By S.E. Slack

Metal roofs are gaining popularity in the United States. If you’re considering replacing your current roof with one, here are a few of the pros and cons to consider.

While traditional asphalt roofing materials have a life expectancy of 12 to 20 years, State Farm Insurance states that a metal roof can last as long as 70 years, depending upon the quality of the metal used. They can also withstand wind gusts of up to 140 miles per hour, which is highly desirable in tornado-prone locations.

Metal roofs are also safer when fire or lightning strikes. They won’t spark or ignite into flames. They also help to control energy loss during hot weather by reflecting solar radiant heat. Some estimates say cooling costs can be reduced by as much as 25 percent.

For the environmentally-minded homeowner, metal roofing is a bonus. Some contain as much as 95 percent recycled content and all are 100 percent recyclable when their usefulness has come to an end. In contrast, asphalt shingles contribute up to 20 billion pounds of waste annually.

There are problems with metal roofs, however. They can be quite costly – as much as three times more than other roofing materials. If you only plan to stay in your home a few years, the cost might not outweigh the benefits for you.
Metal roofing is noisy, too. Heavy rains and hailstorms can sound as if a rock and roll band were playing on your roof. Additional insulation can help with this problem but won’t eliminate it entirely.

Repairs, too, aren’t quite as simple to make as with more traditional roofing materials. Wood and asphalt shingles can be color-matched but metal is difficult to match, particularly when repairs are made years or decades later.

Still, metal roofs can be an attractive option – especially when it comes to improving a home’s curb appeal, which is important when it comes time to sell your home. If you choose a metal roof, be sure it is tested and labeled by UL, FM Global or the equivalent.