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Residential Metal Roofing: Is It Right for Me?

When the contractor delivered the sad news that my roof needed replacing, that led to a discussion of material choices. I was surprised to hear that metal roofing was an option. Sure, it was fine for commercial buildings, but a home? My contractor told me that metal is used for homes more than people realize. The panels can be designed to look like just about any type of roofing you can imagine. After looking at some samples and finding out about the long life of metal roofs, I decided to give it a try. Fifteen years later, my roof is still in great shape. If you are facing a roof replacement in the near future, let me tell you more about metal roofing. I'm betting that you'll decide this solution is right for your home.

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Residential Metal Roofing: Is It Right for Me?

Battle Of Longevity: Slate Vs. Copper Roofing

by Kelly Murphy

If your roofing material will only last for 15 years, then you have to not only worry about the cost of your roof, but also the cost of replacing your roof down the road. On the other hand, if you install a roof that will last for two-hundred or more years, you might never have to worry about replacing your roof. A wise, forward-looking homeowner will consider buying a long-lasting slate or copper roof instead of settling for the least expensive option. 

Trends in Roof Purchases

You can learn a lot about what motivates people when they buy a roof just by looking at what the most common roofing material is. Asphalt shingles are by far the most common roofing material out there; they are also the least expensive in terms of initial cost. To cover a 1,200-square-foot roof, you will pay as little as $5,300. Unfortunately, focusing on initial savings can leave you exposed to higher costs down the road. 

Cost of a Slate Roof

Hard slate roofing can last for up to 175 years, but will cost around $18,000 to install. Furthermore, if you are upgrading an existing roof, you will need to have your roof supports inspected, and if they are insufficient to support the weight of slate, you might need to have your roof reinforced. This will only drive up the cost. Obviously, slate is much more expensive than asphalt shingles to install, but consider this: You will have to replace an asphalt roof at most 11 times before you have to replace your slate roof even once at a total cost of $58,000. Put another way, your roof will likely outlive you, so you face a one-time cost followed by decades of enjoying a long-lasting, low-maintenance roof.

Cost of a Copper Roof

Copper roofing will come shiny like a new penny and gradually fade to a dull-grey color reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty. You should do nothing to arrest the development of this patina, because once it forms, your roof will last indefinitely. On the other hand, copper is one of the most expensive roofing materials, costing $31,000 to cover 1,200 square feet. This puts a copper roof out of the reach of most homeowners, but copper is a light material, so you don't have to worry about upgrading your house before you can install your roof, and it will last even longer than a slate roof, so the end cost can be comparable to slate after factoring in work to your existing roof. 

The lesson to learn here is that if you can afford a long-lasting roof, you are doing yourself a favor. You will save money in the long-run by purchasing the most long-lasting roofing material you can afford. As for whether to choose slate or copper, copper is better for areas that get a lot of snow because the risk of roof collapse is less, but slate will be more affordable for most homeowners. 

To learn more, contact a roofing contractor in your area.