Aluminum Roofing: A Quick Guide

aluminum roofing

In this guide, we discuss...


Aluminum vs. Steel Roofing

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 Comparison
  Aluminum Roofing Steel Roofing
Naturally resistant to corrosion X  
Least expensive   X
Most lightweight X  

LEARN MORE: Steel Roofing: A Comprehensive Guide


Types of Aluminum Roofing

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 Roofing Styles


Aluminum Roof Repair

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


Find an aluminum roofing contractor


Aluminum Roofing Installation

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 is an architectural roofing product, meaning it’s not utilized for structural purposes. So when installing over an existing roof, wood battens or some other type of solid structural component is attached directly to the roof and the aluminum roofing material is attached on top of that.
 

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. 


Benefits and Drawbacks of Aluminum Roofing

Benefits

  • 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

Drawbacks

  • 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

Aluminum Roofing Cost

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).

Average Aluminum Roofing Costs
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
Note: This chart doesn’t include the potential charges associated with tearing off the existing roof, flashing work, gutter replacement, or replacing sheathing/underlayment. Contact your local roofing contractor for a free customized quote.
 

How to Find a Qualified Aluminum Steel Roofing Contractor

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.

Find a qualified aluminum roofing contractor