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How Much Does a Metal Roof Cost?

March 10, 2022

Metal roofs are becoming more common and are a preferred choice for new home builders and even those replacing their roofs. Metal roofs offer aesthetic and protective properties, among many others.

For a metal roof, there are various factors one would need to consider that also affect the final cost.

The benefits and drawbacks of a metal roof

Metal roofs offer a greater advantage or disadvantage compared to other standard roofing options like asphalt shingles and ceramic tiles.

Advantages

  1. Durability

Metal roofs tend to last about 30–50 years or more, depending on the location and maintenance. Other roofs will, however, require regular maintenance and even replacement after a certain period, like 15-20 years.

They can also be dented, but it takes quite a lot to have this happen compared to the other options.

  • Cleaning

It is easy to clean when there is dirt or debris build-up on the roof. Metal roofs can withstand a heavy pressure wash compared to asphalt or any other shingles that may get damaged from the pressure.

  • Energy efficiency

Metal is a good conductor of heat and, therefore, can absorb excess heat from the house to release it into the environment, reducing the need for air conditioning. They also reflect excess sunlight rays, thus cooling the house.

  • Eco-friendliness

Metal is an easily recyclable material and can be reused when recycled.

Metal roofs also last quite a long time, requiring infrequent replacement, making them environmentally friendly.

  • Damage resistance

Metal roofs are highly fire-resistant as well as weather-resistant.

They can withstand heavy snow loads and also hail.

Pest resistance is also an advantage of metal roofs as they cannot be damaged by termites and other pests, therefore increasing the life of the roof.

Disadvantages

  1. Oil canning

This is the wrinkling of metal around areas with a significant change in surface area. Some of these areas include nail holes and the corners of the metal.

Their high expansion and contraction capabilities lead to a long-term change in their surface area as they change to accommodate these changes.

  • Cost

Metal roofs are more costly to install and buy compared to other roofing options. They may cost about 2 or 3 times more than other roofing options.

Calculating the area of your roof

To be able to estimate the cost of installing your preferred roof, you need to know how to calculate the area of your roof. This article uses price per square foot, and therefore the area is calculated in square feet.

  1. The roof

The length of your roof multiplied by the width gives the total area of a flat roof or a single sloped roof.

If the roof is raised and dips at both ends with a ridge in the middle, the areas of both sides can be added together to get the total area.

If the pitch of the two roofs is great, you can use the Pythagorean triangular calculation method to get the slope of the roof using the base. The base is the distance between the two hip ends of the roof, and the height will be the end of the ridge to the base.

  • The house

If you have a complicated roof or one with hips and valleys because of integrated gable and Dutch design, it may be difficult to calculate the area of your roof based on the roof size.

You can get an estimate by multiplying the size of your house in square feet by 1.5 to get the size of your roof in square feet.

To know the cost of installing the roof, multiply this value by the price per square foot. For example, if it costs $4 per square foot to install a certain roof, multiply this by the size of your roof, i.e., 1700 square feet, to get $6800.

Types of metal roofs

The cost of a metal roof is dependent on the type of material the roof is made of and the cost of installation. Each of the materials has advantages and disadvantages, which also affect their preferences, demand, installation, and price.

  1. Shingle metal roofs

Shingles are square-shaped materials that are installed in an overlapping method to act as a roof covering for a house.

Aluminum

Aluminum shingles are resistant to corrosion and are advisable for houses near saltwater bodies due to their saltwater resistance. They have a shiny appearance that reflects off excess sunlight rays to reduce the cost of air conditioning in the house.

They are easy to work with and, therefore, have relatively low installation costs of about $9–$16 per square foot. It costs about $3.15-$6 per square foot to buy the materials.

Aluminum shingles, however, expand and contract easily with temperature changes, therefore making creaking sounds at the extremes. Their appearance is also not aesthetically pleasing, and they are easily malleable, therefore denting and aging significantly fast.

Steel

Steel shingles are durable and long-lasting. They allow for easy covering and detailed workaround vents, chimneys, and skylights.

Galvanized steel, which is usually coated with zinc, offers great resistance to corrosion and has a cheaper counterpart, which is galvalume, steel coated with aluminum. The other option is stainless steel, which is usually rare.

They cost $3.35-$4.25 per square foot and about $6.65-$10.45 to install.

  • Corrugated metal roofs

Corrugated metal roofs are one of the cheapest available options for metal roofing. They can be installed on an existing roof and are lightweight but durable.

They have a wavy kile appearance running horizontally, and this allows for them to be successively overlapped with others to fix them in place.

They are not as durable as other metal roofing options. Although most metals can be made into corrugated sheets, the most common ones are galvalume and another blend of aluminum and zinc called aluzinc.

Galvalume costs about $1.50–$2.50 per square foot and about $5.50–$11.50 inclusive of the installation costs. It costs about $4.25-$9 to install.

  • Panel metal roofs 

Panels are long lengths of metal installed in a successive manner to allow expansion and contraction held by

Steel

Steel panels offer great resistance to corrosion, especially when coated with other metals like galvalume with aluminum and galvanized steel with zinc.

Galvalume panels cost about $0.75–$2.50 per square foot, with installation costs of about $5.50 per square foot.

Galvanized steel costs around $3.35–$4.25 per square foot, with a total cost inclusive of labor of about $10.00 per square foot.

Stainless steel panels are more expensive and may go up to $10–$16 per square foot, with a cost of more than $15.50 per square foot for installation.

Tin

Tin panels are made of terne, steel coated with steel, and are durable and corrosion-resistant.

