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Metal Roofing

An Ultimate Guide To Metal Roofing

We can notice that the professionals built the oldest metal roof in the 3rd Century BC, where they installed copper shingles over the Lovamahapaya Temple, Sri Lanka. Then, in 27 BC, Romans used copper metal as roofing material to build their grand architecture. Finally, with the advancement in technology and a new understanding of metals, copper alloys were introduced in the medieval age of European architecture.

In the US, the entire concept of metal roofing was elevated in the 19th Century. Since then, metal roofing has undergone several innovations and experimentation with metals like tin, zinc, aluminum, and steel. However, the basic question 'what is metal roofing?' seems like a good place to start.

What is metal roofing?

The process of laying metal sheets or pieces to make a structured roof is known as metal roofing. Now you may think what is residential metal roofing? It's the process of rebuilding your residential roof with metal shingles. With qualities like high fire resistance, impermeability to rain and snow, and longevity against harsh weather, metal roofing is gaining popularity among North Americans. Also, the metal roof comes in various shapes, types, and styles to meet your aesthetic needs.

However, before digging deep into the nitty-gritty of metal roofing, let us know the manufacturing process of these roof sheets and pieces.

roofer fit metal sheet on roof

How are metal roofs manufactured?

Metal roofing benefits from the extravagant characteristics of metals used in the roof panels. The manufacturing of various metal roofs differs based on the materials used and sheet design.

Therefore, let us understand the standard process of any metal roof manufacturing.

Creating the metal coil

Raw materials like copper, zinc, aluminum, tin, and more, are brought into the foundry. After that, the experts purify and convert them into a long stream of metal coils. This process is crucial because paying heed to the temperature, pressure, and mix of raw materials is essential in obtaining the desired qualities of the roof panels.

Rolling the coil

The specialists run these coils through a high-pressure roll-forming machine that reduces their thickness. Then, they produce different grades of sheets and panels according to the thickness and design. Finally, the machine is adjusted to form flat or corrugated patterns.

Controlling the roller

The professionals use a computer control unit to get a roof of desired quality and pattern. This unit alters the rollers' speed, pressure, and other parameters that decide the roof's length and thickness.

Sheet formation

Apart from the panel and sheet production, the professionals also set the control units and the roller to produce various roof components. Rake, drip edge, gable trim, ridge cap, and more are some of the many accessories produced during metal sheet formation. These elements are made with adequately setting the control unit for high efficiency.

Besides, the experts can alter the properties of these roofs highly by using various metals mixed in the foundry at a particular temperature and pressure settings.

creation of flat sheet

What are the different types of metal roofing?

Metals and processes used for the manufacturing of panels decide the physical properties and style of the roofs. Therefore, metal roofs can be classified based on the material used and the type produced. So, below are some of the best types of roofing materials in metal.

Based on material

The different materials used at the time of manufacturing show their distinct qualities and advantages. When you opt for metal roofs, you are free to choose from classic copper roofs to rust-free steel roofs.

Let us read about the most common examples among them.


The copper roof is the oldest metal roof type used in our modern era and can easily last for 50+ years. Additionally, as copper is a soft metal, it easily wards off the noise made by rain and hail.

Having said that, as copper is a soft metal, it is prone to rain and hail damage, and a simple dent can cause a hole in the roof. Further, copper roofs are more expensive than other roof types. However, with proper insulation and substrates, copper roofs become the quietest protectors.


Roofs made from aluminum are highly resistant to salt corrosion. Hence, specialists suggest using Aluminum roofs frequently in homes located in coastal areas.

However, the roof is expensive; therefore, it's manufactured with thinner thickness. This process may reduce the cost of aluminum roofs but degrade the strength and longevity against sweeping windstorms and hailstorms. But, the upper layer of the aluminum roof develops aluminum oxide in the presence of oxygen, preventing further corrosion.


Zinc is a moderately durable metal whose roofs can last for more than 100 years. Furthermore, patina formation in zinc roofs can quickly heal scratches adding to the roof's strength.

But like copper, zinc is also a soft metal that can easily get damaged from rain and snow. Therefore, the chalking of zinc stains roofs' aesthetics may look unworthy of the price you pay for a zinc roof. However, you can ask the experts to manipulate the zinc roofs to form varied shapes according to the home's structure.


We all are familiar with steel and its benefits for forming the base of various things and products. Roofs are no different. Though relatively cheaper than other roofing options, steel provides strength, finish, and longer life to your ceilings. Steel further can be upgraded into galvanized, galvalume, and weathered steels. Galvanized steel is a zinc-based steel alloy that protects the steel from corrosion. In contrast, Galvalume adds another layer of protection against corrosion as it contains a mixture of aluminum and zinc in the steel. Finally, weathering steel is intentionally corroded to prevent corrosion from spreading from the upper layer into deeper layers.

