The Cost of a Standing Seam Metal Roof, Plus Pros & Cons

Standing seam is the premier choice for metal roofing. It is also the most expensive; around two to three times the cost of corrugated metal panels (and asphalt shingles), and about 20% to 30% above metal shingles.

Standing seam offers unbeatable value (durability, longevity, energy-efficiency, and style) that is hard for any other roofing material to match. Let’s explore this in further detail:

Cost

G-90 Galvanized Steel is the most popular or most-often used option for residential standing seam roofs. The “G” here refers to the amount of the zinc plating, as in .90oz per square foot.

Did you know? Standing Seam is also available in Aluminum, Galvalume Steel, Zinc and Copper

While technically, aluminum is more expensive than steel, the reality is the costs aren’t noticeably different when considering what is being sold to homeowners by quality contractors.

If the materials were not coated and not finished with factory painting, then perhaps the higher cost of aluminum would be something of note. In the current market, they are virtually the same cost.

Cost of Materials and Important Nuances on Pre-Cut vs. Custom-Fabricated Metal Panels

Standing seam metal panels and trim will cost between $3.50 and $5.50 per sq. ft. for made-to-order (custom fabricated) metal panels, depending on the overall order size, location, and supplier relationship.

In terms of metal quality and thickness a 26 or 24 gauge Galvalume steel would be a better and a longer lasting option compared to G-90 galvanized steel, especially near the ocean.

Total Cost per Square Foot Installed

A qualified contractor will likely have real metal samples, a brochure or catalog to show off all the possibilities for what’s available. They’ll provide all the information that backs up their work.

And, if going with the national average, their prices will normally fall in the range of $9.00 to $12.00 per sq. ft. to install the system on a typical house.

How to Find a Trusted Metal Roofer

Depending on your location, it can be tough to find a specialist roofing contractor that installs Standing Seam, but even more challenging is finding a pro that does it well.

Installation costs do take into account a number of factors, such as: how exactly will the panels be connected, what are some of the existing roof needs to address (i.e. attic insulation and ventilation, the tear off and disposal of the old roof, etc.), what are the options in terms of metals/alloys, colors and gauge or thickness of the material, whether the installer is properly insured, and whether or not any meaningful labor warranties are being offered.

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Zinc: The Dark Horse of Metal Roofing – Zinc Roof Costs 2019

There are not many roofing materials that can match the longevity, durability, malleability, flexibility, resiliency, and cost-effectiveness of Zinc.

Not even aluminum or copper! Zinc roofs are known to last for hundreds of years, even in the most extreme environments.

Truly unmatched durability, longevity, and classic beauty — that’s what zinc roofing offers to a homeowner. — At $12 to $15 per sq. ft. installed, it is the kind of value that is simply unmatched in all other roofing materials.

Zinc — Most Amazing Building Envelope Material You Never Heard of!

In the US, the whole idea of using Zinc as a roofing or cladding material for a house may sound other-worldly.

Aluminum and steel dominate residential metal roofing market, while asphalt shingles are by far the most popular overall roofing material.

When you also factor in natural slate, clay tiles and cedar/wood roofing options, Zinc barely registers on most people’s radars. Though this trend is changing, slowly.

Did you know? 70% of residential roofs in Europe are covered with Zinc. In Paris, this number goes up to 85%.

via Metal Tech USA

Metal roofing is often chosen for its durability and longevity. All properly designed and correctly installed high-end metal roofs are likely to last at least 50 years.

Yet, in order for that to hold true for Steel, for example, it must be coated with metallic finishes such as G-90 galvanized steel and Galvalume (zinc and aluminum coating), along with high quality paint finishes such as Kynar 500. With Zinc, as well as copper, that is not the case.

Both Zinc and Copper form protective patina, meaning they will not rust nor be adversely impacted by weathering.

Both of these metals benefit from aging, and their patina process.

With Zinc, it starts out dark, as in dark gray / near black and then changes to a patina light gray or bluish color. Zinc can also be painted virtually any color, which serves as a sacrificial layer prior to the patination process.

