Metal roofing is an excellent choice for quality-minded homeowners, because it is virtually the only lifetime roofing system that is light-weight, long-lasting, and most of all – affordable. There is much confusion about the cost of metal roofs, as there is a wide range of styles and materials to choose from, with some costing a lot more than others. In this guide, we will show you how much you should expect to pay for different metal roofing systems, and how the choice of different metals will affect your total cost.
Cost of Metal vs Other Alternatives
Many people considering metal roofing, make a common mistake of comparing its cost to asphalt shingles (the most common and inexpensive option for sloped roofs). This is not an accurate comparison: metal roofs are a lifetime roofing material, while asphalt shingles are not. You can expect to replace an average asphalt shingle roof every 15 years. Even the “50 years” or “lifetime” asphalt shingles won’t last more than 25-30 years, as they will simply dry out / roast under sun’s heat and ultraviolet rays.Consequently, metal roofs costs 2-3 times more than asphalt shingles. Even if you only replace an asphalt shingles roof twice over the course of 30-40 years, you will end up paying the same amount of money or more than it would have cost you to initially install a metal roof.
In terms of price differences, metal should be compared to its counter-parts in the roofing market – other lifetime roofs, such as natural slate, clay Spanish tiles, concrete tiles, and lately, synthetic slate roofing. An average metal roof will cost you only about one third the price of natural slate, while it will look the same or better, and last at least as long. Also, metal roofs cost just as much as cedar shingles roofs, but they will outlast cedar shingles by at least 3 times on average, as cedar shingles rarely last longer than 20 years, due to moisture, mold, mildew and moss growth, etc. Also you can get a metal roof that looks just like a cedar shingles roof, at almost the same price.
Metal Roofing Prices
Although prices differ from region to region, metal roofing prices are more stable and uniform, compared to the cost of asphalt shingles. Prices provided in this article are the going average in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island, but there should not be much difference in metal roof cost where you live, unless the economic situation in your region is very dire. Usually roof prices have a direct co-relationship to the cost of living in your area, and metal roofs are no exception. We will list prices for different metal roof materials in the order from low to high.
Before we dive in, lets establish a reference point for which all prices are given: Our model will be a 1500 sq. feet gable roof with one chimney, a ridge and two roof “planes”, as well as 3 bathroom vent pipes. There are also two skylights on the roof and about 50 feet of roof to wall flashing (side-wall flashing). Our “model” roof has a plywood deck with no shingles, or any other roofing materials on it and all wood is in sound shape. We will install 3 feet wide Ice and Water Shield along the eaves, and GAF DeckArmor underlayment on the rest of the roof. We will also install 5 snow-guards over each door used in the winter, over garage doors, and a ridge vent along the ridge.
Basic Rundown of Roof Specs
- Roof slope – walkable – 3 to 6 roof pitch
- No tear-off
- Roof installation to include Ice and Water shield along the eaves / valleys, and GAF DeckArmor over the rest of the roof
- Roof installation includes Ridge vent cut in and installation
- Roof installation includes new, color-matching chimney flashing and counter flashing
- Skylight flashing and chimney flashing for more than one chimney is usually extra, and is not included in the following per-square roof pricing
- Snow guards are normally installed only over doors, which you use in the winter – typically 5 or 7 snow-guards per door. Any additional snow-guards are charged for at about $15 per snow-guard
- When roof difficulty goes up, the price-per-square goes up. So a roof with many valleys, dormers, side-wall flashing, etc., will cost more than a simple roof in the picture bellow
Exposed fasteners (EF) metal roofing – Multi-rib / R-panel / V5 crimp panel / corrugated metal roof prices:
The price of an EF metal roof averages between $600-650 per square. This price is due in part to considerably lower quality and cost of roofing materials, as well as faster, simpler installation.
Unlike architectural metal roofing, such as standing seam, exposed fasteners metal roofs cost considerably less, but are also of a much lower material quality and are limited in terms of installation / flashing methods for complicated roofs. EF metal roofs are designed to be a cheap option for farm / industrial / commercial buildings, and are rarely used on residential homes.
This type of metal roofing is usually made with a cheap 29 ga steel and acrylic paint / coating, instead of a minimum 26 ga steel and Kynar 500 paint for architectural standing seam. Also, the limited flashing method makes this type of metal a bad choice for complicated roofs. Exposed fasteners increase the chance of roof leaks and will normally require re-sealing and re-tightening in about 10 years, as neoprene rubber gasket dries out and water begins to seep in.
Steel interlocking shingles is the least expensive architectural metal roof system. On average, one square of steel shingles will cost you about $800 to install on a simple roof such as the one described above, excluding any tear-off, and other extras such as multiple chimneys/skylights flashing, gutters, leaf-guards, etc. This price includes any one of the three available profiles: Slate, Wood Shingle and Tile.
