Recently a new roofing trend has been sweeping the exterior design world: metal. While metal has been used for interior or exterior accents in the past, now metal is being used more and more for roofs on both residential and commercial structures. But how does it stack up against concrete roof tiles? Let’s compare design, structure and energy efficiency of both products.
Design: Concrete roof tiles have been around for centuries, so there is no doubt they will stand the test of time while creating amazingly diverse looks. Roof tiles allow unlimited opportunities for design. Revel in the freedom of choosing between different profiles – from big barrel tiles to smooth, flat surfaces to surfaces that have a bit more dimension, texture and character to them. And let’s talk about color! You can choose from ranges to beautiful blends that provide multiple colors to incorporate into an aesthetic. Lastly, a concrete tile roof provides the flexibility to change the color scheme, accents or texture of a structure, transforming the entire exterior say from contemporary to modern at a drop of a dime.
Metal, while beautiful in its own right, has a bit more limitations. The industry itself has come a long way in offering various textures and finishes to offset the traditional industrial, flat appearance that it is well known for. Metal roofs can now mimic other roofing materials such as wood shake, asphalt shingles and slate, however the metallic look often compromises the authenticity of these renditions and the overall design. In addition, the color offering selection of most metal roofing manufacturers is often times not as diverse as what you would find in concrete roof tile, thus not allowing homeowners or designers much leeway when it comes to exterior design.
Structure: How a product is made is important with any purchase but it is especially vital when choosing what roofing material to use. A few things to consider when choosing roofing materials are longevity, resistance and maintenance.
Longevity & Resistance: A concrete tile roof provides that added security and protection homeowners are seeking. They last the life of the structure and have a proven track record against the harshest conditions. A properly installed concrete tile roof will withstand the elements through rain, snow, high wind and scorching heat – outperforming all other roofing products.
Metal roofs, on the other hand, are known to last about 30-45 years. Since metal doesn’t burn and is noncombustible, they’re given a Class A fire rating (the most resistant). However, metal roofs are affected by environmental conditions and, depending on the geographical location, the surface of a metal roof can begin to deteriorate and rust with minimal exposure to moisture, salt, etc. Some painted metal roof finishes can peel, chip, fade, scratch, or chalk. Metal roofs can also be a nuisance in inclement weather – hail storms in particular. During a hail storm, a metal roof will become boisterous, dented and scratched, leaving it unattractive and the damage caused will be uncovered by most property insurance. In areas with high temperatures, keep in mind that metal is prone to expand and contract, which can lead to oil canning and leave the roof without an air-tight seal – allowing water to infiltrate the expensive roofing system and/or cause a wavy effect.
Maintenance: While the maintenance of a metal roof may seem low, there are many factors to consider before making a big commitment. After a couple of years, the color of a new metal roof will become dull. This can leave it almost impossible to find a match for a repair. Speaking of repairs, metal roofs are notorious for being difficult and very expensive to fix. The reason behind this is because the entire sheet of metal would need to be completely swapped out and replaced with a new one. Since concrete roof tiles come in a variety of different shades and colors, it’s typically very simple to find a piece or set that matches the existing color of a weathering roof tile. Furthermore, depending on how many roof tiles need to be replaced, it can be virtually painless to repair concrete roof tiles in both labor and material costs.
Energy Efficiency: Metal and concrete roof tiles both have advantages when it comes to energy efficiency. An important factor of energy efficiency is how the material’s reflectance level will affect your heating and cooling cost.
Heating and Cooling: Using a reflective roofing material is important to most homeowners. While metal and concrete roof tiles both have an amazing reflective quality, one still remains superior. When we start thinking about the sun’s rays and how they heat up a rooftop, we have to consider how conduction plays a part in moving the heat from the top of the roof to inside the attic. Depending on the thickness of the roofing material, the sun’s heat will radiate onto the rooftop, conduct, making its way through the material, to then radiate into your attic space creating a hotter atmosphere within the structure.
Using a thicker roofing material will allow the heat being transferred to slowly move through the product. Concrete roof tiles are thick and have a unique advantage; they can reflect and absorb the heat before it gets a chance to make its way into the attic. Metal, on the contrary, is very thin. While it remains a highly reflective roofing material, it also transfers a greater amount of heat into a structure’s attic, when compared to concrete roof tiles.
These key points on how metal roofs compare to concrete roof tile in design, structure and energy efficiency, will allow you to make an informed decision on what roofing material will work best on your next project. If you’re considering asphalt shingles as a roofing choice, check out our blog on “How do Asphalt Shingles compare to Concrete Roof Tile?” and for more interesting industry topics bookmark our blog page.