Metal Roof Retrofitting: Is It Worth Your Time?

Reader Contribution by Megan Wild

Suitable for use in both residential and commercial construction, metal roofs have seen explosive growth over the past few years. Although it’s still a relatively recent innovation, consumers have been quick to embrace the new style and retrofit their own traditional roofs. Is it really worth your time, or is the trend of metal roofing nothing more than the latest fad?


A New, Lightweight Material

With most metal roofs weighing approximately 100 pounds per square, the material is significantly less than standard tile or concrete roofing. The reduced weight also makes installation quicker and easier, especially considering many metal roofs are installed over preexisting, traditional structures.

One of the biggest drawbacks of today’s metal roofs is the difference in pricing. Costing upwards of $200 per square, with some installations reaching as high as $600 per square, the initial project isn’t financially feasible for everyone. However, the fact that your new roof will last longer with less maintenance requirements means there is a potential for some serious cash savings in the end.

An Investment in Your Future

Because traditional roofs need to be replaced every 20 to 30 years, there is quite a bit of expense involved in maintaining them. Conversely, metal roofs that have been properly installed and maintained are capable of lasting 50 years or even longer. Many homeowners will be able to install a metal roof once and never have to worry about it again.

Some homeowners — and neighbors — simply don’t like the aesthetics of the modern metal roof. However, metal roof styles have come a long way. With the variety of options available, including those made to look like wood or stone, you’ll likely find something that appeals to you.

Some installations are also rather noisy, which can create even more of a nuisance for your community. It’s worth taking the time to consult with your closest neighbors, ask for their input and let them know your plans. This simple gesture can go a long way in avoiding future problems.

Metal roofs that become dented or damaged are even uglier. Minor repairs can be done relatively easily, but it will cost you. Moreover, it might be difficult to match the original shingles or materials used 10, 20 or 30 years down the road. Proactive homeowners might consider purchasing additional metal upfront to avoid this issue, but that adds to the overall bill of your new roof.

It’s recommended to check with your local code authority to determine if one or two layers of shingles are allowable for recover, as well. Some cities and municipalities require specific approval via special inspections, permits or standards that must be met when upgrading your roof. Failure to abide by any established rules or regulations could result in serious fines as well as the complete removal of any new metal you’ve installed thus far.

Not only could this result in serious damage to your existing roof structure, but the added amount of time and money spent in this scenario could also put a serious wrench in your home improvement plans.


Not a DIY Job

Installing a metal roof is not a do-it-yourself job that can be completed in a weekend. Unlike traditional roofs, which can be installed with little difficulty by a team of novice laborers, metal finishes are best left to the professionals. Some DIY kits and metal shingle packages are available, but these still require the supervision of a metal roofing expert.

Traditional roofing utilizes a very basic set of construction tools and hardware. Hammers, nails, pry bars, shovels, caulking and various wood saws are enough for most residential applications. Metal roofs, on the other hand, require all of these tools plus various snips, benders, seamers and clamps that might not be found in the average roofer’s toolbox.

You Will Enjoy the Benefits of Your Metal Roof for Years to Come

The benefits of metal roofs far outweigh the negatives. While there is a bit of maintenance and upkeep to stay on top of, as well as significant upfront costs for the initial construction, these expenses are offset by the increased longevity and durability of metal roofs. Most homeowners will be able to enjoy their new roof for decades to come.

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