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The two questions most frequently asked over the last twelve months regarding roof replacement have been:
“Can we do a metal roof, and how much does metal roofing cost?”
“How long does a metal roof last?”
I’ll answer both questions further down in my post. First however, I would like to talk a little about metal roofing on local buildings and a couple different types of metal roofing.
Metal roofing and its rise to prominence
Corrugated metal roofing has long been a popular option for barns and outbuildings in Central and Upstate NY. Part of the reason for this has to do with local climate; lake effect snow accumulation can exert severe loads on a structure. This leads to a strong selling point for a metal roof, snow will slide right off, as opposed to piling up to a dangerous depth on a shingled roof. Additionally, ice and water cannot “back up” behind shingles, which causes roof leaks. This awareness is already well known among those living in similar snow belt regions like Northern Wayne and Oswego Counties. Metal roofing became more acceptable in residential structures as manufacturers developed appealing colors and corrugated rib options.
We have installed metal roofing all over central NY and the fingerlakes in places like:
Ithaca , Liverpool , Fair Haven , Wolcott , Nedrow.
Now to answer the original questions about installing a metal roof:
Q:“Can we do a metal roof, and how much does metal roofing cost?”
A: The answer to the former is almost always yes. The latter isn’t so easily answered.
The cost of metal roofing fluctuates quite a bit in price, following the market in metals. Over the course of 2008 prices soared during the surge in need for ferrous metals. It has since been declining in price. One point to keep in mind, however: asphalt shingles also fluctuate in price as demand for petroleum increases.
To make a long answer short: most of the time, the cost of installation for shingles versus corrugated metal roofing prices is quite comparable. You can save quite a bit of expense if you monitor the market prices for the raw materials involved in roofing.
Q: “How long do they last?”
A: The answer to that question depends on the gauge (thickness) of the corrugated panel used and how well the EPDM washers hold up on the screws. Metal roof maintenance is different than that required for shingles. Expect to replace the fasteners at least once during your lifetime. With all of this in mind, though, you can expect to keep a metal roof for up to 50 years.
5 things to make sure about your metal roof/roofer
- You must use an underlayment! Although your metal roof is water resistant and will not leak under normal circumstances, we all know Upstate NY’s crazy weather. A driving rain can almost always get underneath roofing materials. A leak is unlikely, but the wood beneath could get damp, causing rot or mold over time. This is also a requirement in the building codes! I prefer UDL Titanium Underlayment.
- Panels must be installed square with the roofline. Most roofers leave over 2″ overhanging the eaves. This is improper, make sure your first panel is installed so it won’t allow flow over your gutters.
- If your roof has any “heaves” or humps in it, they usually can be removed with shimming. If this step is skipped, however, the sidelaps (the edges where one panel meets and overlaps the other) will have a hard time mating to each other. If you have one of these small discrepancies, running a bead of sealant on the sidelap of the lower panel is recommended.
- Valleys and flashing: make sure you have Ice and Water Shield protection, the same as you would have on an asphalt roof. Open valleys on corrugated metal roofs are especially susceptible to leaking due to the raised height of the corrugation. Flashing details should include Ice and Water Shield, as well as a quality sealant. Tar is not a quality sealant, and is prone to cracking over time.
- Fasteners: this is the item on your materials list most likely to be a problem, when an installer is not a professional. I like to install fasteners with an impact driver, as opposed to a drill. The impact driver gives you more control over speed, and does not over-torque like a drill can. A screw that has been improperly installed or over-driven can push the washer off the screw and a leak can occur.
If asking these questions makes your contractor uncomfortable, think twice!
Different types of metal roofing
We have only discussed corrugated roofing so far in this article, as they are what most people inquire about. There are other types of metal roof, however: the most common is a standing seam roof.
Standing seam is mostly seen on commercial applications with a slope, such as McDonalds, local banks, hotels and rarely, some residential housing.
Standing seam roofing utilizes a hidden fastener system, as well as full length panels. The panels can be made out of galvanized metal as well as copper or stainless steel.
The standing seam roof is really a maintenance free system, and will last a lifetime if it is installed correctly. As important, too, is having good flashing detail made of quality materials, lead coated copper being one of the best materials for long term use.
Standing Seam’s downfall: cost
A standing seam metal roof is probably the best option for your roof, as far as longevity and maintenance is concerned. However, it can cost up to 50 percent more than shingles or corrugated metal. This prohibitive cost is what makes it an unusual choice for a residential home structure.
Well, that is part one of my series on roofing; decisions and information vital to making them. More to come, soon!