Guide To Metal Roofing & Custom Metal Roofing FAQ

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If you need a new roof for your home, estate or historical property, consider a custom metal roof. Metal roofs have many advantages over more traditional materials, and we have the expertise and experience to provide the information and quality work you need.

Huber & Associates — Your Experienced Metal Roofing Experts

Huber & Associates provides knowledgeable consulting and exceptional workmanship that will exceed your expectations. For more than 40 years, we have developed an international reputation for excellence that has made us the leading custom metal roofing contractor today.

If you would like to discuss your particular roofing needs, please contact us to schedule a consultation. We offer different classes of consultations depending on the nature of your project. These include restorations, repairs and installations. We understand that every project is unique. Our field-tested experience and cutting-edge knowledge of industry practices make us well-qualified to take on any project from the most conventional to the most custom job.

Keep reading to learn more about metal roofing and why it is an excellent option to consider for your property.

Q & A

We understand that you want to do your homework before choosing a roofing material, especially one that is less common than traditional materials like asphalt shingles. We're here to provide you the information to help you make an informed decision. Of course, you should also consult with a qualified roofing contractor who can answer any remaining questions you may have. If you're considering a metal roof for your property, here are eight questions you might be asking:

1. Are Metal Roofs Better for Insulation?

Insulation is an important aspect to consider when choosing a roofing material. The answer to this question is two-fold. The simple answer is that metal roofs generally have the same insulation value as traditional asphalt shingle roofs. Insulation value is determined by how effectively a material can resist the flow of heat. This level of effectiveness is measured by the rate at which heat moves through a material and is called the R-value. It is important to note, however, that R-value does not take into account the amount of heat a material absorbs to begin with. This is where the second part of the answer comes in.

While metal and asphalt roofs have similar R-values, they are not equally energy-efficient. Asphalt roofs are composed of dark, dense material that attracts heat. Asphalt roofs are also much heavier than metal roofs. Considering the weight, density and color of traditional asphalt roofs, it makes sense that they absorb a great deal more heat than metal roofs, which are lighter and more reflective. Because metal roofs absorb far less heat, this means they also transfer far less heat into a building's interior. Metal roofs that are finished with a reflective pigment will do an even more effective job of resisting heat absorption.

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Keeping heat from being absorbed through your roof means you're keeping it out of your attic space. This helps you save money on cooling. Of course, you save money when you're saving energy, making metal roofs not only more economical but more environmentally-friendly as well.

We've established that metal roofs are great for keeping you cool in the summer. But what about winter? If you're concerned that a metal roof may be problematic in cold weather when you're trying to keep the interior of your home warm, there's good news here as well. Metal roofs have been shown to keep a more consistent temperature inside attic spaces when the outside air is cold, so the air underneath a properly-installed metal roof in the winter should be warmer than the air under an asphalt roof. Furthermore, the outside surface of metal roofs stays colder in the winter than the surface of asphalt roofs, making it more likely that any snow that lands on your roof will stick around. This can be advantageous since snow can serve as an extra layer of insulation for your home.

In review, while metal roofs are not technically better for insulation, they do absorb less heat in the summer and maintain a more stable internal temperature, making them a great alternative to traditional asphalt shingle roofs.

2. Will They Last for a Long Time? What Will the Wear Look Like?

Perhaps the best reason to consider a metal roof is because of the lasting investment it represents. Metal roofs are known for their longevity. Asphalt or composite shingles will typically need to be replaced within 20 years, and sometimes even sooner. In contrast, a properly-installed metal roof can last a lifetime, often with little to no maintenance. Lower-cost metals such as aluminum and steel often last more than 50 years, and higher-end materials like copper and zinc can easily exceed a century. Metal roofs are extremely durable and are nearly impervious to cracking, warping, leaking and other problems common to other roofing materials. They can even withstand winds of up to 140 miles per hour. This durability makes metal roofs a low- to no-maintenance roofing option you can count on to last.

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The durability of metal helps it resist atmospheric issues that typically lead to wear. The way your metal roof will show wear depends on the type of metal used. In general, though, many types of metal roofs maintain their original appearance for many years. Copper, which actually improves in strength and durability as it ages, is unique in that its appearance changes rather drastically over time. This natural oxidation process causes the shiny, orange surface to darken and become coated in a blue-green patina that seals and protects the copper. The look of aged copper is often what attracts people to the material, making this unusual chemical change desirable for aesthetic reasons in addition to practical ones.

