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Metal Roofs: An Attractive Option

Jun 12, 2008
A roof is a key consideration in new construction and often a significant replacement expense in existing housing. Selecting the most desirable of the available roofing options should take into consideration cost, durability, appearance and even how long you intend to live in this same dwelling. Metal roofs may be an attractive option for many consumers.

Modern residential metal roofing has come a long way from the corrugated "tin shed" appearance once associated with metal roofs in both appearance and functionality. They now have a much more esthetically pleasing appearance and all the advantages of their high tech construction. Pluses include exceptional durability, fire resistance, good performance in high wind conditions, heat reflection, low weight, and relative ease in installation. Drawbacks are mainly cost, low insulation factor, noise during rain or hail, and the potential for both denting and chipping.

Since metal does not burn except at extreme temperatures, metal types of roofing receive the highest fire retardant rating, which may be an asset in resale value and homeowner's insurance rates as well as the obvious safety issue. Wind resistance is also excellent which has additional appeal in locations vulnerable to high wind exposure, such as hurricanes.

Since metal roofs reflect the heat of the sun, they will reduce the energy required to cool your house during the summer. They have little inherent insulation, but by inserting open space between the metal and the underlying roof, you can get the same effect as you would by adding insulation. Weather-related noise can be reduced by added sound deadening insulating material. Be aware that heat can cause metal to expand and connectors to become loose.

Metal roofs are lighter, require less support from underneath, and as such can reduce construction costs. The lighter weight also makes it possible to install a metal roof over the top of an existing roof, saving the time and expense of having to remove the original roof. Installation of metal roofing typically takes less time too, as the metal sheets cover a large area. On the other side of that coin, replacing a larger section, should it become necessary, may be more difficult. Metal roofing sections may also prove more difficult to match if a replacement is needed, or an addition is built.

The often greater initial expense of premium metal roofing can make the option less attractive. However, discount metal roofing is available. Metal roofs enjoy a 20 to 50 year life span, and may outlive the rest of the house. Therefore, the total cost of ownership can be much less in the long run, particularly for those people who are planning to stay in their home for a good portion of the metal roof's life span.
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When all factors are considered, metal roofs are an attractive choice for many homeowners.
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