The decline of metal roofing as a popular building material in the US can be attributed to several factors. Old metal roofs of the 1800s and early 1900s, though durable and cost effective, were lacking in some important ways. Asphalt shingles (invented near the end of the 19th century and still the most popular roofing material in the country) had none of the drawbacks of metal roofing materials, and were cheaper to boot. It's no wonder that metal roofs became scarce as asphalt became more popular!
However, all over the country, including in San Francisco, metal roofing is making a comeback in a big way. Though asphalt shingles are still more popular, homeowners are beginning to see the benefits of metal roofs, and are taking advantage of the material's positives without having to deal with many of the drawbacks that were common in metal roofing of the past.
San Francisco Metal Roofing vs. Asphalt Shingles
It's true that, in general, installing asphalt roofing is less expensive than installing metal roofing; San Francisco residents should consider, however, the maintenance costs and replacement costs of both materials over their lifetimes. Asphalt shingled roofs are likely to last 20 or 25 years in the mild environment of San Francisco; metal roofing is often covered under warranty for 40 or 50 years, and can sometimes last much longer. This means that, if you plan on staying in your home for several decades, an asphalt roof will probably require replacement (and will definitely need some repairs) about twice as often as a metal roof. Even though the initial price might be higher for metal, the savings over time could easily make up the difference, and are likely to actually save you money.
Tile Roofing vs. Metal Roofing in San Francisco
Tile roofing, though not very common nationwide, is an extremely popular material in California. While many folks enjoy tile roofs for their beauty, the fact that they are likely to last for 70 years or more is a pretty good selling point, too. Unfortunately, traditional tile roofing is one of the most expensive roofing materials on the market. Add to that the fact that tile's weight will probably require adding extra structural support during installation (if you are simply replacing old tile with new tile, this shouldn't be a factor), and you've got a far more expensive and time consuming operation on your hands than installing a new metal roof.
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Benefits of Newer Metal Roofing Materials
Historically, metal roofs have had a few issues that have made them a less desirable material than some others. When it rained, old metal roofs were extremely loud (some might describe them as transferring the sound of each individual drop into the living areas of the home). If subjected to impact, old metal roofing would dent easily. When it came to insulation, older metal roofs were extremely poor. And then there was the rust to worry about, also.
Newer metal roofing products and installation techniques have gone a long way into making the material more practical and efficient. Newly installed San Francisco metal roofing won't rust and won't be excessively loud during a rain storm. Metal roofing does require some hefty insulation, and though it might hold up better under impact than its predecessors, a sudden blow can still leave a mark. One excellent aspect of metal roofing that many people don't realize is its light weight; it can actually be installed directly on top of some other roofing, adding the benefits of metal, while keeping the good aspects of the underlying material intact.