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10 Things to Know About Metal Roofing

Mark Gallant • October 26, 2020

10 Things to Know About Metal Roofing


For most of the 20th Century, metal roofing products were manufactured primarily for industrial and commercial buildings. High-maintenance wood shakes, clay tile, and slate were the only available aesthetically-pleasing roofing alternatives for residential architectural themes in a housing market where up to 70% of homes use heavy asphalt shingles. Today, DECRA stone-coated steel roofing products provide all of the aesthetic options roof designers need to enhance architectural themes which rely on the distinctive classic beauty of shakes, shingles, or tiles without compromising durability.

 

The Unique Historical Cycle of Metal Roofing

 

In today's roofing industry metal roofing for residential construction is considered a 21st Century innovation. In fact, metal roofs for the most stately homes and buildings in North America have historical roots which run deep into the late 1700s. Thomas Jefferson took advantage of the innovative tin-plated material of his time which was one of the first roofing metals able to address architectural style elements. Jefferson designed and built the tin-plated shingle system for the intricate multilevel roof for Monticello. Jefferson proved to be a man ahead of his time as the tin-plated shingle system he designed to be installed with the skill set and versatility of wood shingles is the same concept behind DECRA's stone-coated steel roofing shingles today.

 

1. Going Beyond Large Panel Metal Roofs

 

Commercial and industrial enterprises have been reaping the Returns on Investment (ROI) from metal roofing for decades. Setting beauty and aesthetics aside, large panel metal roofs provided strength, durability, and efficiency in a low-maintenance "one-and-done" solution. Many rolled metal, corrugated, galvanized and standing seam metal roofs on barns, hangars, and factories are still enduring today after a century or more. That said it is extremely difficult to adapt these heavy-duty utilitarian roofing products for use in sophisticated residential roof designs.

While a flat-roofed ultra-modernist concept might be able to accommodate an industrial style large panel metal roof, the traditional elements of elegance preferred by the majority of high-end homeowners can not be satisfied by these durable but unappealing roofing systems. DECRA's innovative process incorporates stylish and colorful stone-coating over layered steel providing the design and installation versatility architects and builders need to enhance the most sophisticated roof designs.

 

2. Popular Demand For Style With Endurance

 

Today's homeowners are much less likely to accept the status quo of wasteful 20th Century "legacy" construction practices and obsolete materials. In the age of sustainability, the entire life-cycle of the home comes under scrutiny. The most sophisticated home designs today are intended to have a life-span of 5-10 decades as opposed to the short-term strategy of quickly constructed "value-based" homes with very limited life-cycles. Even the best conventional roofing materials need replacement every 10-20 years and metal roofing provides a much more suitable lifetime alternative for stately sustainable homes intended to last a century or more.

 

3. Reduced Cost of Roofing Over the Lifetime of the Home

 

Ironically, asphalt shingles turn out to be far more expensive than metal roofing when the entire lifespan of the home is factored into the cost. Even the best asphalt shingle roofs need replacement every 10-20 years, and impressive shingle manufacturer warranties are easily voided if installation instructions haven't been followed to the letter. Stone-coated steel roofing from DECRA has a Lifetime Limited Warranty, with unmatched strength and durability resulting in a nearly maintenance-free lifetime roof solution for homeowners.

 

4. Element-Resistant Stone-Coated Steel Roofing

 

Wind, rain, hail, snow, and even dry sunny climates all take their toll on conventional roofing materials. The heaviest architectural shingles are typically rated for wind resistance between just 60-110 mph. Clay tile and wood shakes are so prone to wind damage that they aren't rated at all, and even fiber cement products are only rated up to 75mph. DECRA stone-coated steel is unsurpassed for durability, with a UL2218 certification for Class 4 impact resistance against hail penetration and a wind warranty for up to 120 mph.

 

5. Climate-friendly Metal Roofing

 

Metal roofing addresses the climate-friendly issue, closing the loop at both ends of the material life cycle. DECRA products use 25-30% of recycled material in the manufacturing process. In addition to an extended life cycle 2-3 times longer than conventional roofing materials, DECRA products are 100% recyclable, unlike discarded wood products which release greenhouse gases as they deteriorate in landfills. Metal roofing products don't strain old-growth timber resources or rely on oil-based raw materials as asphalt shingles do. DECRA products contribute significantly to LEED projects and DECRA is a proud member of the USGBC.

 

6. Reducing Construction Waste in Landfills

 

The move to metal roofing can't come too soon when long-term environmental impact is considered. The huge environmental footprint of asphalt shingles can't be ignored in the new age of construction sustainability. With a comparatively short lifespan of 10-20 years, asphalt shingles contribute up to 11 million tons of construction waste every year, with 1 million tons of scraps coming from manufacturers and the remaining 10 million tons from shingle tear-offs and scrap from roof replacements. Asphalt shingles account for 10% of total construction and demolition debris according to the Northeast Recycling Council.

 

7. Metal Roofs Are Impervious to Hot-Cold/Wet-Dry Weather Cycles

 

Stone-coated steel provides the appropriate beauty and durability suitable for all weather. Clay tile is frequently preferred in coastal regions for resistance to salty marine air, but clay also absorbs up to 15% of its weight in moisture. Wood shakes may complement the theme of a rustic lodge in a shady wooded area but they are prone to mold, fungus, and bacteria and require continuous maintenance.

 

All conventional roofing materials are vulnerable to wet/dry and seasonal hot/cold extremes which cause expansion and compression stresses and result in cracking, cupping, splitting and loosening around the fasteners. Heavy asphalt shingles may provide a few years of protection from the elements but in earthquake-prone regions, they add nothing to the reinforcing shear strength that DECRA steel contributes to the roof.

 

8. Energy Efficiency For All Seasons

 

Metal roofs provide a tighter envelope over the home reducing the entry of outside air which results in energy savings in all seasons. Infrared blocking pigments and enhanced reflectivity decrease attic temperatures by 69% as compared to standard asphalt shingles. Homeowners report energy savings up to 20% after installing metal roofs. In hot climates, the exceptional thermal emittance characteristic of metal roofing is far superior to asphalt shingles which continue to radiate heat long after the sun sets.

 

9. A Lightweight Elegant Alternative For All Roof Styles

 

Weight is perhaps the most important consideration for modern roofing products. Lightweight metal roofing has a host of benefits for every project including:

  • Eliminate tear-offs and costly waste disposal expenses for remodeling or refurbishment of existing roofs while diverting waste from landfills.

  • Unmatched strength to weight ratio which adds shear strength to the roof, especially important in hurricane or earthquake-prone regions.

  • No reinforcement required for supporting decks. The average DECRA steel roof weighs between 3,500 and 4,500 pounds, compared to 45,000 pounds for a comparable asphalt shingle roof.

10. Stone Coated Steel Elevates Metal Roofing to a New Level

DECRA is the originator of innovative stone-coated steel roofing products and we've set the industry's gold standard for metal roofing. Our proprietary stone-coating process brings color and texture with the strength of layered steel that easily surpasses conventional roofing materials in all categories, and large panel metal roofs as well. DECRA roofing products are made right here in the USA, and while we have many overseas imitators none has yet matched the quality of DECRA's strength, durability, and elegance for crowning homes intended to last a lifetime.