How To Find The Right Metal Roofing Materials For Your Project

Metal roofing is a popular choice for a wide range of residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Before you go to a metal roofing supplier to load up, though, you'll want to be sure you'll pick the right materials for your project. You can accomplish that by following these four recommendations.

Basic Materials

You will find 5 common materials on the market. Metal roofs typically use copper, steel, zinc, terne, or aluminum. Copper and steel have the longest lives, and they're usually the most expensive. Aluminum is cheaper, but it may only provide a couple of decades of service and won't hold up in high-abuse environments. Terne uses a mixture of steel and tin, and it can last up to a century. Zinc will perform similarly.

Physical Environment of the Building

A roof is all that separates you from the abuse of the environment around you. Consequently, you'll want to find materials that will hold up to the job.

When you visit a metal roofing supplier, tell them what you expect. If you live in a region that receives heavy hail, for example, you might have to install a corrugated metal material to ensure it won't take a beating and end up with dents or holes. Similarly, someone who has a house with a minimally sloped roof in a high snow area may need to buy thicker materials to handle the load.

Fastening Methods

It is largely a matter of aesthetics, but there are two ways to handle the appearance of the fasteners for a metal roof. They can either be hidden or exposed. The fastening method won't affect the performance or lifespan of the roof as long as the installation is good.

An exposed fastening system tends to clearly signal a building has a metal roof. This tends to give a building a more industrial or rustic look. If you wish to be less obvious about it, hiding the fasteners is the way to go. This will yield a cleaner and more modern look.


Generally, light colors have better reflectivity and reduce heating and cooling costs. If the material isn't already dark, you may choose a painted version that does the job. Notably, aluminum is the one exception. It has good reflective capacity regardless of its color. It is an excellent choice if you want to have a metal roof with a dark color. Bear in mind, none of this serves as a replacement for good insulation and ventilation in a building.