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Steel Shingle Roofing Guide

Among the positives of choosing a steel shingle roofing material is that steel is considered an environmentally friendly roofing material. The reasons include the fact that, usually, a significant percentage of the steel has been gathered from recycled materials. In addition, the roof is able to be recycled at a later date rather than ending up in a landfill like other roofing materials.

The Costs

  • Average Minimum Cost: $3600 per 1000 square feet

  • Average Maximum Cost $8400 per 1000 square feet

As with all roofing, several factors may affect the quality of the roofing materials. The cost of the shingles can be decided by the thickness of the shingles, what type of underlayer material is used and what quality it is, better damage resistance and longer warranties as a result of a superior product. Whether the steel shingles are Galvalume or galvanized steel is also a factor, with trademarked Galvalume generally considered to be a product of exceptional quality.

Advantages of Steel Shingle Roofing

Steel roofing also deflects heat in summer while it retains heat in winter, resulting in cheaper heating and cooling bills as well as less stress on the electrical grid. For many, this may result in Energy Star tax breaks, which are meant to encourage environmentally friendly homes. Steel shingles also withstand extreme weather, such as hail, better than any other roofing material. They are fire safe and may also result in tax or insurance benefits due to their lower susceptibility to fire. In addition, steel roofing resists infestations of ants, termites and other pests. Surprisingly to some, steel shingles are significantly lighter than other roofing materials and can be installed over existing roof materials. This may save money in installation since the old roof does not necessarily need to be removed. Finally, steel shingles can be coated to resemble other attractive types of roofing materials such as slate or wood, depending on manufacturer. 

A couple of myths exist about steel roofing that include steel shingles. The truth is that steel roofing does not attract lightning, and most manufacturers say that the noise of weather against steel roofing is not particularly louder than any other roof. In the past, houses with metal roofs may have been harder to sell. With the growing consumer knowledge about the positive aspects of a metal roof, however, the use of steel shingles may prove to be a selling point when potential homeowners realize that the roof of their new home won’t require costly repairs or replacement in the near future.

Disadvantages of Steel Shingle Roofing

Initial costs of steel shingles may be higher than other types of roofing. There is also a certain amount of lingering prejudice against metal roofs that a steel roof may affect the market value of a home. However, because the prejudice is largely based on myth, and because steel shingles can be made to resemble many more traditional types of roofing, homeowners should not necessarily be swayed by these factors. The initial cost will generally be repaid with a steel roof’s longevity and ability to withstand bad weather.

While studies have shown that metal roofs are no louder in storms or bad weather than any other roofing material, anecdotal evidence does suggest that there is some increase in noise. The increase is not known to be significant; though if noise is a major concern, homeowners would do well to explore the differences in depth. Metal is also not impervious to damage from hail and falling debris, although it is more resistant. While the damage is likely to be more cosmetic than anything, homeowners should be aware that their steel roofs are not indestructible.

Things to Know

When deciding on what type of steel shingles to get, there is a choice between galvanized steel and a trademarked product called Galvalume. Galvanizing is the process of electroplating or hot dipping the steel with a protective layer of zinc, to enable it to resist corrosion. Galvalume, however, is a specialized process of coating the steel with an aluminum zinc alloy that offers superior resistance to rust and corrosion. Galvalume is recommended for unpainted applications, with galvanized steel being acceptable when the steel will be painted. Galvalume has a 25-year warranty. Galvanized steel is not recommended for application around animals or for situations in which it will be in contact with mortar or concrete. 

Additional Costs

To ensure the best prices for roofing materials and a roofing job, get multiple estimates from various companies. Estimates will depend on a variety of factors, with labor costs varying widely depending on pitch of roof, complexity of roof configuration, removal of old roofing materials, season and even the licenses and experience of the roofers. An average roof is considered to be one with a pitch that increases no more than 6 inches in height per 12 inches in length. Expect to spend between $300 to $400 for supplies for 1000 square feet of roof. Installation costs for the average roof are around $6700. Again, roofs with greater complexity or pitch than that of the average can cost significantly more in labor.

Factors that affect the price of materials include, among others:

  • Variations in vendor

  • Quality of the shingles

  • Region

  • Time of year

Final Verdict

Steel shingles are a more expensive but more durable alternative to other types of roofing. The superiority in lasting power makes them economical in the long term, despite the initial high cost. Steel shingles can be coated to look like almost any material for a wide range of aesthetic tastes. There are few disadvantages besides the initial high price, but when one considers the relative longevity of steel shingles compared to the frequently required maintenance and upkeep of other types of roofing such as wood or asphalt, the initial high price seems much more reasonable. For more time without having to worry about the roof, steel shingles are probably the way to go.

Last updated on Jul 17, 2014

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