HOW MUCH DOES A METAL ROOF COST IN 2017

You’ve probably been driving through a residential neighborhood and seen an absolutely beautiful metal roof on a home. You might have even wondered, “How much does metal roofing cost?” The good news is that it is relatively easy to answer that question, as long as you know a few key variables.

For example, there is a big differential between metal shingle roof cost and standing seam metal roof cost. Moreover, metal roofing installation costs can vary depending on the complexity of the roof type as well as your geographic location. Also, they will be higher than for an asphalt roof.

In general, labor accounts for the biggest share of the final bill. Metal roofing prices also play a role. Generally speaking, metal shingles are the most affordable. Standing seam roof costs might surprise you due to the sophistication and skill needed to install these panels over your home. Below you’ll find guidelines for figuring out your total residential metal roofing costs.

Price of metal roofing

One of the first decisions that you’ll have to make involves the type of metal that you will use. Here are a few of the most popular options for materials that go beyond just asphalt:

  • Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Tin
  • Copper
  • Zinc

The two most popular types of materials for residential purposes are steel and aluminum, followed by tin, copper and zinc. As a rule of thumb, the cost of a steel roof will be less than aluminum, which will be less than tin or copper. Asphalt will be cheaper than all of these materials, even corrugated forms of these metals.

For any estimate, you will also have to take into account the thickness of the metal being used. If you opt for a steel roof this thickness will be measured in terms of “gauges,” and if you opt for an aluminum roof this thickness will be measured in terms of “mils.” The heavier the gauge or higher the mils, the thicker the metal.

Cost of a metal roof vs. a metal shingle roof

Another important decision that you’ll have to make at the outset is the type of metal roof that you would like: shingles or seam panels. If you’re used to asphalt shingles, you’ll have to change your mindset entirely when it comes to estimates of how much metal shingles cost.

That’s because a metal roof can consist of either metal shingles or standing seams. You can think of a standing seam as a giant rectangular panel of metal that is placed on either side of your sloping roof. The cost of a standing seam roof can be higher than you might expect, since each slope will have a seam.

Standing seams tend to be more expensive because they are more difficult to fabricate, cut and install. On a comparable basis, it is much more difficult and complex to install a standing seam metal roof.

How much does metal roofing cost?

When it comes to arriving at a final cost figure for your metal roof, it’s perhaps unsurprising that one of the key factors in the cost of metal roofing is the total surface area of your roof. The more surface area that needs to be covered with metal, the higher the overall cost will be. Material and manpower costs are typically quoted in terms of square feet and squares (i.e. 100 sq. feet). That’s true for corrugated materials, too.

Moreover, you have to take into account the shape and complexity of your roof. If the roof is very complex -- meaning that it has a lot of angles, chimneys, sidewalls, and skylights-- then it is going to be much more costly to install your metal roof. And, in terms of complexity, don’t forget the costs associated with removing and disposing of your old roof. Sometimes the “tear-off” process doesn’t go nearly as smoothly as imagined, especially if it is a very old house.

Finally, geography can play a very important role in determining the final cost of a metal roof. Expect to pay much more if you live in a part of the country where bad weather (rain, storms, snow, heavy winds) is a fact of life. Fairly priced metal roofing will take this into account.

Other costs for a metal roof

The quality of the paint finish can also play a very large role in determining the final cost of your metal roof (and your standing seams). There are different types of paint finishes as well as different types of paint colors. So don’t think that you’ll be stuck with a boring metallic color; your roof can be just about any color that you can imagine! Different types of paint include acrylic, Kynar 500 and Hylar 5000. If you go to a regular home improvement store like Home Depot or Lowe’s, they will be able to tell you the specific differences for these types of paint. They can also advise you on the best finishes for corrugated metal, or any corrugated trim or flashing.

Average cost of a metal roof: Total installation cost

It might seem odd at first, but the most expensive part of the metal roof installation does not involve the metal itself – it involves the labor. That’s right, the total amount of manpower used on the roof project is the most significant factor that is going to influence the cost of your metal roof.

And keep in mind that you’re not going to be able to hire a normal, everyday contractor or handyman for a metal roof installation. This is a very sophisticated job, and can only be done by true roofing professionals. Whatever you do, don’t think that you can save on costs by hiring the neighborhood handyman!

As a rule of thumb, it will take 2-3 times longer to install a metal roof than a typical asphalt roof. And it will take perhaps 3-4 times longer if you need to install a very complex standing seam metal roof.

Price of metal roofing: Estimates

It’s now time to consider comparable costs in order to arrive at an initial estimate. A metal roofing price estimate will take into account the factors listed above: materials, type of roof, square footage, paint finish and labor.

