One of the more common requests we get is for the "cheapest" metal roof, and it makes us wonder if people expect that even a cheap metal roof will them the legendary performance of metal roofing with the added benefit of being as inexpensive as other types of roof material. The answer, unfortunately - and to the surprise of very few people, it would seem - is that metal is for the most part like everything else. You get what you pay for. While it's true that metal offers enormous value over almost any other type of roof, choosing the cheapest metal roof may not maximize that value in the way some people think. Here are three reasons why:
1. Cheap metal roofs are priced that way because they are often made with very, very thin material. While there may be applications where thin material may suffice, if it's too thin it will compromise metal's ability to stay put in high winds, or stand up to ice, snow, or foot traffic. Do you really want to have to replace a metal roof because the one you chose was just too light for the task?
2. When manufacturers and supplies offer their lowest price offerings, they use the least amount of material possible to keep their price down. The better profiles use "concealed fastener" designs that hide all of the hardware from the weather for the life of the roof. Cheap roofs lack this feature. This means offering the roof with a very simple profile that is fastened to the building with "through fasteners," which are usually just grommeted screws or nails exposed all over the surface of the roof. It can work well for most applications, but all of those exposed screws and washers are taking the brunt of the sun and weather for the life of the roof and often require regular inspections to make certain that they're not coming loose and creating a leak point. Do you think it makes sense to choose a metal roof for its low maintenance and longevity and then have to walk the entire roof every year or two to make certain that every one of the hundreds of fasteners hasn't loosened?
3. Another easy compromise a manufacturer will make to offer a low-priced metal roof is in the finish. The better metal roofs have finishes that hold their appearance for generations. They are Energy Star certified for their ability to reflect heat, they are color-fast and they never need refinishing. The cheap finishes are notorious for fading and requiring re-finishing. Do you want to find that the metal roof you've chosen because it was the "best price" has a bargain-basement finish that will look like the faded paint on a junk-yard car in only 10 or 15 years?
Even though the cheaper metal roofs can out-perform most other materials every time, what separates the good ones from the average ones is in the details - and details cost money. "Saving" money by cutting corners only means spending more money down the road to keep the roof looking and performing as new. It saves money up front, but just costs more later. If you can, save yourself the hassle now and buy the best roof you can afford. In the long run, it's the best value for the money.