There are many types of metal used for metal roofing and each has its own challenges and advantages. Choosing the right metal that will react to the environment, climate, and house is an important decision, if you’re a Hartford homeowner who’s switching to metal roofing.
Aluminum is lightweight and malleable. It is ideal for those who want their roofing pressed to imitate the look of other roofing styles and for reroofing. Aluminum won’t rust, but it does need to have paint or a protective coating to prevent corrosion. It has a naturally high solar reflectivity, meaning it reflects the sun’s rays very well, which will help keep a house in very warm a climate cooler. Aluminum is a soft metal, so it marks and scratches easily. It is good for moist coastal environments.
If aluminum is in the roofing panels as opposed to tiles, the roofing system must accommodate the extent that aluminum expands in weather changes. This is good for temperate, coastal climates. There have been concerns from environmentalists about using aluminum for roofing as it is a precious metal.
Steel is heavier and sturdier than aluminum. Steel must have protection from rust and corrosion with a coating of either zinc, aluminum, or some form of paint. The heavier the coating, the longer the protection. Zinc coating offers a self-healing aspect and cuts or scratches will develop a coating to prevent more damage. Aluminum coating adds the reflectivity of aluminum but then loses the protective powers of zinc.
Copper is more expensive than steel or aluminum. It does not have a scratchable finish, but must be sealed to maintain its color. Otherwise, it will form the green patina seen on the Statue of Liberty. Copper is malleable and soft, and can be formed into panels for roofing. It is resistant to corrosion, and copper roofs often last more than a century. The runoff from copper roofs can potentially cause discoloration on a house without proper gutters.
Stainless steel is expensive. It won’t rust or corrode because is an alloy of steel and chromium. When coated with terne is has a matte-grey finish. Stainless steel is more resistant than the softer metals to hail or weather damage and denting. It expands and contracts less with weather changes than copper or aluminum. Some lower grades of stainless steel will corrode near coastal areas. The higher grade stainless steel will cost more but will hold up to more New England salt in the air.