MRA Sheds Light on Most Popular Metal Roofing Types for Homeowners

Copper can be used as a beautiful accent for custom roof structures for residential buildings. Photo courtesy of the Metal Roofing Alliance

“In terms of performance, price, and practicality, there are many high-quality metal roofing materials that can offer great value and make them less attractive to homeowners who choose wisely for many decades,” said Renee Ramey, Managing Director of MRA

More and more homeowners are opting for metal roofs for their houses for good reasons: Durable and protected from climatic extremes, sustainable and energy efficient, stylish and durable are just some of its advantages.

But not all metal roofs are created equal. The category is actually made up of a multitude of different types of alloys, each offering a wide variety of properties, costs, and benefits. Hence, it is important for homeowners considering a new metal roof to understand their options.

Below are the four most common types of metal roofing materials, as well as homeowners’ expectations of choice:

1) Steel: the strong standard

Steel is the most common metal roofing material for a reason. Steel is an alloy of iron and other elements, making it one of the strongest metal options that can withstand the toughest climates such as strong winds and hail. It can also withstand heavy snow and ice loads.

Steel is usually the most cost-effective metal roofing option. Thanks to advances in quality paint systems and coatings, it comes in a wide variety of different colors and can even mimic copper, zinc, and other types of materials like clay brick, slate, and shake. Quality steel roofs with a high-tech coating can last over 50 years, offer energy efficient benefits, and are a smart choice for the environment as steel is the most recycled material on the planet.

But not all steel is created equal. Homeowners can choose between galvanized steel, which is made from a layer of zinc to protect an inner layer of steel from corrosion, or Galvalume, which is galvanized but offers a protective combination of aluminum and zinc instead of zinc. This contributes to exceptional surface protection and a more uniform appearance.

Stone clad steel is also a great option for homeowners who want the look of Shake, but the longer-lasting protection and value of metal. Stone coated steel roofs typically have a 24 or 26 gauge steel core that is coated with a layer of stone that is permanently adhered to the surface of the steel.

“Steel is a great option for homeowners, which is why it’s so popular in the US and Canada. As with all materials, however, it is important that homeowners do their homework and select quality materials that meet strict standards and are made by reputable metal roofing and coating manufacturers, ”said Renee Ramey, Executive Director of MRA.

2) Copper: The timeless beauty

Copper roofs have been used on some of the most beautiful homes and buildings in the world for centuries. It’s an extremely durable and beautiful material, and it comes at a high price. Copper will change its appearance over time, and its organic patination is one of the reasons it is so valued for architectural roofing systems. One problem homeowners may have, depending on the area they live in, is staining from copper runoff. Copper also needs to be separated from other metals as its natural compounds can accelerate the corrosion of the metal it comes in contact with. For this reason, it is important to work with a knowledgeable plumber who is experienced in working with copper.

Since copper is easy to solder, it is particularly suitable for roofs with a low pitch. Using copper for unique roof structures, accents, or special highlights can be a great way to incorporate the beauty of copper without incurring the high cost of using it on an entire roof.

3) Aluminum: The Seaside Stalwart

Aluminum does an excellent job in coastal climates thanks to its ability to resist salt corrosion. When aluminum is exposed to oxygen, it forms a layer of aluminum oxide that seals the inner layer of the metal to protect it from future corrosion and to protect it permanently. Because of the way aluminum patina is used, it is often treated with paint and protective coatings. It is usually more expensive (price between steel and copper) and depending on how it is made, aluminum panels have a high strength-to-weight ratio. A high-quality aluminum metal roof has a thicker profile than steel and offers excellent protection against bad weather and storms.

4) Zinc: The sustainable stylist

With the ability to be easily shaped and manipulated, zinc offers great flexibility for unique roof constructions. It can also last centuries and because it has a lower melting point it is exceptionally sustainable. Zinc only requires a quarter of the energy needed to process steel or copper and, like other metals, is 100 percent recyclable. The cost of zinc is comparable to that of copper. Since it is a softer metal, depending on the panel or shingle design, it can be exposed to bumps and large hailstones. Keep in mind that zinc reacts to its surroundings and over time changes its appearance when released. In fact, one of zinc’s most amazing properties is its patina, which can heal scratches over time. However, one of the downsides is that it is also subject to chalk effects, especially where water collects and flows. For this reason, the zinc roof is usually sealed with a protective coating.

Download a free copy of the MRA Metal Roofing Buyer’s Guide at http: // www for more information on types of metal, how to choose a quality, lifetime metal roof, and more details on the properties and performance of metal roofs.

About the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA)

The Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), which represents the home metal roofing industry in the United States and Canada, was formed to educate consumers about the many benefits of metal roofing. The main goal of MRA is to raise awareness of the beauty and money saving benefits of quality metal roofing among homeowners and to support the metal roofing industry for homes. For more information, please visit MRA at

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