In this guide, we cover the history of residential metal roofing in the US, along with important environmental considerations, side-by-side comparisons, and consumer pricing information.
Believe it or not, there was a time when residential metal roofing was pretty much unheard of in the United States. Then, came along the metal roof of Monticello, which was commissioned by our third president, Thomas Jefferson who was inspired during his stay in Paris where many roofs were covered with zinc, which is not only beautiful, but also happens to be a long lasting building material. Thus, inspired by the idea of a long lasting and durable roof made of metal, Thomas Jefferson further developed Monticello roof design, and that was how metal roofing became the new statement of high-end, residential architecture in the US. Although, several other people have followed the suit, residential metal roofing didn’t really take off in America (until recently) the way it did Europe.
Metal Roof of Monticello
Of course, there were many residential hand crafted tin roof systems installed in the 19th century. Some of them are still standing today. The problem with tin roofing is that it either requires special coating, or needs to be repainted every now and then to prevent rusting. In Europe, where primary metal roofing material was zinc it was not a problem because zinc roofs can last well over 100 years with no maintenance required. The long and short of it is that with the exception of corrugated metal roofs used in of agricultural and industrial buildings, residential metal roofing never really took off in America until the end of 20th century, when it became highly regarded for its energy efficiency, longevity, durability, green building compatibility and environmental considerations.
Zinc Roofs in France
Nowadays, metal roofing is by far the fastest growing residential roofing product in America. Metal roofing has gained a lot of awareness and credibility due to its superb reliability, great looks, energy savings, and architectural appeal.
Metal Roofing vs. Asphalt Shingles
Although, asphalt shingle roofs remain the dominant roofing product in America, metal roofing has been steadily gaining market share becoming popular with the homeowners who want an energy efficient, environmentally friendly or green, and long lasting roofing system. From the environmental perspective, metal roofing is a far superior material because it’s made of metal, which makes it fully recyclable.
Asphalt shingles, on the other hand, are a petroleum based product that cannot be effectively recycled, nor can they last long enough to justify its detrimental affects on the environment. Our landfills are filled with asphalt shingles, but the situation is starting to improve slowly as metal roofing is becoming more prominent.
Materials and Systems:
There are two types of metal roofing systems that homeowners can choose; standing seam metal roofing, and metal shingles roofs. With standing-seam homeowners can attain the modern look and style for their home. Although standing-seam metal roofs look modern, they have been used in Europe for well over a century. Another option is a metal shingles roofing system offering traditional style that many people are accustomed to. – It’s considered “traditional” in a sense that metal shingles resemble the look of asphalt shingles, which may work well for some historical homes, and for anybody who wants a more “traditional” or classic style roof for their home.
Cedar Shakes and Metal Tiles – Yes, they are really made from metal!
There’s also an option of metal shakes, which can work great for somebody who wants to upgrade their roof to a style that resembles traditional cedar shake roofing. The difference of course, is that with metal shakes there is no concern with rotting, cracking, chipping and splitting commonly associated with cedar shakes.
For someone who wants to emulate the look of Spanish tiles, there are stone coated steel roofing tiles weighing only a fraction of the weight of clay tiles.
The least expensive metal roofing system is comprised of metal shingles that form a four way inter-locking design and can last well over 50 years providing reliable protection and energy savings for your home. A metal shingles roof is the least expensive option, because it’s the easiest system to install.
An average metal shingles roof may range in price from $10,000 to $20,000 for a steel shingles roof. A price of a typical aluminum shingles roof would be slightly higher than a similar system made of steel. A copper shingles roof may range in price anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000 and more depending on the size and complexity of your roof.
A similar roof would cost $12,000 to $25,000 for a standing-seam metal roof. It would cost $25,000 to $50,000 for a copper standing seam roof. The pricing for a zinc standing seam roof would be similar to the cost of copper.