Metal Roofs add curb appeal, save electricity

When we hear metal roofs, we usually think of warehouses and commercial buildings. Not any more. Home remodelers are now using them for porches, porticos and entire roofs. They're also literally cooler than asphalt roofs.

We used to see metal roofs on more modern looking homes. Now people in the Washington DC area are adding porches to their very traditional colonial, rambler and craftsman style homes.

Metal roof covers porch area

We think the primary reason is that the roofs add interest to the house. They can really make a difference in a home's curb appeal.

Why a Metal Roof?
Besides adding texture and interest, there are several reasons why you may want a metal roof:

  • Comes in a variety of colors and textures,
  • Is recyclable,
  • Reduce electricity and maintenance costs, and
  • They last longer,.

Metal roofs now come in a variety of colors that can suit most tastes. We have seen them in dark chocolate brown, dark green, black, terra cotta and of course in cooper. The texture of the metal and line adds interest to the house, especially if the rest of the roof is covered with asphalt shingles

Metal roof on entire house

Metal roofs also have very good environmental credentials. Most metal roofs are made of 25 percent recycled material. At the end of their life, a metal roof is 100 percent recyclable.

People who live in multi-family homes or condominiums should also consider metal roofs if they are about to reroof their existing flat roof. In most cases, the metal roof can be installed right over an older flat roof. You'll save on the cost of removing the existing shingles and they won't end up in a landfill.

Most metal roofs last for about 40 years. High performance paints and coatings protect the metal from the elements. If you use a copper or zinc roof, the natural patina protects the metal naturally. The latter adds to the beauty of the house.

Most of us think that metal roofs are very hot during the summer. Just the opposite is true. Today, many metal roofs have special paint pigments embedded in them. They have lower temperatures and are actually called "cool roofs." If you use a metal roof on the main part of your house, you can actually lower your air conditioning bill. The paint pigments cause the roof to reflect more sunlight and not absorb as much heat.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee confirmed that painted metal roofs retained 95 percent of their solar reflectivity within 3 years of installation. The study provided an example of how hot various roofs get in a warm climate:

  • A white prepainted metal roof was 123 degrees F (Cool),
  • An unpainted metal roof was 142 degrees (Warm), and
  • An asphalt shingle roof was 164 degrees (Hot)

Metal roofs will last about 40 years before a new roof is required. In comparison, an asphalt shingle roof has to be reroofed every 25 years. Also, asphalt roofs have to be completely removed on the second reroof. The old shingles have to be disposed of in a land fill.

We believe that the initial added cost of a metal roof might be offset by their longer life and no need for reroofing until 40 years have passed. Also, since electricity prices are increasing, they can be construed as an electricity savings investment.

In fact, the US Congress formerly provided a $500 energy tax credit to home owners who installed metal roofs. Unfortunately, this expired on December 31, 2007. With the increase in electricity costs, we think Congress should reinstate the energy tax credits.

Write or contact your member of Congress (House of Representatives and Senate) and ask them to do this. Finally, check with your State and County governments. They may have provide some tax relief if you install a metal roof.