In the past 10 years, metal roofing has grown in market share by over 400%. Most people think of shingles when they think of residential roof materials, but metal has some distinct advantages.
Asphalt shingles comprise 80% of residential roofs in the United States. That’s not because they’re the longest-lasting, though. Most asphalt shingles come with a 20 or 30-year warranty. Also, shingles are very susceptible to punctures and gaps in the shingles. These penetrations can cause leaks in your house.
Metal roofing experts say their products last for 50 years or more. Also, because the products used are more durable than asphalt, they are less likely to be punctured by tree branches and such. In parts of Europe, copper and zinc roofs are very popular. Some of these roofs are said to have lasted for 100 years or more.
In addition to being leak and puncture-resistant, the alloys are fireproof. Also, the individual panels interlock to create an incredibly wind-resistant barrier. The material is so durable and safe that some insurance companies have been known to offer discounts for homeowners who move from shingles.
2) Environmental Impact
Every year in the United States, roughly 11 million tons of asphalt shingles are thrown away. About 10 million tons of that waste is from scraps produced during installation. These are usually the product of builders tearing off pieces to fit them onto a roof. That massive amount of waste is almost 10% of all home construction-related waste. While some areas of the country do allow for asphalt recycling, many do not.
Metal roofing, on the other hand, is much more environmentally friendly. It is an energy-efficient choice because it reflects heat. This keeps houses cooler during the summer months, meaning the air conditioner runs less, and more energy is conserved. In fact, the increased reflectivity can reduce in-home energy costs by 10% to 25% depending on the location. Also, many companies use largely recycled materials since the necessary infrastructure is fairly well developed. Depending on the alloy, they can vary between 25% and 95% recycled material. Also, they are completely recyclable when the roof needs replacing.
The biggest appeal of asphalt shingles is the price. Some materials such as zinc, copper, and stainless steel can cost three times as much. So, in the short run, an alloy material is going to be much more expensive. However, copper and zinc roofs are rumored to last over one hundred years whereas asphalt roofs are only guaranteed for 20 or 30 years. That means you might end up replacing your asphalt roof three times as often as your copper roof, completely negating any cost saving.