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What You Need to Know About Metal Roofing Systems

Blog image: What you need to know about metal roofing systems

Metal roofing systems are an increasingly popular choice for reroofing and new construction due to their long life expectancy and attractive aesthetics. When some think of a metal roofing system, they may envision a wobbly, tin roof on a rickety old barn…a roof that is very noisy during rain showers and hail storms or a roof that doesn’t offer much in the way of structure protection.  But today’s premium metal roofing systems are much different than the corrugated metal roofing on a time-worn barn.  In fact, metal roofing systems offer a variety of stunning patterns, textures, styles and designs and are often used on very high-end projects and are frequently the roofing system of choice for a variety of residential and commercial roofing structures.


What are metal roofing systems made out of?

Metal roofing systems are premium products available in a variety of materials including aluminum, galvalume, stainless steel and copper. Stainless steel is a more affordable, but is not recommended due to lower expected lifespan in South Florida. Galvalume and aluminum are the most common metal roofing systems due to durability and relatively affordable price tag. For properties near to the ocean, galvalume may not be permitted and aluminum is the typical recommendation. Copper systems can be extremely attractive from a design standpoint, but may be cost prohibitive.


What are the benefits of metal roofing systems?

Metal roofing systems are very lightweight, so they offer an excellent roof material solution for structures that require a very sturdy roofing system but cannot support the weight of a tile roofing system.

Metal roofing can also be fashioned to resemble shingles, shakes and slate tiles, and a variety of other custom looks can be created as well.  Metal roofing is also available in the widely-popular standing-seam design.  Metal roofs are offered  in a wide variety of colors to suit any desired look, and are also paintable and fire resistant.


Can I install a metal roofing system myself?

In short, no. No doubt there are many who have a smattering of handy man skills that can help them save a few dollars when tackling home or business repairs.  Your roof should not fall into this category, regardless of choice of roofing system. Most importantly, unless you use a licensed and insured roofing contractor, you will not be able to obtain a municipal permit for the installation.

Furthermore,  metal roofing system is one of the most complex roofing choices with a high degree of expertise required in the design, fabrication, and installation. Specialty equipment is required to fabricate the metal panels and a skilled professional must measure each panel dimension. Metal roofing components are fragile and are dented and damaged easily, and it is important to avoid walking on metal roofing materials because they can be easily marred. Metal roofing installations must be planned in a different manner than conventional roofing installation, and as a result, additional safety measures should be taken when planning the job. Measuring and cutting metal roofing components requires exact precision. And it is very important to follow recommended procedures for fastening and connecting metal roofing panels.  If this aspect of the job is performed incorrectly, your roof may leak. Therefore, it is best to leave the installation of all roofing systems, and metal roofing systems in particular, to the experts at a local roofing company who have experience with this type of work.  Find a roofer that has experience in your specific geographic region to ensure that they know the intricacies of your climate. This is one time where it is worth the extra money to pay the professionals who have both the necessary tools and wealth of experience to do the work correctly.


Are metal roofs noisy?

Simply put, metal roofs are not any noisier during rain storms or hail events than a traditional asphalt roof or other roofing system. This is because today’s metal roofing systems are no longer directly installed over a structure’s roof decking or roof surface. When a metal roof is installed, the system is installed with felt underlayment and a fire-retardant versa shield above the your existing roof deck surface. The traditional and most common material used for roof underlayment on a steep-slope metal roof is non-perforated, asphalt-impregnated felt underlayment, but there are options to customize the system, such as a secondary water barrier.  Your installation will be customized to match the unique requirements of your structure and your local climate. With careful and correct installation of underlayment, metal roofs can effectively reduce noises from rain, hail, windblown debris and other extreme weather conditions just as well as, if not better than, other roofing materials.


What about the effects of lightning on a metal roofing system?

While it is true that metal can be an electrical conductor, metal roofs do not attract lightning and are not struck by lightning any more frequently than roofing systems created from other roofing materials.  In addition, metal roofs are fire-resistant as a result of the fireproof versa shield layer installed beneath the metal panels and will not spark or ignite into flames during a wildfire or lightning strike event, should one occur.


How durable are metal roofing systems?

Deterioration is of little concern for property owners with metal roofs as they are one of the longest-lasting roofing systems available. The metal panels themselves are your primary protection from water intrusion, which can be expected to remain water tight with little maintenance for decades. A skilled roofing contractor will ensure all panel seams and penetrations for roof accessories are properly sealed. Metal roofing is not susceptible to damage from fire, rot or insect damage. Metal roofing is very resistant to heavy rain, wind damage, and hail damage. Coatings and finishes are available for roofing systems that deter rust.  Most types of metal roofs – like aluminum and galvalume – are not likely to dent or become physically damaged easily, because of the strength of the metal product used, assuming a proper installation. In tropical climates like South Florida, all types of roofing systems are impacted by extreme weather, salt air, hurricanes and humidity, but metal is a durable, unique and beautiful roofing solution that can stand up to the distinctive characteristics of a coastal climate.


