In South Florida, metal roofs have become quite popular. Originally seen mostly in commercial real estate applications, they are now quite common in residential homes. Oftentimes, properties with metal roofs are referred to as “Key West style” homes. Whether you are purchasing an existing home with a metal roof, building a new home, or thinking about re-roofing your home, we will discuss the pros and cons of metal roofs in this article.
Advantages of a metal roof
- Longevity: Metal roofs can last 40-70 years, depending on the material, the environment, & finish. For comparison, traditional asphalt roofing materials have an estimated life expectancy of roughly 12-20 years. Depending on your age, a metal roof may be the last roof you put on your house during your lifetime!
- Durability: Some metal roofs can sustain wind gusts up to 140 miles per hour, will not corrode or crack, and may be impact-resistant (depending on which metal you choose). In addition, metal roofs don’t need the periodic costly maintenance that other roofing materials often require.
- Safety: Due to their composition, metal roofs will not ignite with fire or should a lightning strike occur. In addition, installation typically includes a fire resistant barrier as well.
- Energy Efficiency: Metal roofing deflects solar radiant heat. This effect is even more pronounced with lighter colors, such as white. In South Florida, this can reduce energy costs by 10-25%.
- Environmentally friendly: Oftentimes, metal roofs contain anywhere between 25% – 95% recycled content, depending on the material used. In addition, these materials are completely recyclable at the end of the roof’s useful life.
- Less stress on existing roof trusses (for re-roofing applications): Compared to concrete tile roofing, metal roofing material weighs significantly less. This is an important benefit when re-roofing, particularly if the home being re-roofed is older.
Disadvantages of a metal roof
- Affordability: Metal roofing materials may be more costly than some of the other options. Of course, high petroleum prices may increase other roofing materials, making this difference less pronounced. If you plan on owning the home for a long time, the additional longevity of a metal roof may very well justify any additional up front costs.
- Noisiness: Additional noise during heavy rain or hail storms may be a factor. With this said, various insulation applications have substantially reduced this drawback. Therefore, this is not as big of a factor as it originally was years ago.
- Expansion & contraction: Typically, metal roofs are installed as large panels. These panels have a tendency to expand & contract. This creaking noise can often be heard throughout the day. Proper installation is key to allow the roof to “breathe”.
- Color matching during repairs: Depending on the color, sometimes it can be challenging to match an existing metal roof that needs repair. This is most commonly due to sun fading of certain colors.
- Aesthetics with exposed hardware options: Some of the less expensive metal panel roof options have exposed hardware. This can be unsightly and could potentially expose this hardware to the elements. If resale is a concern, it is advisable to go with a more expensive panel style that hides this hardware through interlocking panels.
Overall, metal roofs have increased in popularity throughout South Florida. In addition to being a welcomed style throughout the region, many people opt for metal roofs due to their longevity and hurricane protection. In the event that you are not fond of the metal paneling look, there are plenty of different styles of metal roofing materials these days. For example, there is a metal roof style that resembles the barrel tile that is commonly seen in Mediterranean style homes. We have installed metal roofs on various properties that we own & would highly recommend this material, particularly in South Florida. If you are close to the coast, it is important that you use paneling with a protective coating to prevent oxidation due to the salt air in South Florida. PVDF coating (polyvinylidene fluoride) or Kynar® coating is a pure thermoplastic fluoropolymer that is non-reactive and possesses multiple coating benefits. … Kynar® PVDF coatings for steel, aluminum, and other metals also have a high dielectric strength & excellent resistance to weathering elements in harsh environments.