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How Much Does A Metal Roof Cost To Install?

National Average Change Location | View National
$7,976
Typical Range
$4,648 - $11,493
Low End
$1,600
High End
$20,000

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At the moment, metal roofs account for 10% of the residential market. However, even asphalt roof installers agree that metal roofs are the roof of the future.

On This Page:

  1. Estimating Metal Roof Costs
  2. Metal Roof Pros, Cons & Myths
  3. Types of Metal Roofs
  4. Metal vs. Asphalt Roofing
  5. Conclusion

How to Estimate Your Metal Roof Cost

According to the 2014 US Census, the average square footage of the average American roof is 1700 square feet. Calculating the cost of a metal roof isn't as simple as just knowing your square footage, however. The price of metal is subject to fluctuation. Sometimes it can be pretty volatile. (In 2007, steel had a very wild period in which quotes for steel prices were good only for one hour!)

Here's a quick formula to calculate a rough idea of how much you should expect to pay: Metal price + waste percentage + shipping + labor = total cost The metal price is per square (100 square feet). Depending on the complexity of the job, your waste percentage will generally be between 5% and 20%. Shipping can vary depending on distance and material. Some places deliver anywhere in the lower 48 states for $75 for standing seam roofing. Shingles usually ship as LTL (Less Than Load) and may cost a bit more.

Labor can cost around $3000, assuming the roof is an ordinary shape with no steep slopes or other features. After adding details such as drip edges, gable edges, ridge caps, valleys, fasteners, coating, and pipe flashings, the total can be from 3 to 7 times the cost of just the materials alone. It's worth having it professionally done, though. Get it done right, and your roof can out-live you and your house!

How Much Does A Metal Roof Save Me?

Though a metal roof may involve a large up-front cost, if you plan to stay in your home for a long time, the savings are well worth it.

  • A metal roof can save up to 40% on your energy bill.
  • A metal roof can get you an insurance discount of up to 30%.
  • If you decide to sell, a metal roof can recoup up to 95%.
  • A metal roof will not need the amount of maintenance of an asphalt roof.
  • A metal roof lasts at least 4 times as long as an asphalt roof.

Finally, there is the "life cycle cost", or how much a roof will cost you over the years. A shake roof may start out at around $12,500, but after a 40 year cycle the cost of the roof can rise to almost $45,000 when you calculate in maintenance and repairs, a yearly cost of over $800. Concrete roofing starts at around $7,000, but 40 years later it has cost almost 5 times that in maintenance and repairs, around $700 per year. A metal roof that starts at $15,000 has risen to only around $18,000 over a 40 year span, or about $75 a year. (Note: These are not actual yearly maintenance costs. They only represent what the total maintenance and repair costs are spread out over 40 years.)

If you need a more exact price, contact a roofing professional now.

Hire a Metal Roof Installer Now

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Pros, Cons and Myths

Pros of Metal Roofs

Along with the above advantages here are some other points to consider:

  • Because it doesn't peel up like asphalt, metal roofs offer better protection from the elements.
  • Being an environmentally friendly material, a metal roof could qualify you for tax credits.
  • Metal roofs are energy efficient and can save 10%-40% on your energy bill.
  • In most cases, a metal roof can be installed over your existing asphalt roof.
  • Metal roofs are durable, and some have been proven to withstand winds of up to 140mph.
  • Metal is lighter than most other roofing materials, weighing almost half as much as asphalt.

Cons of Metal Roofs

Metal roofs do have their downsides, though many are treatable or avoidable altogether with a good installer:

  • Metal roofs have a higher up-front cost, as much as three times that of asphalt.
  • Depending on the type of fastener used, a metal roof could have trouble with expansion and contraction due to the weather.
  • Metal roofs require extra insulation from noise.
  • If a metal roof needs a minor repair for any reason, there is usually an inconsistency in the color matching due to the natural patina from exposure.
  • A poor installation can leave places for water to accumulate.
  • While a metal roof won't catch fire, firemen who need to get into your attic or who need to get through your roof for any reason find metal roofs very difficult to breach.