Will a metal roof make my home or business hot in the summertime?

All roofing systems – regardless of material – absorb heat when directly exposed to the sun. All dark-colored roofing systems – whether asphalt, metal, tile or any other material – will all absorb heat at about the same rate. Metal roofing systems are designed to reflect sunlight, and the protective underlayment keeps your metal roofing system from directly contacting the decking of your home or business and prevents heat transfer to your living or working space. Metal roofing has strong solar reflection properties, deflecting as much as 40 percent of solar radiation. An additional advantage of a metal roofing system is the ability to install extra insulation beneath the metal panels, further increasing the energy efficiency of the property.


What about ventilation?

Metal roofing systems do not require any special ventilation systems. For all structures, attic or under-roof space ventilation is an important part of the overall roofing system.  Correct ventilation prevents unhealthy, high moisture levels in the attic space and in the roofing system, which can lead to condensation and mold.  Proper ventilation systems help air flow through the attic and roofing system properly in order to reduce home heat gain and regulate the load on heating and cooling systems.  Your roofing contractor will install ventilation solutions that meet or exceed code requirements for your area to properly ventilate your home and ensure proper roofing system performance.


What about trim metal?

A variety of custom metal work trims can be added to your metal roofing system. Whether you need custom fashioned solutions to accommodate unique architecture or you wish to create additional beautiful design elements on your roofing system, a variety of metals can be fashioned to accommodate needed drip edges, distinctive roof ridges, custom-fit valleys, protective flashing, or other areas.  Custom metal work pieces accompany metal roofing systems both for waterproofing and to create beautiful finishes.  Common custom metal work products include flashings, drains and scuppers (if a section of the roof is flat), hat metal (if a section of the sloped roof is covered with tile), crickets, gooseneck vents, chimney caps, and other waterproofing components. Special metal trims and protective pieces can be customized for various unique building structure configurations. Metal craftsmen create custom-measured and carefully-fabricated final products that are both beautiful as well as durable and water-tight.


How do I take care of a metal roofing system?

While it is true that metal roofing systems are exceedingly durable, it is important that they be inspected periodically to ensure that no problems are present or no repairs are needed.  This is imperative to remember, no matter what type of roofing system you have in place.  Problems can begin silently and cause expensive damage before they are ever detected.

Metal roofs are less likely to develop mildew and mold stains over time, due to their unique coatings. However, home and business owners in tropical areas should consider having their roofs – no matter what the material – inspected and properly cleaned regularly.

To make sure that a metal roofing system retains its integrity and stays in the best condition possible, do not let trees rub against the surface of your roof, as this can cause scratches to the surface and other damage to the roofing system.  Also, try to keep your metal roof as clean as possible in between soft washings. It is important to remember not to allow leaves, dirt or other  things to accumulate on the roof. Keep gutters (if you have them) free of debris.  And as much as possible, do not allow people to walk on your roofing system, as this helps avoid potential damage and system compromise. A skilled roofing professional will also be able to identify which seams may be in need of re-caulking to prevent potential future leaks.


Are metal roofing systems eco-friendly?

The answer is yes! Metal roofs are available with energy-efficient finishes, which reduce the energy load on your air conditioning and heating systems. Green building practices and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is something that many homeowners and commercial builders strive for when constructing or repairing homes or businesses.  Metal roofing systems can earn a variety of points toward LEED certification, recognizing the structure for being a sustainable site, practicing water efficiency, offering a “cool” roofing system, benefiting the energy and atmosphere and making good use of materials and resources. If energy efficiency is a priority, consider installing additional insulation below a metal roofing system.


What about the cost of a metal roofing system?

Cost alone is never the only consideration when examining roofing material options.  It is also important to consider desired look, durability, energy-efficiency, noise insulation, solar reflective properties and many other factors. Cost is determined based on size, architecture, accessibility, and other factors. While a new metal roofing system may be more expensive than tile or shingle options, the average cost per year of life expectancy is likely to be less than any other system available!

Industrial buildings have featured metal roofing systems for a long time, with builders citing the many benefits of these systems. Today, home owners and business owners are recognizing the beauty and the benefits of metal roofing systems, as well.  Offering a wealth of benefits and a host of beautiful options to enhance any architecture, metal roofing systems are a wonderful solution for buildings of almost any type as long as the roof has sufficient slope.


Pioneer Roofing Company’s team of expert roofing specialists provide complete roofing solutions for all types of residential and commercial roofing projects – including metal roofing systems of all kinds.  With more than 40 years of experience in South Florida, we employ only extremely experienced roofing professionals. We use the highest-quality materials, and we demand quality workmanship from our vendors and suppliers. We are passionate about quality and service.

Contact the team at Pioneer Roofing today to discuss metal roofing system solutions as well as repair, reroofing, new construction, coating, or maintenance and extended service options for your South Florida home or business.  We proudly serve Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

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