Aside from copper, you can expect your metal roof to maintain its shiny, new appearance long after asphalt shingle roofs around you begin to show wear. Many shingle roofs will develop a streaky black staining as they age. This comes from airborne algae that land on the roof and can grow in moist areas. Asphalt shingles absorb moisture, which creates a breeding ground for mold, mildew and algae to take hold — especially in humid climates. Metal roofs, on the other hand, do not absorb moisture. They also tend to be smoother, making it harder for airborne substances to collect. Finally, they are easy to clean thoroughly without causing any damage.

Quality metal roofing should last a long time — far longer than conventional roofing materials — and should either maintain its appearance or, as in the case of copper, transition into an even more desirable appearance.

3. How Much Do They Weigh?

If you don't already have a metal roof, you're probably wondering if you can put one on your house as it is currently or if you need to add extra support. One of metal's advantages as a roofing material is how lightweight it is. Aluminum is one of the lightest roofing materials available at approximately 40 to 70 pounds per 100 square feet, which is commonly just called a "square." Compare that to a square of asphalt shingles, which tends to weigh somewhere between 275 and 425 pounds, or a square of concrete tile, which weighs closer to 900 pounds. Aluminum isn't the only lightweight metal, either. For example, steel weighs around 80 to 125 pounds per square, and copper similarly weighs somewhere between 100 and 125 pounds. Because it is so lightweight, a metal roof requires less support than a traditional asphalt roof, meaning there is no need to build in extra support.

Contrary to what you may assume, the fact that metal roofing is so lightweight does not mean that it lacks in strength. In addition to being light, metal is exceptionally strong. Most roofs, including residential ones, protect the sheathing underneath and do not play a vital role structurally. Therefore, most residential metal roofs are made from thin panels — 29-gauge to be exact. For buildings that need stronger roofs, such as a pole barn, you can opt for thicker metal, like 22-, 24- or 26-gauge.

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You should consult with an experienced roofing contractor to determine what gauge of metal is right for your property and to ensure that your metal roof is installed properly. Metal's unique combination of strength and light weight makes it a great option to consider for your roof.

4. Can I Put Solar Panels on a Metal Roof If I Want To?

The short answer is yes. Solar panels can help you cut energy costs while reducing your environmental footprint. Solar energy aside, metal roofs are a sensible choice for the environmentally-conscious since they are usually composed primarily of recycled materials and can be recycled once more if they are ever replaced. They also happen to be ideal if you're interested in installing solar panels.

On most roofs, solar panels are attached to mountings that require the installer to drill holes into the roof. These holes have the potential to invite unwanted complications like leaks. On metal roofs, however, there is typically no need to drill any holes at all. On standing seam metal roofs, for instance, you can use a mounting system that directly clamps onto the existing seams. This installation method is simpler and quicker than the traditional method. On metal tile roofs, you can remove some of your existing tiles and use an installer that simply replaces those tiles. This tile replacement mount fits right into your existing roof and also involves a relatively simple installation process.

If you install solar panels on a traditional shingle roof, on top of the more involved initial installation process, you may have to remove the panels and reinstall them if you need to replace the roof. This is a likely scenario, since solar panels can last 25 to 30 years, and many roofs need replacing after 10 or 15 years.

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Typically, when American homeowners install solar panels, they opt for silicon photovoltaic (PV) panels. PV panels are known for their efficiency, but they have some drawbacks as well. For one, their manufacturing process requires a lot of energy, which takes away from their eco-friendliness. They can also appear bulky and be somewhat cumbersome to install. The good news is that PV panels are not your only option if you have a metal roof. Thin film solar panels are an alternative option worth considering. They don't match the efficiency of PV panels, but they are produced using a fraction of the energy, are easier to install and appear far less conspicuous. These panels can only be installed on certain kinds of roofs, so they are not an option for many homeowners. If you're interested in installing thin film solar panels, a standing seam metal roof is an ideal choice.

5. Will My Metal Roof Be Loud in Rain or Hail?

One reason people may shy away from considering a metal roof is because they believe it will be noisy. While it is possible for a metal roof to sound clattery in storms, this can easily be prevented. When installed properly, a metal roof should be just as quiet as any other roof. An underlayment should be installed between the metal roof and the roof sheath beneath. This underlayment — typically made of nylon filaments and foam insulating panels — will help to block out unwanted noise.

