5 Metal Roofing Myths Debunked

Metal tile roofing from Decra

Metal tile roofing. Photo source: Decra

Myth #1: Metal Roofing Will Rust

No, not really. Aluminum roofing is naturally resistant to corrosion and rust, so it provides excellent protection against the elements without the need for special protective coatings.

It's true that steel is very prone to rust, which is why steel roofs have a highly effective, special coating applied to prevent rust. There are two types of rust-resistant steel roofing products on the market:

  • Galvanized: This type of steel roofing features a thin coating of zinc. The zinc provides a rust-free barrier protecting the base layer of steel from the elements. The thickness of the zinc coating is important because a thicker layer provides the most protection. A zinc coating thickness of G-90, meaning a 0.90 ounces of zinc per square foot of steel, is recommended for most applications.
  • Galvalume: Steel roofing that has a zinc and aluminum coating applied to it is called galvalume steel roofing. Aluminum is naturally resistant to corrosion, so it makes for an effective protectant against the elements. Galvalume steel roofing is ideal for simple roofing profiles, such as standing steam, but not the best choice for complicated roofs. Shaping and bending this type of steel roofing can cause the aluminum/zinc protective layer to lose some of its effectiveness. However, compared to galvanized it’s more resistant to salt-spray corrosion in locations near the ocean, and it can be left unpainted if you prefer the look of natural metal roofing.

Myth #2: Metal Roofs are Prone to Lightning Strikes

Metal attracts lightning, right? Yes, this is true, but it doesn’t mean that your metal roof will become a huge lightning rod. Not only is a metal roof no more susceptible to lightning strikes than any other type of roofing, but it may actually be better at dispersing the electrical charge in the unlikely event the roof is hit with lightning.

Metal roofs are fire resistant, so you don’t have to worry about the roof catching on fire from a lightning strike.

Myth #3: Metal Roofs Cost a Lot More

Well, that depends on the time horizon you're considering. It's true you may experience a little bit of sticker shock when you see the upfront cost of metal roofing. Metal roofing can cost roughly twice as much as asphalt shingle roofing upfront.  But in the long term, metal is likely to be a more cost-effective choice.

An average shingle roof lasts about 15 - 20 years and may cost about $3 - $4 per square foot to have installed. Metal roofing materials and installation can easily run $6 per square foot and up. However, metal roofs have a life expectancy of 50+ years. So, one metal roof may last as long as three asphalt shingle roofs, making it the more cost-effective and eco-friendly choice.

Myth #4: Residential Metal Roofing has Limited Styles and is U-G-L-Y

Many people think of a barn or shed they've seen with a standing seam metal roof and assume that's what is available for metal roof styles.  Quite the opposite. Today’s metal roofing looks outstanding and is available in virtually any style you could think of: shingles, slate tiles, clay tiles, shakes, standing seam and more.

You can get any style and look you prefer, and in any color of the rainbow. A popular choice is to go with metal shingles or shakes to get that classic look with the benefits of added durability and long-lasting performance that metal offers.

Myth #5: Metal Roofing is a Heavy Roofing Material

Not true. In fact, metal roofing is one of the lightest of all roofing materials. Aluminum is lighter than steel, but both are a lightweight roofing choice.

Due to its lightweight properties, you can often install metal roofing over an existing roof. This isn’t necessarily the case when installing new tile, asphalt shingles, or shakes. Not having to tear off the existing roof when doing a roof replacement can save on the costs associated with tearing off the existing layer(s).

Read more metal roofing FAQs