Remember, the average roof size is 1,700 square feet (17 squares), so you will need to multiply the cost per square foot by the total number of squares on your roof. Here we will use the 1,700 square feet as a quick way to arrive at an accurate estimate.

Based on industry-wide standards and comparables, the cost of installing a new metal roof can vary from $5.50 to $12.00 per square foot of metal roofing. This might seem like a very large range, so let’s further delimit this range by type of metal roof (on a square foot basis):

  • Metal shingle roof (steel): $5.50 to $7.00
  • Metal shingle roof (aluminum): $7.00 - $10.00
  • Standing seam metal roof: $9.00 - $12.00

There are several factors that will influence how low or how high within a range the cost will be. As noted earlier, factors such as paint quality and metal thickness will go a long way toward determining cost.

Also, keep in mind that any base price quoted will include the installation of a breathable synthetic roof underlayment, along with pipe boots and roof vents. A breathable underlayment could boost the final bill by an extra $30 to $40 for each square. But at least this cost will also include all the trim and roof flashing required to finish the job.

Are there any ways to bring down the cost? Well, you could opt for a corrugated or ribbed roof. In this case, you could bring down the average cost to $3.00 to $6.00 for each square foot. However, you also have to take into account the various aesthetic and energy-saving qualities of a corrugated roof, and here it’s obvious that the standing seam metal roof is the best option.

Steel roof cost

The most common type of metal roof covering is made from G-90 galvanized steel. It is also the most affordable, which is why it’s so popular. This type of roof covering consists of a coil or sheet coated with a thin layer of zinc oxide. The importance of this coating is that helps to protect the material from corrosion as well as the elements. There are several different types of systems made with G-90, including interlocking shingles and stone-coated shingles and tiles. If you are looking for a slight upgrade from G-90, you might want to consider galvalume, which has a coating of corrosion-proof alloy applied by a unique hot dip process.

You can also opt for standing seam panels. Here, costs start at around $4.00 to $4.50 per sq. ft. of standing seam panels. They can be fabricated and cut to order at a local sheet metal shop. To have a standing seam steel roof on a home, the cost would be much higher, probably in the range of $10.00 per sq. ft.. And this total all-in cost wouldn’t even include removing your old roof. So, for a typical house with 17 squares, that would be a minimum of $17,000!

Aluminum roof cost

The next step up from steel shingles would be aluminum shingles. These are higher-quality and also longer-lasting. This type of metal gives additional protection from corrosive elements, and is the recommended choice for homes subjected to inclement weather on a regular basis. In addition, if you live near the sea, this is the best choice.

When it comes to these shingles, costs for just the materials alone can range from $3.75 to $5.50/sq. ft. This price includes the trim. The total installment cost for the full roof would be, at a minimum, $9.00 for each sq. ft. This would cover a basic home, but would not include any extra costs associated with the old roof tear-off.

You can choose aluminum standing seam rather than aluminum shingles. Here, the price will be in the range of $5.00 to $5.50 just for the materials (i.e. the seam panels fabricated and cut to order by a building supply shop). When you think in terms of the total all-in costs, you’re now talking about a base cost of approximately $11.00 for each sq. ft. And, again, this does not include the tear-off and removal of the old roof or fixing any seams.

Other metal roof options

There are still more choices in addition to steel and aluminum that homeowners have, including copper and zinc. Just keep in mind that even though copper is not a precious metal, it still comes at a significant price upgrade over other options. Here, the base price just for the metal would be $9.00 to $14.00 per sq. ft. The reason why there is such a wide range here is because the thickness and weight of the copper play a major role. That’s true for both copper shingles and copper standing seam panels.

Price differences in paint finishes for a metal roof

If you get a metal roof for your house, you also have the choice of getting a paint finish. And, today, the number of special paint coatings available in different colors is nearly unlimited. According to most metal roof experts, it’s worth it to go for the highest quality paint finish that you can afford. One of these “premium” paint finishes is known as Kynar 500.

The estimated difference in price between different finishes will not be too high. If you are already paying close to $20,000 for a roof, you probably should just go with a high-quality paint. Just check that you are getting a lifetime warranty with the paint finish. Also, make sure that you use an energy-efficient paint finish, or a finish that offers comparable benefits.

Conclusions

There are a number of important factors that will determine the average cost of the metal roof for your house. The choice of material is a major factor, as is the choice to go with either metal shingles or metal standing seam panels. You also need to add in a number of factors related to the complexity and surface area dimensions of the roof itself, the type of paint finish that you want, and the cost of manpower. Taking all that into account, it’s possible to get a metal roof that you will be proud of on your home for less than $20,000. That’s a hefty price tag, but it also gives you a sturdy metal roof with an expected lifespan of 35 to 50 years!