Based on types

Standing seam

These types of metal roofing align on the seam of support beneath the roof panels. The seams are raised above a flat deck to provide a sloped roofing effect to the roof panels. Moreover, standing-seam roofs are robust and offer exceptional protection against rain and hail. Also, they are incredibly customizable according to the owner's preferences.

Metal shakes and tiles

Metals are cut and polished accordingly to obtain a wooden shake or natural tile finish. The professionals overlap different shakes or tiles upon each other, which is similar to asphalt shingle roofing. However, these roofs are not 100 percent waterproof but can have high efficacy against water and snow if seasoned professionals install them.


The steel is galvanized and cold-rolled to produce a corrugated pattern. The final panels have an awe-inspiring appearance along with more substantial and rust-resistant qualities. These serve as excellent alternatives to standing seam metal roofing.

starting of roofing work

What are the advantages of different metal roofing?

Yes, we know that metal roofs are not cheap. However, the above materials do give an idea of which roofing is best for your house. If you are willing to see a bigger picture, metal roofs may help you save heavily on your roofs.

Metal roofs have various advantages and offer exceptional value for money.


Metal roofs offer a better life than most natural roofing types. A quality metal roof can last for more than 50 years if installed correctly. In addition, they can withstand varied issues like fire, insects, corrosion, and more which increases the overall longevity of the roof.


Unlike natural roofing like asphalt shingles and wood shakes, metal roofing is very lightweight. Due to this reason, they can easily be installed, maintained, and repaired over time. Further, they also don't stress the overall structure of the house and help you save on building support structures.

Based on the design

Fire resistant

As metal roofs have an extremely high melting point, they offer excellent resistance to fire. Sparks can do nothing to these roofs. However, intense heat can melt low-grade metal roofs. In addition, as the support structure mainly contains wood and asphalt, the risk of flame damage increases manifold.

Heat reflectors

Metal roofs effectively reflect the heat from the sun's radiation back into the atmosphere. Hence, metal roofs enable the home with cooler interiors in summers. Moreover, proper insulation traps heat inside the house in winters and makes the home energy efficient.

Damage protection

If you are looking for all-around protection against harsh weather, a metal roof can prove out to be your one-shot solution. These roofs can quickly shed rain and snow, taking zero to minimum damage. In addition, the metal warms up pretty quickly; hence, it speeds up the snow melting process utilizing the sun's heat. Also, metal remains sturdy against torrential hurricanes and tornado hits.

Note- Each roof has a limit to weather conditions; therefore, make sure to know every specification of any roof before installing them in your home.

black roof top

What are the different metal roofing components and structures?

Before learning the metal roof installation process, let us go through the components and structures involved in the metal roofing.


Metal panels

The roofers layer the sheet of metal in most of the areas of the roof. Accordingly, these panels can differ from each other depending upon the metal used and style requirement.

Clips and fasteners

It's essential to use the components that keep the roof panels and other elements in place. They include screws, nails, clips, bolts, and cleats. Most of the time, fasteners remain hidden, but exposed fasteners are standard among corrugated sheet roofs. Whereas the specialists use clips to hold two metal panels together.


Underlayment is installed under the metal panels to effectively provide insulation and protection against ice, moisture, temperature shifts, and more. Underlayment can consist of an asphalt mat or any other insulating material.


Sealants are filler adhesives used to minimize the chances of moisture seeping in or a draft of wind and dust getting in. In addition, they make the edges and other joints in the roof weatherproof.


Experts use trims readily in residential metal roofing to offer roofs with a neat finish and aesthetically appealing look. In addition, these trims hide sharp edges by imparting curvature to the joints and edges. Also, they serve the purpose of environment proofing.

Now that we know the components that professionals may use in installing metal roofs, let us look at the basic structures present in a roof.


A roof deck is a base over which roof frames and roof panels are installed. Decks can be made from wood or plywood over which experts apply underlayment.


The experts use this material to form a connection between the side of the house and the roof's overhang.


The angle or area formed between the intersection of two slope planes is called the valley.



It is the angle at which the roof is sloped while installing the panels. Pitch is necessary for the shedding of water from the ceiling.


Eave is the roof's edge from which the top hangs out past the perimeter wall of a house.


At the top of the roof, the area where two intersecting metals form the horizontal line is called a ridge.


Fascia is the trim installed just below the roof and runs along the circumference of the walls. It prevents water from seeping into the supporting walls.


Flashing is metal pieces forming a waterproof sealing element at different roof features like chimneys and valleys.


Hips are external edges of the intersecting horizontal line at the top aligned with the ridge.

Drip edge

Drip edge protects the eaves and supporting walls by steering the water into gutters.

How to install a metal roof on a sloped deck?

