Homeowners are practically spoiled for choice when it comes to options of the roofing material of their homes. From classic shingles to advanced solar power-generating tiles, there is a wide variety of choices of materials and styles that can be applied to give your home distinct form and function.
One of the bigger trends that have been floating around for new home roofing is black metal. As a color, black has always held a status of timeless sophistication, and its stark contrast to the muted hues of typical roofing makes black metal roofs really stand out from the suburb.
In this article, we will tell you all there is to know about black metal roofing, and whether or not it is the right option for your home.
What is Black Metal?
Before anything else, though, what exactly is the “black metal” in a black metal roof?
Well, we can tell you right now that the black metal we are talking about is not related to the musical genre.
Instead, when we refer to black metal, we are referring to black steel, a particular formulation of steel that is non-galvanized.
Unlike other common variants of steel like stainless steel (which is mixed with chromium) and galvanized steel (which is coated with zinc), black steel has a protective outer layer made of a form of iron oxide, which gives the metal its distinct black color.
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Should You Choose Black Metal Roofing?
So should you actually have a black metal roof for your home? Like any material, metal roofing has its pros and cons, and we have broken them all down in a handy list for your reference below.
Now, depending on who you ask, a black metal roof could very well just be a normal metal roof that is painted black. However, while a painted metal roof and a black metal roof are inherently different in theory, their characteristics when installed are more or less the same in practice.
As such, you can consider the pros and cons below to apply to both approaches, whichever one you are considering for your home.
Pros of Black Metal Roofs
Striking, modern aesthetic: Take a look at any modern trends in architectural design and you will find that black is one of the most popular colors used in homes nowadays. The boldness of black contrasts starkly with most other materials, and pairs especially well with woods and natural hues.
Extremely durable: With proper installation and regular maintenance metal roofs can last several decades—a no-brainer choice for any homeowner who wishes to keep their home through the generations.
Much of this is, of course, attributed to the natural qualities of metal. Metal roofs are naturally resistant to termites, rats, mold, mildew, and corrosion, as well as extreme heat (i.e. fire) and extreme cold (i.e. snow and hail).
Low maintenance: Another benefit of the high durability of black metal roofing is that they don’t require a lot of maintenance. Whereas shingles and tiles tend to require large-scale replacement and repair every few years, simply cleaning out your metal roof and its drainage ducts are enough to keep the roof in top shape for many years.
Eco-Friendly: Compared to other roofing materials like asphalt shingles, black metal roofs are almost completely recyclable and can be reworked for use on other roofs once discarded. In fact, the metal roof you might have installed is most likely made of some recycled metal.
Lightweight: Metal sheets tend to be much lighter than other roofing options, particularly concrete or clay tiles. The lower weight reduces stress on your home’s roof structures, which can also provide more load-bearing headroom to shoulder the extra weight of, say, very heavy snowfall.
Cons of Black Metal Roofs
Expensive to install: Arguably the biggest drawback to balck metal roofing—or metal roofing in general—is its upfront cost. Both the cost of materials and the difficulty of installation is significantly higher than other roofing options, which can often be the deal-breaker for an otherwise highly desirable roof.
Slippery surface: Regardless of what finish is applied to the metal sheets, black metal roofs are generally more slippery than shingles or tiles, which will make climbing the roof to install or repair roof-mounted fixtures like antennas and satellite dishes more difficult and potentially more dangerous to do.
Can be noisy: Anything relatively heavy that can land on a metal roof, such as a branch or a hailstone, can make an awful lot of noise on impact. The reason for this is that steel sheets used in black metal roofing are particularly resonant, which means that sound waves can travel through them with less obstructions or energy dissipation like other materials.
Beyond the pros and cons that we have just mentioned, there are some other qualities of black metal roofs that you also need to be aware of. We have separated these from the main pros and cons as these qualities can either be beneficial or detrimental to your home depending on, say, the climate of the region.
For one, there is the issue of energy efficiency vs. thermal absorption. In general, metal roofs are capable of reflecting a lot of sunlight back into the atmosphere, which can work wonders for energy efficiency as heat is bounced back out and not absorbed.
However, metal is inherently capable of absorbing a lot of heat, much more so than other roofing materials. With this in mind, homeowners need to be aware of the amount of direct sunlight they can expect in their region and either change their roofing material or improve their home’s roof insulation to keep heat out of the living areas.
Another area of concern is fading. Whether your black metal roof is made of black steel or is simply painted black, its striking color will fade into a dull gray over time. This is the inevitable result of the roof being exposed to the elements, and is caused by a variety of factors that include UV degradation, erosion, and corrosion.
While the metal itself is more than capable of holding up over many years, its color will not, and homeowners must therefore factor in the possibility of repainting the roof as an additional cost of maintenance.