There's a reason so many advertisements by log home manufacturers feature glossy photographs of magnificent log cabins crowned by equally magnificent metal roofs. Here's the truth, plain and simple - metal roofs are the best possible choice for a log home. Why? Just as log homes are renowned for their natural look and low-maintenance, a quality metal roof system is engineered to last generations with zero to minimal upkeep and look great doing it. Nothing says low-tech and long lasting like a log cabin (as this image from The Log Home Floor Plan Blog clearly depicts), and nothing offers natural, long lasting performance like a metal roof. But if you're still not convinced, let's discuss the other common options: composition roofing, concrete roofing and wood shakes.
Option 1: Composition Shingles
It may be a common choice for log homes, but it's not because it's a wonderful option. Composition roofing is a petroleum product that will end up as potentially toxic waste in a landfill one day, making it seriously un-eco-friendly (keep that in mind when you're enjoying all that fresh mountain air!). As for maintenance - it's not a question of will it need replacement, but a question of when. Composition roofing begins to deteriorate from the moment it's installed and exposed to heat and sun, so it's only a matter of time (and sometimes less than a decade!) before the log home of your dreams requires a very expensive maintenance expenditure - and it won't be the logs.
Pros: Inexpensive, easy to install
Cons: Bad for the environment, requires replacement and maintenance, no prestige
Option 2: Concrete Roofing
Concrete tile is another option, but there are two big reasons that make it a less than ideal choice. First, heavy concrete roofing literally adds tons and tons of unnecessary weight to a structure. And from an aesthetic and design standpoint, concrete tiles are plain inconsistent.
Pros: Longer lifespan than comp
Cons: Extreme weight, architecturally inconsistent
Option 3: Wood Shakes
The classic option for a log cabin used to be wood shakes. The problem these days is that they're just not the product they used to be. The installation of wood shakes is one of the biggest job-creation programs for roofers ever invented. Where there was a time that wood shakes would regularly last 40 or 50 years, now it's uncommon for them to last half that. Many, many roofers all over the country make a nice piece of their living replacing wood shakes that have been installed since the early 90s. Why would you choose a roof for your new log home that will need replacing so soon - and why would you increase the fire hazard to your new log home by putting on the roof a material that makes great kindling? We've spoken to many log homeowners who were informed of wood shake restrictions by the forestry department as well, and so were sourcing cedar shake look-alikes.
Cons: Poor performance and lifespan, fire hazard, not a great eco-choice
Given the alternatives, is there really any surprise that the light, strong, fire-proof, long-lasting and architecturally appropriate roofing options that metal offer make it the best possible choice for the finishing touch on any log home? We don't think so, either. Check out our recent blog post for a rundown on more reasons why metal is just right for your log cabin.