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7 min read

The durability of metal roofing


7 min read

The durability of metal roofing

RoofThe durability of metal roofing

Are you in the middle of building a new house? Are you looking to renovate your roof, but aren’t sure what material to use? Well, what about opting for metal roofing?

Metal roofing definitely stands out for its many advantages, namely its high durability and resistance to adverse weather conditions. Keep reading to learn about the types, features, and benefits of steel metal roofing.

What’s Metal Roofing Exactly?

For the longest time, metal roofing was reserved for industrial, commercial, or agricultural buildings, but now, its use is slowly creeping into Canada in terms of residential buildings. Metal roofing is typically used on very steep or low-slope roofs, and is commonly manufactured as laminated sheet metal, ribbed or corrugated sheets that closely mimic traditional roof tiles.

This type of roof covering is ideal for light or intricately-shaped roofs, and is especially suitable for modern homes, given its sophisticated design. Characterized by its durability and light weight (10 times lighter than clay tiles), the panels consist of two zinc-coated metal sheets with protective layers.

There are various types of metal roofing, including zinc, copper, aluminum, and steel. Listed below are the features and benefits of each variety.

Types of Sheet Metal Roofing

Metal roofing

Source: Pixabay - Pexels

Sheet metal roof coverings are available in a wide array of materials and colours, which gives one ample opportunity to choose the most suitable roofing for their homes.

Zinc Roofing

Zinc is one of the most commonly used metals for roof coverings in Quebec because it lasts more than 50 years. Given its malleable nature, zinc can be used to create a variety of shapes and improve the architectural style of the roof. It can even be painted in the colour of your choosing. Moreover, it's a lightweight material that resists corrosion.

However, zinc isn't compatible with carbon steel, oak, plaster, chestnut, lime, and cement roof frames. Also, the cost of zinc is slightly high considering its durability. And, the installation process is quite complex. Generally, to install it, we recommend you hire a professional zinc roofer.

Steel Roofing

When it comes to roofing, steel is another commonly used material. There are several types of steel panels, which differ in their surface finish and are available in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Galvanized steel is produced in either tile or sheet form. The manufacturing process for galvanized steel involves a protective zinc coating to prevent rust and corrosion. And, there are many advantages to galvanized steel, including corrosion resistance, unlike uncoated steel, which, in the long run, significantly reduces maintenance costs.

Steel roofing doesn't require a coat of paint and is extremely durable. To prevent water infiltration and achieve an aesthetically pleasing metal architecture, it's best to choose products with a fastening method devoid of visible screws and joints.

Stainless Steel

As for stainless steel, it’s mainly made of iron and carbon. It also has a protective chromium coating which keeps it from rusting or corroding. Stainless steel is both lightweight and super easy to install, and is U-shaped, meaning the tile panel matches the shape of the tile.

Therefore, this type of sheet metal is ideal for sloped roofs with a 5 to 15% pitch. Compared to other types of roof coverings, this one has many advantages, such as a 50+ year lifespan and corrosion resistance. It can also be recycled.

Copper Roofing

Copper roofing is made from thin, long or short, easy-to-use sheet metal. This type of sheeting is ideal for fir, poplar, spruce, or pine wood roof frames. Copper roofing has many benefits such as its exceptional durability, its resistance to adverse weather conditions and impacts, its aesthetic appeal, and its flexibility, which allows it to mould easily into the building's shape.

Moreover, its anti-fungi properties limit the proliferation of rooftop moss and lichens. With time and oxidation, copper metal roofing changes from its initial yellow-red colour to a brown, before eventually turning greenish. The oxidation process then allows for the copper to bond more effectively to the surface and better resist the elements.

Aluminum Roofing

Although aluminum roofing is relatively new on the market, it's becoming fairly popular with Quebec homeowners because it's eco-friendly, long-lasting, and low-maintenance. Some manufacturers produce it with recycled materials, and it has a low CO2 emission rate during production.

This type of roofing offers a wide range of structural roof designs. Typically, it's used as a metal covering for garden sheds, garages, or outbuildings. And, aluminum roofing is fire- and rust-resistant, as well as waterproof. Furthermore, since aluminum sheets are lightweight, they're easy to install.

Benefits of Metal Roofing 

Metal roofing

Source: anthony mcgee - Unsplash

Durability: Metal roofing is especially appreciated for its durability. In fact, it’s about 5 times more durable than asphalt roofing, which has a 20-year lifespan. Whereas metal roofing can last up to 60 years or more. Such durability is due to the numerous protective layers that render it resistant to any ordeal.

Easy to maintain: There is nothing more manageable than upkeeping a metal roof. You really don't need to worry about it, you can simply clean it with water. Despite its resistance, metal roofing isn't immune to corrosion, so you should carry out regular inspections at the end of each season to check the state of your roof. Ideally, this should be done in the spring and fall. You can also paint it over after a few years to keep it in good condition.

Resistant to adverse weather conditions: Metal roofing is characterized by its robustness and its resilience against adverse weather conditions. As a matter of fact, metal roofs can easily withstand extreme temperatures, heavy gusts of wind, the weight of snow during winter, rainwater, and mildew. Besides, metal is a non-combustible material, so it offers protection against fire. It’s also highly resistant to moss and fungi growth.

Eco-friendly choice: Opting for a metal roofing system means choosing to be an environmentally responsible consumer. In fact, metal roofing is made from 100% recyclable materials, whether it's aluminum, steel, copper, or zinc. Therefore, it's ideal for those who are eco-conscious.

Practical choice: Metal roofing can be useful for rainwater harvesting intended for consumption. It's the most suitable because, unlike other materials, metal roofing doesn't release toxic chemicals when it comes into contact with rainwater, later releasing these into the environment. In fact, galvanized steel is highly recommended for rainwater harvesting. However, the water must be filtered before consumption.

Aesthetically pleasing choice: ​​Metal roofing is always a top contender when it comes to adding a bit of flair to your house. There are many colours, styles, shapes, and finishes available on the market. All you have to do is make your choice and let your imagination run wild. You can also find models that closely mimic terracotta, wood shingles, and asphalt.

Drawbacks of Metal Roofing

Source : Canva

Noise: Some roofs can generate a lot of noise when rain or hail comes into contact with their surface, but an insulated and soundproofed attic can certainly solve this problem.

Expensive: The quality and durability of metal roofing mean that purchase and installation costs are somewhat high. However, it's a long-term investment that requires very little maintenance.

Curious about the cost of such a roofing project? Try out our cost calculator

Cover image source: Jacques Bopp - Unsplash

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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