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Posted by McElroy Metal ● Aug 8, 2023 8:00 AM

What Are the Advantages of Metal Over Other Residential Roofing Materials?

Whether you’re building your dream home or facing a roof replacement on your current home, you’ll find plenty of choices for your roofing material. In fact, it’s not uncommon for homeowners to feel overwhelmed when choosing between various roof materials. Consequently, we’d like to share an approach many homeowners find helpful. Start by identifying your goals for your new roof. Of course, the obvious goal is to protect your stuff, but think deeper. Accept that what’s important to you may be very different than what your neighbors and friends value. And that’s completely ok! 

One of the best ways to figure out what matters to you is to take a few minutes and assign a value to various roofing attributes like those we show below. Of course, you’re certainly not limited to our list, so add others if you like.

  • Appearance
  • Cost
  • Durability
  • Ease of Installation
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Fire Resistance
  • Life Expectancy
  • Maintenance
  • Material Weight
  • Recyclability

Once you get your list of criteria down, break it into thirds and assign each a Low, Medium, or High designation. Then go back through the list again and assign a number like 1, 2, & 3, etc., to your High designations to further isolate what matters most to you.

Once you’ve identified your top criteria, use the chart below to help narrow down the products that align with your goals.

Download a PDF version of the table shown below.

Common Residential Options

Product
Shingles
Life Expectancy
:
12-20 years
Pros
  • Low cost
  • Easy install
Cons
  • Short life expectancy
  • Consumes landfill space
  • Durability:
    • Frequently blows off
    • Easily damaged by hail
    • Often plagued by mildew
  • Ongoing maintenance
Various Synthetic Products
Life Expectancy:
20-40 years
Pros
  • Lower cost than natural products
  • Durability:
    • Weather resistant
    • Resistant to rot, insects, UV
    • Impact resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Recyclable material
Cons
  • Can appear fake
  • Life expectancy varies greatly by manufacturer
  • Newer product family; longevity unproven
  • Not fire resistant; Some products can’t meet Class A Fire ratings
Green Roofs
Life Expectancy:
20-40 years
Pros
  • Environmentally friendly:
    • Reduces the heat island effect
    • Reduces stormwater issues
    • Improves air quality in urban areas
  • Energy efficient
  • Fire resistant
Cons
  • Cost
  • Very heavy-may require additional structural support
  • High on-going maintenance
  • Local regulations may prohibit
  • Building shape and orientation requirements
Wood Shakes
Life Expectancy:
30-40 years
Pros
  • Natural insulating abilities
Cons
  • Ongoing maintenance
  • Durability
    • Prone to fire damage
    • Vulnerable to pests, mold & rot
Clay Tile
Life Expectancy:
50 years
Pros
  • Durability:
    • Resist insects, mold & rot
    • Fire resistant
    • Impact resistant
  • Energy efficient
  • Recyclable
  • Minimal maintenance
Cons
  • Cost
  • Very heavy-may require additional structural support
  • Higher cost
  • Easily damaged by flying debris or foot traffic
  • Requires skilled installer
  • Can crack in freezing temperatures
Metal Roofing
Life Expectancy:
50-60 years
Pros
Cons
Slate
Life Expectancy:
80-100 years
Pros
  • Long life expectancy
  • Fire resistant
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Durability:
    • Resistant to mold growth
    • Performs well in high-wind situations


Cons
  • Requires skilled installer
  • Higher upfront cost
  • Noisy if not insulated
  • Very heavy-may require additional structural support
  • High cost
  • Durability:
    • Fragile tiles break easily
  • Requires skilled installer
  • Requires yearly maintenance

Download a PDF version of the table shown below.

You may have noticed that “appearance” isn’t listed as a pro or con for any product in the chart.  That’s intentional. Of course, we think metal roofing is the most attractive option, but perhaps you don’t. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder!

Ultimately, the best roofing option for you depends on your product expectations, appetite for maintenance, and budget. If we can help as you weigh options, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re always here to help!

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Learn everything you need to know about Residential Metal Roofing. Check out our metal roofing resources for inspiration and answers to your questions.

About McElroy Metal

Since 1963, McElroy Metal has served the construction industry with quality products and excellent customer service. The employee-owned components manufacturer is headquartered in Bossier City, La., and has 14 manufacturing facilities across the United States. Quality, service and performance have been the cornerstone of McElroy Metal’s business philosophy and have contributed to the success of the company through the years. As a preferred service provider, these values will continue to be at the forefront of McElroy Metal’s model along with a strong focus on the customer.

Topics: Metal Roofing, FAQ, Residential

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