Unfortunately, you can't just walk into a store and choose the perfect metal roof for your project with a handy price tag that will instantly reveal exactly what you'll spend. But with these tips, you'll know the five most importants things about the price of metal roofing.
1. The type of metal used for a metal roof affects the price.
There are plenty of sub-categories that would skew this material price chart, but generally speaking, the range of prices of metal roofing products look like this:
High: Stainless steel, copper, zinc, aluminum
2. The gauge of the metal (gauge being a measurement of the thickness) used will affect the price of metal roofing.
While some metals have characteristics that make this chart of gauges somewhat inappropriate (copper, for example, is usually measured by weight rather than thickness), and some of the more refined metals (like stainless steel) can outperform heavier gauges of less sophisticated alloys, here's a useful, if rough scale:
Heavyweight: 20 gauge, 22, 24, 26, 28
Very thin: 29 gauge
3. The finish on the metal will impact the price of the metal roof used.
Especially for aluminum and steel (because these are rarely used without some type of painted-on color coat), it is most common for metal roofs to feature a painted color. When you select a red or black metal roof, the color you see is painted onto the base metal, and the quality of the paint (front AND back) will absolutely impact the price you pay for the metal roof. While metal painting experts will take issue with my specific titles, here is a guideline for rating the quality and expense of the various finishes that can be used for metal roofing.
Premium Finishes: "Lead Coating," Copper-plating, Powder Coating, PVDF, Silicone Polyester, Clear Acrylic
Cheapest Finishes: Unfinished
4. The profile of the metal roof will have an affect on the price of the metal roof you buy.
Different shapes and styles of metal roofing take different amounts of the metal used for their forming. Metal roofs are most often made from big coils of processed material (they look like giant toilet rolls), and depending on the shape of roof you choose (panels, tiles, shingles, diamonds, etc.) will use the metal more or less efficiently. As a rule of thumb, the simpler and bigger the pattern, the less material it will use compared to a smaller, more complex shape. Keep in mind that while efficiency of material can be a desirable thing in reducing the cost of the metal, it's not always a desirable trait. With all sheet metal work, the more folds and bends in he metal, the stronger the resulting piece. With this in mind, it's possible to make a thinner metal into a strong metal roof just by using a more complex shape. In general, for any given thickness of metal, a smaller and more complex shape will typically be a more expensive - and stronger - metal roof.
5. Installation costs of your job can significantly impact the price of a metal roof.
Installation costs can vary between $0 (as in D.I.Y.) up to $10 or more per square foot for a metal roof installation, so by itself can be the biggest variable in the final price of a metal roof project. Like all things, you'll pay more for a craftsman than you will for a casual installer - and you'll likely get your money's worth in either case. While it's true that prices will vary wildly between roof contractors for what appears to be the "same job," it's also true that the more qualified, equipped and service-oriented the company, the better chance you have of having the roof installed so it will actually achieve the lifespan of which it's capable. To me, there's nothing that screams "false economy" like "saving money" on a cheap installation of a great metal roof. Problems that arise from such a combination have nothing to do with the performance of the metal roof material - they're entirely related to poor execution. Just a tip: the manufacturers of various metal roof products often know the installers and contractors most capable of installing their material. Ask them first.