What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Aluminum Roofing?

Last Updated on September 25, 2022 by

Aluminum roofing is best due to its durability, energy efficiency, simplicity in fixing, ability to prevent snow build-up, and hold against fire, among other amazing features. However, it has some downsides. Aluminum is more expensive, loses its finish after some time, creates embarrassing sounds during rainfall, and can easily dent if exposed to harsh elements such as a hailstorm. 

However, weighing the pro and cons, aluminum is one of the best roofing metals. But, it is advisable to research its ins and outs before using it for roofing. 

Below, we break down the advantages and disadvantages of aluminum roofing sheets to guide you in decision-making. 

Advantages Of Aluminum Roofing

Advantages Of Aluminum Roofing

Over the past years, aluminum has become the favorite roofing material due to its benefits. Some of them are:

1. Strong And Durable 

Unlike the other roofing materials that need replacement after every 15-20 years, aluminum will last you for 50-80 years. During the time, the metal remains wear- and rust-free with its shake panels, tile, and vertical seem retaining its good looks. So, even though its initial cost is high compared to other materials such as Asphalt, it would remain the most cost-effective in the long run. You won’t frequently spend money on repairs, maintenance, and reroofing. 

2. Energy Efficient

Aluminum tends to keep your house cold, even in extremely hot temperatures. It deflects 90% of the sunlight that could have otherwise heated your home. This means fewer hours of turning on the air conditioning which saves you a lot of energy. 

3. Environmentally Friendly

If you are environmentally conscious, aluminum is the best for roofing as it is 90% recyclable. Besides, it takes about 5% more energy to recycle compared to making primary aluminum. This is low given you can recycle the materials as many times without fear of losing their properties. 

4. Easily Installable

Another great advantage of aluminum is its ease of installation. The material is lightweight and flexible, making it easy to handle with less effort or manpower. As a result, you save more time and labor costs during installation or replacement. You can also use the sheets elsewhere after dismantling them as they are strong and rigid; hence they don’t get damaged during removal. 

5. Safe As It Can Hold On Against Fires And Stand Severe Weather Conditions

Safety should be one of the top considerations when selecting roofing materials. Aluminum is best because it doesn’t catch fire easily and doesn’t suffer dents from falling objects such as hailstones. Even in harsh weather conditions like a hurricane, aluminum roofing won’t be affected. Besides, they are corrosion-resistant meaning they can withstand outside elements. 

6. Prevents Build-up Of Snow On Your Roof

If you live in areas prone to heavy snowfall, aluminum roofing is best for your home. The material lets the snow slip off to the floor to prevent build-up that can damage your property. There will be no snow that would gather or remain on your roof as all will quickly drain before it freezes. 

7. Aesthetically Pleasing

If you desire to make your building aesthetically pleasing with a modern look, then aluminum is the best option. The sheets come in various designs and can be coated with other materials for a desirable finish. You will get an aluminum roofing pattern, style, or design suitable for any architectural style or climate. They come in standing seam vertical panels, shakes, slates, shingles, and tiles.

Disadvantages Of Aluminum Roofing

Disadvantages Of Aluminum Roofing

Despite the many advantages that come with aluminum roofing, it has its shortcomings, as discussed below:

1. The Initial Cost Is High

Aluminum sheets are of high quality compared to steel or zinc, hence much more expensive. Installation cost is also high due to its durability compared to asphalt shingles or tiles. Besides, there is a unique way they are set up, making it necessary to hire trained roofers who might charge more. 

2. Noisy When It Rains

Like other metal roofs, aluminum roofing is noisy during a heavy downpour. Each drop can be annoying to your ears if you have not installed soundproofing underneath the roof. So, if you want to avoid the not-so-pleasing drumming during rainfall, you should install an extra soundproof sheet underneath. This will also add to the cost of aluminum roofing.

3. The Repair Cost May Be Expensive 

Aluminum sheets are arranged such that they overlay each other. If one is damaged, it means removing some parts of the roof to fix, unlike the asphalt shingles or tiles that can be repaired as one. The fixing of the metal roofing increases the repair cost compared to the shingles types of roof. 

