A metal roof is a great choice for any home. Metal roofs feature exceptionally long life spans — many over 50 years — and their durability and minimal maintenance have made them a consumer favorite for decades. With added features like cool roof coatings that make metal roofs energy efficient, today’s metal roofs are more popular than ever. 

If you’ve decided a metal roof is right for your home, the biggest decision you’ll have to make is what type of metal roof is right for your home. To help you decide, here are the pros and cons of four of the most common types of metal roofs: 

#1 Aluminum

There’s no doubt that aluminum is the favorite type of metal roof on the market today. Aluminum is durable, lightweight, and naturally corrosion-resistant, which makes it ideal for nearly any home. Today’s aluminum roofing materials come pre-painted. You can choose from a full range of available options from the manufacturer, and the metal comes to your roofer ready-to-install. 

Aluminum is a relatively easy material to manufacture, and since most roofing aluminum is made from recycled, post-consumer products, it’s also a type of metal roof you can feel good about. This flexible metal is also available in nearly any shape or profile you prefer, from aluminum shakes or shingles to a traditional standing-seam metal roof. 

The biggest drawback of an aluminum metal roof is the cost. Though it’s nowhere near as expensive as copper or zinc, the average aluminum roof does cost more than a traditional asphalt roof. If you balance that with an aluminum roof’s longer lifespan, however, the upfront costs often outweigh the overall cost of the roof. 

#2 Copper 

If you’re going for a bold, beautiful look, you can’t beat a classic copper metal roof. This type of metal roof has been around for centuries. Copper is praised for its natural beauty and the attractive blue-green patina it forms when left exposed to the elements. Copper is an exceptionally durable roofing material, but it has its drawbacks. 

The biggest concern with a copper roof is typically cost. A full copper roof can be very expensive, so many homeowners opt for just a flash of copper roofing on a porch or on a roofing accent like a dormer. Copper also has a tendency to streak and stain other materials as water runs off of it, so it’s good to consider carefully where you’d like to install copper roofing on your home. 

#3 Zinc

Zinc is another long-lasting type of metal roof. Like copper, zinc will patina over time, which makes it more durable and ensures it will not rust. Zinc has a very low melting point, making it easy to manufacture with much less energy than other materials. If you’re looking for a green roofing choice, energy efficiency matters, as does the fact that zinc is 100% recyclable. Since zinc doesn’t need to be coated like aluminum, there’s nothing altering the original material. If you needed to reroof (though it would take decades) you could recycle the old roofing materials entirely. 

With all of those benefits, it’s easy to see why zinc is a popular type of metal roof, though it does have a few cons. Like copper, zinc is very expensive to install. You’d need a specialized roofing crew, and the material itself is costly. Zinc is also a softer metal, so it doesn’t hold up as well to hail as some other options might. 

#4 Steel

Steel roofing has long been used for commercial roofs, but is now becoming a popular type of metal roof for homeowners as well. Steel is an alloy, which means it’s composed of iron and other elements. As you might expect, steel, which is used for other heavy-duty aspects of construction, is exceptionally durable. It’s also the least expensive metal roofing material on this list. Made from recycled material, steel is a great option for many. The biggest problem with steel is that it rusts. To combat that, steel roofing materials are manufactured in three different ways:

  • Galvanized Steel Roofing – The most common type of steel roofing, galvanized steel uses a layer of zinc to protect an inner layer of steel from corroding. 
  • Galvalume Steel Roofing – Instead of using a zinc coating, galvalume steel uses a combination of aluminum and zinc to protect the inner steel layer of roofing. The aluminum offers better corrosion protection, and makes for a more uniform appearance on the final product. 
  • Weathering Steel Roofing – The least commonly used steel roofing material, weathering steel is composed of two layers of steel. The outer layer is designed to rust, protecting the inner layer. Since this type of metal roof is designed to rust, it’s usually only used as an accent piece, to add a bit of character to a home. 

From aluminum to copper, zinc, and steel, there’s a wide variety of types of metal roofs. Choosing the right metal roof for you will depend on the look you’re going for, as well as your environment, and your budget. If you’ve made your decision and are ready to install your new metal roof, we’d love to help! Werner Roofing proudly installs Sheffield Metal standing seam roofs. Contact us by phone at 616-844-5382, or request a free, no-obligation quote online today. 

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