Metal roofing has taken off in popularity and the market doesn’t show signs of slowing. According to Industry ARC, the metal roofing market size is estimated to reach $5.2 billion by 2027. There are many reasons for this explosion of popularity including metal roof’s durability, their energy efficiency and their long lifespan. Across the construction supply chain, contractors and suppliers alike are keeping an eye on the growing market. Keep reading to learn more about what’s going on in metal roofing!
The most common types of metal roofs are steel and aluminum, but according to Allied Market Research, other metals, including copper zinc and more are also popular options. Beyond the type of metal, the options are seemingly endless with materials available in panels, corrugated, tile, shingles and more. They also come in an array of colors and textures.
Metal Construction News reports that the share of residential metal roofing in the United States has risen from 12 percent in 2019 to 17 percent in 2021, and that share is expected to continue to rise.
The History of Metal Roofing
According to Erie Metal Roofs, a residential roofing company, sheet metal was developed during the American Revolutionary War by Robert Morris, who used the sheet metal as a roof for his mansion in Philadelphia. Over the years, continual advancements and improvements made metal roofs stronger, yet lighter, and easier to install than before. Beyond the United States, this industry progress was happening in England, France and Canada.
Early on, using a tin, copper or metal roof was popular in order to prevent fires, and in 1857, a metal roof made of 20-gauge galvanized corrugated iron was installed on the U.S. Mint in New Orleans. Many other historic buildings throughout the United States have had metal roofs, including Christ Church in Philadelphia, Princeton’s Nassau Hall and more.
Since the early days of metal roofs, materials and processes have continued to improve and the popularity has continued to grow. Because of its ability to stay cooler than other roofing materials, in the late 20th century, metal roofs were a smart choice in sunny climates like Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado and throughout the south.
Benefits of Metal Roofing
While a metal roof may be more expensive upfront than traditional shingle roofs, there are several benefits that make metal roofs a solid financial choice.
- Durability – The standing seam on metal roofs is designed to last 50 years compared to traditional asphalt shingle roofs that last 10-20 years, due to the average 15-year lifespan of exposed fasteners. While different roofing materials have other advantages, metal roofs outperform in durability, standing up to the elements – sun, rain, snow, wind and even fire – like no other material can.
- Little to no maintenance required – Metal roofs require very little upkeep or repairs that other roofs may require. While they should be inspected periodically, they don’t need frequent repairs.
- Leak resistant – For climates that experience significant rain or snow fall every year, metal roofs are a great option because when installed correctly, they are less susceptible to leaking than traditional shingle roofs.
The Future of Metal Roofing – They’re Good for the Environment
One of the most popular aspects of metal roofing, and a reason why it’s gaining popularity in recent years, is that consumers can feel good about making the decision to go with metal as part of their role in being good stewards of the environment. Environmentally focused benefits of metal roofing include:
- Better energy efficiency – A metal roof is more energy-efficient than a traditional single roof. This is good for the environment and cuts down energy bills. There are also additional coatings that can be added to reflect unwanted heat. While traditional asphalt roofs can heat up attics, metal roofing actually blocks the heat from getting in, keeping homes cooler. According to State Farm Insurance, metal roofs can provide a 10-25 percent reduction in cooling costs due to their ability to reflect the sun and infrared light rays.
- More earth friendly – As consumers move to a circular and zero-waste economy, metal roofing is a great option. According to the Metal Construction Association (MCA), “Conventional roofing products, including asphalt shingles, contribute an estimated 20 billion pounds of waste to U.S. landfills annually, whereas metal roofs can often be installed over an existing roof, eliminating the cost and eco-impact of tear-off and disposal.” The MCA website also cites that metal roofs are made from 30-60 percent recycled material and can be recycled at the end of their lifespan as a roof.
- They are solar ready – More and more consumers are adding solar panels to their metal roofs. Solar panels can be added to any type of metal roof. With asphalt shingle roofs needing to be replaced approximately every 10-20 years, if a homeowner has solar panels, they need them removed in order to replace the roof and then reinstalled. This all costs money and takes additional time. Having a metal roof with a 50-year lifespan cuts down on that need.
Where the Metal Roofing Market is Growing – a Smart Choice with a Changing Climate
According to the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), a non-profit organization which represents the residential metal roofing industry in the United States and Canada, homeowners in Florida, Pennsylvania, California, New York, North Carolina and Texas are most interested in metal roofs for homes.
MRA notes that while these are all populous states, they’ve also experienced increasingly severe weather from hurricanes to wildfires to polar vortexes. The durability of metal roofs has made them a popular choice for homeowners in these areas, especially those who are needing to repair or rebuild after a climate-related problem.
MRA expects the demand for metal roofs will continue to increase due to climate change across the United States, especially in geographic areas that are experiencing more and more climate extremes.
The Future of the Metal Roofing is Worldwide
The growth of the metal roofing industry is not only due to the benefits consumers continue to realize, but also geographic expansion into developing regions such as Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, according to Allied Market Research.
And while the residential market is currently, and is expected to continue to be, the most lucrative market segment for metal roofing, it’s closely followed by commercial roofs. Use for agricultural buildings and industrial buildings less so.
Current Trends in the Metal Roofing Industry
An article in Metal Architecture noted that metal roofs can mimic many popular roofing options, including slate, clay, wood shakes and asphalt, but have the added benefit of low-maintenance performance and protection that only comes with having a metal roof. The article also noted that while standing seam metal roofing is still the largest share of metal roofs, other styles are increasing in popularity, especially in the residential market. Design improvements and options eliminate concerns that metal roofs look too industrial.
The trends in metal roofs also follow overall home design trends when it comes to popular colors, textures and styles.
Metal roofs are an option for more and more roofing opportunities, like curved roofs, transitions, vaults and more, often saving money, providing increased energy efficiency and durability to homes and buildings where metal roofs previously hadn’t been an option.
Potential Drawbacks of Metal Roofs
Like all roofing options, there are potential downsides of metal roofs to consider, including:
- Availability – It’s sometimes difficult to get the raw materials needed and prices can be volatile.
- Shortage of installers – There is a lack of qualified contractors for installation, providing an opportunity for more contractors to go into the industry.
- Upfront costs – A metal roof will cost more than an asphalt roof upfront, but due to many factors like energy savings, minimal upkeep and longevity, they more than make up for the initial price tag.
- Concerns regarding noise – Metal roofs are often noisier than asphalt during rain and hailstorms.
Malco’s Role in the Metal Roofing Industry
Malco is a leader in manufacturing high-quality tools for the building trades, including metal roofers. Carrying a wide variety of products designed specifically for use with metal roofs, Malco outfits both commercial and residential contractors with the tools they need to get the job done.
One of Malco’s best-selling, and well-known, line of tools is the Andy Snips. These lightweight snips are used across trades and are specifically manufactured for ease-of-use, ensuring clean, efficient cuts across a variety of materials, including metal.
We also just launched Metal Benders by Malco, which are lightweight, durable and modular benders that contractors can bring right to the job site and are already raving about them. Check them out here!
Malco has always supported building tradespeople as well as students interested in these careers. One of the upcoming ways we’ll be celebrate tradespeople is through our Building Exterior Pro of the Year, which we’ll be opening later in the year. Stay tuned for the chance to win some great prizes and be recognized in the industry for outstanding work!
Malco also supports trade education programs in a variety of ways, including supporting new graduates by supplying a significant Malco tool gift (value of $150) through its Head of the Class program.
It’s an exciting time in the metal roofing industry. There have been great innovations, uses and reasons why consumers are looking more and more for metal roofs.
Check out all of Malco’s growing product selection for metal roofing.