Did you know? Thanks to Zinc’s naturally-forming self-healing properties, it can provide years of virtually maintenance-free roof and building envelope protection

Zinc Standing Seam Roof with level changes on a House

via CraftCorp

What makes Zinc truly fascinating is its resiliency. All metal roofs, including Zinc, can be scratched. With Steel, scratches in its coating layer will expose the base material to the effects of oxidation and corrosion.

With Zinc, it actually self-heals. You read that right, Zinc if scratched will self correct.

The protective (patina) layer of Zinc is technically hydroxyl carbonate that will, over time, reform itself and thus eliminate blemishes or scratches. This is one, of a few reasons, why the market for Zinc will often sell pre-patinated Zinc roofing.

As you may have guessed, Zinc is extremely durable. When steel is “galvanized”, it is really just adding a protective layer of Zinc to dteel base to protect it from oxidation, as Steel is naturally corrosive, or will rust when exposed to salt, water, or moist environment over a long period of time. galvanized and Galvalume Steel will forgo that aging for a couple of decades.

Like most metals, Zinc is insect-proof, fire resistant, and mildew / fungus-proof. Zinc also benefits from being non-toxic. Because of its low to non-existence toxicity level, soft zinc is marketed as replacement for flashing material for all roofs.

Back in the day, the traditional material was lead, then steel, but soft zinc, offers virtually the same level of durability with no known toxicity impact.

Did you know? Run-off water from Zinc is considered ‘clear’ or contaminant free, which most metals can’t readily claim. Thus, a zinc roof is a great option for homeowners interested in rain water collection.

Like many other metals, zinc is fully recyclable. Plus, it will reflect solar radiant heat, as most metals do to some degree, which prevents the unwanted transfer of heat from the roofing material into the attic space.

On the contrary: Asphalt shingles gain a lot of heat during the day and transfer much of it inside your home.

Moreover Zinc has even greater environmental value in that it takes less fuel to manufacture it, really to boil it and shape it into finished roofing product.

Did you know? Aluminum and steel use a good two to four times the amount of energy in their production compared to Zinc.

All this value would make you think it’s gotta be at least as expensive as Copper. Nope. Not necessarily.

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Cost & Benefits of Ribbed Metal Roofing: Pros & Cons

Ribbed metal roofing is in the same family as Corrugated metal roofing. It is made in a similar fashion (at a metal mill), attached to the roof in the same way, and installation costs are about the same.

The key difference is in the appearance. Ribbed metal can be mistaken for Standing Seam, which is on the upper echelon of metal roofing.

Cost

Based on the price of materials alone, Ribbed metal paneling is certainly in the same ball park as Corrugated metal paneling.

The pricing does depend a bit on who you are purchasing the materials from, but a price range of $1.00 to $3.00 per linear foot is what you’ll routinely find. — This assumes you are going with a coated steel (i.e. galvanized or Galvalume), stainless steel or aluminum product. Then add a minimum of $2.50 to $4.00 per sq. ft. for professional installation, and you’ll get a base rate of $4.00 to $7.00 per sq. ft. of ribbed metal paneling installed.

Note: Labor costs may be higher than $3 per sq. ft. Total cost ought to be below $7.00 to $9 per sq. ft. installed, which means the cost of warrantied labor could go as high as $4.00 to $6.00 per sq. ft., in some cases.

Why would installation costs ever be that much higher higher? Well location is part of it, along with complexity of your roof, slope, or pitch, of the roof, and amount of custom metal flashing required for the job.

If your existing roof is to be torn off and disposed of, that would be a separate line item cost. Same goes with possible repairs to the roof. The good news is that Ribbed metal roofing can be installed over the existing roof.

For an average sized roof (say 1,600 sq.ft.), the total installation cost is likely to fall within $5,500 to $9,000.

A very large roof, say 3,000 sq. ft. would then be double, right? Not necessarily. If it is a non-complex roof, it could be significantly less than double as the more product you order and the more work being provided to the contractor, the less of an overall charge per sq. ft. the project could result in.

ROI: With all metal roofing, the return (value to cost) on your investment will be excellent. It starts at around 86% and, again, depending on your location may be higher.

This means that if you were to spend say $10,000 for a ribbed metal roof and sell your home while the roof is still in great condition, you can plan to recoup $8,600 of that value just from this part of your home.

Residential homes along the east coast of the U.S. tend to fetch better than 86% ROI.

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