There are several different kinds of metal that are used as roofing materials, and it’s important to know about the unique characteristics and differences between them.
The most common kind of metal roof coatings is made from steel. Being one of the most well developed metal industries, steel is a great choice as it offers strength and flexibility, it’s affordable and it is good for any kind of building be it residential, industrial or commercial. Steel roofs are usually made using G galvanized steel, with galvalume steel being used for the sheet metal coils as it’s of a higher quality. Although other (more expensive) kinds of stainless steel are sometimes used on high end developments like commercial buildings, more often than not galvanized steel is the best choice.
Tin roofing has quite a long history in the US. Tin smith craftsmen used to do a roaring trade in tin roofs for residential homes for many, many years although they are far less common now. Some are still installed, but tin is nowhere near as durable as other kinds of metal, steel for instance, and needs to be coated regularly in order to preserve their condition and stop them from corroding.
Probably the longest lasting metal roof material, aluminum can last longer than even the building does sometimes. Aluminum does not get affected or degraded by the natural elements it is exposed to, nor by salt or oxidation. While the paint may fade, the roof will always last.
Highly expensive, but offering reliability, beauty and style all in one, copper roofs can be something of a luxury. Unpainted copper has its own natural grace and classical beauty that will never go out of style. Copper is quite similar to aluminum because it is very long lasting though the color will slowly change, but even then it doesn’t matter because the ‘aged copper’ look is very much sought after. Because of its prohibitive cost, copper is rarely used on residential homes. Only the most exclusive homes will have copper roofs installed. The reason for the cost is that copper itself is a very expensive material, and the installation process is also a very difficult process, requiring lots of soldering and mechanical attachment. If you opt for copper shingles, then the process for installing them is the same as for aluminum and steel roofs, therefore the cost will be quite a lot cheaper.
Zinc roofs are not that much different from copper roofs overall. Both are expensive and both are extremely long lasting. However, copper is widely preferred as it is more aesthetically pleasing.
The last common metal roofing material is iron. Iron roofs are not common at all, and offer much the same qualities as steel roofs do.