Myths

As metal roofs are not as prolific as asphalt, many myths have arisen about them. Here are a few, as well as the truths behind them:

  • "Metal roofs are noisy." -- This calls up the old image of a hard rain on a corrugated tin roof. The flexibility of the corrugated tin is what makes the roof respond like a cymbal. Metal roofs are rigid and often have a sound-deadening underlayment. Some homeowners have reported that their houses are actually quieter after having a metal roof installed!
  • "You can't walk on a metal roof." -- The idea behind this one is that the metal will buckle. Any roof will buckle if it doesn't have good roof decking supporting it. Metal is as "walkable" as any roof.
  • "Metal rusts." -- Yes, it does, if it's exposed and doesn't have a galvanized coating or some other form of protection. Metal roof installers should include this in the estimate.
  • "Metal gets hot." -- Anything left in the sun gets hot, especially metal, asphalt, slate, or pretty much any other material used for roofing. Metal roofs can be coated with cooling colors that reflect solar heat and help keep your home comfortable. Also, metal sheds heat more efficiently than asphalt, resulting in an average 40% savings for cooling during the summer.
  • "Metal makes your roof a lightning rod." -- No, height makes a lightning rod. A metal roof is no more prone to lightning strikes than an asphalt roof. There is a big difference, however; asphalt ignites. When lightning strikes something flammable, it can combust. Asphalt is petroleum based and can burst into flames. A metal roof can take the strike and may actually protect your home from lightning!
  • "Metal is heavy." -- While any rock music fan may agree with you, metal roofs are actually lighter than asphalt by around 50%, and lighter than slate, concrete tile, and fiber cement shakes by about 75%
Contact a Roofer for a Quote


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Types Of Metal Roofs

The type of metal your use for your roof is also important. Aluminum, copper, stainless steel, tin, and zinc are among the most commonly used for roofing.

  • Aluminum -- In addition to being easily recycled, aluminum is one of the most pliable metals. It can easily be shaped and curved to accommodate many different designs and styles. Aluminum has a high natural reflectivity and is considered among the most energy-efficient materials.
  • Copper -- Copper is a very long-lasting metal. The Statue of Liberty is clad in copper and has been standing in New York Harbor since 1886. The greenish patina that copper develops actually helps preserve it from corrosion.
  • Stainless Steel -- Stainless steel is an alloy of chromium and steel. It is corrosion resistant and rust resistant and has an excellent track record. For example, stainless steel is used on the Chrysler Building in New York City.
  • Tin -- Tin is a very affordable metal. It has naturally corrosion resistant properties and is easily shaped into various profiles.
  • Zinc -- Zinc is a naturally occurring metal that can actually "heal" itself. It forms a coating as it weathers that protects the zinc and reseals if it suffers dings or scratches.

How the roof is fastened is another consideration. Exposed fasteners are more economical. The fastener, however, is exposed to the elements which increases the risk for leaking. A good roof installer will remove your old roofing material and use a "peel and stick" underlayment to minimize this risk. Concealed fasteners cost more, but they are hidden from the elements, giving greater protection from exposure and potential leaking. They also create a more sleek appearance.

Gauge

The gauge of the metal is a measurement of how thick it is. The smaller the number, the thicker the metal. 24 gauge metal (sometimes written "24ga") is thicker than 29 gauge, which is the minimum recommended gauge for residential construction. Some roofs, such as Modular Press Formed Granular Coated roof, are only available in certain gauges (26 gauge in this case). 24 gauge is the recommended gauge for high wind areas. The gauge of the roof doesn't affect the overall price much. The difference is usually a matter of around $100 per square. (A "square" in roofing is a 100 square foot area.)

Coatings

Coating on a metal roof not only helps protect it from the elements, but also provides color. Most coatings protect the roof from "chalking", a white haze that forms through natural oxidation. They are also often fade resistant to a given degree. The price of coatings varies between $150 and $200 for a 5 gallon bucket. Generally, coating covers about 100 square feet per gallon. It's a very important step for your metal roof and it should be listed with your estimate.

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Additional Considerations

As with any home improvement project, there are things to consider before plunging in.

