Metal roofing, which includes materials such as copper, tin and Ironwood shake, has many advantages over other roofing materials.
While aluminum roofs lead the pack in terms of some of these advantages, including its weight and reflective properties, it comes up short in other respects and is considerably more expensive than other metal roofs.
Aluminum roofs may consist of long panels or, increasingly in residential applications, clusters of interlocking panels that are painted and finished to resemble designer roofing materials like concrete tile.
Like all metal roofs, aluminum is environmentally friendly, weather resistant and has a sleek modern look that will increase the curb appeal of your home. Although the price of aluminum roofing has come down as manufacturing technologies have improved, the most obvious disadvantage of aluminum remains its high cost.
The decision to go with aluminum becomes even harder when you consider a couple of its secondary disadvantages. For one, aluminum is very soft, making it susceptible to denting during a hailstorm or repair job. Additionally, the reflective surface of aluminum shingles, while instrumental in its energy saving capabilities, can make your roof extremely slippery when wet and can occasionally cause coatings to fade over time.
When considering a roof for your home on Vancouver Island, you have to consider the unique aspects of our climate. An aluminum roof will work well on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands, but it’s up to you to decide if the significant cost is worth the investment compared to comparable roofing materials.
Storm Protection – Aluminum roofs, like all metal roofs, are extremely durable and are able to withstand the harsh windstorms that frequently hit Vancouver Island. In fact, aluminum is one of only a few roofing materials, along with slate, concrete and Ironwood shake, that can be accurately said to be permanent. The only caveat is that, because aluminum is such a soft metal, it is vulnerable to denting, which can diminish its curb appeal.
Environmental Concerns – Aluminum is a very energy efficient roofing material. But though it has slightly better reflective properties than most permanent metal roofs, it’s up to you to decide whether this marginal advantage justifies aluminum’s significantly higher installed cost.
Fire Resistance – While Vancouver Island winters continue to be wet and dreary, our summers are gradually becoming hotter and dryer, making forest fires a real concern. As seen with recent wildfires, one ember landing on a flammable roof can be enough to ignite an entire neighbourhood. This is not an issue with aluminum roofs, which are fire-resistant.
Corrosion – Aluminum is naturally resistant to rust and corrosion, making it particularly well suited to coastal areas of Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands. Although this is a significant advantage over roofs that will decay over time, such as cedar and asphalt, the coatings on modern steel roofs mimic aluminum’s corrosion-resisting properties at a much lower cost.
All things considered, no.
Aluminum has significant advantages over cedar, asphalt, concrete and slate roofs. However, when compared to other permanent metal roofs like Ironwood slate, those advantages are diminished. While aluminum has higher reflective properties than steel, it is also softer and therefore less resistant to hail and other impacts.
Aluminum’s major downfall is its cost, which is substantially higher than Ironwood shake. When you compare the costs and benefits, you’ll likely find that an Ironwood shake roof is your best bet.