Browse our list of Frequently Asked Questions and answers to learn more about steel roofing.
Since it is 100% recyclable, steel is an inherently environmentally friendly material. Recycled steel is used extensively in the production of new steel. Therefore, not only does each steel roof contain a portion of recycled material, but it can also be completely recycled at the end of its useful life. Steel roofs help keep hundreds of tons of used roofing material out of our landfills each year.
Contrary to popular belief, steel roofing is very lightweight compared to other roofing materials. Depending on the system, it can be up to 50% lighter than some asphalt roofs. No additional support is needed. In fact, steel roofs can be light enough to be installed directly over existing roofs without stripping off the old material at a significant cost savings.
One of the great features of a steel roof is its ability to shed snow and prevent ice dams from forming. Ice dams are notorious for causing ceiling leaks and can result in thousands of dollars worth of damage.
No. Lightning is no more of a concern for a steel-roofed house than for a house with any other type of roof.
In some cases, strapping can be installed directly over top of the existing roof. Not only does this save the time and labour involved in stripping the old roof, but it also eliminates disposal costs and keeps hundred of pounds of roofing materials out of landfills. Your individual contractor will have to evaluate whether this is a suitable option for your house.
Article originally posted on CBC Marketplace Blog on January 31, 2011.
How to avoid getting ripped off by your roofer
By Megan Griffith-Greene
It may not be as sexy as a shiny new kitchen reno, but shopping for a roofer is one of the most important, and costly, decisions that a homeowner can make. So how can you be sure you're hiring one that's up to the job? Here are some of the best questions you can ask:
1. What training and experience do you have?
Unlike other types of contractors, roofers in every province except Quebec don't need any certification or training before starting work on your roof. So until the rules change, the burden is on homeowners to ensure that their roofer knows the trade. And if you're hiring someone to do a more complicated roofing project - such as a flat roof, metal roof or complex shapes such as turrets - you want to be sure that your roofer has ample experience in that specialty. Any seasoned contractor should be able to answer questions about their training, so that you feel comfortable that you've hired a pro.
2. How long has this company been in business?
Another thing to watch out for - and ask any contractor about specifically - is how long the company has been around. Your roofer may have been in the industry for a decade, but if the business is brand new, it's something to watch for. You want to make sure that the business is established: A good reputation builds over time, and a company that values its reputation is more likely to work to keep it.
3. Will you be subcontracting out the job or doing it yourself?
Checking out your roofer is one thing, but what if a different roofer shows up to do the work? It's not uncommon - especially during busy seasons - for one roofing company to hire another crew or subcontract the work out. So make sure to find out if you're hiring the roofer you think you are - or somebody else.
4. Can I see a copy of liability insurance and workplace safety insurance coverage?
In addition to making sure that a roofer knows their way around your roof, you also want to make sure that they're prepared in case someone falls off it. If a worker is injured while working on your house, or damages your neighbour's property, you might be on the hook legally. Don't just ask if the roofer has insurance, ask to see a copy of it, and call the insurance company to make sure your roofer is in good standing.
5. Can you give me contact information for past customers as a reference?
The best homework you can do is to get a list of references of your contractor's past roofing clients. Make sure to get names and phone numbers - not just addresses to drive past. Former clients can tell you more than just whether or not their new roof as sprung any leaks; they can also fill you in about how the company handles customer service after the cheque has been cashed.
While the life span of any building product will depend on the aggressiveness of the local environment, studies show that you can expect a steel roof to last at least 2 to 3 times longer than a regular asphalt shingle roof. In general terms, count on a metal roof lasting 40 to 60 years and beyond, where the average life span of an asphalt roof would be 12 to 20 years. Made of oil impregnated paper or fiberglass, asphalt begins to deteriorate as soon as you expose it to normal weather. Asphalt shingles are also subject to biological attack from mold and other destructive organisms. A metal roof, on the other hand, is inorganic and will never decompose. A steel roof will last even longer with minimal maintenance (e.g. periodic washing). Post painting when necessary will also extend the product life.
The cost will depend on a number of factors such as:
- Style / Profile type (vertical rib, tile, standing seam)
- Colour and paint system
- Complexity of roof area (i.e. number of hips, valleys or transitions, dormers, etc.)