Style

The first thing you'll need to think about is the style. As we said above, metal roofs can be made to look like a number of different roof styles. Different styles may not be suitable for all materials and gauges, so give this some careful thought:

  • Standing Seam -- This is the most popular style of metal roof. The "standing seam" is made by folding the long edges of two adjacent panels up and then folding them over on themselves, giving the roof a ribbed look. Standing seam panels longer than 20' have hidden, movable clips that fasten to the roof deck. This allows them to safely expand and contract with the weather. This is a very weather-resistant and attractive style. Materials that can be used with this style include steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc. The cost is around $7-$13 per square foot.
  • Modular Press Formed Panels -- These are interlocking tiles that can be made to resemble slate, tile, wood shake, or shingles. They provide the traditional appearance of most residential homes today with the benefits of a metal roof. They use hidden fasteners, and the four-way interlocking panels make for excellent resistance to lifting up due to high winds. They come pre-painted and can be made from steel, aluminum, copper, or zinc. The cost is around $7-$9 per square foot.
  • Modular Press Formed Granular Coated -- This style can be either "thru fastened" (the fastener penetrates the panel through to the roof deck) or it can use hidden fasteners. A press formed panel with a stone-granule embedded acrylic, these can be made to look like shake, tile, or shingles, and are made from 26-gauge steel. The cost is around $8-$9 per square foot.

Not sure which is right for you? Have a professional inspect your home & decide.

Find a Roofing Contractor Near You

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Metal vs. Asphalt Roofs

Metal roofs have several advantages over their asphalt counterparts. A homeowner who intends to stay for a long time would be well advised to consider these advantages:

  • Longevity -- The average lifespan of an asphalt roof is 15-20 years. A metal roof can last 40-60 years easily before it needs any major attention.
  • Resale Value -- Replacing your asphalt roof with a metal roof can add $1.45 per square foot to your home's resale value. A typical 1700 square foot roof can add almost $2500 to your sale price. Up to 75%-95% of your cost can be recouped.
  • Aesthetics-- An asphalt roof looks like an asphalt roof no matter what color you make it. A metal roof comes in a variety of styles and can be made to look like ribbed panels, tiles, wood shake, or even asphalt itself!
  • Low Maintenance -- Over its lifespan, a metal roof requires very little maintenance and is cleaned with little more than a good pressure wash.
  • Insurance Discounts -- Some homeowners have seen discounts on their policies of 30%-35% thanks to a metal roof's inability to catch fire.
  • Environmentally Friendly -- Metal roofs are made of about 30% recycled steel. Unlike petroleum-based asphalt, the entire roof is 100% recyclable.

Which One Is Best for your Climate?

Cost and durability aside, you should be thinking about your climate. Metal has a lot of advantages over asphalt in most climates, but in certain conditions asphalt might be a better choice.

  • Snowy or Icy -- If you live in areas that get a lot of snow or ice, you'll find that asphalt roofs are safer, even over the granular metal that replicates shingles. The asphalt provides a better grip and is not prone to icing up, though it may get covered with snow. If you have to go on the roof to shovel off a dangerous pile of snow, you'll be glad you have a "slip-resistant" roof.
  • Fire Prone -- Metal really is the best choice for fire-prone areas. Steel-roofed homes survived fires in Oakland Hills, Glendale, Laguna Hills and Santa Barbara while structures around them burned to the ground.
  • Hot & Dry -- Hot, dry areas can cause asphalt shingles to age prematurely. If you live in the southwest desert, where long dry spells are broken by rare but torrential downpours, you can find yourself routinely having to have leaks repaired. Dry air, however, doesn't have much of a deteriorating effect on metal.
  • Big Temperature Fluctuations -- Though asphalt is a petroleum-based material and feels flexible enough in your hands, it doesn't expand or contract well. A properly installed metal roof will be able to expand and contract with large fluctuations in the weather.
  • Temperate Regions -- Where the weather is mild and the risk of fire is low, which material you choose is more dependent on your budget and personal tastes. If you're only planning to stay a few years while you move up to your dream house, the economy of asphalt can't be argued. If you intend to set down roots and stay a while, the longevity of metal is your best bet for the long run.

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A Quick Comparison

To compareAsphaltMetal
Weight2 - 5 lbs. per sq. ft.1 - 4 lbs per sq. ft.
Lifespan15 - 20 years60 + years
AppearanceLooks like asphalt shinglesMultiple styles from panels to shingles
Cost per sq. ft.About $1 - $4
  • Steel panels: $7 - $13
  • Steel shingles: $3 - $7.50
  • Aluminum panels: $9 - $11
  • Aluminum shingles: $7 - $9
  • Copper: $15 - $18
DIY?Most projects and small repairs can be DIY.Generally not DIY


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Conclusion

When comparing asphalt with metal, the durability of a metal roof is its crowning glory. A roof that will probably outlast its owner is a good investment. Asphalt is more economical, and that's why it has the majority of the residential market at the moment. When metal becomes more economically viable, that may change. However, for now, asphalt is king.

