When it’s time to re-roof your home, you’re usually faced with many options. Since about three of four homes in the US and in Florida use the trusty asphalt shingle, you may already have those shingles on your home, as well. Upgrading from asphalt shingles to metal roofing is quite common, too, so let’s go over the many different types of metal roofing you’ll be able to look at, and the average cost of a metal roof in Florida.
Why Choose A Metal Roof?
Some of the people who really know the advantages of all types of roofing may say tile is the best, and they have their reasons. Both tile and metal are fireproof, provide excellent wind protection, are aesthetically pleasing, and will last for decades. I’d say metal has the edge, though, as it won’t break with impact, as both clay tile and concrete tile can. In addition, metal is substantially lighter than clay tile and concrete tile, so you can upgrade from asphalt shingles to any type of metal roofing without the need for reinforcing your home’s roof framing. That’s a huge benefit on its own, and could save you thousands of dollars.
To be clear, both clay tile and concrete tile are first-rate products and I would not hesitate to use them on my own home. We’re fortunate to have so many excellent choices!
Types of Metal Roofing
Metal roofing is made from a few different metals and is available in different formats with different appearances. Different metals have different properties, along with distinct advantages and disadvantages. You can start with a Google search and look at photos of these material choices:
And the formats you’ll see are typically:
This is a bit deceiving, though. Steel shingles are available as individual stamped shingle units that the crew snaps into an installation track and also into the adjacent shingle. You can also buy panels made of steel, for example, that the manufacturer stamps to look like individual tiles. Why would you choose one over the other? In general, steel and aluminum shingles will cost more per square than panels, and might provide a more “upscale” appearance. That’s pretty subjective, though, so you should see for yourself and decide what you prefer.
The most common type of metal roofing is steel panels. You’ll see this everywhere in both residential and commercial applications. On barns and sheds and garages, you’ll often see these panels with exposed screws. This type of steel roof is called “screw-down” or “exposed-fastener” steel roofing. It tends to be cheaper due to the exposed screws and the speed of installation. Each screw has a small rubber washer that squishes down a bit onto the steel panel, creating a water-tight seal. Some people think this type of roof looks too agricultural or industrial for a home, and some appreciate that look. Some homeowner’s associations (HOAs) don’t allow it, either, so you’ll definitely want to check that out if your home is located in an HOA.
This type of roof will start at about $550 per square, which is 100 square feet. The roofing industry prices materials and labor this way, so when you see materials or labor priced per square foot, you can just multiple it by 10 and you’ll have the cost per square.
The next type of steel roofing is called “standing seam” and this type is also very popular. It’s literally a standing seam that the crew bends, then folds one panel over the next, from side to side. Hidden clips inside those standing seams get screwed to the roof deck, keeping everything secure yet hidden. Standing seam steel roofing provides a clean-looking roof that will last for decades. As with just about all steel products, you can choose from among dozens of colors to get just what you like. You can also check out multiple profiles, some of which are considered “commercial” and “industrial.” It’s your choice, either way.
Standing seam steel roofing requires a lot more labor than a screw-down roof, and so will cost more, starting at about $750/square for lighter gauge steel. One of your choices will be to upgrade to thicker steel, which will cost more while increasing dent resistance.
Here’s where steel panels can really shine, in my opinion. Slate tiles, clay tiles, and wooden shakes are all attractive natural materials, but less practical than some other options. Slate is fantastically durable and fireproof, but also heavy and expensive. Clay tile is heavy and not recommended for colder climates. Wooden shakes are relatively light and just look great, but they’re not fireproof, and not very durable.
In contrast, you can get steel sheets that look like slate tiles, clay tiles, or wooden shakes, in a few appropriate colors. The sheets are strong, light in weight, fast to install, fireproof, and reasonable priced. The labor is not specialized, so you don’t need a more expensive crew. And as with clay tiles, you won’t have to upgrade your home’s framing either. Cost for this type of roof will start at around $750/square for a long-term roof with 40+ years of service expected.
Anywhere in the coastal regions, aluminum is a solid choice. You may hear that aluminum is not strong compared to steel, and that’s true. Aluminum will also expand and contract much more than steel, which is not a great trait. More expansion means more wear and tear on the fittings that keep the roof panels in place. Still, aluminum does not rust, and so it will last you for more than 30 years. You can get a very good Kynar paint finish to cover up the unattractive raw aluminum, and call it done.
If you live within a mile or so of the coast, aluminum deserves consideration. Of course, if you have the budget for zinc, then get the zinc. That’s a no brainer. But for about $750–$850 per square, a 30-year aluminum roof is a very solid choice for your new roof, especially if you know you’ll stay in that home for a while.
You can also check out aluminum shingles/tiles/panels. This option will offer options stamped to resemble cedar shingles or shakes, or clay tiles. They look quite good, too, and give you a choice of colors. Again, they’ll never rust and are impervious to the salt air. You can expect the cost and lifespan to be pretty comparable to other painted aluminum roofing choices, at $900-$10000/ square and a 30-year lifespan.
If you were to combine steel and aluminum roofing, one outcome might be Galvalume. This product is steel sheets with a coating of aluminum and zinc. That coating provides corrosion resistance, along with the optional Kynar finish. Without the Kynar finish, you’ll see a dull gray finish that won’t corrode but isn’t really attractive. Galvalume has proven its value over about 50 years and it’s a solid material. Expect 25+ years without rusting for a price starting at $600 per square.
Copper gets all the attention, but zinc is the real star. That’s my opinion. It has the more subtle beauty, with a subdued pewter color and a protective patina that develops over decades. This is a lifetime roof, and then some. Apart from unexpected damage from intense storms, this roof should last 80–100 years and look better over time. Both sheets and shingles are available and are popular among designers of high-end homes, commercial projects, and institutional projects, who love the classic look of a zinc roof. You’ll need to start the budget at $1200/ square to start, but you’ll be doing your last roofing project for this house, barn, or whatever you’re working on.
A copper roof is definitely flashy and expensive. But it’s also a solid choice. It does perform over time, and that’s 100+ years in this case. In Florida’s challenging environment, a copper roof is as good as any other roof that I’m aware of. So while it is a bold architectural statement, you can also see it as the most solid roofing choice for your home. It’s no accident that you see so many churches, museums, and big-budget government buildings swathed in copper roofs. For your budget of $1500 per square and up, you will get one of the two best roof materials available, along with zinc.
An Experienced Team is Crucial
By this point, you realize that installing a metal roof requires some specialized expertise. It’s different from installing an asphalt shingle roof. It’s more complex and so it’s more challenging to get the roofing material and the flashing and the accessories installed properly so they function as a whole. Getting bids from several contractors and asking your network for contractor recommendations is a solid idea.
Contacting your local Better Business Bureau is a good idea, too. And you can always just walk or drive down your street and see who is getting a new roof and who the contractors are. Talk to the homeowners and ask their opinions. You can learn a lot by talking to people face to face!
We’re Here When You Need Us
If you’d like to talk about replacing your roof, and you’re interested in upgrading to the beauty, durability, and longevity of a metal roof, give us a call at 813-373-9088. Our team has more than 40 years of experience in roofing. You can also use this form and ask us, “What’s the cost for a metal roof for my home?” and we will contact you.