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Steel & Metal Roofing Material Types: How to Choose the Best Material for Your Roof

Are you currently looking for metal roofing material for your roofing renovation? Before that, It is essential to understand the pros and cons of different metal roofing materials.

Metal roofing materials often used include Galvalume, aluminum, zinc, copper, and stainless steel. Fortunately, there isn’t just one option for any single consumer. Still, can thoroughly explore the benefits and drawback of each metal with the contractor, distributor, architect, or manufacturer before making a final decision.

1. Galvalume® Metal Roofing

Galvalume roofing material blends three of the most metallic materials used in roofing today: steel, aluminum, and zinc. Manufacturers start with a carbon steel base layer, which is then continually hot-dipped in aluminum and zinc alloys until it achieves a coating of 55 percent aluminum, 43.4 percent zinc, and 1.6 percent silicone over the base metal to shield it from the elements. This method enables one material to have some of the best characteristics of each included metal, making it one of the fastest-growing metal roofing items on the market.

Pros of Galvalume Roofing:

  • Colour Options: One of the most appealing characteristics of Galvalume roofing, especially for homeowners, is that it is available in various colours.
  • Least Expensive: As compared to other high-quality metal roofing products, Galvalume is the most affordable.
  • Corrosion Resistant: Galvalume combines the hardness and resilience of zinc with the rust resistance of aluminum.
  • Accessible to Form: Galvalume is an excellent material for roll forming and panel forming, allowing contractors to create any profile for any job.
  • Recyclable: Galvalume is fully recyclable, so any waste metal leftover from a work or old metal roofing that has been removed can be quickly recycled.
  • Installed Over Existing Roof: One of the primary advantages of using Galvalume is that it can be retrofitted or re-roofed over an existing roof without the need for a tear-off.

Cons of Galvalume Roofing:

  • Oil Canning: Oil canning is a natural feature of light-gauge, cold-formed metal products, especially those with large flat areas.
  • Fading/Chalking: One disadvantage of painted Galvalume is that the colour can fade with time due to sun and UV exposure.
  • Interactions with Other Materials: Galvalume does well when it is not in contact with other materials such as iron, copper, concrete, bricking, or timber.

2. Aluminum Metal Roofing

Aluminum, a widely used metal on the planet, owing primarily to its use in the canned beverage industry. However, aluminum, the third most abundant metal on Earth, has far-reaching properties and is an excellent material for the metal roofing industry, particularly for projects in saltwater and sea environments. Aluminum not only withstands incredibly harsh environmental conditions, but it is also one of the most sustainable metals on the planet, which is why it has become such a common roofing material for buildings.

Pros of Aluminum Roofing:

  • Highly Recyclable: Almost all metal roofing is recyclable in any way. The great thing about aluminum is that 95 percent of all aluminum roofing built worldwide is constructed from recycled aluminum materials.
  • Lightweight Strength: Aluminum sheet metal is lightweight and straightforward to mould and assemble by a contractor.
  • No Rusting/Corroding: One of the most appealing aspects of an aluminum roof is that it does not develop red rust, and corrosion is usually minimal as it ages. 
  • Medium Price Point: Aluminum is a commodity in the middle of the price range, making it more economical and practical for specific home and business owners.
  • Readily Available: Aluminum is the third most common ingredient in the Earth’s crust, as previously said, making it an excellent material for structural applications.

Cons of Aluminum Roofing:

  • Natural Color: Most architects and installers advise against using aluminum roofing with its natural colour.
  • Denting: Aluminum roofing is considered to dent more quickly than other metals because it is generally a more delicate, lighter material.
  • Thermal Movement: Aluminum stretch and compress almost half as much as steel roofs.

3. Zinc Metal Roofing

Zinc is an excellent option for residential and commercial property owners looking for a long-lasting metal roofing material. Zinc’s use in metal roofing projects among contractors and architects has increased steadily due to its ease of use, resistance to corrosion, and other sustainable features.

