Aluminum Roofing or Steel Roofing? Which Is Better for Clarksville and Columbia, MD?
Q. What's the difference between steel roofing and aluminum roofing? Which is better? Why?
A. There are several metals commonly used to make metal roofing material, but they are almost always alloys of two metals in particular: aluminum or steel. Many people not familiar with the technicalities of metal roofing use the terms, “aluminum roofing,” “tin roof,” or “metal roof” interchangeably.
Which is better depends on where you live, and what your budget is. Aluminum has greater corrosion resistance and reflects away heat better, but the alloys in steel roofing make it a great, long-lasting product and it costs less than aluminum.
Aluminum metal roofing has several strong selling points. It’s a premium choice like super corrosion-resistant zinc or copper, but much more affordable. It definitely offers rust protection that is superior to that of steel or galvanized roofing. A couple things to know about aluminum roofing:
- It’s good for coastal regions where wetter climates take a toll on exteriors and roofs.
- As a bare, natural metal, aluminum does not look attractive as it ages, so it is usually painted or coated.
- Aluminum roofing alloys are very malleable and easy for roofers to work with on site.
- With a high strength–to–weight ratio, a thinner piece of aluminum can do the job that thicker pieces of other metals can. Because it is light and thin, less heat is stored in your roof (think of aluminum foil in your oven) and cools quickly once out of direct sunlight.
Steel roofing is the most common of today’s metal roofing materials. Usually it is one of the zinc-coated alloys that is referred to: Galvanized, Galvalume, Zincalume, etc. These alloys combine the cost savings of inexpensive steel with a corrosion resistant surface that is versatile and long-lasting.
- Steel roofing is great in the majority of situations where value and price is important.
- Areas with heavy industrial pollution will age and affect metal roofing more quickly.
- Modern steel roofs are lightweight, with good corrosion protection and a variety of colored finishes to add unique personality to your home.
Around the early 1900s, for about fifty years, it was popular to use a steel and tin alloy for roofing. For the time it created a thinner, more corrosion-resistant metal. Some older homes still have these roofs today, and that is one reason homeowners can confuse the term “tin roofing” for the metal roofing material contractors install now. Tin is no longer used for roofing; today we use zinc–plated steel for a lighter and even more durable metal roofing material.
Like all roofing systems, metals roofs need to be cared for and kept up, but there is no reason a properly installed metal roof could not last 50+ years if properly maintained. Due to higher up front material costs, compared to asphalt shingle roofing, many homeowners do not make the switch to a metal roof, but it may be cost effective for you if you get twice the normal lifespan from your roofing system.
If you are considering a metal roof, and would like someone to talk with about pros and cons, give us a call. We can share what we’ve learned from our experience and help you decide what roofing services work best for your situation.
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