Although people tend to think as metal roofing as a single category of metal shaped into different styles, the term is actually a catch-all for quite a few metal materials. Here's a quick-and-dirty rundown on the most common and most popular metal roof materials used today.
Steel is the most commonoy used material for roofing metal because of its light weight and strength. The term "steel roofing" usually refers to zinc-coated steel, and that includes Galvalume, Galvanized, Zincalume, etc. Typically, steel roofing is supplied with some sort of colored or coated finish - finished steel panels, coated steel tiles, and on and on. Today's steel roofs offer superior corrosion resistance, which makes them ideal for a vast array of roofing applications - particularly where aesthetics, performance and value are important considerations.
Aluminum roofing is growing in popularity, thanks to increased corrosion resistance (superior even to steel) and its availability in beautiful Energy Star certified finishes. This material is usually supplied with a colored finish, just like steel, because bare aluminum isn't especially attractive as it ages. It's one of the lightest metals used for roofing and can be easily formed. It's also typically more expensive than steel, but because of its superior resistance to corrosion, it's ideal for use in salty, coastal applications.
Copper and Zinc
These premium natural metals are gorgeous on their own, so rarely are they supplied with any finishes. Again, both are highly corrosion resistant, and their track records throughout history speak to their performance and suitability as roofing choices. Their beauty and performance make them among the most expensive of any roof materials on the market today, and they work well in a variety of applications.
All of these materials are offered in a shakes, shingles, panels and diamond shingle profiles, and they are custom profiles available too.