Metal Roofing Questions and Answers

Q. Does a metal roof cost more than a typical roof?

A. Because metal roofing is a premium home product, you can expect your new roof to cost more than what an asphalt shingle roof costs. However, a metal roof is comparable in price to tile roofing or cedar shake roofing. If you currently have a slate roof, you can expect your metal roof to cost less.

No matter what kind of metal roofing style you choose, you’ll never have to worry about your roof again. Most come with a true 30 to 50 year warranty. Plus, your new metal roof will add to the resale value of your home, save you money on your energy bills, and give you piece of mind that you’ll likely never have to re-roof again.

Q. I’m concerned that a metal roof won’t match my home and the roofing style in my neighborhood.

A. Today’s residential metal roofing is made to look exactly like common roofing material – such as asphalt shingle, cedar shake, clay tile or slate roofing – only stronger and more durable. Click here to see metal roofing’s wide variety of styles, colors and patterns – there’s certain to be a style and finish to match your home and neighborhood.

Q. Does metal attract lightning?

A. Lightning is attracted to the highest point, not necessarily metal. A metal roof has no greater chance of being hit by lightning than any other type of roof. However, if your roof would be struck by lightning, a metal roof can help prevent your home from catching on fire because it can dissipate the electrical charge. More importantly, it is noncombustible.

Q. Can you walk on the roof?

A. Most metal panel systems can support the load of an individual walking on them. As with any roof system care must be taken to not cause damage to the roof due to abrasion or collapsing of raised portion of the panel. Appropriate OSHA approved safety procedures should also be followed.

Q. How heavy is metal roofing?

A. Metal roof systems in most cases weigh between 1 to 3 pounds per square foot. The actual weight is dependent upon metal gauge and profile of the panel. Metal
roof systems are considered a lightweight roof covering compared to their counterparts. The following illustrates the different types of other roofing materials and their respective weights per square foot:

Asphalt Shingle: 2 – 3.5lbs psf

Textured Asphalt Shingle: 3.5 – 5lbs psf

Wood Shingles/Shakes: 3.5 – 4.5lbs psf

Clay or Concrete Tile: 5.5 – 10lbs psf

Q. What is the minimum roof slope for metal roofing?

A. Absolute Steel offers a wide variety of panel systems to meet a variety of slope requirements. Information regarding minimum slope requirements can be found on the specific technical Data Sheet for each product. Typically, metal panel systems can be applied to pitches of 1 : 12 or greater.
Actual minimum slopes may be dependent upon roof geometry, substrate, and physical location of the project.

Q. Can metal roofing purchased from Absolute Steel be applied to open framing or only a solid substrate?

A. Absolute Steel distributes metal roof systems that are considered structural and non-structural in nature. Actual panel profile and gauge of the material will determine if the panel has structural capability to span over open framing. Consult individual product data sheets to see if the profile desired is considered a structural panel system.

Q. How far can I span with metal roofing?

A. Span capability of a panel is dependent upon profile, gauge and width of the panel itself. Consult individual load tables and test results to see if the panel meets the actual performance requirements for your project.

Q. Do you provide technical and/or field assistance?

A. Absolute Steel has a technically trained Customer Service staff is very experienced. Chances are, any question you ask has been handled many times before by our staff. We do not travel or go to job sites to offer “field assistance” at the jobsite.

Q. Do you install your products?

A. Absolute Steel installs only in the State of Arizona and only on our own buildings.

Q. What snow guard systems do you recommend?

A. Snow retention systems are often incorporated into metal roof system. These systems are used to retain snow on the roof for protection as well as water management. The actual style of snow guards to be used may be dependent upon the panel style as well as the aesthetic nature of the snow guard itself. Consult with your ATAS representative or independent snow guard manufacturer to select the appropriate snow guard for your roof.

