Metal roofing has a number of highly attractive advantages over more traditional and conventional roofing choices, from its incredible durability to the ease with which is can be cleaned and maintained. However, the standard steel sheets seen adorning many metal-roofed buildings can look somewhat drab and utilitarian, especially if they fall victim to the rust that can plague older steel roofs. Consequently, many homeowners who seek the benefits of metal roofing will invest in one of the more distinctive, high-end metals.
These alternative metals can turn what would have been an innocuous metal roof into an attractive and interesting architectural statement, while offering the same benefits as conventional steel roofing materials. However, there are a number of different high-end metals available, each with their own individual pros and cons, so it's important to familiarise yourself with their properties before choosing which one is worth your investment.
Aluminium may look more or less indistinguishable from regular steel at first glance, but this is where the similarities end. As well as being much lighter and easier to fit than steel roofing panels, aluminium roofs are completely immune to rust, even without the benefit of protective surface treatments such as paints and powder coatings.
In exchange for these added benefits, aluminium does tend to be more expensive than steel; however, it is generally among the cheapest of the high-end metal choices. A more pressing concern is aluminium's relatively lack of durability compared to steel, and while an aluminium roof will keep the weather at bay as well as a steel roof, it can be more easily dented or damaged by impacts and high winds.
Stainless steel roofs combine the rust resistance of aluminium with the strength and durability of regular steel and are an excellent choice if you seek maximum durability and longevity from your new roofing. Because stainless steel contains a small proportion of chromium (one of the added metals that grants stainless steel its rust resistance), it can be polished to a high-mirror glass, creating a distinctive and attractive roof that also effectively reflects heat from the sun during summer months.
However, while stainless steel lacks many of regular steel's disadvantages, it is just as heavy and can be somewhat difficult to fit without professional assistance. Stainless steel is also expensive, with prices comparable to or higher than those of aluminium.
Copper is truly the gold standard of materials when it comes to creating a truly distinctive and attractive roof and is immensely prized for its rich bronze hues. However, copper is not all style and no substance, as it provides excellent weatherproofing along with its complete resistance to rust and corrosion. The distinctive blue-green patina that forms on the surface of copper to protect it from corrosion is often considered even more attractive than the bare metal.
Unfortunately, such distinctive looks and practical protection come at a heavy cost, and copper is generally among the most expensive roofing metals on offer. It is also quite soft and malleable and can easily be dented and distorted by falling tree branches and other hazards.