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Why You Need a Metal Roof and What You Need to Know

We will give you the ins and outs of metal roofs to help you make the decision of which type of roof is right for you.

            Your roof may be starting to show its age, or maybe you are looking at making a preemptive change to avoid future damages. Now that you have decided to update your roof, you have another decision to make, which type of roofing material to use. Shingled roofs are the most common roofing material as of now, but metal roofs are an ever increasingly popular option. An option that we want to discuss with you today so that you can make an informed decision.

What are the benefits of having a metal roof installed?

            The first and most advertised benefit of a metal roof is the expected lifespan. Asphalt shingle roofs are given a lifespan of approximately twenty to twenty-five years, whereas metal roofing is capable of last fifty years or more.

Another benefit to having a metal roof installed, especially if it is for new construction, is that a metal roof is lighter than other roofing materials. If you are planning on having a metal roof installed on a new construction building or on an addition to your home, then you may be able to save some money on the structure. Make sure that your architect and engineer know that you are interested in metal while still designing. Due to the lighter weight of the metal, it will require a lesser amount of framing and braces to hold the roof up.

Metal roofs are not flammable unlike some of the other popular roofing material options. Meaning if sparks or embers were to land on it then the metal roof is very unlikely to start a fire.

Metal roofs help to repel the sun’s heat away from your home, some colours will do this better than others. This helps to minimize the heat gain from your roof and therefore helps your air conditioner run more efficiently in the summer. It is becoming more common to install spray foam insulation underneath metal roofs which has a very high R-value.

A lot of metal roofs are installed with a dead-air barrier in between the roof and decking to help decrease the thermal exchange and increase the efficiency of your home.

Metal roofs can be installed very quickly, which will save you money on the installation. Sheets of standing seam metal roofing are commonly sold in sections 36 inches wide by 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, or 16 feet long. Or if necessary, you can order custom lengths and sizes. Having such big sheets and being able to install an entire sheet at one time makes the job go very quickly. If the job gets done faster then there is less labour, resulting in it being cheaper for you.

Metal is very good at shedding rain and snow. If you have ever walked on a metal roof you know how slippery it can be. With how metal roof panels interlock, it makes it nearly impossible for snow to get in between the metal sheets. Especially if it is a double lock standing seam roof. Darker colours are far more likely to absorb the sun’s heat and will help melt the snow off, leaving you with a cleared roof even faster.

Have you ever been told your roof has a very soft pitch and you will be unable to use shingles or some other roofing options? Metal may be the option for you. While traditional shingles can only go down to a 3-12 pitch, some standing seam roofing is capable of being installed with as little as a 1-12 pitch. A 3-12 pitch means that for every twelve inches of horizontal travel the roof raises three inches creating the slant of your roof or a 3-12 pitch. If you have a soft pitch that shingles are unable to accommodate then metal is a good alternative.

Metal roofs are much more environmentally friendly than asphalt roofs. Asphalt requires fossil fuels to assist in its production. They also must be changed more often than metal roofs resulting in a vast amount of asphalt roof remnants ending up in landfills across the country.


What are the cons of metal roofs?

            It can’t be all good, just like anything else there are some less than desirable aspects to metal roofs. Let’s discuss those.

The cost is always a big deciding factor, no matter what you are planning to buy. This makes sense, we all want to make sure that we get a good deal and aren’t throwing our money away. The truth is metal roofs do tend to be more expensive than their shingle competitors. However, you are paying for a longer lifespan upfront. So, although the initial cost may take a little more out of your pocket in the beginning, you will save money in the long run.

Metal roofing can be dented. This may not be much of a problem if you live somewhere that rarely has hail. But in the parts of the country that are prone to weather anomalies, this is something that you will need to consider. Metal is extremely durable to a lot of elements such as fire, wind, rain, snow, but things like hail can have negative effects on it. Of course, like any other material metal roofing systems come with a certain size of hail that it will resit to without any issues.

