Sheet Metal Roofing Types

Updated February 21, 2017

When building a house or replacing an existing roof, there are many roofing options to choose from. Metal is a great roofing option because metal roofs are lightweight, durable, resistant to the elements and can be very affordable. Once you have decided that metal is the roofing solution right for you, there are many types of sheet metal roofing to choose from.

Corrugated Steel

Corrugated steel is a rippled sheet of metal. It is not often used in residential projects due to its unaesthetic appearance, but can serve as a cheap, easy solution when building a roof for sheds, barns and industrial buildings. Because corrugated steel may rust when exposed to the elements, its slightly more expensive but still very affordable counterpart, corrugated galvanised steel, is a better investment. Corrugated galvanised steel is tough but lightweight, weatherproof, non-combustible and cost effective. Corrugated galvanised steel roofing panels can be found at most local home-improvement stores ranging in price from £9 to £16 per 12-foot panel.


Aluminium is commonly used for roofing because aluminium roofs are so reliable, often lasting over 50 years. Aluminium panels are more expensive than steel panels, but because they are highly reflective, they increase a building's energy efficiency, which can save the owner money in the long run. Aluminium is also a popular choice because its light weight does not require additional structural reinforcement. Bypassing additional structural reinforcement cuts down the cost and hassle of roof installation. Aluminium roofing panels can be found at most local home-improvement stores, typically ranging in price from £19 to £29 per 12-foot panel.


Copper is much more expensive than steel and aluminium, costing £104 to £130 per 12-foot panel. Though it might be expensive, copper has used as roofing material for over 2,500 years and has withstood the test of time. Copper is popular in residential projects because it can last a lifetime and is aesthetically appealing. When exposed to the elements, copper roofs gradually darken, creating a rustic look. Because copper is a speciality roofing metal, it is better to seek out a private dealer. Copper roofing panels are not always available in local home-improvement stores.


Also a common roofing option, zinc sheet metal panels are popular because they require very little maintenance. Zinc is low-maintenance because it develops a patina when exposed to the elements. Patina is a surface calcification that serves to protect the zinc sheets while also permitting the zinc to self-repair scratches or imperfections. The patina also serves as a varnish, so there is no added cost of coating or sealant. Furthermore, zinc is a popular "green" option because it is completely recyclable and eco-friendly. The only downside of zinc roofing panels is that they initially require a large investment as zinc is expensive. In order to estimate how much it would cost to install a zinc roof to your building, contact a local dealer and ask for an estimate.

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About the Author

Kelly Berry began writing in 2008. Her work has appeared in Harvard University publications, "Southeast Ohio Magazine" and online at the CIMMYT website. Berry graduated from Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism with a degree in magazine journalism and Spanish.