Metal roofing @
"Metal roofing is flexible
and durable and combines creativity and sound engineering
principles. Into this dynamic environment comes VM Zinc, a
versatile material which has been used in Europe for nearly two
centuries. Today, VM Zinc is also being utilized in the North
American Architectural market."
According to the National Roofing Contractors
Association, sales of metal roofing products have
increased steadily over the past ten years, a
clear sign that homeowners and builders are
growing more and more aware of this product's
In fact, a whole new genre of metal roofing
materials has hit the market. And these are a far
cry from the corrugated "tin" barn roofs that
leap to mind at the mention of metal. They are
high-tech answers to the need for durable,
fire-resistant, lightweight roofing that looks at
home on a house.
The case for metal
Metal beats out conventional roofing materials on
a number of counts:
Expected life. Properly installed, a metal roof
should last as long as the house, completely
sealing out water, surviving high winds and
easily shedding snow. Metal is resistant to fire,
mildew, insects and rot. Warranties vary widely
but most companies strongly back their products
for from 20 to 50 years.
Weight. Compared to tile at 750 pounds per square
(an area equal to 100 square feet) or concrete
tile at 900 pounds per square, metal roofing is
lightweight. Most are from 50 to 150 pounds per
square. Some types of metal shingle systems may
be applied over one or two existing roofs without
the need for tear-off or adding structural
support. In fact, if you're building a house or
an addition, you can often downsize or reduce the
number of roof support members.
Speed and ease of installation. Most metal
roofing's come in multi-shingle sections or in
sheets. An accomplished contractor can install
these quickly. If your roof is stripped off and a
storm is on the way, shortening the process by a
day or two may prove to be a critical advantage.
You can also buy single metal shingles that are
relatively easy-- but time intensive-- to
install. (Unlike three-tab asphalt shingles, each
piece must be individually placed and nailed.)
Fire resistance. Because metal roofs are
noncombustible, they're given a Class A fire
rating (the most resistant). Part of a roof's
classification depends on materials beneath the
surface that could ignite in intense heat, so
some metal roofs applied over an old combustible
roof--such as wood shingles-- may be rated lower.
Heat conduction. Metal reflects radiant heat from
the sun, minimizing midday heat gain. Though the
material itself is low in insulative R-value,
many systems utilize a dead-air space between the
metal and roof deck to increase energy
Because metal expands and contracts as it warms
and cools, most new products have fastening
systems that account for movement; otherwise,
fasteners that secure roofing tend to work loose.
Minimal roof pitch. Most metal roofing materials
can be installed on gently pitched roofs without
danger of leaking. Typical minimum roof pitch is
Though metal roofing offers many pluses, there
are a few drawbacks or concerns worthy of
consideration. For the most part, roofing
manufacturers have faced these concerns and
improved their products to address or solve many
Cost. The biggest drawback is initial cost. Metal
roofing is pricey. It may cost as much as--or
more than--other premium materials: from about
$1.80 to $6.00 per square foot, plus labor. The
secret is that you get it back if you stay in the
house for a long time. When you amortize the cost
over the long life of the roof, figure in savings
on engineering, maintenance, and installation
labor, metal becomes very affordable. Of course,
if you plan to move in a couple of years, you
probably won't get the cost returned in value.
Noise. For some people, the sound of rain tapping
on the roof is romantic and homey; for others,
it's like living inside a drum. In a rainstorm or
hail storm, living beneath thin sheets of metal
is bound to be noisier than beneath thick slate
or tile. Noise can be controlled, however, both
by using materials that have structural barriers
to minimize the drum effect and by applying them
over sound-deadening insulation and solid plywood
Denting. Just as your car will dent if a golf
ball hits it, a metal roof may dent if large
hailstones fall on it. Aluminum and copper, much
softer than steel, are more prone to denting.
Some are guaranteed not to.
Though you shouldn't have to walk on a roof that
doesn't leak, there may be occasions when a
plumber needs to snake out a vent pipe or a
chimney sweep will need access to the chimney
flue. You can walk on some metal roofs, but not
all--depending on how the particular product is
made and the type of construction supporting it.
Alcoa's aluminum shingles, for example, are
installed over a foam insert. This foam,
contoured to the shape of the shingles, minimizes
noise, prevents denting, and makes the roof "walkable."
Marring. Some painted finishes can peel, chip,
fade, scratch or chalk, although nearly all are
guaranteed for many years. Walking on some
types-- particularly those with a
granulated-stone surface-- may show wear.
