I am in need of a replacement roof and I am wondering whether to go with
steel or shingles. I have heard horror stories about steel expanding and
contracting with the heat and pulling the screws out eventually causing
leaking. The reason i was considering steel is my roof plywood is only 3/8"
and I probably could use the extra support of steel but... any suggestions
would help. Thanks
1. Steel roofs have been around a long time and they last a very long
time. My guess is any problems of the like you noted are not due to steel
roofs but do to poor installation or the imaginations of a salesman who does
not carry steel roofing.
2. Don't expect a steel roof to provide any structural support. It
relies on what is under it just like shingles. If you want additional
support add it.
I agree. Steel roofs are very popular for homes in areas with a lot
of snow as it allows for the snow to slide off the roof easier.
These roofs, while more expensive, can have typical lifetimes of
50yrs. and are trouble free.
There was an article in the local paper recently stating that
firefighters are having fits with the steel roofs. In a house fire,
the steel roofs hold in the heat much more than shingle roofs, causing
the entire house to be many hundreds of degrees hotter, therefore more
dangerous to firefighters. Plus internal house/contents damage is much
greater. (I'm wondering if insurance will go up because of this).
With a shingle roof they merely chop a hole in the roof to vent the
heat, but with the heavier guage steel roofs they have to call for a
metal cutting saw, work on a very hot surface, and are blasted by
exteme heat when they cut through. They definitely don't like the
The metal roof people tout safety as a benefit. Steel roof will not ignite
from spark coming out of a chimney. Guess it may be a benefit if you have a
wood stove or fireplace, a detriment if you do not.
In California forested areas (like where the fires were last summer),
they DO NOT allow shingled roofs any longer, nor cedar shakes. They
MUST use steel, or something expensive like slate or clay tiles.
Nothing is perfect, and these local fire departments should start
having metal saws with them.
I live on a farm, and my barn, and several sheds all have steel roofs.
The barn is about 30 years old, and yes, there were a few loose nails,
I just hit them down and applied a little silicone caulk over the
heads. However, the steel on this barn is the old corrigated type,
which was not as good as the newer types, also the barn roof sagged
from snow loads, and was not structurally strong enough to begin, and
I had to add some supports. Most new steel roofs are installed with
screws, not nails, and have neoprene washers, which outlast the old
lead washers on the nails. Steel will outlast shingles many times
over. If your roof is only 3/8 plywood, you need the extra strength
of the steel. I'd recommend puttting 1x4's or 2x4's (ACROSS) the
present roof (not up and down). That will provide a good screwing
surface for the tin. Then put syrofoam insulation between the boards.
The only disadvantages of steel, it's a little noisier during storms,
but the styrofoam will help with that, and if you have a steep roof,
it's hard to walk on (slippery). Otherwise it's far superior to
shingles, and is also less likely to build up ice dams in the winter.
Steel roofs are lightweight but do not provide any extra support. Very
hail resistant. No screws.
I put on the Gerard roof about 5 years ago.
Expensive (about the same cost as heavy shake). Can be installed
right over your old roof.
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