7 Types of Metal Roofing: A Guide For Both Residential & Commercial

Have you heard the news? ????

Metal roofing is taking over the country!

Maybe that’s not the exciting news you were hoping for, but for roofing nerds like us, we’re pretty ecstatic because metal roofs are:

  • Fire-resistant ????
  • Durable (Lasting 40-70 years!) ????
  • Stylish ????
  • Wind-resistant ????
  • Affordable ????
  • Environmentally friendly ♻️

What’s not to love?

If you’re due for a roof replacement, you might be one of the thousands of property owners considering making the switch to metal roofing so that you likely won’t ever need another roof replacement again.

Before meeting with your local roofing company, check out these different metal roofing types to gain an idea of what you want for your home or business.

Metal Roofing Design Styles

To start, let’s take a closer look at the different design styles in metal roofing. That’s right; you can opt for a more “classic” metal roof look, or you can go with metal roofing that mimics other popular roofing materials. No matter what you choose, you’ll still get the same benefits across the board.

1) Standing Seam Panels

As the most classic metal roofing material, standing seam metal roofing has a very sleek and crisp appearance. These panels are characterized by their wide, smooth planks with raised connecting seams. This is a concealed fastener system, making it very weather tight.

metal roofing types standing seam

More and more homeowners are opting for a standing seam roof— whether that be for their entire roof or as a focal feature on certain slopes. You can find standing seam panels in a wide range of colors.

2) Metal Shingles & Tiles

Many homeowners want the durability of a metal roof but still prefer the look of asphalt shingles or roofing tiles. Or, some people love the look of very expensive roofing materials but find they aren’t within the budget. If this is you, you’re in luck!

You can absolutely opt for metal shingles that look similar to other roofing materials like:

  • Cedar shakes
  • Clay tiles
  • Slate tiles
  • Asphalt shingles

You can find metal shingles in the same color as the material they imitate. For example, you can find a terracotta metal roof that looks just like clay tiles or a dark gray, textured metal material that resembles slate— all for a much lower cost!

While metal shingles usually come at a higher price point than standing seam or corrugated metal roofs, they are still affordable compared to the higher-end materials they resemble. Either way, you’ll reap the benefits of a roof that lasts for 50+ years.

3) Corrugated Metal Roofing

Corrugated metal roofing is also referred to as exposed fastener panels. This material style isn’t as popular for residential properties because it doesn’t have as sophisticated of an appearance. However, it’s the most affordable option that still offers the same excellent benefits, so many commercial and agricultural properties will opt for corrugated roofing.

metal roofing types corrugated roof

Corrugated metal roofing is a metal sheet that gets roll formed to produce a ridged pattern. They’re characterized by their repeating, wavy, rippled pattern. On this product, the head of the roofing screw (fastener) is visible from the outside and not hidden like in standing seam panels. Hence the name “exposed fastener.”

Metal Roof Material Types

Now that we’ve covered metal roof styles, let’s take a closer look at the specific metal materials that can be used. Some are more commonly used than others, but all provide impressive durability.

4) Galvanized Steel

When industry professionals refer to metal roofing, they’re most commonly referring to steel. Steel is made from iron and other elements. It’s an affordable option that offers a consistent appearance and fantastic durability.

Galvanized steel is a steel roof that’s been boated in a layer of zinc for extra protection. This coating helps protect against rust.

Steel roofing is very low maintenance, so upkeep is minimal. Maintenance suggestions include:

  • Keeping the roof free of branches and other debris
  • Cleaning out gutters regularly
  • Washing the roof once a year
  • Scheduling inspections after a major storm

Unless you specify that you want a different metal material when getting a new metal roof, you’ll likely be presented with steel, which is a fantastic option.

5) Aluminum

Aluminum is another popular metal material for metal roofs. Since aluminum is corrosion-resistant, it’s an ideal material for coastal regions and areas with heavy rainfall. The sea salt water spraying from the shore won’t cause aluminum to rust, as it could with other materials.

It’s a very lightweight material, but unfortunately, it’s more prone to denting compared to steel and has fewer color options. Aluminum roofs aren’t recommended in areas that experience hail storms.

You can purchase aluminum roofing with a thicker gauge to help prevent denting, but this will drive up the overall price.

6) Zinc

If you’re looking for the longest-lasting metal roofing material, zinc would like to introduce itself. This impressive material can last 80-100 years!

Zinc is characterized by its striking silver tone that develops into a beautiful blue-gray patina over the years. This patina forms after zinc is exposed to moisture and carbon dioxide in the air, causing it to form a protective layer of zinc carbonate.

metal roofing types zinc roof

The patina is almost inevitable, so be sure that you’re on board with how the roof will ultimately look before you commit to it. In many ways, the patina is a benefit, as it keeps the roof from rusting over the years.

If cost is a concern, zinc won’t be your material of choice. It’s one of the most expensive materials and isn’t as widely available.

7) Copper

If you’re looking to really make a statement with your home’s exterior, consider copper roofing. Copper is unique, striking, and beautiful. It shines like a new penny and will absolutely allow your home to stand out in a good way.

Just like zinc, copper will patina over the years into a blue-green color. Think of the Statue of Liberty or old cathedrals in your area. These copper materials ultimately formed a patina, and your copper roof will too. However, the patina will vary depending on your climate.

Some benefits of copper roofing include:

  • Incredibly durable (lasting 60-100+ years)
  • Corrosion-resistant (won’t develop rust)
  • Safe to use near the ocean
  • Beautiful appearance

However, some disadvantages include:

  • Expensive upfront cost
  • Denting risk
  • Less availability

Oftentimes, homeowners who love the look of copper but don’t have the budget for an entire copper roof will opt for smaller accent details like copper gutters and downspouts.

How Does Metal Roofing Compare to Other Roofing Materials?

You may be more and more interested in getting a metal roof, but still curious about what other options you have.

  • At the end of the day, asphalt shingle roofs are the most popular roofing material in the country. They’ll likely remain in the top spot due to their price. They’re the most affordable roofing material that still offers decent longevity. However, you’ll only get 15-20 years out of an asphalt roof.
  • Cedar shake roofs are aesthetically pleasing, but they’re also expensive and high-maintenance. With a lifespan of roughly 30 years, you’re better off opting for metal shingles that resemble wood shakes to get more bang for your buck.
  • Clay tiles and slate tiles will last longer than traditional steel roofing. Clay tiles can last up to 100 years, while slate roofs will last anywhere between 100-200 years! However, both of these materials are incredibly expensive. If your goal is to never need another roof replacement again, you can get the same result with a metal roof for a much lower cost. If you don’t plan to be in your current house in 40-70 years, you’re good to go with a metal roof!
close up view of metal roof types

Connect With Your Local Metal Roof Installer

Even though metal roofing is quickly growing in popularity, not all roofing contractors are qualified to install metal roofs. Thankfully, if you live in Minnesota or Western Wisconsin, you can connect with Level Edge Roofing. Our fully in-house team of skilled roofers has the knowledge and experience to install a long-lasting metal roof. We’ll walk you through all of your options so that you feel educated and ready to make an informed decision. We look forward to sharing the benefits of metal roofing with you— simply reach out today for a free consultation!