Most people don’t think “sustainable” or “green” when they think of steel roofing. But steel roofing is one of the greenest roofing materials around for a number of reasons.
Steel is a recyclable material that can be melted down and reused for other products in the future. Steel is one of the few materials that are manufactured that can be melted down multiple times and not lose significant strength making steel one of the most recyclable materials in the world.
Properly installed, a steel roof will last the entire life of the house it is installed on, making it the best choice for longevity. The only maintenance steel roofing ever needs is paint every few decades. Compare this with common asphalt roofing shingles that last between 10 and 30 years. A house will go through at least four asphalt shingle roofs per one steel roof.
There are also less chances of leaks because there are fewer seams for water to penetrate.
Because steel roofing reflects much of the energy from the sun, steel roofing (especially painted a light color) will reflect heat that would normally be absorbed by the sun making your home much more comfortable and easier to cool in summer months or in warmer climates.
Types of Steel Roofing
There are basically three types of steel roofs.
Corrugated Steel Sheeting
This type of steel requires a lot of screws that are exposed on the exterior of the sheeting and is the lowest quality steel roofing available today. In fact, this is much more commonly used as siding for warehouses and sheds. The steel is secured at the ends of the sheets by overlapping the edges, sealing the seam with mastic, and securing the edges with screws ever 2 to 4 feet.
Steel Shingle Panels
Steel shingle panels look like regular asphalt shingles, but come in panels, usually 4 by 4 foot sections that interlock to form an interlocked system. These roofing panels are easy to install and will last as long as steel sheeting. The panels are secured by standard roofing nails and sealing with mastic caulk. The only notable downfall of these panels is that the surface is covered with a rough coating to mimic the granular stone of asphalt shingles. This rough coating deteriorates and will expose the painted steel underneath it in areas of high sunlight and rain intensity.
Standing Seam Sheeting
Standing seem steel sheeting is the best choice for steel roofing because none of the screws are exposed making this the least problematic steel roof. The sheets are secured with a spike or screw on a flange that is on the edge of the sheet. When the next sheet is installed, the edge of one sheet slides over the edge of the last sheet and is crimped with a special tool, sealing the seam and not allowing any chance of leaking.
Steel sheeting is one of the greenest choices currently on the market today. The initial price may be a turn off for some, but if you are going to be in your house more than 30 years, it makes a lot of sense to choose a material that is not only sustainable, but long lasting.