Residential roofs in urban areas are often composed of either wood shingles or slate tiles. Annexes to properties and outbuildings, however, will often feature felt roofs. There are also a variety of metal roofing types which are just as suitable for residential properties. In fact, depending on what types of metal roofing materials are best suited to your local climate, using metal could help you make significant savings when it comes to your next new build or roof replacement.
Common Metal Roofing Types & Panel Systems
Many property architects consider steel and aluminum to be the best metal roofing types when it comes to both small scale residential developments and large-scale industrial applications. In the case of aluminum, this is because even untreated aluminum panels are naturally corrosion resistant.
Benefits of Aluminum Roof Panel Systems:
Most people are already aware of aluminum's strength, corrosion resistance, and lighter weight when compared to other metals. However, using aluminum as roofing for your home also has several other benefits:
- Aluminum panels are often very formable, making them easy to work with.
- While not overly pretty, aluminum panels won’t stain over time.
- Aluminum can easily be painted and/or coated to give it a more pleasing aesthetic appeal.
- Corrugated aluminum roofing panels have better resistance to denting than other metals.
- Aluminum will not fracture during hail or periods of freezing rain.
- Because of the metal's light weight and formability, roofers benefit from greater overall design versatility.
Of course, people choosing between types of metal roofing will often have two chief considerations in mind: How much will a new roofing system cost, and what kind of materials are the most durable? Thankfully, aluminum is both highly durable and is considered mid-range in price when compared to steel and zinc.
Steel Roof Panel Systems
Steel is prized throughout the construction industry for its strength and durability, especially when galvanized. Much more importantly, because steel is heavier and sturdier than materials like aluminum, steel roofing panel systems are much better suited to environments prone to high winds.
The only problem with steel is that if left untreated or coated, steel roof panels will corrode due to moisture, and in some cases, due to galvanic processes caused by contact with other metals. Thankfully, steel roof panel systems will usually be either galvanized or coated with zinc in order to give the average metal roof a lifespan of at least 60 years or more. At the same time, steel can be coated in order to create a barrier against atmospheric corrosion which can prolong steel roof structures in excess of 60 years.
Residential Steel Roof Benefits:
- In terms of affordability, steel is both relatively cheap and highly durable.
- Modern steel roof panels are lightweight and fully galvanized.
- Most steel roof panel systems have excellent corrosion resistance.
- Steel roofs can be painted and matched to a home or property’s existing aesthetic appearance.
- Steel is much more resistant to denting than zinc or aluminum, whether corrugated or not.
Types of metal roofing materials vary depending on cost, different functional requirements, and property locations. However, while steel is the most popular material for many new home developments (closely followed by aluminum), zinc panel systems are also becoming increasingly popular.
While zinc might sound somewhat exotic, it is actually one of the most common elements found in nature, and zinc roofs themselves require much less energy to fabricate than steel or aluminum systems. This is because zinc has a lower melting point than many other metals, so it is being used by increasing numbers of eco-friendly builders and architects.
However, the benefits of installing a zinc roof on your home don’t start and end with just the material being more eco-friendly. Zinc is used for roofing purposes on a growing number of commercial and residential developments due to the material’s pliability and distinct aesthetic appeal.
Benefits of Zinc Roofing Systems:
- Zinc is self-healing. Home owners therefore never have to worry about minor abrasions or corrosion.
- Untreated zinc is perfect for both inland and coastal roof applications.
- Zinc is just as highly durable as other common roof materials.
- Zinc can be formed into a variety of subtle shapes and curves, perfect for bespoke property designs.
- Untreated zinc is highly corrosion resistant and will usually last 60-80 years.
Metal Roofing Types & Home & Property Locations
When choosing between different metal roofing systems to install on your home or property, it is imperative to consider what local environmental pressures your new roof will be pitted against. In coastal areas, for example, untreated steel simply isn’t an option. Chlorine salts, excessive moisture, and standard oxidative processes will lead to drastically shorter lifespans than those of steel roofs located in inland areas.
Of course, different stainless steel and painted or coated steel panels are still an option for use in coastal areas. However, many home owners often decide to go with more naturally corrosion resistant metals such as aluminum and zinc.
When choosing between types of metal roofing panels and systems, home owners will naturally want to choose a metal which complements rather than stands out from their existing home architecture. In this respect, steel can sometimes seem to stand out, especially on period buildings or stone buildings in rural settings.
Given how easy to identify different steel roofs can be, aluminum is often used by property developers in order to achieve a more neutral look. However, aluminum can become stained and pitted when exposed to highly alkaline environments. This being the case, while zinc is often the most expensive roofing material option, it is considered by many to complement a variety of building designs better than many other metals.