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Dennis Godfrey More than 1 year ago

I have installed metal roofs on out buildings and my shop, at 62 I am not up to this work any more.

I have gotten bids from $10K to 28K for 1800 SQ FT Home. I used to be a contractor and I never made that kind of Money on a basic job like this?? Some Contractors are getting greedy.

Delasie Wynter More than 1 year ago
I'm interested in metal roofing but the quotes are from 15-25 thousand dollars. Some contractor are trying to rip people off.
Linda Jones More than 1 year ago
I have been quoted $3,200 for a steel metal roof on a small doublewide mobile home and the contractor has some excellent reviews, I will definitely be using his company.
Rhonda Haskins More than 1 year ago
Extremely helpful as this house is almost 100 years old and the current shingle roof is 43 years old and we want a metal roof but are still tossing the idea between steel vs. aluminum.   The comments were a big help.....thanks.
carol armstrong More than 1 year ago
My current quotes are high.  This information will help me to negotiate a fair price.
tisha ford More than 1 year ago
very informative article. just getting an idea of what is involved.
William Logan More than 1 year ago
I'm definitely going to go with a metal standing seam roof.  Very informative read. 
Brian Ayres More than 1 year ago
Lots of information here.  I found in coastal SC that standing seam is about 10 dollars a square. Always use experienced installers for metal roofing on your home.  
Karen Hazlett More than 1 year ago
very helpful information.
Thanks !
Roger George More than 1 year ago
My understanding of metal vs. composite roofing is much improved after reading the information provided here..  Contractors are asking premium prices for their work now.. 
Cecil Jackson More than 1 year ago
Very informative . Especially cost numbers. I am a retired residential contractor from both Swimming pools and home remodeling. I have worked on a commercial crew where the standing ridge panels were simply screwed to felt covered wood decking. No expansive hardware used . I was not the boss . Information on expansive hardware was very helpful before i talk to a roofer on Tuesday 11/01/16.
Prasad Kommineni More than 1 year ago
very informative documentation about metal roof and its cost and advantages or disadvantages.
Samantha Phiffer More than 1 year ago
We had 3 estimates for a metal roof and the prices on 2 were crazy (1. 24,760.00 & 21,986.00, the third is the company we choose ( 14,667.00 (Mako) they were very fast (4 days) and the price was far less than the others. They gave us a 50 yr warranty and did a fantastic job. I guess my 2 cents is go with someone who knows their product and stands behind it. 
Bob Walsh More than 1 year ago
A lot of good information, going to standing seam metal so I don,t need to get up on they roof anymore, getting too old to be up there anymore
Sylvia Hastings More than 1 year ago
This information was very helpful. We currently have a metal roof that has hail damage. We are going to replace it and wanted to make informed decisions. 
Dorrell Smith More than 1 year ago
very helpful tip. I just retired out the Army and purchased my first home 6 months ago and I realized that I'm gonna need a new roof soon. Hopefully I can get a metal roof for done for 20k to 25k in this crazy economy.
susan jenkins More than 1 year ago
what is the best kind of roof for a rental house? I want to try metal.  who is a good contractor?

john Fagan More than 1 year ago
Helpful info for decision making.
Satish Reddy More than 1 year ago
Very informative!
cheryl cole More than 1 year ago
The prices that you gave me is to high. Yes I agree some contractor are very high.
robert loay More than 1 year ago
I like the look of metal but would like to fine an contractor that would give me a great deal
julie danaa More than 1 year ago
I fell like an expert now.
Jerry Mogan More than 1 year ago
This article was very informative and helpful
Ruth Ellis More than 1 year ago
Sounds like a great choice.   Very interested in metal roofing
bob winters More than 1 year ago
very informative
Ciro Arnone More than 1 year ago
it has been a learning experience right from the beginning. I am convinced that metal is the best way to go. Roofers would like to retire early and therefore charge more than they should.
Elta Johnson More than 1 year ago
going with METAL.

susan jenkins More than 1 year ago
Did you do your roof yet?

mat t More than 1 year ago
Very helpful. Now I feel well informed.
Jodi Johnson More than 1 year ago
Great info!!
susan jenkins More than 1 year ago
Did you do your metal roof yet?
Harold Low More than 1 year ago
Wish I could walk on metal
Rick Webb More than 1 year ago
we have not get a price yet or had the roof put on will be doing in the very near future.
Karen Heffernan More than 1 year ago
This was very helpful !

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