Metal roofs are not good to walk on. You can dent them, as previously stated, but the risk of falling is a bigger concern. Metal roofing systems are extremely slick, especially if they are wet, and pose a threat to anyone that must walk on them. Although you may think that no one will ever have to get back on your roof once it is completed, things happen. Maybe a plumber will need to repair a plumbing vent, or an HVAC company will need to install a furnace vent. Just know that metal roofs can be very difficult to navigate for anyone attempting to walk on it.

If a section is damaged, it can be harder to replace the one-piece since they are so large. If you need to replace a piece or roof your new addition you may run into the problem of colour matching as well. Given enough time, your metal roof will change colour, and this may make it very difficult to find a perfectly matching colour.

Metal roofs must be installed correctly. In today’s market with the labour shortages we have, most companies will send untrained staff to install a system that is made to last 50-60 years and exposed to all elements every day of the year.

Copper roofing systems

            Copper has a long history as roofing. It has adorned palaces and castles, and the homes of our prestigious ancestors. The fact that copper roofing has been used in all these previous time periods and locations while continuing to do its job and do it well, is a testament to its durability.

Copper roofs are known for their durability, appeal, and low maintenance. This comes at a price though, as it is one of the most expensive roofing materials used. Copper is one of the only roofing materials that will get better with age. As it ages it will develop the blue-green patina that copper is so commonly known for. This patina makes the copper more durable. This is a protective film that builds up over the copper, helping to protect it from the weather and damage alike.

Copper is obviously known for its visual appeal. It has been used to accent architectural styles for centuries and is highly desired by homeowners and designers that want that unique look. It brings a sense of pride and attractiveness that is hard to place a value on.

Copper is one of the more expensive options, but with its low maintenance and age-defying qualities allowing it to last centuries, it should be a contender when choosing your home’s new roof.

Standing seam snap lock

            Whether you’re looking at copper or a coloured metal roof you will need to decide between a standing seam snap lock or a standing seam mechanical lock metal roof. This may be something that your roof installer has already decided but is still something you should be aware of and know the differences between the two.

Standing seam roofing is the best way to go with metal roofing. Unlike the galvanized metal roof, you may have seen on old barns, standing seam metal roofing is flat in between the seams. It then has a thin vertical piece at the seams that snap together with its neighbouring piece. Snap lock consists of a male edge on one side and a female edge on the other. When installing, the male and female sides will slip together, joining the neighbouring pieces. Once they are in place, they are pushed down to snap together and locked into place.

This makes snap-lock roofing very easy and efficient to install. It tends to be one of the cheaper options within the standing seam roofing category. Because of this easier installation, it may cut down on the labour costs as well.

Some of the disadvantages is that it does not do as well on low-pitched roofs.

This type of roofing is highly resistant to water infiltration, however, a mechanical double lock standing seam metal roof will give you extra peace of mind against moisture damage. Due to its double locking mechanism of attachment, it is very unlikely that any moisture will be able to get past the joint.

Standing seam mechanical lock

Mechanical lock roofing is going to have overlapping edges like a snap lock. However, these will have to be mechanically joined together, usually by a hand seamer. This type of roofing will generally come in one of two different types of joining edge, single lock, or double lock.

A single lock will be where the piece on top folds over the other piece making a 90-degree joint from the vertical standing seam. This type is the easier option to install and is best for being installed in mild climates. It is not quite as waterproof as the double lock and could potentially leak water if it is faced with extreme conditions or an extremely excessive amount of rain.

For a double lock, it will do essentially the same thing but is then folded again down the vertical standing seam creating a 180-degree bend, making a double lock. This is the most watertight option for standing seam roofing and is fully capable of being installed in places that receive heavy precipitation. Including snow and heavy rain.

This style of roofing is far more secure than the snap-together roofing and provides a superior fit. However, they can be very difficult to replace if they become damaged. They are also more time-intensive to install which may result in them being a more costly option over the snap lock style.

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