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5 Types of Metal Roofing and Which is Best for You

Shed Metal Roof Close-Up

Choosing the right type of roof for your outdoor storage building is an important decision. You want something that will last, look nice, and maybe even match your home. If your homeowners’ association doesn’t impose any requirements, there are several reasons to consider metal over other shed roof materials.

 

Why choose a metal roof for your outdoor storage building.

 

  • Metal is fire resistant. If you live in a wooded area, you might feel safer with a fireproof substance covering your shed.
  • Metal roofing is tough. It lasts longer than any other roofing solution.
  • When it comes to options, metal is the way to go. Panel profiles, coatings, and colors abound when choosing a metal roof.
  • A metal roof is lightweight and is specially designed to accommodate the load of snow and ice.
  • Since metal reflects the sun and its heat, rather than absorb it, a metal roof will keep the interior of your shed cooler in the summertime.
  • A metal roof is 100% recyclable.

 

Which type of metal roof is right for me

 

Researching the choices of metal roofing to use on an outdoor storage building can get downright dizzying. Terms like galvanized, U-panel, exposed fasteners, and more can have you opening more tabs for clarification than your web browser can handle.

 

According to Dave Pence, owner of K&D Metal Roofing in Rockingham County, Virginia, the three most common types of metal roofing used on local storage buildings are rib steel, snap lock panels, and standing seam. All the different types you read about online actually fall into one of these categories. In other words, there are a lot of names that float around for the same thing.

 

What is Rib Steel Roofing?

 

“Using rib steel is an economical way to get a roof quickly,” said Pence, who has worked in the metal roofing industry for 33 years. It is easy to install, comes in several grades according to your budget, and has a nice color selection.

 

For storage buildings, you might think rib steel is the way to go. However, rib steel roofing is screwed down with exposed fasteners. Under the screw is a neoprene washer which, once it deteriorates, will need replacing to prevent leakage.

 

“Anytime you have a fastener exposed,” said Pence, “you are going to have the potential for leakage.”

 

Nevertheless, a well-cared-for rib steel roof should last 25-30 years.

 

What is a Snap Lock Roof?

 

The term “snap lock” refers to how the seams of the pre-formed metal panels are put together. Each panel is edged with a flange that has slots in it for the screws. Once that panel is screwed to the roof deck, the next panel snaps onto it, creating a vertical seam, and covering the flange and the screws.

 

Most folks prefer snap lock roofing because the fasteners are never exposed to the elements. Also, you can purchase panels with seam heights from 1-2 ½ inches, in several thicknesses, and in a variety of colors.

 

“The flashing details can be somewhat challenging, though,” said Pence, “because you cannot cut the panels to fit.” If your building has a chimney or dormers, this point is something to consider.

 

What is a Standing Seam Roof?

 

Also called mechanical seam, the standing seam roof is one of the first metal roofs developed. You can see an early example of a standing seam roof on Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello.

 

“It’s not unusual to find one 110-years-old,” said Pence.

 

Fabricated on-site from a roll of sheet metal, a standing seam roof requires some special skill. The roofer cuts the metal from the roll in the required lengths and forms the panels to be attached to the prefabricated edge pieces. He then connects the panels together by creating a folded seam.

 

“Cleats or clips are folded into the seam as the seam is closed,” said Pence. The panel is then screwed to the roof deck through the cleat. “The cleat or clip is under the roof panel and invisible,” he said.

 

Generally, this method provides a tighter fit around protrusions like dormers and chimneys so the flashing is not as challenging. Not having exposed fasteners, and being applicable for up to a 1:12 pitch with no special treatment, makes standing seam the most watertight option.

 

Traditionally, standing seam roofs are made from galvanized metal, which is steel with a zinc coating. For outdoor applications, you want a G90 rating on your metal. That rating indicates the weight of the zinc per square foot.

 

Galvanized metal is good with a mill finish (natural) for about 20 years. “Then you will start to see rust forming,” said Pence, “and have to paint it.” But, painted, a standing seam roof will remain durable for about 80 years.

 

Sometimes a standing seam roof will experience what is called “oil-canning.” Caused by the angles of the roof and the reflecting light, it is where the metal expands and contracts with temperature changes. According to Pence, this phenomenon can be avoided by using a lower gloss paint.

 

New on the metal roofing scene is Galvalume®. Galvalume is steel with a coating of 55 percent aluminum, 45 percent zinc, and a small amount of silicon.

 

“It is very durable,” said Pence, “and can be used in marine applications.” It comes in a variety of colors or a mill finish.

 

A storage shed with a metal roof doesn’t have to be unsightly. Byler Barns offers several options for both style and color. Contact someone from our design team today for more information.

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