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The basics to know about steel roofing and its properties

These days, steel dominates the metal roofing market because of its strength, durability, sustainability, and relatively low cost. Steel roofs are hardly exposed to shrinking and cracking. Besides, they are good at protecting houses from hail, heavy rains, heat, snow, and wildfires. If you’ve decided to install a new roof on your house and want to know more about steel roofing, our guide will assist you in choosing the best option. Keep reading to learn about steel roof types, their benefits and drawbacks, longevity, maintenance, and average installation costs.

The basics to know about steel roofing and its properties

Table of contents
1. What is a steel roof?
2. What are the pros and cons of installing a steel roofing system?
3. How to calculate the average steel metal roofing costs?
4. Find a professional roofing contractor with MyHomeQuote

What is a steel roof?

Steel roofing is a strong alloy of carbon and iron. It is usually coated with finishes that help preserve the original roof color, protect the metal from corrosion and rust, and improve its performance. In addition, its heavy weight makes steel sturdy and rigid. Unlike other materials available in tiles, steel roofing systems usually comprise large steel metal roofing panels or sheets in various corrugation profiles.

Types of steel roofs

To select the optimal material for your roof, you need to know what steel roofing types exist and how they distinguish from each other. Here are the three most popular varieties:

  • Galvanized steel

This type of roofing is produced of steel covered with zinc. A coating ensures reliable protection from corrosion, dent, and rust, extending the overall longevity of a roof. Galvanized steel roofing often has a thickness that meets the needs of a homeowner. Panels might have a slight or medium zinc coating that helps them remain intact for decades. 

  • Weathering steel

This type of metal roofing is made of low-carbon steel with the addition of alloying components that make it durable and corrosion-resistant, eliminating the necessity for regular painting. As time passes, a finish made of copper, phosphorus, and silicon forms a film on the panels that rusts into a unique color. Weathering steel panels can last between 50 and 70 years with minimal upkeep.

  • Galvalume steel

Steel roofing of this type is coated with aluminum, zinc, and silicon alloy, ensuring reliable protection from the elements and prolonged useful life. Galvalume is not exposed to corrosion and oxidation and can be used in regions with extreme weather conditions. Besides, this material features resistance to high temperatures and salty air. In contrast to galvanized steel roofing, galvalume one offers better surface protection but is more vulnerable to blemishes and scratches. 

The expected service life of steel roofing

Steel is a good option if you seek a roofing material that can stand the test of time and be resistant to damage and severe weather conditions. In the case of proper installation and regular maintenance, the lifespan of steel roofing can be around 40–65 years. Stainless steel can serve even longer, up to 100 years. 

The basics of steel roof maintenance

The roof’s longevity depends on many factors, with proper maintenance being one of them. If you don’t want to change the roof every 20 years, inspect it at least once a year. 

Here is why regular maintenance is essential for steel roofing:

  • preventing severe problems like scuffing, corrosion, and leaking
  • extending the roofing system’s durability and longevity
  • maintaining the aesthetic look of the roof and the house for many years

Since steel is exposed to rust, it’s crucially important to select a suitable substrate that will minimize the risk of rust appearance. Please note that even if you have a good protective finish, it will deteriorate with time, and you’ll need to restore the original roof’s condition with a polymer coating. You can also improve the material’s performance by repainting the roof.

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What are the pros and cons of installing a steel roofing system?

The choice of roofing material should be determined by the environment you live in, the budget you’re ready to invest in, and your custom requirements. Though each type of steel roofing has its merits and drawbacks, they all have some common features listed below.


  • Corrosion and rust resistant

Steel panels, especially galvanized ones, are hardly subjected to corrosion and rust. That means they can be installed in all climate areas around the country.

  • Durable

Steel panels are highly durable, and along with special finishes, they ensure ultimate roof protection from damage, rust, and corrosion for up to half a century. Corrugated tin and steel roofs that were popular in recent decades are now less durable than steel metal roofs.

  • Heat and fire resistant

Steel takes in less light and heat than other metals, ensuring better thermoregulation inside the house and lowering the restriction on cooling equipment. Besides, this material is resistant to fire and can be installed in California, New Mexico, Colorado, and other wildfire-risk areas.

  • Weatherproofing

Steel is a robust material that has unmatched resistance to the elements. This roofing option shows its unbeatable endurance and can easily withstand hail storms and high winds. Besides, it does not overheat under the scorching sun, keeping the premises cool in summer. 

  • Recyclable

Steel is known as the most recycled material in the world. As a rule, steel metal panels comprise up to 50% of recycled metal, so this material is considered to be environmentally friendly. 

  • Easy to maintain

Steel roofs do not require costly maintenance. All you need is to clean them from fallen leaves and debris and conduct professional inspections at least once a year. Keep a close eye on scratches and spots as they might be the first signs of rust. 


  • Costly

If you seek to install a roof that will last for decades, you should be ready for high upfront payments. Although spending on steel metal roofing, including material and labor, might be three times higher than on asphalt shingles, you will also get a high return on investment. 

  • Noisy

Steel roofing can cause annoying noise during heavy rains or hailstorms. Nevertheless, installing a proper underlayment and insulation will help absorb any outside noise and maintain peace and quiet in your house.

How to calculate the average steel metal roofing costs?

Installing a steel roof on a typical house with a 3.000 square-foot roof will cost you between $19.000 and $37.000. The price may depend not only on the material you choose (be it a premium quality steel or a standard one) but also on the roof's structural characteristics and contractors' rates in your region.

The national average cost of steel roofing ranges from $6 to $15 per square foot. Stainless steel is the most durable and, thus, the most costly type of steel roofing that goes up to $22.00 per square foot, including material and labor. The more affordable steel roofing options are galvanized and galvalume, the installation costs of which are $18 and $12 accordingly. On top of that, consider the cost of acrylic coating that ensures better roof reflectivity, weatherproofing, and corrosion resistance. 

Compared to steel roofing, other sought-after popular roofing options are less expensive. Nevertheless, energy efficiency, longevity, and resistance to cracking make this material a perfect choice in the long run. Thus, homeowners can expect an ROI of up to 86% by investing in steel roofing.

Find a professional roofing contractor with MyHomeQuote

Are you looking to estimate your steel roofing project and compare price quotes from a few local installers? Then you may need professional assistance from dedicated MyHomeQuote experts. Once you leave us your request, we will analyze it and match you with qualified roofers who operate nearby and meet your budget and expectations. It usually takes us less than a few hours to bring you clear-cut roofing estimates and recommendations. We work on a pro-bono basis and do not make you hire someone from our contractor's list. 

Find the best local professional and start turning your roofing project into life!

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