Application of underlayment

Preparing the deck with underlayment makes the roof's base waterproof. The roofers apply the underlayment on the deck by removing the adhesive covering and sticking the underlayment onto the deck. The underlayment should be free of wrinkles and should remain flat while unrolling it on the deck. Two layers of underlayment should overlap each other by seven to eight inches.

Close bend the trim ends

After the application of underlayment, trims are wrapped around the corner of the wall. Next, the professionals make inch cuts to create tabs with aviation snips at every bend. Then, to close the trim ends at the wall corner, they fold the tabs with the help of a hand seamer.

Fastening the eave trims

Use 1" roofing nails to fasten the eave trim to the facia and install it on the roof deck. The experts fasten the eave before applying underlayment in warmer climates, while the opposite is the case in a cold environment.

Join the trims

The roofers slice together two consecutive trims. Then, they seal the overlapped trim with an appropriate sealant.

Installing the panels

The specialists lay the metal panels onto the foam strips. These strips are shaped according to the flat or corrugated panels differently. Besides, the strips prevent water and bugs from entering the house.

The closure strips should be positioned along the eave and adhered to panels with butyl tape.

Set the panels

Place each metal panel on an inside foam closure strip. These strips are shaped to fit the corrugated underside of the panel and keep bugs and water from getting underneath.

Position the closure strips along the eave about one inch from the edge and stick them to the panels with butyl tape. Also, the experts install the flashings near chimneys and other roof elements.

Screw everything tight

The metal panels are screwed on the roof from the bottom, working up to the ridge. The screws should be spaced accurately and tightened adequately. Finally, clean all the metal shavings to stop the roof from rusting in the process.

Panels overlapping

The edges of two consecutive metal panels increase the vulnerability of the roof's damage from rain. Therefore, it is essential to overlap the roof panels appropriately. Additionally, the top should correctly overlap with the ribs and other elements as well.

Cover the rake edge

When the professionals install the panels correctly, the gable trim is attached to the roof ends. This process provides the right finish to the roof sidings and stops snow and water from seeping in. Next, butyl tape is applied on the edge, and then the screws are fastened.

Fixing the ridge cap

As for the final step, the roofers secure the ridge cap on the top of the roof, safeguarding the edge of the top roof from environmental conditions.

Application of metal roofs

  • Residential buildings
  • Commercial buildings
  • Industrial building
  • Warehouse factories of warehouses
  • Agricultural buildings
  • Architectural projects
black roof with roofer

What do you mean by corrugated metal roofs?

As the name suggests, corrugated metal roofing features a unique corrugated metal panel. You can use this roof type for both residential and commercial applications.

The corrugation of steel enhances its tensile strength. Hence, less metal will be required to produce high power in contrast to flat panels. Besides, corrugated steel can further be galvanized to make it corrosion-proof.

best example of asphalt roofing

How to install corrugated metal roofs?

  • Accurately measure the roof's dimensions and area considering the overlap and other roof elements like chimney and vents.
  • Apply the underlayment according to the requirement over all of the roof deck.
  • Lay down the metal roofing by working your way up from the bottom to the top.
  • Follow the same procedure for the other side of the roof.
  • Fasten the ridge cap and seal secure the roof seams with sealant.
  • As for the final process, paint the roof according to your choice of aesthetics.

Can you install metal roofing over shingles?

If you have a shingles roof already in place, and looking for a more robust solution, don't worry. Yes, you can install metal roofs over shingles without needing to remove them from the deck. It is because the asphalt roof underneath enhances the waterproofing and insulation of the roofing structure.

Advantages of installing metal roofs on asphalt shingles

  • The shingles provide an enhanced layer of protection against weather conditions.
  • If you are thinking of opting for a metal roof, you would not want to spend extra on labor costs needed to remove the shingles. Therefore, installing a metal roof over asphalt shingles saves you the labor cost required to remove shingles.

How to carry out maintenance of metal roofs?

To prolong the life of the metal roofs, you need to carry out regular maintenance and repair because it's crucial.

Remove the debris and leaves from the roof

To successfully clean the roof off the debris and leaves, use 5% sodium hypochlorite. Cleaning the top helps you prevent it from rusting over time. If you find it difficult, ensure to hire a professional to do the job.

Sweep ice and snow

During winters, don't forget to brush the snow off the roof. If you let it sit on the top and wait until it melts, snow can lead to metal corrosion.

However, while sweeping the roof, pay attention not to damage the roof's protective coating.

Inspect the gutters

You try and clean the gutters at least 3-4 times a year. You can use a gutter scoop to remove the debris and leaves. Moreover, you can also use a water hose to clear the stuck debris from the gutter. Once things are neat and clean, check the gutters for holes and water damage. If you find a leak in the gutter, fill it up with butyl-based gutter caulk.

Eliminate the chance of leaves

If branches are hanging over your roof, the frequency of debris accumulation will increase. Therefore, trim the branches hanging over your top or those close to your home's roof to eliminate the chances of falling leaves.

