Out of all the different types of materials used to make roofs, metal is highly renowned for commercial and residential roofing. Metal is made of a lighter weighted material and is more durable and low maintenance than other roofing options. However, metal roofing isn’t focused on just one type, there are a variety of different products that can be considered as a metal roof. Metal roofs can handle a span of design options and requirements, but the type of material you choose is up to you and what is best for your needs.

There are five types of metal roofing options to choose from.

Copper

Copper is one of the most commonly used materials in metal roofing. It has been said that in ideal conditions, copper is a metal that can last well over a century in the ideal conditions. It is the softest metal that is used and it is also the quietest (mean that sometimes a substrate has to be installed to muffle the sounds of rain, hail etc.).

However, because of its softer nature, copper roofing can be prone to dents and expansion with temperature swings. However, this can be easily controlled with proper paneling and shingling.

Also, for those who are environmentally conscious, copper roofs are 100 percent recyclable.

Zinc

Zinc is an extremely durable metal and is very malleable. The malleability of the metal can allow for some fantastic and elaborate roofing designs – it is especially popular for commercial projects. Producing zinc takes less energy than producing copper or steel, making it an energy efficient metal to use.

However over time, if left unpainted, the metal can turn blue/green, and often leaves a chalky residue. It is also a soft metal, which can make it prone to damage (such as hail) but this can be alleviated with proper paneling and shingling.

Zinc, like copper is also 100 percent recyclable.

Aluminum

This metal is one of the more lightweight materials and is more malleable which allows for more creativity when creating roofing designs. Aluminum roofing is highly recommended for those who live in coastal areas because the material is highly resistant to the corrosion that is caused by moisture and sea salt. Another attribute of its durability is that when the aluminum gets exposed to oxygen, a protective sealing barrier is created, preventing any sort of oxidization and/or rusting.

Steel

Steel is a higher strength metal and are recommended for those who live in areas that are prone to high winds and hurricanes. They are also more fire resistant and can retain heat (suitable for those who live in colder climates). Also steel is considered one of the greener metals to work with because steel is one of the most recycled materials on the planet,

There are three types of steel roofing:

  • Galvanized Steel: the most common form of steel roofing. A layer of zinc is used to protect the inner layer of steel from any corrosion.
  • Galvalume Steel: instead of using a layer of zinc for protection, it uses a combination of aluminum and zinc instead.
  • Weathering Steel: an outer layer of steel is used for protection – this is mostly used in heavy steel industries.

Tin

Tin is considered to be a rare and unused metal for roofing. This element is used mostly for canning materials, until it was found out that it could be flattened for shingling.

However, with more durable options such as copper, steel, aluminum and zinc available, the use for tin as a roofing material has declined considerably.