A newly installed commercial metal roof.

One of the most significant investments in your commercial building is the roof over your head, and you want to choose a roofing material that will last for the lifespan of many years of business in that building. You’ve probably been thinking about using metal for your roofing system. When people talk about using a metal roof, they’re using a general term which can mean: aluminum, copper, steel, tin and zinc types of roofing. But for our purposes, we’ll be talking about steel roofs, perhaps the most common of all metal roofing materials. It’s known for its energy efficiency, longevity and durability, but there are some considerations. We’ve compiled a list of some pros and cons of metal roofs on your commercial property.

Pros of a Metal Roof:

1. Durability of Metal Roofing

Metal roofing typically lasts as long as the building itself, with little repair necessary. Widely regarded as the most durable, long-lasting option on the market, a metal roof’s life expectancy is estimated be 40-70 years. Unlike other roofing materials, metal roofs will not chip, crack, split, dry out, rot, or warp. Asphalt shingle roofing, TPO, EPDM and many other roofing materials will, on average, last 10-20 years, depending on the weather conditions. The durability in metal roofing will also stand up to high winds, thunderstorms, hail damage and even seal out water, because of their interlocking shingle design, unlike roofing materials that just overlap. This water resistant metal roofing is non-porous and won’t invite mildew, mold or moss growing on the rooftop. The secure design is also resistant to most insect and rodent infestation. With all of these durable attributes, metal roofing manufacturers are often listing their warranties for 30-50 years on material used on a new roof installation.

2. Energy Efficiency and Environmentally Friendly

A huge advantage of metal roofing is saving costs on energy bills. When a metal roofing system is installed, it’s on your building for a very long lifespan. The initial cost or upfront cost to install a metal roof is substantial, but the 30-50 years of durability over the life of your property. These metal roofs are often made from recycled materials, and when it is time to replace a steel roof, they’re 100% recyclable. And they’re perfect to install solar panels on top of them to lower the carbon footprint even more. Not only will you save money in the long run on not replacing the roof, but the strong metal roofing design will prevent energy bills from spiking over the lifespan of your roof. Metal roofs reflect the sun’s rays so this will lessen the draw on your facility’s air conditioning system. During the summer months, metal proves to be a cost-effective material over your roof deck.

3. Low Maintenance and Fire Resistance

Metal roofs are some of the most fire resistant options on the market. Noncombustible metal roofs will not fuel a fire and carry a Class A safety rating, so this will lower insurance premiums on the property’s policies. And as far as commercial roofing goes, metal is by far the most low maintenance roofing option. Even after storms, it’s very rare to see any damage or problems like denting on a metal roof. Homeowners and business owners alike have always been impressed with the ease of upkeep on metal roofs. Annually and after storms, only a simple roof inspection and cleaning of debris will be sufficient to stay aware of the condition of your metal roof for another year.


Cons of a Metal Roof:

1. Upfront Investment

As the old adage goes, “You get what you pay for.” This applies well to metal roof installations as well. The quality and longevity of a metal roof comes with a higher initial cost that can sometimes be cost-prohibitive to those new builds or roof replacement projects. The cost that roofing contractors can charge is usually double to triple the cost of other roofing options. But between the energy savings and durability of metal roofing products, your commercial roofing project will often pay for itself over the lifespan of your business.


2. Aesthetics and Modification Issues

Some applications of the styles available in metal roofing simply look too harsh for the buildings they’re on. But for others this can be very aesthetically pleasing, it just depends on the project. Sometimes the industrial look of the metal roof is called for such as in a warehouse or large strip mall type of commercial building. Depending on the business, a steel roof may not be the desired look. Additionally, the aging and color matching process of a metal roof doesn’t lend itself to modifications or additions on your commercial property. Metal roofing is installed in larger portions of shingles and for this reason it can be difficult to replace and very costly. If you’re looking to match a color on a modification that takes place over a decade after the initial installation, it can be nearly impossible due to the aging and discoloration.


3. Corrosion, Noise and Difficulty of Access

While some metal roofing doesn’t run the risk of corrosion or oxidation, others do. If you’re in a moisture rich environment with the saltiness of the ocean, metal roofing will corrode and maybe it’s not the best option for your business. Aluminum, copper and zinc roofs are corrosion resistant, but steel roofs definitely corrode in certain environments unless they’re pretreated or galvanized prior to installation. They’re also rather difficult to repair because of how slippery the roof surface is when you’re trying to access it, especially on days where it’s wet. Any moisture on a steel roof surface makes it a hazardous working environment, making repairs difficult and more expensive. Additionally, in storms, you will hear a loud tapping, while some find this sound calming or soothing, others do not. Hailstorms will be especially noisy. But a couple of extra layers of plywood or insulation beneath the roof will minimize the sound heard inside, although it will also raise the cost of the roof project altogether.


TEMA Roofing Can Help!

TEMA Roofing Services offers 112 years and three generations of experience in the roofing industry. They offer many different types of roofing solutions for your business or commercial property. If you’re interested in new design and builds, inspections, renovations, repairs, restoration and unmatched service with the TEMA roof asset management client portal. Contact us today, and see what our roofing professionals can do for your commercial property!