Being the “least expensive” does not mean that it is “the worst quality”. In fact, steel shingles, such as those demonstrated above, are a very high quality metal roofing system, but cost the least. This is because they are the least expensive metal for us to purchase, and are the “easiest to install”.
Similar to the prices of steel interlocking shingles, aluminum shingles will cost $900 per square, which includes the difference in material prices. All other items remaining the same, aluminum shingles installation is virtually the same as steel shingles, with the exception of using aluminum ring-shank nails and usually not using clips, as aluminum shingles are smaller (1 sq. ft. each) and have a built in attachment “ear”.
A simple roof with standing seam metal panels will cost about $1000 per square for a steel metal roof. An aluminum standing seam metal roof will usually cost about $1100 per square to account for the materials price difference. Also, the snow-guards choices for standing seam roofs offer a great range for styles, but increase the overall cost as well.
There are a number of reasons why standing seam is more expensive than both steel and aluminum shingles. First, the prices for standing seam material itself are considerably higher, as the metal gauge is higher compared to metal shingles in both steel and aluminum. Second, installation of standing seam is more complex, time consuming and difficult, and becomes even more so if there are any roof penetrations such as sky-lights or chimneys. This is because the flashing method for roof curbs on standing seam metal roofs very complicated. Lastly, the price is higher because there is no way to install staging on a standing seam metal roof. Instead, the hydraulic lift must be used on most hip roofs, as there is no way to attach a hook ladder to it.
Specialty Metals – Stone Coated Steel, Copper and Zinc
Stone coated steel
Stone coated steel roofs usually cost about $1300+ per square, including installation of 2×2″ battens, and underlayment. All roof penetration flashing is rather complicated due to design limitations, and hence will cost even more than curb flashings for standing seam roofs.
Although stone coated steel roofs are pretty common in the south and the mid-west, they are rather rare in New England. Due to high material costs and complicated installation, stone coated steel metal is only installed when a specific style of a light metal roof is required.The most common style of stone coated steel roofs is the Spanish tile impressions.
Stone coated steel roofing is usually made form a 24 or 22 gauge, G90 galvanized steel, and is coated with tiny stone granules painted in typical colors of clay tile roofs installed throughout Southern Europe, with predominantly red and orange shades. These roofs are usually installed over horizontal battens, and installation goes from top to bottom instead of the typical bottom-up installation process.
Despite higher than usual roof prices, stone coated steel offers a beautiful look of a Spanish tile roof, at a fraction of the total cost of real clay tiles, while material quality is at lease the same, if not better. The relatively light weight of stone coated steel roofs eliminates the need for special framing required to support the weight of real clay tiles.
Spanish tile stone coated metal roof, which we installed at Venus De Milo restaurant in Swansea, MA
The least expensive copper roof shingles will cost you about $2000 per square. This number is not very firm though, as copper prices are very volatile and have risen dramatically over the last few years. This price includes all flashing made from 16 oz. copper as well as copper shingles which are also made from 16 oz. copper. You also have a choice of 20 oz. copper, but that will bump up your copper roofing cost another $100 per square.
Copper Spanish tile will cost you about $2750 per square, as it is made from 20 oz. copper, which by default costs considerably more than copper shingles and the installation of copper Spanish tile roof is also much more complicated.
Any custom copper work will be priced on an individual basis, as there is really no way to provide standard pricing for custom copper roof work. However, a typical straight panel copper bay window will cost you between $2500 and $3000. Any curved copper roof installation will increase the roof price dramatically.
Due to this high cost, copper is rarely installed over the entire roof. Instead, it is usually used for smaller, custom roofs, such as decorative bay-window roofs, curved metal roofs, etc. However, if you want to have a copper roof installed over your entire house, the most cost-effective copper roof would be to use copper interlocking metal shingles, which have the same design as aluminum shingles, and are once again the easiest type of copper roof to install, and cost less than copper standing seam.
Since copper is a pretty soft metal, is can be molded and formed to look like almost any type of roof. Copper looks particularly “awesome” when it’s made to look like Spanish tile, especially when the natural green patina occurs on it due to normal oxidation. The Spanish tile copper roofing is by far the most expensive copper roof, when you price it for the whole house. Of course it will still be less expensive per square foot, compared to custom copper roofing.
Zinc roofing costs virtually the same as copper, though in some cases it is actually less expensive. In general, you can expect to pay $1800-1900 per sq. for zinc roofing on roof sizes over 500 sq. feet. A zinc roof is usually installed as standing seam, though, custom zinc roofing shingles can be ordered and manufactured as a special order.
Metal Roofing Resources
Solar Metal Roofing – Did you know that a standing seam metal roof can be combined with thin-film solar panels such as PV laminates made by UniSolar? Solar metal roofing is the most cost effective way to combine green metal roofing materials with Solar Panels, and get the best price for both!