Why metal roofs are a good choice in extreme weather regions
Many of us in the roofing industry have commented on the constant rise in popularity of metal roofs across the country. Where, a decade ago, you heard the homeowners complain that they look "too industrial" for residential use, today the metal fence's installation boom is even more pronounced in that particular sector.
Here in Nebraska, the trend is really not that surprising. First, we are no strangers to bad weather. We are right at the core of Tornado Alley, where having a solid roof can be transformed into a matter of life and death within minutes.
Image Credit – http://www.bigstockphoto.com/
Damage caused by the devastating Hallam, Nebraska Tornado outbreak in May 2004.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reports that the state has had 47 major disaster declarations since 1953 – a fact that underscores the importance of protecting real estate from all types of bad weather. And metal roofs are a great place to start for the following reasons:
Reason # 1: Roofing material
Metal roofs can be made of steel, copper, aluminum, lead, tin or a combination of these metals. Regardless of the type of metal, metal roofs easily exceed most other roofing materials when it comes to:
- Structural strength. Metal roofs can weigh one-third down to one-eighth of the weight of conventional asphalt single roofs because of the incredible strength-to-weight ratio of the material.
- Copper, steel, aluminum and other roofing metals have low corrosion and low staining and bucking potential.
- The strength and durability of the metal allows it to offer longer life than most other roofing materials. The typical metal roof lasts 30 to 40 years, and it can be extended by 20+ years after painting. Copper and zinc roofs can easily last for a century or more.
- Wind and hail resistance.Metal roofs are highly rated for wind and hail resistance. Some insurance companies actually offer discounted premiums for properties that have metal roofs.
- Fire resistance. Metal is non-combustible and has a Class A rating.
Reason # 2: Roof Design
The inherent physical properties of metal already make it an outstanding roofing material, but contractors also ensure that the protection is also integrated into the roof construction. Since water is the roof's main enemy, keeping it away is the most important thing in the construction of metal roofs.
- Hydrokinetic systems. Like most single-style roofs, these metal roofs depend on water protection to protect the houses from water penetration. These systems have interconnected metal sheets secured with hidden fasteners and are suitable for roofs with slopes greater than 3:12.
- Hydrostatic systems.These metal roofs are waterproof and have standing seams that hold the joint between the metal panels above the waterline. They are suitable for low-slope roofs and in areas with high risk of ice dust formation and wind-driven rain.
Reason # 3: Roof Installation
Like metal roof construction, metal roof installations are governed by recommendations from local, state and federal agencies such as FEMA and the International Code Council (ICC). Certified local roofing contractors must be aware of (and implement!) All applicable standards that apply to things like:
- maximum lengths of continuous metal panels
- flashing size and attachments
- wood blocking
- mounting size, materials, meters, markings and mounting points
- sealants, sealing strips and accessory components
- material compatibility (eg aluminum and copper cannot be used together due to the risk of galvanic corrosion)
When it comes to metal roofing materials, design and installation you cannot have one without the rest. The best materials can not compensate for poor design and installation, a faultless roof construction can not compensate for sub-materials and installation, and so on.
In the end, it is the combination of these three aspects that makes metal roofing a good choice for homes and buildings, not just here in Nebraska, but virtually anywhere in the world.
Dave McKinnis is the owner and president of McKinnis Roofing & Sheet Metal. He started in the industry in 1972 at a very young age. His goal is to give customers and friends 100 percent satisfaction by just giving the best of what they can offer. He is passionate about nature and often puts his industry insight into blogging.