Pros of Zinc Roofing:

  • Longevity: Zinc roofs have a lifespan of 60 to 100 years.
  • Ecofriendly: Since zinc is a natural metal mined from the rock, its toxicity levels are deficient, even after fabrication.
  • Energy Savings: Zinc’s toxicity levels are deficient even after fabrication because it is a natural metal extracted from the ground.
  • Self-healing: Zinc has its protective coating that protects from corrosion, scratching, and panel markings.
  • Easy Maintenance: Zinc’s self-healing properties also suggest that the building owner does not need regular roof maintenance.
  • Easy to Form: Architects and contractors often use zinc in their designs because it is a lighter metal that can quickly mould into various profiles for roll forming, gutter shaping, and seam formation.

Cons of Zinc Roofing:

  • Expensive: The most prominent drawback of zinc roofing is its high cost.
  • Oil Canning: Zinc metal roofing, like all other metal roofing, is susceptible to oil canning.
  • Underside Corrosion – Corrosion could occur if the zinc roofing on the underside of the panel is not properly coated.
  • Ventilation: Both zinc applications necessitate proper ventilation to prevent the device from collapsing from inside.

3. Copper Metal Roofing

Copper roofing has been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years. According to historical records, the Romans used copper covering on the roof of the Pantheon in 27 B.C. To this day, many major architectural houses, office buildings, and even private homes have copper panels and coils as part of or as an accent to their roofing.

Pros of Copper Roofing:

  • Lightweight: Copper is highly lightweight compared to other metals and roofing materials such as shingles, asphalt, or tiles.
  • Energy-efficient: All metal roofing is energy-efficient and will help you save money on your energy bills.
  • Durable: Copper is a long-lasting material that can use to construct a roof for several decades. Copper roofing, when properly built, will last for 100 years or more.
  • Aesthetically Pleasing: Copper is sometimes referred to as a luxury roofing material because it enhances the exterior of a frame and adds a metallic reddish-brown focal point.
  • Recyclable: Copper, while not as recyclable as zinc, can be recycled and reused if in good condition.
  • Solderable – Unlike other roofing materials, can solder copper.

Cons of Copper Roofing:

  • Expensive: Copper is one of the most costly metal roof materials though it is not standard on Earth.
  • Expansion/Contraction: Copper roofing, like most metal structures, stretches and contracts during heating and cooling in conditions with significant temperature variations.

4. Stainless Steel Metal Roofing

Stainless steel, containing at least 10.5% chromium, is another standard metal roofing option. As most people think about stainless steel, they see massive architectural buildings like elevators, bridges, building columns, handrails, and so on. Over everything, stainless steel is well-known for its reliability, making it a high-end metal that may be the ideal material option for both homeowners and business owners.

Pros of Stainless Steel Roofing:

  • Durable: As previously said, stainless steel is used in some of the world’s most durable and robust metal goods.
  • Weathers Elements: Stainless steel is specifically made to survive harsh conditions and high temperatures.
  • Expansion/Contraction: Another factor stainless steel is an excellent choice for areas with harsh climates is that it has low thermal expansion properties, which means it will not grow or compress due to temperature variations.
  • Finish Options: Stainless steel is available in various colours, making it easy to complement a wide range of other construction materials.

Cons of Stainless Steel Roofing:

  • Expensive: The price of stainless steel is comparable to that of zinc and copper, making it an excellent option for high-end metal roofing.
  • Standing Water: Stainless steel roofing, particularly when in contact with other non-stainless steel metals, generally requires appropriate drainage methods to stay durable and functional.
Metal Roofing Material Types
Photo by Expect Best on

Final Thoughts on Metal Roofing Material Types

Galvalume, zinc, aluminum, copper, and stainless steel are all superior metal roofing materials. Knowing the typical and special features of a building, whether residential or industrial, is the best way to start when deciding on the best metal roofing material. Then, decide what considerations are significant to you, such as:

  • Cost
  • Maintenance
  • Sustainability
  • Material strength 
  • Availability of materials
  • Energy-efficient/recyclable
  • Weight your structure can withstand
  • Other materials your roof or water run-off will come in contact with

Merlin’s Roofing is committed to providing and informing our clients with the knowledge they need to make sensible and most knowledgeable decisions possible. We want to assist you with your metal roofing dream, whether you are a contractor, architect, dealer, or homeowner.

Our experienced and professional metal roofing contractors are standing by to answer any questions you might have. Please contact us right away!



Jaja Moscoso

Author Jaja Moscoso

Creative Content Writer at Volfyre Digital Marketing Agency.

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