Metal Roofs

In each Firesky House Plan, a metal roof is specified. A metal roof not only provides a rural vernacular aesthetic, but also is compatible with the weather of the Great Plains. In this article, three (3) different roof systems are discussed.

Aluminum Roof System

Aluminum Roof Systems are common in the residential marketplace. Installed in an interlocking panel, they are provided with a special heat-reflecting paint coating. Fabricated from recycled aluminum products, the panels can be shaped to a variety of shapes. If desired, a panel can possess the appearance of a cedar shake shingle.

The aluminum roof has an extended lifecycle based upon the protection of the panels from rust. With no undercoating, the galvanized surface is bare, thus more resistive to rusting. The underside of bare aluminum stops heat from the painted top of the aluminum materials. The heat does not radiate from the panel to the wood framing members, and insulation, below.

If the desire is to proceed with an aluminum roof, it is best to specify a profile with at least a one (1) inch air space over the roof sheathing. This air gap reduces the low emissivity properties.

The main disadvantage of the aluminum roof is that it is susceptible to dents and damages. If the rooftop equipment requires regular maintenance, then workers, and their footsteps, can cause damage to the aluminum roof. In addition, a large hailstorm can cause massive denting to the aluminum roof. In certain cases, the hail damage may necessitate the replacement of the roof. 

Steel Roof System

Steel Roof Systems generally cost twice as much as an asphalt shingle roof. However, a metal roof is typically provided with a lifetime warranty.  The typical thickness of a steel roof system is  26-gauge. The 26-gauge roof provides a firm and still profile. The finish of the steel roof is a Kynar 500 or Hylar 5000 PVDF resin- based finish. This finish is not only durable, but also works to reflect solar gain.

The metal roof is available in many colors and profiles. The Standing Seam Metal Roof is the most common. The steel is coated with layers of corrosion resistant coatings minimizes the ability of the steel to rust.  In addition, steel is a much stronger material than aluminum, thus the concerns of damage from walking-on and hail, is minimal.

Copper Roof System

A copper roof system is by far the most expensive. However, the copper roof is attractive and extremely durable. As the copper ages, a natural patina color emerges. A disadvantage to the copper roof is that it does not reflect the sun’s rays very well. If the desire is to implement a copper roof system, verification with the UL 580 Uplift and UL 2218 Class IV impact resistances is needed. 

Cost of the Roof Systems

Aluminum:  An aluminum roof can cost between $2.00 – $6.00 SF for materials only.  If specifying a shingle look, the costs can increase to $4.00-$6.00 SF. For material and labor costs, the aluminum roof can be budgeted between $7.00 – $10.00 SF.

Metal: A metal roof can cost between $8.00-$14.00 SF for materials only. For material and labor costs, the metal roof can be budgeted between $9.00- $16.00 SF.

Copper: A copper roof can cost between $11.00 – $16.00 SF for materials only. Labor costs can only be identified by contacting an experienced installer in the region.

For comparative analysis, an asphalt shingle roof can cost between $1.50 – $5.00 SF for materials only.

For more information, specifications and colors of Steel Roof Systems, visit the Firesky Design and Construction Manual.