4. Expand More Under Heat

Due to the metallic properties of aluminum sheets, they tend to expand more when exposed to heat. For instance, aluminum sheets expand twice when exposed to the same temperatures as steel. As the roof expands, the aluminum sheets risk damage and tearing around nail holes. As a result, the roof could leak when it rains.

However, you can avoid the issue by hiring a professional roofer who will set the foundation right and lay the sheet properly. Therefore, even with the expansion, the aluminum roof would stay intact. But, the whole process makes installation expensive. 

5. Dent Easily

Aluminum is malleable, which is a plus when reshaping it as it cannot break or crack easily. This may seem a good feature but might work negatively as the sheets may be affected by elements. For instance, if a tree branch falls on the roof during a heavy storm, it can easily dent. Denting will reduce the efficiency of water flow from the roof and affect its aesthetic appearance. 

6. A Roof Can Leak In Case Of Poor Fastener Installation 

Fasteners are used to hold the aluminum sheets onto the roof deck or substrate. Unfortunately, if the installation of fasteners is not done well, it can lead to open spots on the roof. This can easily let water into your house, which affects the roofing. It could be the screws are overdriven, under-driven, or off-centered. To avoid such human errors, always hire competent and reputable roofers.

7. There Is The Possibility Of Oil Canning

Oil canning is a situation where the roof surface appears uneven. This is the case with aluminum roof sheets. You may see the roof bulking with invisible waves that change throughout the day. This is a not-so-good sight to look at. Unevenness can be due to hitches in the milling process, improper handling of the sheets during installation, and not leaving enough space between sheets during installation.

You can avoid the issue of oil canning by hiring experienced roofers for installation, applying low-gloss paint to make the surface less reflective, and using thicker roof sheets. 

8. Susceptible To Galvanic Corrosion 

When different metal types interact under rainwater (electrolyte), galvanic corrosion can easily occur. As a result, roof material will deteriorate faster as the process causes one metal type to corrode more quickly. This compromises the integrity of your roof, hence the need to always hire a professional roofer for installation. An experienced contractor will pick the same material for fasteners and sheets to avoid galvanic corrosion. 

Summary Table Of The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Aluminum Roofing

Advantages of aluminum roofing disadvantages of aluminum roofing
1. Strong and durable 
2. Energy efficient
3. Environmentally friendly
4. Easily installable
5. Safe as it can hold on against fires and stand severe weather conditions
6. Prevents build-up of snow on your roof
7. Aesthetically pleasing
1. The initial cost is high
2. Noisy when it rains
3. The repair cost may be expensive 
4. Expand more under heat
5. Dent easily
6. The roof can leak in case of poor fastener installation 
7. There is a possibility of oil canning
8. Susceptible to galvanic corrosion 

Which Is Better, Steel Or Aluminum Roofing?

Both steel and aluminum are great roofing materials for commercial and residential buildings. However, steel is less expensive, more fire-resistant without underlayment, and stronger than aluminum. Here is the comparison table to help you out.

Summary Table Of The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Aluminum Roofing

Comparison Between Steel And Aluminum Roofing 

Property AluminumSteel 
Strength Strong but not as steel More strength than aluminum 
Cost Expensive Less expensive compared to aluminum 
Malleability More malleable and elastic Tough but cannot be pushed to the same extent as aluminum
Weight Lighter Heavier 
Corrosion resistance Corrosion-resistant Susceptible to corrosion unless treated or painted after it is spun 
Fire resistance More fire resistance without underlayment Less fire resistant unless with proper sheathing and underlayment 

Final Word

Roofing determines whether your house will be aesthetically pleasing, strong, and safe. Therefore, picking the material for your roof is not a light task. If you go for certain sheets, ensure you understand their pro and cons before installing them on your roof. 

For instance, aluminum is one of the materials preferred by many. But that doesn’t mean you blindly go for it. Check its advantages and disadvantages highlighted above to make an informed decision. Of importance is always to hire a skilled and experienced roofer to do the installation for you to minimize the negatives that come with aluminum. 




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