Because of affordability and ease of installation, asphalt shingles have long been the No. 1 residential roof choice. However, metal roofs have slowly become a closer contender.
Though metal roofs may cost more up front than asphalt shingle roofs, they can be much more durable. Their lifetime is pegged anywhere from 40 to 60 years, versus 15 years for asphalt, says Mike Kowal, president of Custom-Bilt Metals, which manufactures metal roofs. Adds Thomas Black, executive director of the Metal Roofing Alliance, “By choosing a metal roof, it’s the last time most homeowners will have to put on a roof.”
Besides longevity, metal roofs also can be more energy efficient – a “cool” solution because reflective coatings can be applied to the base metal and reduce how much heat enters a home, Kowal says.
Aesthetics are yet another plus. They come in a variety of configurations, from standing seam to stamped panels and shingles. And with Kynar(r)-based pigments, they can add vibrant color that withstands strong sunlight for decades.
Before proceeding, know a few potential downsides:
• Metal may dent during a major hail storm, but still will maintain its strength and performance ability, says architect Scott Rappe, of Kuklinski + Rappe Architects in Chicago. “If your area is prone to hail, consider a higher weight metal panel,” he says.
• Hire an experienced pro to install it since it takes more skill than putting on asphalt shingles, says Kowal.
• If you plan to move within a few years, you may not recoup your full investment, but should see some increased value, says Bob Kulp, director of the National Roofing Contractors Association.