Because metal roofing is a premium, longer life home product, you can expect the initial cost to be more than an asphalt shingle roof would cost. However, no matter what kind of metal roofing style you choose, its life cycle cost will be less. A metal roof is less expensive than tile, cedar shake and slate roofing.
Steel roofs are designed to meet or exceed the strict wind and water penetration standards set out by the local building codes. Extensive testing is done to ensure they comply with these requirements. In addition, steel roofs have some special characteristics that make them exceptionally resistant to severe weather, including:
- Hail: Steel is very resistant to structural impact damage from hail, and will not chip or crack like tile and slate roofs.
- Heavy ice & snow: Steel roofs shed snow and ice better than typical roofing materials, preventing excessive snow build-up and ice dams.
- Wildfires: Steel is a non-combustible material and will not spread fire. Consequently, it will resist the heat from windblown sparks that are commonly associated with wildfires, keeping your home safer.
Steel roofing makes economic sense and adds to the value of your home. Your roof's long life, durability, low maintenance requirements, and lasting aesthetic appeal will all be strong selling points. Prospective buyers will take notice of this feature when the time comes for you to sell.
Not always. Some roofing manufacturers require strapping to fasten down their products, so they should be consulted. In a re-roofing application strapping can be useful to provide better anchorage to the roof trusses and to level out the roof surface. There is also some advantage to having an air space behind the roofing, but not all manufacturers insist on it. Consult the manufacturer.
Residential steel roofing is available in many shapes and forms. The forming process provides not only strength, but when coupled with high build finishes, absorbs and deadens much of the noise. With the home insulation standards of today, you should not notice any difference in noise levels between roofing materials.
The installer is correct that you do not want to use lead flashings with a steel roof. The dissimilar metals will cause accelerated corrosion. Steel flashing material can be provided by the roofing manufacturer and is the typical product used for all flashings in conjunction with steel roofing. The important considerations are the installation details.
Steel roofing is available in a rainbow of colours. The range of colours varies by roofing product as well as from manufacturer-to-manufacturer. Consult with your contractor or a manufacturer's representative. Many manufacturers will also feature their products and colours on their web sites.
Very little maintenance is needed for steel roofs. The roofs can be periodically washed to remove any debris. In the long term, occasionally repainting your roof will extend its life by decades. Your contractor or manufacturer can give you further instruction on roof care.
Residential steel roofing is available in a number of styles and types. In addition to profiles that are distinct to steel (like standing seam, vertical rib and corrugated), many steel roofing styles replicate other traditional roofing materials including shingle, slate, clay tile, and cedar shakes. Once again, offerings may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Consult with your contractor or a manufacturer's representative.
To view examples of the various styles, please visit our Roofing Styles section.
Paint coatings that are available include modified polyester, fluorocarbon (Kynar), and PVC (plastisol) coatings. The choice of a paint system will depend on the architecture of your roof, the local environment, and the desired performance. Your contractor or manufacturer can discuss the options with you and help you to determine which paint type would be most suitable for your particular home.
Steel roofing is normally purchased through distributors (e.g. building supply stores or lumber yards) although a few manufacturers will sell direct. We have provided you with a list of the manufacturers and the distributors that you can contact. The list of distributors may not list all of the available sources, so visit your local building supply stores as well.
To get an estimate you will need to contact a roofing applicator. In some cases (particularly with the steel tile products) the manufacturer also does the installation and can do the estimate. Where the roofing product is sold through a building supply store, they should be able to suggest an applicator in your area that can quote on doing the job.
Steel has been successfully used for roofing on commercial and institutional buildings for over 50 years. This long track record has shown steel roofing to be an attractive, versatile, and durable product, with a lifespan 2 to 3 times longer than conventional roofing products. In addition, over the product life cycle, steel roofing is extremely cost effective. Residential construction is just beginning to realize the numerous benefits of steel roofing. A steel roof will add a distinctive elegance to your home while providing this host of additional benefits.
No. Steel roofs have no notable effect on reception.
The characteristics of metal are such that it absorbs and dissipates heat quickly. As with any material, colour is one of the governing factors related to reflectivity and absorption. Experience shows that installing a metal roof on your home should not affect your energy requirements, and could in fact reduce it.
Methods of installing accessories like satellite dishes on steel roofs have been developed, and are easily followed. Your contractor or local building supply store should be able to give you specific instructions.