Installers must be careful not to scratch or dent
roofing during installation-- panels must be
treated with care. Unlike conventional roofing,
some metal shingle systems are installed from the
top down, eliminating the need to walk on them.
Once installed, it may be necessary to hose-off
roofing now and then to keep it looking good.
Modification. Roofing materials installed in
large panels are more difficult to replace if
damaged than individual shingles. Also, if you
remodel or add-on to your home 10 or 20 years
from now, it may be difficult to match the
material. Then again, you may be ready for some
marvelous new product by then.
Types of Metal
The word "metal" covers a lot of ground. Several
metals are used for roofing materials: steel,
stainless steel, aluminum, copper and zinc
alloys. Each has different properties that affect
durability, price and appearance.
Steel, used for most metal roofing, is heavier
and sturdier than aluminum. Manufacturers have
settled on a number of durable coatings and
finishes that protect steel from rust and
corrosion. It's usually zinc-coated for corrosion
protection, then sealed. A coating of epoxy
primer offers adhesion and a baked-on acrylic top
coating adds color and protection. Because sheet
systems are designed for commercial applications,
they generally are given highly durable paint
finishes. One popular flurocarbon coating used on
many products is called Kynar(r).
Stainless steel-- a very expensive material--
won't rust or corrode. Terne coating (see below)
can give it a natural, matt-gray finish.
Aluminum, extremely lightweight, is the material
used in much residential metal roofing. It won't
rust either, but must be painted or coated for
appearance. Coatings are similar to those used on
steel. Environmentalists express concerns about
using this precious resource for purposes such as
Copper, rooted in centuries of use, will not
rust, has no "finish" to scratch or peel, is soft
enough to easily tool, and weathers naturally to
a beautiful verdigris. Unfortunately, it's very
Alloys are formulated for strength, graceful
weathering and durability. Cost depends on the
specific material but, as a group, they are
Two Main Types
Here's a closer look at the two main categories
of metal roofing used on houses: shingle-type
systems and larger sheet systems.
Shingle systems. Metal shingles are manufactured
to resemble wood shakes, Spanish and mission
tile, slate, and Victorian metal tiles. Most are
made from painted or coated steel or aluminum
that has been pressed or formed into realistic
Some are amazingly convincing in appearance.
Producers of painted metal products reduce
telltale sheen by texturing the metal and
layering the finish. Those products given
granulated-stone topcoats --typically tile or
slate lookalikes-- are hard to distinguish from
the real thing.
Metal shingle systems are made-up in large panels
designed for quick installation (they're
typically about 4 feet long) or as single
shingles meant to be applied individually. Most
panel types can be installed over one or two
layers of existing roofing; the individual type
require tear-off so they can be applied to a
firm, flat roof deck.
Residential roofing contractors are the trades
people who install metal shingle systems, though
many who install wood, tile, asphalt and other
more conventional products don't install metal.
Because metal roofing requires slightly different
techniques, some manufacturers or distributors
require contractors to be accredited by taking a
few factory-taught classes before they will allow
the contractors to install their products.
Sheet-metal roofing systems. Sheet roofing begins
as "flat stock"-- flat metal panels. Roofing
manufacturers form it into roofing panels and
components and--for some types-- apply a finish.
Some flat stock is fabricated on the spot by
contractors with the proper forming equipment.
Problems with the latter method are 1) wide
variations in the quality of the work, 2) limited
possibilities for finishes, and 3) warranties are
usually very limited-- one year or less. With
site-formed roofing, you don't have the strength
of a large manufacturer behind the product.
Manufactured sheet metal roofing is sold in large
panels--normally 26-gauge coated steel that
weighs about 1 pound per square foot. Other
materials used include painted aluminum, solid
copper, zinc alloys and terne-coated stainless
steel. Because of the large panel sizes, this
roofing works best on large, unbroken expanses
where minimum cutting is required.
The two main systems are named after the method
of joining panels together: "standing seam" has a
self-sealing, raised seam and "batten" employs a
wider cover cap (see illustration). Special
matching metal parts are made for ridges, hips,
edges, and connections.
These roof materials are typically priced by the
square foot. Prices vary widely, depending upon
the material and finish-- from a low of about
$1.70 per square foot to about $6 per square foot
(not including labor). Figures typically include
panel, fastening clips, caps and all trims and
flashings. If you ask for ballpark square-foot
prices, be sure they're inclusive of all
Who Installs Metal
Your average roofer can not
install this roofing system you have to be sure
that the roofers you hire are fully qualified.
Fixaroof covers all your
roofing needs in New York including:
Flat Roofing and much more.
Please inquire about any of your building needs or see our
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