In this guide, we discuss...
- Aluminum vs. Steel Roofing
- Types of Aluminum Roofing
- Installation and Coatings
- Benefits and Drawbacks
- Hiring a Qualified Contractor
Aluminum and steel are the most commonly used metals in manufacturing roofing products.
Both are durable, resistant to the elements and long-lasting, but there are minor differences between the two metal roofing materials:
|Aluminum Roofing||Steel Roofing|
|Naturally resistant to corrosion||X|
LEARN MORE: Steel Roofing: A Comprehensive Guide
Aluminum roof panels
Because of aluminum’s malleable properties, it can be formed and molded relatively easily. Pre-fabricated aluminum panels can be manufactured in virtually any shape or size to fit your roofing structure. These panels install quickly and easily, and they provide superior water-shedding qualities.
Aluminum roof shingles
In recent years, aluminum roof shingles have gained popularity in the residential roofing market. Not only are aluminum shingles lighter and more durable than asphalt shingles, but they are also manufactured to resemble any type of roofing you can think of, including slate, wood shakes, and architectural shingles.
Corrugated aluminum roofing
Aluminum roof paneling featuring the corrugated (“wavy”) appearance has a long history in the roofing industry. The tin corrugated roofing panels of the past gave way to steel and eventually corrugated aluminum roofing panels.
Corrugated paneling can be installed directly over an existing roof due to its lightweight properties, and it’s an ideal choice for steep-sloped roofs, sheds, barns, garages, commercial buildings, and on homes replacing an old tin or steel corrugated roof.
Aluminum roofs are exceptionally durable and long-lasting; however, damage can occur in some instances. Aluminum is more prone to denting than steel roofing, caused by hail, walking on the roof, or fallen tree limbs. However, the damage usually will not affect the performance of the roof, simply the aesthetics.
Leaks and major roof damage typically require replacing the entire aluminum panel or damaged metal shingles. Patching the damaged areas on an aluminum roof isn’t a longterm fix.
Aluminum roofing products have a usable service life of 50 years or longer. A good quality repair is essential to ensuring your aluminum roof lasts as long as advertised. Always use a qualified roofing contractor with metal roof repair experience to ensure the fix is done properly.
LEARN MORE: The Homeowner's Complete Guide to Metal Roofing
Aluminum roofing is among the lightest of all roofing materials, weighing as little as 45 lbs. per square (100 square feet). Because it’s so lightweight, installing an aluminum roof over top of an existing roof is a viable option. This could save you quite a bit of money on a metal roof installation since you wouldn't have the expense of removing the existing layer(s) of roofing.
In cases where the existing roof has significant damage or the sub-structure has damage, the roof may need to be torn off before installing the new aluminum roof.
Aluminum Roof Coatings
Typical roof coatings are monolithic, fluid-applied membranes. Traditionally, they’re the top layer of a roof’s system and offer protection from sunlight, rain, hail, and other physical damage.
Metal roof coatings help mitigate temperature control, resist pooling of water, and prolong the life of roofing systems.
A number of home improvement stores, such as Ace, Lowe’s, and Home Depot, carry top-rated metal roof coatings. A qualified metal roofing contractor will be familiar with quality coating options and should be able to answer any questions you have.
- Lightest of all roofing materials
- Lifetime warranties available
- Eco-friendly product – up to 95% recycled aluminum
- Does not corrode
- Wide variety of styles, colors, and finishes available
- Fire resistant
- 50+ year service life
- Easy maintenance
- More prone to denting than steel
- High initial cost (costs more than steel roofing)
- Moisture build-up (sweating) below roof surface is possible when poorly installed
The cost of installing aluminum roofing can vary significantly depending on where you live, the type of aluminum roofing product you choose, the size of the roof, and the complexity of the roofing structure.
In terms of the cost of metal roofing, aluminum falls in between copper (high-cost) and steel (lower-cost).
|Location||Cost to Install 2,000 sq. ft. Aluminum Roof|
|Chicago, IL||$11,800 - $20,400|
|Atlanta, GA||$11,500 - $19,600|
|New York City, NY||$12,000 - $21,200|
|Los Angeles, CA||$11,700 - $20,260|
Aluminum shingles and roof paneling have become increasingly popular in recent years, so it’s not surprising that roofing contractors have dedicated much of their on-going training toward the metal roofing sector.
However, because the metal roofing building codes differ from other roofing types, it’s important to choose a roofing contractor with knowledge and experience in metal roofing.
At Hometown, we make it easier to choose the right aluminum roofing contractor for the job by offering transparency in the form of real customer reviews, project pricing, and verified contractor credentials.