Metal Roofing From an Installers Point of View

You might have already read our Interview with Shawn Bellis of Epic Exteriors about DaVinci Roofscapes.  When I was interviewing Shawn, he kept comparing DaVinci to metal roofing, so I asked him if he would be game for talking about the metal roofing and DaVinci.  I was excited to learn about the differences from an an installer's point of view.  Please enjoy the interview below and let me know if you have any questions or comments by leaving a comment in the box below.

What is metal roofing like?  Is it a piece by piece application or does it come in sheets like asphalt?

Metal roofing usually comes in a 4 ft panel. There are different types of panels, including some that are ribbed on the back so that they are walkable.

The different types of panels are:

  • Standing seam metal roofs,  which are usually used on commercial jobs and some rural homes. 
  • Stone coated steel roofs. These are are compared to DaVinci the most because they are the same price point. A number of companies make stone coated steel roofs therefore there are a variety of different products - some that can be installed directly to the deck and others that have to be installed a batten. There are also those that look like an individual shingle that have to be applied to a solid deck with collapsible hinges.

What are some of the issues you've had as a roofer with metal roofs?

  • Metal roofs are prone to cosmetic damage (whether they are standing seam metal roofs or stone coated steel roofs). While a 2 inch hail ball will not penetrate through the panel, it will still leave severe cosmetic damage.  So metal roofing manufacturers have hail damage/hail penetration warranties and in fact, some homeowner insurance companies make you sign a cosmetic waiver in order to get the discount for using metal as a Class 4 impact rated roof.

In other words, there is a big difference between a functional warranty and a cosmetic warranty.

  • Walkability. Not all are are walkable.  If the metal is not walkable, then it is susceptible to denting upon installation.
  • Repairability - It's tough to repair metal roofs because the ability to match the existing metal 5-10 years down the road is very hard.
  • Maintenance is expected/required.  They used to, and sometimes still do, put metal roofs on top of 15-20 year old shake roofs. A natural shake roof is a breeding ground for mold, mildew, insects and you make that worse by covering it up with metal. By putting metal on top of shake you haven't eliminated your fire hazard.  In fact, I have spoken to fire fighters about roofs because when a house is on fire, one of the things they typically do is cut a hole in the roof to allow the smoke to escape. They really don't like metal roofs because cutting a hole is very difficult in the metal.

As far as performance is concerned, how do metal roofs stand up?

They are Class A fire rated with the right underlayment. You would have to check with your local municipality in order to know the exact requirements.

They can be Class 4 impact resistant, but again, that's only a functional Class 4, not a cosmetic one.

Freeze/Thaw Resistant - Yes

Maintenance Free - No

Color Fade Resistant  - Yes, unless no repairs are needed.

Lightweight - Yes.

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When it comes to lightweight roofing solutions, metal roofing and DaVinci are some of your best options.  However, Shawn prefers to install DaVinci over metal roofing because DaVinci has freeze/thaw resistance, color fade resistance, Class 4 impact resistance,  and Class A fire rating.  As well, DaVinci's green roofing options don't have maintenance expectations or requirements, nor do they have the issues with cosmetic damage that metal has.  Of course, Shawn also prefers the look of DaVinci and all the great colors that are available - so that if you have a repair or add onto your home, it is easy to match the roof many years later.

What are some of your questions about DaVinci vs. Metal Roofing?


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