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Metal Roofing Pros and Cons

Metal roofing pros and cons. Although metal roofs can be noisy, ugly and hot, they have some good points, too. Here are some tips for evaluating and repairing metal roofs.

| March/April 1984

  • Learn about these metal roofing pros and cons before repairing your roof. If properly maintained, metal roofs don't have to be eyesores. Understand metal roofing pros and cons, and spot
    Learn about these metal roofing pros and cons before repairing your roof. If properly maintained, metal roofs don't have to be eyesores. Understand metal roofing pros and cons, and spot "tin tops" on just about every style and size of building around. For example, painted steel "shingles" on a beautiful older house.
    Photo by Cathy J. Flamholtz
  • Terneplate on a turn-of-the-century railroad station.
    Terneplate on a turn-of-the-century railroad station.
    Photo by Cathy J. Flamholtz
  • A copper-topped gazebo.
    A copper-topped gazebo.  
    Photo by Cathy J. Flamholtz
  • Aluminum on a smaller home.
    Aluminum on a smaller home.
    Photo by Cathy J. Flamholtz
  • Galvanized steel, the
    Galvanized steel, the "old standard". 
    Photo by Cathy J. Flamholtz

  • Learn about these metal roofing pros and cons before repairing your roof. If properly maintained, metal roofs don't have to be eyesores. Understand metal roofing pros and cons, and spot
  • Terneplate on a turn-of-the-century railroad station.
  • A copper-topped gazebo.
  • Aluminum on a smaller home.
  • Galvanized steel, the

Metal roofing pros and cons, includes tips for for evaluating and repairing metal roofs.

A Guide to Metal Roofing Pros and Cons

When my husband and I first moved to the country, I was amazed at the number of homes in our neck of the Georgia woods that had metal roofs . . . and at the number of those tin-topped abodes that displayed "For Sale" signs out front. So the next time I spoke with a local realtor friend, I asked him if he found it difficult to market metal-roofed houses. At the question, his face cracked with a knowing smile.

"Anything with a tin roof is going to sell for less . . . if you can find a buyer for it at all," he told me. "Even your typical back-to-the-lander doesn't want to take one of those buildings on. And most of the people to whom I do manage to sell metal-topped homes tell me they plan to replace the roof as soon as they get the money together."

"Well," I said to myself, "if my friend is right, and if my area is typical, it seems that buying a home topped with tin might be one way to save a good bit of money . . . and such a move could make it possible for a would-be ruralite to settle in the country that much sooner." In short, my curiosity was whetted, and — since we had some city friends looking for a bargain-priced house near us — I decided to learn all I could about metal roofing pros and cons. I wanted, above all, to discover why they suffer such a poor reputation . . . and if they deserve it. It's taken some time, but what I've learned has really opened my eyes to the hidden benefits of tin-tops . . . and I'd like to share some of that knowledge with you here.



Metal Roof Materials

First of all, most "tin" roofs aren't made of tin. You see, there are several metals used for roofing. Below, I've listed those you're most likely to encounter, along with some of the strong and weak points of each.

Tin. The more accurate term here is terne, or even terneplate . . . but no matter what moniker you hang on the stuff, it's one of several soft metals treated with a coating of lead and tin. A tin roof that's properly installed can last a good 40 to 50 years.

Steve
8/18/2018 12:35:10 PM

My experience here in North and South Carolina is not that metal (aluminum) is cheaper than shingles. It wasn't for me. The benefits are longer life, heat reduction, and less accumulation of leaves.


JAMESV
5/12/2018 7:07:04 PM

Things have changed in the 30 years since this article was written! Our standing seam roof is ten years old and looks like new. Our previous shingle roof looked like hell after 20 years and I got tired of patching it. I reroofed my garage too, and the most time consuming part was ripping off the old shingles. I got a tax deduction for having a shiny roof that reflects sunlight (it looks brown). It's quiet because I have lots of insulation under a plywood deck. There's no screws that show because it's a crimped-on standing seam. The snow slides off and no raking or shoveling is needed. It doesn't "trap heat" worse than shingles. About cellphone reception: I'm an RF engineer and you won't get GPS because those satellites are overhead. But cellphone towers are on the horizon and work through the walls or windows so if they are not metal you have a chance. If someone (not me) needs to take the roof off in 100 years, it's recycleable. The only downside is that the snow slides off into a thick glacier that's right in front of my front door. I'm thinking of putting snow catchers up there. Bottom line, no more shingles again for me! It was a lot more expensive, but worth it.


JoeFromVermont
5/9/2018 8:44:59 AM

I have a standing seam metal roof, I live in Vermont. If you have snow that measure in FEET not in "oh look the grass is white" and melts in by noon, a metal is literally a life saver. The snow falls, a day or 2 later the sun does eventually come out and the snow sheds off the house and barns and I do not have to climb up there and shovel it off. Metal roof, will never live in a house without one again.




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