Metal roofs are strong and last a long time. They provide a security and dependability that is unmatched by any other roofing material. However, even if you know that you want a metal roof, you still have some choices to make.
There are plenty of different metals and alloys that can be used on a roof, but there are four that stand above the crowd. Aluminum, copper, steel, and zinc all have their strengths and weaknesses. Choosing between them is usually more of a matter of your specific needs than one being overall better than the other.
So which is the best metal roofing material for your needs? Read this blog to get an idea.
1. Aluminum Roofing
Aluminum can be seen as the standard for functional metal roofing. It is the most resistant to corrosion of any metal roofing material. It’s particularly good near the ocean, but it is durable and weatherproof everywhere.
Aluminum is strong but doesn’t weigh as much as other materials, which makes it more versatile for a wider range of structures.
Aluminum sits in the middle of the pack in terms of cost. It’s not the cheapest, but neither is it the most expensive.
Aluminum has great longevity, and because of its light weight, it’s easier to work with than other metals. It holds paint well, recycles well, and is generally the jack of all trades for metal roofing.
The major downside to aluminum is its look. Aluminum is not traditionally a pretty metal, so when aesthetics matter, it often takes a back seat.
2. Copper Roofing
Copper is one of the oldest metals to be used on rooftops. It’s great because it lasts for a very long time. It handles weather like an absolute champion. What really distinguishes copper is that it’s a soft metal. That makes it a little easier to craft copper roofing components, and the softness adds durability. It’s very hard to puncture copper. Forces that could punch a hole in steel usually only dent copper roofing. The softness absorbs impact and mitigates damage.
Copper also stands alone as the best-looking metal for roofing.
The downside to all of this is the price. Copper is easily the most expensive metal for roofing, and its price can fluctuate unpredictably. Despite all of that, copper roofs remain popular and inspiring.
3. Steel Roofing
Steel is one of the most common metals for roofing. It largely comes in two forms when roofs are involved: galvanized and galvalume. Galvanized steel roofing uses zinc to protect the steel from corrosion. It is by far the most common steel for roofs, and it’s the same type of steel that is used in outdoor nails and similar applications. Galvanized steel is incredibly strong and tough. On the downside, it’s not very resistant to corrosion, and it’s not the prettiest metal.
Galvalume steel roofing uses both aluminum and zinc to create a protective layer. This makes it better against corrosion, but it also raises the cost of the material.
Ultimately, steel roofing is usually the cheapest option, and steel has the highest tensile strength of any of these metals.
Zinc roofing is less popular than it used to be, but plenty of roofers still use it at times. Zinc is easy to work with and super resilient. It can “heal” scratches that appear on the surface, and it’s 100% recyclable. Zinc is soft like copper, and that softness does aid structural integrity.
That said, zinc is the weakest of these metals in terms of the punishment it can withstand. When it starts to lose to the weather, zinc roofing will turn chalky in its appearance. It’s not a pretty sight, and it means that your zinc roof needs some maintenance.
So which metal is the best? It depends on the application. For beauty, copper is the winner. For raw toughness, steel is an easy choice. If you want to save money, zinc is your answer. If you want the most versatile, then it’s aluminum.
Picking the right metal is only the first step in getting a proper roof for your building. If you want to go over all of the steps and ensure that you have a good plan for your roof, contact Alpine Roofing Construction. We install metal roofs on commercial and residential buildings throughout Dallas/Fort Worth. We’ll walk you through everything and help you pick out the perfect material. Then we’ll strategize with you so that we can come and install the new roof. Get in touch with us today to get started.