They can be painted as an option or left to obtain a natural grey color from the oxidation of tin over time.

They may cost about $3.50–$14.00 per square foot, depending on the product, while installation may cost about $10.00–$18.50 per square foot.

Zinc

Zinc panels can self-heal from scratches and scuffs, requiring little maintenance as long as they are properly installed.

They cost about $6–$10 per square foot, and, inclusive of installation costs, they may cost around $17–$28 per square foot.

  • Tile metal roofs

Tiles are relatively thin rectangular pieces of material that are installed horizontally and vertically overlapping on a roof to act as a roof covering.

Copper

Copper tiles are durable and light and offer great protection, with the added advantage of having a good appearance.

They are, however, expensive, costing about $14–$15 per square foot, with an installation cost of about $7–$14 per square foot. The total cost, inclusive of installation, is maybe around $21-$40 per square foot.

  • Standing seam panels

This is a type of panel design rather than a metal material, as it offers aluminum, zinc, copper, or even steel options. They have a vertically ribbed look, with the ribs concealing the fastening points of the panels.

The fastenings aren’t exposed to the elements, making them last, and they are designed together with the ribs to allow for contraction and expansion.

Depending on the material, they may cost about $4.50–$6.50 per square foot, with installation costs of between $6.50–$12.

The cost of a metal roof by gauge

Metal roof prices at a material level may also be determined by their gauges. The gauge is the thickness of the metal making up the roof and varies from 22, 24, 26, and 29, with 29 being the thinnest.

There are various circumstances that require different types of gauges, which affect the overall prices due to material and installation costs.

How to choose between gauges

Most panels only come with the lightest options being 24 gauge. The most common type is the 29-gauge covering 90% of homes.

24-gauge

A standing seam roof is mostly made of 24-gauge metal as it is designed to be a lifetime roof, hence the preference for a heavier gauge for durability. Standing seam roofing. Corrugated roofs, however, are broadly classified into the heavier or lighter categories.

Advantages and disadvantages 

Metal roofs in this category can withstand more loads and have wider spans compared to the lighter options. A load chart is used to determine their application.

They also allow the application of PVDF and SMP paints.

Oil canning is the wrinkling of metal roofs due to point stresses. 24-gauge roofs are less prone to oil canning.

Prices

Corrugated roofs cost

  • Galvalume costs about $1.00–$1.50 per square foot.
  • PVDF painted costs about $1.50–$2.00 per square foot.
  • Special painted finishes cost about $2.50–$3.50 per square foot.

26-gauge

They are lighter and more durable, offering fire and corrosion resistance.

Advantages and disadvantages 

They allow both SVP and PVDF paint finishes.

They are more prone to oil canning with time and with expansion and contraction.

They are also less advisable for areas with heavy snowfall and adverse climatic conditions like storms.

Prices

The prices range from $0.75 to $1.50 per square foot, depending on the type of panel as well as the finish.

  • Galvalume costs about $0.75 to $1.25 per square foot.
  • SMP Painted: approximately $1.50-$1.50 per square foot.

How to maintain a metal roof

When factoring in the cost of a metal roof, it is also important to consider the cost of maintaining the roof. After all, it is zero progress if you spend so much on a roof just to allow it to deteriorate due to avoidable causes.

Maintenance begins from the moment the roof is completed. A metal roof has some physical advantages that reduce maintenance over other types of roofs.

  • They don’t absorb moisture 
  • They do not require a seasonable protective seal
  • They aren’t susceptible to mold or fungus growth

You can protect your metal roof through preventative maintenance. Some measures you may take to ensure you have a healthy roof are:

  1. Regular inspection

Inspect your roof after certain periods of time depending on the factors that can contribute to a damaged roof, like weather or location. You may need to inspect a roof in areas prone to high winds and storms more often than in places with few occurrences.

When inspecting your roof, look for signs of damage or ones that point out early damage. They may include rust, loose nails, chipped or bent parts of the roof.

How much does a roof inspection cost?

Although you can inspect a roof yourself, it may not be advisable due to safety concerns. Insurance companies also often don’t allow self-inspected roof reports in case of any damage.

It is better to hire a professional to do the inspection, which averages at about $210 but may vary between $75-$800 depending on

  • Location
  • The size and style of the roof
  • The slope of the roof
  • The nature of the damage
  • The type of roof cladding

The price range is also determined by the nature of the inspection.

  • A physical inspection costs about $75-200 and is easily done on relatively flat roofs or roofs with a small pitch.
  • A drone roof inspection is done on a complex, and steep-sloped roofs cost about $150-$400.
  • Infrared roof inspections, which involve more technological techniques to map out the distribution on a roof, cost about $400-$600.

The cost of a roof inspection includes the fee for the inspection and other costs such as hiring the necessary equipment or paying the operators for the equipment.

  • Clear off any items on the roof

There may be leaves and twigs that accumulate on the roof. Branches of trees close to or on the roof also add up to roof damage.

This occurs when they scratch, scrape, or scuff the surface of the roof. Tree branches may also pry open parts of the roof in the event of a storm or very windy event.

Remove any of these to avoid slow but continuous roof damage over time.

  • Clean the roof if possible

Metal roofs don’t need as much cleaning as other roof types, and this can easily be done with a light wash with a mild soap solution and hosed down. Don’t use strong chemical cleaning agents, as this, together with the scrubbing, damages the roof.

Roof cleaning costs an average of $490, but this price depends on the type of cleaning method, the size of the roof, location, and the roof cladding. The average cost per square foot is $0.41, while the cost may be between $0.15 and $0.68.

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