Metal continues to be a trending material for home roofs. It offers great variety in style and colors. Styles can include paneling (the most popular option), tiles, shingles/slate, and shake. Whatever other materials can do in terms of style for a roof (i.e. wood shake or ceramic tiles), metal can mimic it. Here are a few reasons why metal is gaining in popularity:
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– the material is recyclable, thus inherently Eco-friendly
– metal tends to be higher in terms of energy efficiency, plus with cool roofs, it can emit UV energy away from a home
– color options up the wazoo
– metal is by nature fire resistant, properly installed metal roofs are fairly wind resistant, and it doesn’t break apart
– more durable than other materials (i.e. asphalt), yet lighter than the other options
– metal panels can be used for other purposes besides a roof
Like all things roofing, a professional contractor is your best bet for installation of metal roof. This article, however, is taking a different approach as we focus on products you can obtain through Home Depot and/or Lowe’s. A local carpenter or professional roofer may still be how the product gets installed, but depending on the home remodeling project and your needs, the DIY approach is within reach for many metal roofing applications.
There are a few caveats to consider if going through Home Depot or Lowe’s as the middlemen in purchasing products. Color options will be limited quite a bit. For the average consumer, metal tiles, metal shingles and metal shake are not readily attainable from these stores. With that in mind, we will focus on the metal panels that are offered and available, plus make note of the other materials needed for installation, all of which are available from these stores.
While metal roofing comes in a variety of metals, this article will stick mainly to steel as that is what the two retail outlets primarily offer. This may vary a bit by region as aluminum is a material known to handle ocean spray/saltwater better than steel. For most areas, galvanized steel is the primary offering for metal roofs. Galvanized steel does a few things, and one of those is making it easier to add coats of paint for further protection and increased aesthetic value.
When it comes to consumer purchasing metal sheets, stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot will offer a quality, durable product. Though less durable than what a pro would probably purchase from their wholesale suppliers. Steel thickness is measured traditionally with a gauge from 8 to 33, particularly for galvanized steel. The higher the gauge, the thinner (not thicker) the panel. Unless specially ordered, plan on Home Depot and Lowe’s to provide steel with gauges between 26 and 33, and most likely in range of 29 to 31.
Because the manufacturers that supply product to these stores will market products for residential home owners, we will spend a brief time on what else you might obtain from them directly. But our goal is to help you in product selection from the two stores, provide helpful tips in working with metal panels and convey (mid 2016) cost information to help with overall planning of your home remodeling projects.
Metal panels generally come in two types, with lots of sub-variations or styles. The traditional kind is exposed fastener application. This is the DIY approach that a non-professional can handle for installation. It can mimic the style of the other (modern) type, and can cost less. The trade-offs are that it will possibly last less time, though this depends on how well either type is installed, and is considered less wind resistant. The modern type is applied with concealed fasteners.
Concealed fasteners are what standing seam panels use. Concealed fasteners rely on interlocking of panels, via expert crimping. Where panels are intended to overlay, a crimping tool will join the two panels into a continuous, seamless unit. Think of how a metal food can has its lid secured so tightly, that it seamlessly seals in the contents.
Home Depot provides standing seam panels. But the majority of what is provided from the two stores is the exposed fastener variety of panels. Another significant difference between the two is that the interlocking panels allows the overall metal roof to naturally expand or contract depending on how heat naturally affects metal. High heat (hot days) will lead to slight expansion while cooler temps (winter days) lead to contraction in the metal. With exposed fasteners, the difference is slight, but enough so that over several years, the fasteners will be impacted, loosened, and thus breaking what was otherwise a solid seal. The metal material itself is likely good to go for another 30 years or more beyond this, but because of the exposed fastener system, it may need to be addressed by re-fastening all areas. Standing seam with its concealed fasteners, will generally last a solid 40 years, even up to 75 years, as the seals are not as impacted by the hot/cold cycles.
With exposed fastener panels we’ll focus on two sub-variations:
a) ribbed style and b) corrugated style. The ribbed style resembles standing seam, which has a flatter finish, and is considered a better design choice for a home.
b) The corrugated metal style is more of a constant rippled pattern, similar to how ceramic tiles appear on a rooftop. Corrugated metal panels are a popular or traditional design choice for sheds. Because exposed fasteners are easy enough for anyone to work with, they are not limited to roofs only. Many home exterior remodeling projects will make use of them in a variety of ways, such as a siding material. Do enough research on your own, and you’ll see home owners who’ve discovered interior uses for metal panels in ways that may be bold, but certainly can add character to any living space seeking a industrial appearance.
Our primary focus will be for roofs, but not just home roofs. For this article a roof means covering for a home, garage, patio/deck covering, shed, and/or other outbuilding. It’s helpful to understand parts of a roof (for a home) and if not already familiar with that, Lowe’s uses this web page to help with terms like sheathing, underlayment, valleys and flashing, to name a few.