Steel roofing has been around for more than 100 years but it’s only recently that its outstanding value has finally begun to get the media attention it deserves. Still, in spite of the gains steel roofing has made in the public eye more traditional roofing materials like asphalt shingles, tile and even slate continue to hold the lion’s share of the roofing market. So let’s take a look at these different materials and see how they stack up when compared to steel.
Steel Roofing vs. Traditional Roofing Materials
While many comparisons are completely subjective, comparing steel to other roofing material does not require an injection of opinion or speculation. There are plenty of hard facts to kick around regarding:
- Cost – Steel will generally cost a bit more than asphalt, wood shingles or ceramic tiles and less than slate tiles to install. However, while asphalt, ceramic and wood have life expectancies of 10 – 20 years a steel roof can last 50 years or more. Slate is about the only material that compares to steel in terms of longevity but woe unto you should one of your slate roofing tiles break.
- Maintenance – Once installed your steel roofing system is maintenance free. Compare that to tiles that can be torn off in storms or asphalt shingles that begin to degrade the minute they’re installed and often need to be patched or repaired due to leaks. And as alluded to above, trying to patch a slate roof should a tile break can be an expensive and tricky process with the odds very long indeed that you’ll actually find a tile to match the ones you have.
- Safety – Asphalt is a form of petroleum, that is, crude oil. When you install asphalt shingles on your roof you are in fact installing a layer of solidified oil across the top of your house. Should a fire break out these asphalt shingles become an immediate liability and act as an accelerant, turning a bad situation into a potentially devastating one. The same can be said of wood shingles. Steel roofing on the other hand will never catch fire or promote the spread of a fire that may be underway. A huge safety plus.
- Green Value – When a roofing contractor replaces the asphalt shingles on your roof the old shingles almost invariably go straight to landfill. During any given year thousands of tons of these rotting petroleum sheets are dumped into landfill sites across Canada adding to groundwater contamination and releasing toxic gases as they break down. 50 years or so from now, if you decide it’s finally time to replace it, you’ll be able to recycle it once again.
As you can see, metal roofing has distinct advantages over more traditional roofing materials. When you factor in the substantial energy savings you’ll enjoy due to steel’s ability to reflect the sun’s heat as well as the relief you’ll see on your homeowner’s insurance due to steel’s safety factor you’ll realize there’s no mystery behind the growing popularity of steel roofs.