 Kynar 500

24 Gauge D2 Kynar 500 with OceanGuard

What is the Best Metal for Metal Roofing?

Steel is used on metal roofs 99% of the time. Steel is stronger it will last a longer number of the years than other metals. The metal of a roof expands and contracts every day. The weaker the metal, the more stress the metal will get over the years.

Aluminum is much softer than steel and shows to many imperfections in the structure. For this reason steel is used more than aluminum. As stated above, aluminum is more resistant to corrosion and rust versus steel and is sometimes used near the ocean and other water sources.

Copper is expensive and used for only a few applications. Copper is very expensive because it requires special gloves and chemicals. Copper is most commonly used on accessory area’s like entry ways or dormers.

Comparison of Metal Roofing

Steel Aluminum Copper
Application Most metal roofs (99%) are made of steel. Usually used for secondary stuctures such as sheds and storage buildings. Usually decorative on smaller portions of a roof since Copper is so expensive.
Physical Durability High Low High
Corrosion Resistance Medium High High
Lifetime 50 years 50 years 100+ years
Aesthetics High Medium (depending on the product) Off the Chart
Price High High Off the Chart

Three Tree Roofing Staff are Metal Roofing Experts

Three Tree Roofing includes a 25 year workmanship warranty on all metal roof installs. We have dedicated metal roofing crews that install metal roofs and no other types of roofing. This allows our metal roofing crews to focus on metal roofing and be the best metal roofers in Washington state.

We hope this series of article helps you better understand the ins and outs of metal roofing. Click here to see our next post "How long does metal roofing last?" - Part 5 of our 9 Part series on "5 Different Types of Roofs: Metal Roofing".