In most cases, you can install metal roofing over shingles. There are some exceptions to this, largely depending on how damaged the roof is. Your roofer will ensure that your home can handle a metal roof structurally and that any issues present won’t be exacerbated. Metal is very strong, but also very light compared to other roofing options, such as asphalt. It can be installed directly overtop the existing shingles, meaning you’re going to save a lot of money leaving them in place. Because metal is light, it won’t significantly increase the load for your home to bear. These roofs last a long time, they reflect heat rather than absorb it, and can withstand whatever the weather throws at them.
When it comes to installation, a quick “roofers near me” search can find you a professional. The basic idea is that you are screwing the metal over top of your existing shingles. Begin with getting a precise measurement of the surface you’re covering. Valleys, dormers, and chimneys will affect how much metal you need. You’ll start with laying roofing felt over the entire roof. You want your felt to be straight and square. Some people use wood strips to assist them. Any seams where water can get into will require flashing. From here, put the panels in place. Keep them straight and symmetrical, and apply this to the screws as well. You’re going to have to cut the valleys by hand, so be precise in your measurements.
Use rubber or foam closure strips for any overlaps. Get some that match the shape and color of your roof. These prevent water damage. You also have the option of attaching rubber strips for plumbing vents. Once finished, attach the ridge cap. This gives the roof closure and prevents leaking. You can also use a mesh to create a ridge vent that allows airflow.
There are a number of options you can use when it comes to roof installation.
Shingles (asphalt, fiberglass, and composite) – Asphalt is the most common roofing you’ll see on modern homes. It’s relatively cheap compared to other options and can last up to 30 years. They come in a variety of color options, which are prone to fading over years of sun exposure. You can opt for architectural shingles, which are thicker and more weather resistant. You can also do three-tab shingles, which are quicker to install but are prone to wind damage.
Metal – This style of roofing has been around for longer than most people realize, and is gaining popularity. Zinc and aluminum are cheap, beautiful, and require very little maintenance. Metal roofing is highly durable and will last a long time. Improper installation will cause problems, and you may need soundproofing for the noise it can generate in a storm.
Wood – Wooden roofing can make for a cozy-looking home, and it lasts longer than shingles. While wood is beautiful, it comes with a higher maintenance cost, especially in areas prone to fire (where you’d need to specially treat the roof). Wood is best used in dry climates, as water, mildew, and mold are a problem for wood.
Clay – Clay may last for an entire lifetime and is extremely fire and wind-resistant. It’s been used for over 5000 years around the world and is still being used today. Clay doesn’t have many color options, and it can be heavy. It also may require specialized labor to install. It's great at regulating the temperature within a home.
Slate – Slate is a material that will last. It may not need replacing for nearly 200 years, is completely fireproof, and withstands winds and temperature extremes. Slate is expensive and heavy, much like clay, and may require extra structural support. Unlike clay, it has a wider variety of color options.
TPO stands for Thermoplastic Polyolefin. It’s a mostly recycled rubber material sold in rolls, which are held together by seams that stick due to the heat. TPO comes in rolls but is priced like any other roofing material. It is best suited for flat surfaces, which it was designed for. Homes with pitched roofs will want to avoid TPO. It's not designed to be attractive and must be installed in dry conditions, which is why it’s generally seen among commercial buildings. The quality of material in TPO can vary greatly between manufacturers, which leads to wide variations in pricing.
TPO has many good qualities as well. It’s a reflective material, which means you’ll save money on cooling and energy usage. It’s very simple to install, lightweight, and requires little maintenance. Since it’s made from recycled materials, this roofing also lowers your eco-footprint. This doesn’t quite paint the whole picture, as the materials needed to install TPO can add up fast. You’ll need insulation between your home and the TPO, which helps regulate heat. Depending on the thickness, this cost can be as much as the TPO itself. You’ll also need to add flashing to the seams and corners. Flashing prevents water leakage, and ranges wildly depending on your roof, such as whether you have peaks, dormers, or a chimney.
To attach TPO to your roof, you have three main options available to you. You can use glue to fasten the rubber to the underlayment, which is known as an attached roof. A fastened roof uses screws to hold itself down, and a ballasted roof uses rocks or pavers.
On average, your roof will cost roughly $8,600 to replace. The price varies based on the size of the home and what materials you want to use. When you receive a quote for a roof, you may be quoted based on square foot, or by square. They are different, with a square making up 100 square feet. Either way, the cost for labor is, on average, between $1.50 to $3.00 per square foot, or $150 to $300 per square.
Another factor that can raise the cost of a roof replacement is whether there is damage. If the roof is rotting, it’s not safe for a roofer to stand on it. Roofing companies will need to bring in equipment and fix the rotting, which will increase your costs. If you’re requiring the roof to be replaced under extreme weather conditions, this may alter your cost. If you have multiple layers of shingles, it may take more time (and therefore money) to remove them.
Material can account for 40% of the roofing cost. Asphalt can be as high as $5.50 per square foot. Metal, on the high side, can be $14, and clay or slate can go as high as $20 per square foot. Wood can go as high as $7 per square foot, but requires a lot of maintenance. Most people tend to go with asphalt, as it tends to last up to 30 years, and has a variety of colors to choose from.
If you’re going to replace the roof, and it's not an emergency, fall is the best season for the job. Autumn is a relatively dry season, and the weather is cooler.
There are benefits and disadvantages to any type of roofing. Asphalt is a common roofing material that comes in shingles. They’re an inexpensive option and straightforward to install. Metal comes in long sheets. It can be expensive to make and to install, but its seamless design is among the best available for roofing options. Metal is currently gaining in popularity, but that trend may not last. Rather, consider how it holds up in comparison.
Metal roofing is durable, and can withstand heat, water, wind, and hail. Once installed, it’s also quite easy to maintain. Because of its reflective nature, you can save energy costs in the summer, as metal will repel heat. Metal costs more to create and install, plus it’s heavier. If your home needs stability improvements to handle it, that won’t be cheap.
Asphalt is cheap to make, cheap to buy, and cheap to install. It’s relatively durable, though its longevity is only 50 years compared to metal’s 70 years or more. Asphalt has low snow retention, and extreme weather can harm it. It offers nothing in terms of energy savings.
If shingles need replacing, it’s a relatively straightforward job. You slide a new shingle in place and nail it down. Of course, anything on the roof is a safety hazard, so don’t take the job lightly. Metal roofs don’t need a lot of maintenance, but when they do, it’s a pain. If you use improper materials, it can cause the metal to corrode and create a bigger problem.
Both materials make for solid roofs. Asphalt has a few drawbacks, but is also the best for a tight budget. Metal costs more, but you gain durability, savings, and longer replacement costs. If you have the budget, you can decide if it's worth it.
Metal roofing is sold in squares, which are comprised of 100 square feet, and may also be called metal sheets. There are a variety of different metals you can choose from.
To install, metal roofing costs $3000 on average, though style, pitch, and coating can increase those costs. As always, size can play a factor as well. All the best roofing companies can break down your options for you and help you decide what the best option is for your specific circumstances.
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