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It's best to have your metal roof installed correctly the first time so you don't have to worry about experiencing any issues, including noise. However, if you already have a metal roof that wasn't installed with an underlayment and is excessively noisy, there are some ways you can remedy the problem. One step you can take is installing insulation in your attic. This creates an additional barrier that will help block out noise. You can also have a metal roofing contractor check to see whether you have enough fasteners on your roof and whether they are tight and appropriately placed. If your roof isn't being held on tightly enough, the impact of rain or hail can cause it to move, making storms much noisier from inside the house.

If you're especially concerned about the possibility of noise, you can consider this when selecting your roof profile. Flat or standing seam metal roofs tend to be the quietest since they don't vibrate as much with the impact of rain or hail. Talk to a qualified metal roofing contractor about which options would best fit your needs and result in a roof that is just as quiet inside as any other material would be. 

6. Will My Metal Roof Get Struck by Lightning?

Since metal is known for its ability to conduct electricity, it stands to reason that this concern would arise. The good news is that having a metal roof does not increase the likelihood that your house will be struck by lightning. Understanding how lightning works makes it clear that height, more than any other factor, determines whether a structure is at risk of attracting lightning. Because air is not a very good conductor, lightning will move from traveling through air to a solid object as soon as possible. This is why it is attracted to the highest point in an area.

It is very rare for a house to be struck by lightning, regardless of what the roof is made of. You really only need to be concerned if your house is elevated above other nearby structures, including trees, buildings and utility poles which is not the case for most people.

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In the unlikely event of a lightning strike, a metal roof is actually the safest roof you could have. For one, it will disseminate the energy evenly across the metal, lessening the impact. Another advantage is that a metal roof, unlike other materials, cannot catch fire. For these reasons, you can rest easy that a metal roof will keep you safer rather than put you at risk.

7. Will My Metal Roof Rust?

A primary concern for many who may be interested in installing a metal roof is rust. After all, all you need for rust to form is water, oxygen and iron. Properties near saltwater are especially vulnerable. Rust not only affects the appearance of metal but is also physically damaging. The good news is that metal roofs, especially when treated properly, can be extremely rust-resistant. Metal roofs are already mostly unsusceptible to corrosion since they are mildew-resistant, and they can be treated to even more effectively fight off corrosion and rust.

One popular way of protecting against rust is by galvanizing. Galvanized metal is coated in zinc or galvalume, which is a mix of zinc, aluminum and silicon. These substances actively resist corrosion and protect the metal underneath from damage. Metal roofs can be galvanized to different degrees, and these degrees are labeled by a G number that denotes the number of ounces of zinc applied to a square of roofing. The higher the G number, the longer the metal should last without experiencing corrosion. So, a G-90 coating will ensure more long-lasting protection than G-60.

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Galvanizing isn't the only way to protect metal from rust. Other coatings and paints can also be used to protect your roof against the corrosive effects of weather. Talk to a qualified metal roofing contractor about different coating options to ensure that you end up with high-quality metal roofing that is protected against rust.


8. Do Metal Roofs Get Hot?

On a sunny summer day, a metal and an asphalt roof will both feel hot to the touch. The key difference is that the metal roof is reflecting heat while the asphalt roof is absorbing it. This is why an asphalt roof will still feel warm long after the sun and outside temperature have gone down, but a metal roof will cool off right away. Most of us aren't spending much time atop our roofs, so what's most important to note is how this affects the interior of your home. Traditional roofing materials like asphalt, wood, tile and concrete all absorb heat, which allows the heat to seep into a home's interior. This makes for a very hot attic space and requires your cooling system to work much harder in order to keep your home at a comfortable temperature.

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Metal roofs, on the other hand, have a low thermal mass, which causes them to naturally reflect rather than absorb heat. Metal roofs can be made even more reflective by treating them with a reflective coating. Since heat is bouncing off rather than sinking through your roof, your attic space stays much cooler, meaning your home can stay comfortable without putting undue stress on your air conditioning. In order to fully take advantage of the cool properties of a metal roof, you should hire an experienced metal roofing contractor who will ensure that your roof is properly ventilated. A metal roof can keep your home cool while saving money and energy.

Choose Huber & Associates for Metal Roofs

With all of metal's advantages as a roofing material, you may want to consider it for your property. Just choosing the right material is not enough, however — you also need to employ the help of experienced professionals to ensure that your home, estate or historical property is properly fitted with the high-quality metal roofing you desire. Here at Huber & Associates, we have a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to quality metal roofing. Check out our page on ornamental metal roofing to learn more and to browse through photos of some exquisite metal roofs installed by our team.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We can discuss roofing options, answer your questions and determine the best way forward in order to fulfill your custom roofing needs.