Steel Roofing: A Comprehensive Guide

steel roofing guide

In this guide, we'll discuss...

Steel Roofing Basics

Most metal roofing materials come in multiple-shingle sections or in 12- to 36-inch-wide panels. When coatings are applied, the panels convincingly look like shingles or tiles, offering a less metallic look.

These panels can be stamped into many different shapes and are installed by interlocking the panels together with hidden fasteners. An accomplished contractor can install these quickly and easily.

A number of large-scale supply companies carry steel roofing panels, including but not limited to:

  • Lowes
  • Champion Window
  • Hoekstra Roofing
  • Best Buy Metals
  • Home Depot
Each supplier varies slightly in price and specific panels, but these respected companies offer a variety of options to choose from.
Find a qualified steel roofing contractor to ensure your steel roof is properly installed and you get the best warranties possible.

Steel roofing is just one kind of metal roofing

Steel Roofs vs. Other Types of Metal Roofing

Steel is just one type of metal roofing available for residential and commercial roof applications. Other metal roofing materials include aluminum, copper, zinc, tin, and alloys of various metals. The most common metal roof installations use steel or aluminum.

There are three primary differences between steel and aluminum roofing:

  1. Steel roofing is heavier than aluminum
  2. Protective coatings are applied to steel to make it corrosion-resistant, while aluminum is naturally resistant to corrosion
  3. Steel roofing prices are less than aluminum

Both steel and aluminum roofing come in a wide variety of styles, colors, and qualities. Top-quality aluminum and steel roofing offer 50-year to lifetime manufacturer’s warranties.

Types of Steel Roofing

Stone-Coated Steel Roofing

Stone-coated steel roofing has roots dating back to the 1950s. Today, stone-coated steel roofing is available in a wide variety of styles, including metal shingles, tiles, shakes, and slate. A few of the top manufacturers of stone-coated steel roofing includes Decra, Gerard, KBS, and Metro.

This type of roofing material was originally coated with a thin layer of bitumen and tiny pieces of stone. The coating was shown to perform exceptionally well against weathering, rusting, and varying climates.

Today’s stone-coated steel products use advanced coatings that perform better than ever before. Many stone-coated roofing products feature lifetime warranties.

Galvanized Steel Roofing

Bare steel roofing is susceptible to corrosion and rusting. To avoid these problems, steel undergoes a galvanization process. During this process, a zinc coating is applied to the surface of the steel roofing. The zinc coating provides decades of protection against UV rays, corrosion, rusting, and weathering.
G-90 is the most common zinc thickness used in the metal roofing industry, and it refers to a zinc coating of 0.90 ounces per square foot of roofing material. For most roofing applications, no less than a G-90 coating is recommended.

Galvalume steel is steel coated with a zinc/aluminum mixture. This type of steel roofing is susceptible to rusting/corrosion on scratched or damaged areas of the roof, while galvanized steel offers better rust protection against surface scratches and damage.

Galvalume steel roofing is more corrosion-resistant overall. Galvalume steel roofing works best in simple roofing installations where material cuts and bends are at a minimum, such as standing seam roofs.

Galvalume steel roofing often comes prefabricated in corrugated roof panels, although other styles are available. Other protective coatings can be applied to the galvanized steel roof material to add even more protection against the elements. Additionally, you can paint galvanized steel roofing white to increase its UV reflectability and lower its surface temperature.

Steel roofing comes in multiple types and shapes

Steel Roof Installation

On average, steel roofs are lighter than shingle, shake, slate, and concrete roofs. Because of its lightweight properties, metal roofing can often be installed directly over top of your existing roof. This can save you time, money and the hassle of having the old roof tore off.

When installing directly on top of the existing roof, the roofing contractor will typically attach battens securely to the existing roof and then install the steel roofing on top of the battens.

Roofs with extensive damage may need to be repaired before the new steel roofing is installed. In some cases, a complete tear off of the existing roof is a more cost-effective option.

LEARN MORE: The Homeowner's Complete Metal Roofing Guide

Find a qualified metal roofer near you

Advantages and Disadvantages of Steel Roofing


  • Lightweight; can be installed over the existing roof
  • Less expensive than aluminum roofing
  • Lifetime warranties available
  • Wide variety of styles, colors, and finishes available
  • Paintable
  • Class “A” fire resistance
  • Expected service life of 50 years or more
  • Easy maintenance


  • May be susceptible to denting from hail
  • More expensive than asphalt shingles
  • Moisture build-up (sweating) below roof surface is possible

Steel Roofing Prices

On average, steel roofing costs between $7 and $11 per square foot, which means you can expect to pay between $10,500 to $16,500 for a 1,500 sq. ft. house.

Average costs for steel and metal roofing depend on a number of factors, including the quality of the material and whether it's being laid over top existing shingles or newly installed.

While steel and other forms of metal roofing are initially more costly than shingles or other common materials, steel and metal roofs may cost the homeowner less over time due to their superior strength and durability.

Keep in mind that prices vary based on multiple factors, including your exact location, how big your roof is, the brand and quality of the steel roofing installed, and whether or not the material is laid on top of the existing roofing material or if the old ones are torn off. Get an exact quote from as many roofing contractors as you'd like with the help of Hometown Roofing.

Steel roofing trusses are common in commercial structures

Steel Roofing Trusses

Steel roofing trusses are becoming the accepted material in commercial and industrial construction, and their success has caused an uptick in popularity among residential metal buildings as well.

The advantages of building with steel roofing trusses line up with the benefits of steel roofing; they’re strong, durable, and resistant to a majority of threats. However, the installation of residential steel roofing trusses requires specific equipment and an experienced crew, which will most likely increase the price of the building project.

Let's break down the pros and cons:


  • High strength-to-weight ratio — makes a stronger product capable of withstanding heavy wind and snow
  • Completely pest resistant — unlike timber, steel trusses are uniform in their shape and size ensuring quality control
  • Eco-friendly — steel trusses are usually made with recycled content and entirely reusable at the end of their lifespan


  • Vulnerable to corrosion — chronic moisture exposure can lead to corrosion but can be mitigated with proper coatings
  • Absorbs and emits heat — steel trusses absorb and emit solar heat, causing the building's interior temperature to rise
  • Fails at high temperatures — heat-related truss expansion due to a house fire can cause walls to collapse

Find a Qualified Steel Roofing Contractor

Experience and reputation in the community are the two most important factors to consider when choosing a roofing contractor for your steel roof installation.

At Hometown Roofing, we make choosing the right contractor for the job easy by providing you with transparency in the form of verified roofing contractor reviews, project pricing information, and company credentials.

We only work with reputable local roofing contractors able to offer the lowest pricing and provide one-on-one service. Get started now by finding a metal roofing contractor in your hometown.