Although metal roofing has been used around the world for thousands of years — and in America since the Colonial era — it is just beginning to get a foothold in the American roofing market. Experts estimate that metal roofing represents about 10% of the entire roofing market; although metal roofing contractors offer sheet panels and a wide variety of roofing shingles, the general public may not yet realize the benefits of metal roofing in general.
In the last decade, there has been a strong push toward the installation of residential solar panels. What many American homeowners are noticing, however, is that asphalt roofing may not be the ideal support system for solar panels. Over time, the tendency of asphalt roofing materials to degrade — and sometimes leak, destroying roofing substructures — has residential and commercial property owners looking for a long-term solution.
The newest solar panels are referred to as “thin-film solar laminates,” and are reported to work well with metal roofing panels or shingles. Metal roofing in general should last up to 50 years or more with regular inspection and cleaning, and roofing companies have access to metal shingles that mimic asphalt, clay tile, and wooden roofs. Largely made from recycled steel, metal roofs are becoming a popular choice for the restoration of churches, schools, and historically-significant public buildings.
Roofing contractors should be able to recommend the appropriate roofing materials and solar panels for each individual property. Typically, solar panels are hidden from street view and may also be mounted on outlying structures like sheds or freestanding offices. Experts advise that even high-end metal roofing like copper will be less expensive than traditional roofing materials, figuring a much lower rate of replacement for projects involving metal.
In states that are prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, or severe winter weather, roofing contractors may recommend the installation of commercial and residential metal roofs. Studies show that metal roofing can absorb winds of up to 140 miles per hour and should offer an advanced level of protection against sudden and severe weather changes. Roofing contractors should also be able to provide metal shingles or panels for barns, garages, and other structures that are vulnerable to ambient weather conditions.
Financially practical, metal roofing materials may be able to cut thousands from heating and cooling budget lines every year. As more homeowners become aware of metal roofing options, roofing contractors should experience a surge in customer inquiries. Coupled with thermally-efficient windows, recycled steel doors, and new high-tech solar panels, metal roofing may finally get the attention it deserves in the coming decade.