Metal roofing has become a trademark of sprawling lodges and ranch-style dream homes, representative of pure luxury. But it’s not limited to 8,000 square foot estates in the Rockies. In fact, a metal roof offers several practical benefits to the average homeowner, from durability to energy efficiency. But can the average homeowner afford this coveted feature?
While the prices of labor and materials vary widely depending on your geographic location and the type of metal roofing you choose, metal is a premium roofing material. Therefore, interested homeowners should expect to pay twice as much or more for steel roofing, aluminum, or copper roofing as they would for traditional asphalt shingles. But let’s get into why the investment in a metal roof is worth the cost for many homeowners.
Advantages of Metal Roofing
Asphalt roofs are serviceable, but with this traditional choice comes several issues, including thermal expansion and the possibility of leaks. Due to problems like these, an asphalt roof calls for replacement every 15 to 20 years. Certain types of metal roofing, on the other hand, can last for half a century or more thanks to invulnerability to temperature fluctuations, wind, rust, mildew, snow, and even fire.
In addition to longevity and durability, metal roofs also boast efficiency. They reflect solar heat rather than absorbing it, insulating your house and lightening the load of your utility bills. They require little to no maintenance, unlike asphalt roofs, which are vulnerable to weather and the problems it can cause.
Another appealing aspect of metal roofs is that they are more eco-friendly—a retired metal roof can be recycled and used in new construction, unlike asphalt roofing, which usually finds its way to the trash pile once it has worn its welcome.
Check out this rundown on metal roofing to get a better idea of its advantages.
Financial Factors to Consider
Metal roofing is clearly a more appealing option than asphalt roofing for several reasons, but the cost can be a drawback. Before you decide yes or no on a metal roof, you can estimate how much it would cost to install it on your home by researching materials, local labor rates, and the area and pitch of your roof.
The following guide can help you better understand the specifics of the costs and how to determine a ballpark figure for installing metal roofing on your house.
It’s important to understand that “metal roofing” is a broad term covering a range of materials with a large disparity in price. Metal roofing materials will generally run you anywhere from $7.00 to $9.00 per square foot, depending on which kind you choose. However, there are more affordable options, like steel panels, which usually cost you slightly less, as well as high-end materials, like copper roofing, which tend to average a little bit more on the pricier side. Here are the most common types and their individual costs:
- Standing seam. This is the most common metal roof design due to its availability in the U.S. The design features vertical panels that are joined by interlocking seams and will cost you about $4.00 to $6.50 per square foot.
- Corrugated steel panels. This is the least expensive type of metal roofing, costing about $1.20 to $5.00—comparable to asphalt. It is thin and lightweight, which means it can be installed over existing roofing. This cuts down on the costs of removing old roofing. However, the quality tends to match the price, as these panels are vulnerable to leaks and rust.
- Steel/aluminum shingles. At $3.00 to $9.00 per square foot, tiles and shingles aren’t as affordable as corrugated panels. But they are a better deal. They typically last 40 years or more and are much more resistant to leaks and rust than corrugated panels.
- Stone-coated steel tiles and shingles. This type allows for aesthetic diversity by offering the benefits of metal roofing with the look of more traditional clay or slate shingles. Due to its style characteristics, this type tends to cost about $1.85 to $4.00 per square foot.
- Copper/Zinc. These are the costliest of metal roofing types, running you around $4.00 to $15.00 per roofing square.
You can choose any paint finish you would like, depending on the preferred color and desired energy efficiency. Paint quality varies, ultimately affecting the price of the materials you purchase. This should be included in your quote from a professional installer.
Keep in mind that underlayment and the other accessories needed tends to cost $4.00 to $5.00 per square foot.
You will need to calculate the area, slope, and pitch of your roof. While roofs can be measured from the ground, you will probably want to climb up to get a more accurate number. Roofs with features like roof dormers and skylights are a little more complicated to measure, so don’t hesitate to call in a professional if you feel that you may not be able to get an accurate measurement on your own. You don’t want to be blindsided later. Use this roofing slope pitch guide from the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors to calculate your roofing needs.
Though you may be tempted to skim a little off the price by hiring less expensive labor, you’re going to want nothing but a highly qualified licensed and experienced contractor installing your roof. It’s a demanding job that requires a technical knowledge base. Additionally, the old roof may need to be ripped off, which requires extra time and transportation of the used materials.
Labor will cost you anywhere from $2.30 to $5.80 per square foot. Keep in mind that roofing contractors have many expenses and generally make a 25% profit from their labor.
The average cost of metal roofing is $6000. You can save up to 40% in cooling costs with reflective metal roofing. You can also raise the resale value of your home. You will very likely see a return on your investment in these ways, but make sure to calculate your unique roofing costs before deciding whether a metal roof is right for your home.