Which Type of Metal Roof is Right for You?

Most metals can mimic specific kinds of roof materials such as cedar shakes, slate tiles, and ceramic tiles. Because they are manufactured in panels, a metal roof can be installed in less time than a standard roof. In the current competitive market there is a wide range of metal roofs that will complement your home’s architectural style and increase its curb appeal. But which type of metal roof is right for you?

Metal Roofing Materials


Aluminum is the most lightweight. It is very durable: the strength to weight ratio is higher than that of other roofing materials. This means it is just as strong as a heavier material and provides comparable protection. An aluminum roof is corrosion-resistant, making it an ideal roofing material for coastal environments.


As with copper gutters, many homeowners choose a copper roof for the green-blue patina it develops over time (oxidation). Copper is an attractive roofing material, giving a home distinction and uniqueness. While metal roofs typically are long-lasting, a copper roof has a lifespan of anywhere from 75 to 200 years.


As a roofing material, zinc is more common in Europe than it is in North America. But a zinc roof system is long-lasting, durable, and low maintenance. It is fire-resistant, and like copper also has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. Zinc roofs are subject to oxidation; their patina is generally blue/grey.

Three Types of Steel Roofs

As a roofing material, steel is the most budget-friendly. Because it is strong and has weight, steel can be used in regions noted for high winds, hail, and intense rainstorms.

The three types of steel roofs are:

  • Galvanized steel – steel that has been coated in zinc to protect the roof from rusting
  • Galvalume steel – steel coated in a mixture of zinc and aluminum
  • Weathering steel – a low carbon steel designed in layers so that the top layers rust protecting the roofing system below

Metal Roofing Styles

Standing Seam Metal Roof

Standing seam is a metal roof style characterized by two raised vertical legs on either side of a flat panel. The vertical orientation creates clean, sleek lines that complement a range of architectural styles from modern to traditional. Standing seam roofs have hidden or concealed fasteners, which makes them tight and generally leak proof.

Corrugated Roof

Corrugated metal is the least expensive type of steel roofing. It is produced from rolled steel that has a rounded (wavy) or squared-off (boxy) shape. The panels are attached to the roof with screws and are visible to the eye, referred to as an exposed fastener system.

Shake Metal Roof

Cedar shakes or wood shingles are a popular roofing material because it has a warm, organic appeal. Cedar shake metal panels resemble wood shakes without the potential for wood rot or pest infestations.

Slate Metal Roof Panels

A slate roof is beautiful to look at and has high curb appeal. However, as a natural stone, it can be heavy and to avoid additional stress, the rafters might have to be reinforced before a slate roof can be installed. While they have the appearance of the stone’s natural beauty, slate metal roof panels are lightweight, cost up to five times less, and requires minimal maintenance.

Metal Ceramic Tile

Produced from clay, concrete or a combination of materials including sand and cement, ceramic roofing tiles are valued for their warmth and “tropical” appearance. But they can put additional strain on a roof when it rains as the clay tiles absorb water. Metal ceramic tile panels have all the benefits of a ceramic tile roof without its problems.

Metal Shingles

A standard asphalt roof has a lifespan of 20 to 25 years, requires regular maintenance, and often needs the shingles replaced in a particular area that gets more wear and tear. A metal roof that resembles asphalt shingles is appealing to homeowners who want their property to blend in with other homes in the neighbourhood while having a roof that is more durable and longer lasting.

Pros and Cons of Metal Roofs

Metal roofs are energy-efficient and eco-friendly.

Regardless of the type of metal used, a metal roof will last up to three times longer than an asphalt roof or a cedar shakes roof.

Since metals such as aluminum and copper are soft and malleable, they can be dented more easily if subjected to hail, very strong winds, or falling objects.

After zinc roofing panels develop a patina, they are prone the appearance of chalky streaks forming where water runs down the roof into the gutters.

Metal roofs are generally more expensive than non-metal roofing systems. But they can be more cost-effective since they last longer and don’t have to be replaced as often.

Copper roofs and aluminum roofs can be completely recycled at the end of their lifespan.

Metal roofs are easier to clean and generally stand up to pressure washing, unlike asphalt roofs, for example, that can be damaged during the process.