When shopping for a metal roof, there are a few things you need to know to be sure you're understanding the numbers. Once you get the basics figured out, you should be able to quickly decide how to choose the best option for your application. While the fact that metal is the best roofing material you can buy, it does require either a little homework from you or a supplier who specializes in just metal roofing. Here are the important things that affect the prices of a metal roof:
1. The Material's Cost, Performance & Lifespan
There are many metals from which beautiful roofs are fabricated. Copper, steel, aluminum and zinc are all common metals used for making metal roof products. However, the prices for the roofs made with these metals will vary wildly. While you can find some steel roofing (usually "galvanized" or "galvalume" plated steel) for less than $1 a square foot, some of the solid copper or zinc metal roof materials might cost 10 or 15 times as much - so the actual metal from which the roof you're considering is made makes a tremendous difference.
Just like there is a big difference in the cost of the metal, there can also be a big difference in the performance and appearance of the roof depending on the metal chosen. Make sure you ask your supplier about the type of metal he's offering before deciding on the one for your job. If the
y don't offer a variety, maybe they don't know about the different types either (you'd be surprised how many roofers and roof suppliers know very little about all of the metal roof options!).
2. The Material's Gauge
Equally as important in determining the price of metal roofs is the gauge (or thickness) of the metal. You can be offered any of the metal types in thicknesses that vary considerably. Just like any other commodity, the thicker the metal, the more money you can expect it to cost. In the case of finished steel roofs, the gauges usually range from 29 (VERY thin!) to 20 (very stout). Most of the architectural quality gauges are in the 26 to 22 range. Just for comparison purposes, there is about 75% (really) more metal in a 24 gauge galvanized steel roof than a 29 gauge galvanized steel roof. Don't be fooled by low prices on very thin material - always check the gauge before making a decision, and remember that a thicker metal tends to make a better, stronger metal roof.
3. The Material's Profile
Metal roofing prices also vary by the profile into which the metal is formed. It still surprises many people (including many roofers, unfortunately!) that metal roofs come in more variety of shapes, styles, and colors than any other roofing material available. Panels (vertical ribs), shingles, tiles diamonds and custom shapes are all possible and available with most types of metal for roofing applications. Depending on your roof configuration, slope, location and architectural style, some choices will be ideal - and some just a poor choice completely. Select a source for your metal roof that can guide you through the pros and cons of all of the variables.
4. The Labor Side
Labor costs for installation of metal roofs are another significant variable affecting the price of a new metal roof. As a very general rule, a metal roof will take longer to install than something like a composition roof - as it should. A properly selected metal roof can be expected to last many times longer than a typical composition roof, so the installer should take the time to assure that the details and standard of execution match such a standard - and that means taking the time to pay attention. While a very rough "rule of thumb" is that a metal roof might take twice as long to install as a similarly sized composition roof, all of the variables already mentioned will affect the bottom line.
What does all this mean? Simply, that you can expect to find prices for metal roof installations to vary wildly between less than $2 a square foot (for an "agricultural" panel in very thin plated steel) to well over $20 a square foot (for a copper roof, for example). If the bewildering variety of metal roofing options and installation methods are confusing but you still want to upgrade to the many advantages of metal roofing, then finding someone who deals with the entire spectrum of options regularly will undoubtedly be your best source.
To get started, download our FREE re-roofing booklet for a comprehensive comparison of popular roofing materials, a pricing formula to help you ballpark costs, installer checklist and much more.