Q. How much longer will a metal roof last than common roofing like asphalt or wood shingle?

A. You can expect a metal roof to last at least 2 to 3 times longer than a regular roof. In general terms, count on a metal roof lasting 40 to 60 years and beyond.
To put it in context, the average life span of an asphalt roof is 12 to 20 years. That lifespan can be shorter depending on the pitch of your roof and the climate in your area. Made of oil impregnated paper or fiberglass, asphalt begins to deteriorate as soon as you expose it to normal weather. A metal roof, however, will never decompose.

Other roofing materials like wood shingle, shake and tile have varying degrees of weather-related problems that lead to breakdown. Wood shingle and shake roofs often need replacement before twenty years. Concrete tile roofs can crack and warp in the freeze/thaw cycle of more northern climates.

All of the above roofing materials are well-outlasted by metal roofing, which retains its good looks and durability decade after decade after decade.

Q. Is metal roofing noisier in bad weather than asphalt, cedar shake, tile and slate roofing?

A. This is a common question, and probably one of the biggest misconceptions about metal roofing. People usually think of an old barn roof where the metal is visible to the interior of the structure. On a residence, however, metal roofing is often installed over a solid substrate. Further, attic space and insulation serve as additional sound barriers. Research has proven that metal is not any noisier than traditional roofing products. In fact, you’ll hear more bad weather noise from your walls and windows than you will from your metal roof.

Q. How will a metal roof stand up to extreme weather?

A. A metal roof can withstand decades of abuse from extreme weather like high winds, heavy snow, hailstorms, and even wildfires. Metal roofing has a 120-mph wind rating, meaning it can withstand wind gusts up to 120 miles per hour – equal to an F2 tornado. Under high wind conditions metal roofing systems have wind resistance and uplift resistance that is above the new building code requirements. Naturally, this gives architects and engineers a sense of relief in that they can use the best material to meet those criteria.

In locations that see heavy snow, metal roofing has been the choice of homeowners for years. It sheds snow fast, which protects the structural integrity of the roof. And it can eliminate ice damming at the eves, so water can’t back up and collect under the roof then leak into your home. If you live in a part of the country that is prone to wildfires, metal roofing can protect your home should burning embers land on your roof. In fact, you should check with your insurance agent as it’s quite likely that the installation of metal roofing will save you money on your homeowners insurance.

Q. Is a metal roof environmentally responsible?

A. Not only is metal roofing great for your home, it’s great for the environment.

The recycled content of the steel in a metal roof is about 56% from production to installation to reuse – far superior to asphalt. According to the National Association of Homebuilders Research Center, 20 billion pounds of asphalt shingles are dumped into U.S. landfills every year. If you loaded those shingles into tractor trailers, then lined them up end-to-end, they would make a line from New York City to Los Angeles, back to New York City again, then on to Chicago. That’s a lot of wasted asphalt. But because a metal roof can often be installed over your current roof, without tearing off what’s already there, metal roofing helps to reduce this excessive shingle waste.

Q. Would a metal roof be too heavy for certain types of homes, or for smaller structures like a detached garage or porch?

A. You’ll be surprised to learn that a metal roof is, on average, 50% lighter than an asphalt shingle roof, and 75% lighter than concrete tile, fiber cement shakes and slate. With metal roofing, weight on a structure is never an issue.

Q. Can I add insulation under the metal panels?

A. Yes. Among the types of insulation that can be used under metal roofing, we recommend foil-faced radiant barrier insulation. This means you can save even more additional utility costs by making your roof more energy efficient through the use of this inexpensive insulation product.

Q. Are any special tools required?

A. Metal roofing and siding can be easily installed using standard hand tools such as a screw gun, hammer, metal snips, caulk gun, pliers, chalk line and tape measure. Cutting metal panels is best accomplished with an electric metal shear which doesn’t cost much and attaches directly onto your drill gun; however, panels may be easily cut with a circular saw with a metal cutting abrasive blade.

Additionally, we have a special section on some tools that we like to use which can make the job go smoother.

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