If you’re looking to install a new roof on your home, you may consider a metal roof. These days, more and more homeowners are interested in metal roofing because it is durable, eco-friendly, and long-lasting. Metal roofing is also largely customizable, so you can design it according to your home’s aesthetics. Yet the decision-making process doesn’t end at choosing to install a metal roof. You also must consider the type of metal you would like to use and the best style for your home. In this article, we will go over everything you need to know to choose the type of metal for your roof.


Aluminum is a great type of metal for residential roofing systems because it is lightweight, durable, and resistant to corrosion. Aluminum will not rust like steel, which makes it one of the longest lasting roofing materials you can choose.

Aluminum roofing generally comes prepainted, and can be found in essentially any profile. Aluminum is highly malleable, making it ideal for a variety of heavily formed roofing products. In general, aluminum roofs are manufactured from largely recycled material, making it an environmentally friendly option as well.

  • Advantages: Energy-efficient, environmentally friendly, lightweight, doesn’t rust
  • Disadvantages: More expensive than steel, not as hail resistant
  • Thicknesses: .019” for shingles and tiles, .032” or more for standing seam
  • Weight: 46 lbs. per square or more
  • Recycled Content: Around 95% (largely post-consumer).

Galvalume Steel

When base carbon/iron steel is coated with an alloy of zinc and aluminum, it is called galvalume steel. When zinc is added to aluminum, it magnifies aluminum’s characteristics (both good and bad). Galvalume steel, like aluminum, is very resistant to corrosion. However, galvalume steel doesn’t self-protect from scratches like galvanized steel does.

Galvalume steel is vulnerable to tension bend straining. This occurs because when steel is formed into metal roofing, the galvalume zinc/aluminum alloy is spread very thin over the areas of the roof with tight bends, and because it is such a thin layer, it is more susceptible to cracks. Tension bend straining occurs when moisture permeates cracks and causes rusting. This presents as stains of rust in folds in the metal. Over time, this spreads under the coating, causing the roof to deteriorate. This is why galvalume steel is generally used for simple profiles, such as standing seams, where there isn’t as much bending.  

  • Advantages: Strong, corrosion resistant, more affordable
  • Disadvantages: Vulnerable to tension bending, limited profile availability
  • Thicknesses: .024” for standing seam
  • Weight: Between 100 and 150 lbs. per square
  • Recycled Content: Around 35%

Galvanized Steel

Comparable to galvalume steel, galvanized steel is also carbon/iron steel, but its metallic coating is solely zinc. This offers two types of protection: galvanic and barrier. Galvanic protection is kind of like a bodyguard for the base metal — the coating corrodes rather than allowing it to spread to its base. It also acts as a physical barrier for the roof, blocking the elements from reaching the base metal.

Galvanized steel is the most popular type of metal roof. It is available in most profiles, is lower cost, strong, and holds paint well, making it customizable. Zinc acts as a protectant against scratches, making it more resistant to rust than galvalume steel. This means the lifespan of a galvanized steel roof is dependent on the thickness of the coating.

  • Advantages: Strong, affordable, customizable
  • Disadvantages: Shorter lifespan, can rust if not installed properly
  • Thicknesses: .018” for shingles, 0.24” for standing seam
  • Weight: Between 100 and 150 lbs. per square
  • Recycled Content: Around 35%


Copper is perhaps the most attractive metal roofing material, but it is also the most expensive. It is rare for copper to be used on the entirety of a residential roofing system as a result. Normally, it is used to add accents over bay windows, dormers, or other areas for a touch of elegance. Generally, copper is installed in steam panels or sheeting, but occasionally, you will see copper shingles.

It is not recommended that copper be used in conjunction with steel or aluminum roofing. Direct contact with another metal will speed up the deterioration of the other metal. When it comes in contact with water, copper has a tendency to stain other metals as well. This means that copper roofing must be installed with an understanding of where water run-off will flow.

After about a decade of exposure, copper turns a blue-green color due to patination. It’s possible to treat copper to either slow down or speed up this process, though most homeowners allow it to occur naturally.

Copper is easy to work with and incredibly long-lasting — sometimes more than a century. These days, some homeowners are electing to use steel or aluminum roofs that are coated to resemble copper.

  • Advantages: Attractive, durable, easy to work with  
  • Disadvantages: Expensive, may stain other materials
  • Thicknesses: .016” for shingles, .022” for standing seam
  • Weight: Between 100 and 150 lbs. per square
  • Recycled Content: Around 35%

There are a variety of other exotic materials that can be used for metal roofs, such as stainless steel, titanium, and rolled zinc. However, the types outlined above are the most common — others will have to be custom-formed for a particular project. Now that you are aware of the different types of roofs to choose from, let us know if you’re ready to install metal roofing in Clarksville. Contact Sparks Roofing today for more information.