Metal shingles installation is something you may want to look into if you are a homeowner and plan on keeping your home for life. We say that because the initial cost of installation may be higher than with other materials, but in the long haul, you are better off because the roof will require less maintenance and is very likely to outlast the rest of your home.
So, the cost is justified if you plan on owning the home for a long period of time and may not be if you are only going to own if for a few years and then sell it. In that situation you would probably go with a more conventional type of roofing material that is cheaper to install or that you can even install yourself. Metal shingles typically requite professional installation. Although some people do install it themselves, it is an advanced D I Y job, not for the beginner really.
What are Metal Shingles?
Metal shingles typically refer to look-alike wood or clay tile shingles. They come in single tile systems and panel systems. The panel systems have a panel of several tiles and can save considerable time during installation. Metal shingles are commonly made from both steel and aluminum and sometimes copper.
Copper metal shingles are quite expensive. They can cost up to twice as much as steel or aluminum tiles. That is one reason why they also make copper look-alike steel and aluminum shingles that cost considerably less than actual copper tiles, and look amazingly similar.
The installation of metal shingle systems is typically reserved for a professional metal roofing expert. There are special classes that a qualified metal roofer takes that are given by metal roofing manufacturers so that they can learn how to install it properly.
Many old fashioned asphalt and wood tile roofers will not install metal roofing shingles because it requires different skills and techniques that they may not have. So, if you are interested in metal shingles on your home, make sure you hire an accredited metal shingle installer who has experience in metal shingle installation. Most will have some sort of portfolio of jobs they have done with pictures and references if they are truly accredited.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of metal shingle roofing is its longevity. Most manufacturers will tell you that when you install a metal shingle roof, it is very likely to outlast the rest of your home with only minimal maintenance required. The typical lifespan of a conventional roofing material can be as low as about 20 years and metal roofing is normally good for a minimum of fifty years.
Another advantage of metal shingle roofing is that there are some situations where it is actually less expensive for installation than other materials. Actually, over time, it is all less expensive, but for those of you that are mainly concerned with the here and now, there are some situations where metal shingle roofing is actually cheaper for the initial installation too. One such situation is if you wanted copper singles, you could save considerable by using steel or aluminum copper look-alike metal shingles.
Also, if you happen to be qualified to install the metal shingles yourself, you are sure to save money on the initial cost because the material is not much differently priced than other conventional materials. The thing that makes the initial cost more is that you have to pay a special crew that knows the techniques to install metal roofing and they typically cost more per square foot than regular roofing installers.
The next advantage is that metal roofing will reflect the sun and therefore the heat away from your house in the summer, helping to keep it cooler. You will also save on energy costs.
Metal shingle roofing is a lot less likely to develop leaks and needs much less frequent maintenance as well. If you are tired of getting on your roof with a bucket of tar and plan to stay in your home for over ten more years, then you should give metal roofing shingles serious consideration.
Disadvantages of Metal Shingles
Anything that has its advantages in life usually has some disadvantages too. In this case they are few, but they do exist and some depend of the situation. One example is the initial cost. The initial cost may only be a disadvantage if you have to hire a special crew to install it. Whereas if you do it yourself, and you are qualified, initial cost may not be a disadvantage, but you may want to allow for a bit more time to do the installation yourself especially if it is your first time.
Another case where it is a fine line between an advantage and a disadvantage is the sound it makes when it rains. Some say there is nothing more soothing than the sound of rain beating on a metal roof, while others say it is very annoying. So, depending on your experience with rain and metal roofing, this may not be such a disadvantage for some.
One more disadvantage we must mention is hail damage. Denting can occur if you are vulnerable to a decent sized hail storm. Some areas hardly ever have hail and when they do it is small, so this may not concern some of you too much.
You must also consider that over the next 50 years, which is how long your roof will be used approximately by you, you are likely to endure at least one good hail storm if you live in certain climates. That one hail storm is all it takes to dent up your metal shingle roof. Although, the dents may not cause leaking, they can be disturbing to look at.
We hope that we have provided you with a good overview of using metal roofing shingles on your home. Like anything else, there are advantages and disadvantages to be considered.
Probably the most important thing to consider is the lifetime of the roof and how long you will be living in or owning the home. If you plan on keeping the home for some time to come, then metal roofing is a good option because of its longevity and overall cost saving benefits over time. Otherwise, if you don’t plan on keeping the home, you may not see your return on investment on using metal shingles.
Photo by flickr user David Paul Ohmer