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Metal Roofs? Cool!


Q – On a recent home tour, I noticed that many upscale houses had metal roofs. The roof on my house needs to be replaced for the second time. Does installing a residential-type metal roof make sense?-Ron D.

A – YES!

  The new residential-type metal roofing looks beautiful, has a 50-year to a lifetime warranty, is fireproof (lower insurance rates), reduces summer air-conditioning costs, is environmentally sound, and typically weighs only one-quarter as much as asphalt shingles.

Attractive metal roofing is becoming the signature of upscale housing. There are many metal roofing options to choose from depending on your budget and the appearance you want. For example, from the ground, a simulated cedar-shake metal roof is impossible to distinguish from real cedar.

  If you prefer an elegant, authentic tile look, consider a new steel roof that uses special painting processes. Several manufacturers place real earth-tone granules on the final coat, which is then covered with a super-durable clear coat.

  Even though the metal roofing materials cost more initially, the overall life cycle cost is lower. After you install a metal roof, you will never have to install another roof. Many of the lifetime warranties are transferable to new owners, so the resale value of your home is increased. 

  In addition to no maintenance costs, a metal roof, especially aluminum, can lower your utility bills. According to the Florida Solar Energy Center, installing a simulated cedar-shake aluminum roof can reduce heat gain from the roof down through the ceilings by as much as 34 percent. Steel roofs, although not as efficient as aluminum, are also better than asphalt shingles.

  The reduced roof-heat transfer lowers your air-conditioning costs. It also reduces the peak afternoon electric demand for your electric cooperative to help control electric rates. The roof cools down in five minutes once the sun sets.

  Metal roof installation is quick and simple. It can usually be installed over the old shingles without an expensive tear-off.

  You can walk on all metal roofs without damaging them, but you must step somewhat carefully on aluminum-shake profiles.

Many metal roof styles, although they look like individual shingles, shakes, etc., are usually installed in large, lightweight 4-foot panels. You typically need only 23 panels per 100 square feet of roof area, so installation is quick with few seams.

  Most durable steel and aluminum residential roofing is finished with a Kynar coating (some offer 20 colors). The Kynar coating is so tough that it withstands the 400-ton metal forming presses with no damage. It is guaranteed against peeling and fading. Hylar 5000 coating is also durable. These fluorocarbon-based coatings shed dirt in the rain just like a Teflon skillet.

  Copper is still the most revered, and expensive, roofing material, and it has many advantages. It weathers to a beautiful green patina, which protects the surface from further oxidation. Copper also cools faster than any other roofing material on summer 
evenings.

  Each year, reroofing creates 11.5 million cubic yards of old, discarded asphalt shingles, enough to fill a football field a mile high. However, nearly 80 percent of copper and aluminum roofing is made from recycled materials, as is 50 percent of steel roofing.

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