Fix scratches, bents, and leaks

Any deformity, if left unattended, will result in corrosion and severe damage over time. Scratches pave the way for corrosion damage as the metal lacks paint and other coverings in the area that needs touch-ups. Also, dents and holes can lead your roof to complete replacement; therefore, immediate panel repair in such cases is a must.

Though you can carry out most maintenance procedures easily at home, professional service will remove the chances of roof damages. Therefore, we recommend you get it inspected once every six months by expert roofing services.

performing asphalt roofing

How much does metal roof replacement cost?

The cost of the metal roof depends upon various factors like metal thickness, the material used, style, and types. Further, insurance of the top can also dramatically increase the cost of the roof. For standard roofing, the estimated cost of metal roofing is around $12.00- $13.00 per square feet including installation fees. However, the price can shoot up to approximately $18.00, including installation for premium metal roofing. For accurate pricing in your area, make sure to contact local roofing contractors.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Metal Roof?

To make an informed decision we recommend that, along with the advantages, you should also pay heed to the disadvantages of metal roofs.

  • Metal roofs are very costly in comparison to the installation of other roofing types.
  • As metal roofs are tricky to install, you may find it challenging to find skilled roofing experts specializing in installing metal roofs.
  • A metal roof can damage under high pressure caused due to the weight and impact of hail and snow.
  • The metal roof comes with particular aesthetic choices. Some may prefer this roofing style, while it may not be so popular among many North Americans who love the look of asphalt shingles any day.
green roof top

What is the alternative to metal roofing?

Denting and corrosion are severe issues that are common among metal roofs. A concrete roof presents an excellent opportunity to avoid the possibility of a dent during heavy rain and windy climate.

The concrete roof is a solid slab of concrete, sometimes reinforced with iron rods. These roofs are made hurricane-proof with an efficient thickness of slab used for roofing.

When you need to install the roof, a framework of iron rods is made over which concrete is poured. Then, when settled down, the concrete gets reinforced with the framework and forms a robust structure.

Moreover, you can ask the experts to style these roofs in flat and complex structures.

Besides, the concrete roof is highly resistant to fire damage, fungi, termites, and water damage. The life of a concrete roof is more than 150 years depending upon the structure and material used.

The initial installation cost of a concrete roof can be very high. In addition to the price, concrete roofing is a labor-intensive job. Hence, expenses increase manifold. But concrete roofs provide exceptional value for money. These roofs are immensely durable and don't bend like metal roofs under high pressure. Also, a concrete roof requires minimal maintenance.

You should know that the concrete is made up of natural elements; hence these roofs are more eco-friendly than any other roofing. The roof can quickly go down in the ground instead of being sent to landfills. The top is also energy efficient when it comes to regulating the inside temperature.

All in all, for you, a concrete roof can be a heavy investment, but it has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, it's your choice to make. However, we suggest that you go for a metal roof as it's still a great roofing option for long-lasting solutions.

a roofer perform asphalt roofing

Some myths and facts related to metal roofing

To answer some of the questions related to metal roofing, let us look at exciting myths and facts.


Metal roofs are costly

Metal roofs are a one-time investment for roofing solutions that remain sturdy for years to come. Yes, metal roofs can have higher upfront costs than shingles, but they protect you from heavy maintenance and repair costs. Also, the installation of a metal roof is relatively easy in comparison to shingle and shake roofing.


Metal roofing is eco-friendly

Metals being a natural element, can easily be recycled or downgraded, as to their conditions, into various products. Besides, nearly 95% of aluminum roofing can efficiently be recycled using efficient techniques.


The metal roof gets too hot in summers and attracts lightning in a thunderstorm

A metal roof does not get hot; instead, it can radiate the sun's heat back into the atmosphere. The top can further be insulated using foam and underlayment.

Also, when installed correctly with proper earthing, metal roofing can effectively ward off lightning and its effects.


Metal roofs provide excellent wind protection

A metal roof can easily resist high-speed wind along with other weather conditions like rain and storm. The metal roof is better than asphalt and shakes but lags behind concrete roofing for weather protection.

Final words

Metal roofs are one of the most robust types of architecture covering that can last over 50 years.

Moreover, well-maintained roofs can also remain sturdy beyond 100s of years. Installation of metal roofs is a personal choice as the initial investment cost is higher than shingles and shake types of roofs.

However, expensive metal roofs are more potent and require lesser maintenance than other types of roofs.

If you want to know more about the various benefits of metal roofs, ensure to get a quote from your nearest roofing contractor today.

tight the screw of roof
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Jennifer Gard

Jennifer Gard is a content writer at Roofing Tops. She loves writing and educating people about different things. Engineering things, specially. She has a major in civil engineering. Therefore, be assured! All your roofing queries are in expert hands. You can read more blogs and articles written by her on our blog.