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5 Types Of Metal Roofing Materials: Pros, Cons & Cost
Lauren Risotto

By: Lauren Risotto on October 28th, 2020

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5 Types Of Metal Roofing Materials: Pros, Cons & Cost

Metal | Roofing

A metal roof brings many different advantages to homeowners, from being low maintenance to having a long lifespan. But if you’re interested in a metal roof, there are more types of metal roofing materials and panel styles than you probably realize. That makes it pretty difficult to easily understand all of your options.

Standing Seam in Fresh Rust®At Western States Metal Roofing, we have been manufacturing metal roofing and siding panels for over two decades and have helped thousands of customers pick their ideal type of metal roof. We’ve come to learn over the years that people use the word “metal” to describe many different types of material, and that makes it confusing.

While technically each material is a type of metal, all the roofs we are going to discuss in this article are different materials.

While we don’t sell panels in all of the materials discussed in this article, we want you to know all the options you have when it comes to metal roofing. After reading this article, you should have a better idea of which type of metal roof is right for you.

What Are The Different Types Of Metal Roofing Materials?

  1. Aluminum Roofing- Lightweight, does not corrode, and compatible with coastal environments.
  2. Copper Roofing- A very long-lasting roof that will develop a protective layer and change color. Most expensive roofing material.
  3. Tin Roofing- No longer used. Today, a “tin roof” usually refers to steel.
  4. Zinc Roofing- A very long-lasting and expensive roofing material that will patina and change color.
  5. Metal or Steel- This is the most common type of metal roofing available in different finishes.


Aluminum Roofing - Pros & Cons

Aluminum is the most lightweight roofing material on the market, but don’t let that fool you. Aluminum roofing is still very durable. The strength to weight ratio is actually higher for aluminum than the other types of metals used for roofing. This means you get the same amount of strength or more without having to use a heavy material that’s harder to work during installation.

Aluminum roofing

Advantages Of Aluminum Roofing Panels

An aluminum roof provides easy maintenance, a long lifespan, and comes in a variety of different colors. Aluminum roofing panels are mainly used for architectural roofing and not structural roofing.

If your job requires engineering be sure to verify that the manufacturer has load calculations that are specifically for aluminum panels.

  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Malleable


Aluminum does not rust. Because aluminum is resistant to corrosion, it’s an ideal material for climates with heavy rainfall and coastal applications. The sea salt spray from the water will have no effect on the aluminum substrate, whereas it would make a steel roof rust rather quickly.


Aluminum is the lightest roofing material and weighs as little as 5 lbs per square foot. A lightweight roof is beneficial because it puts less stress on your home structure as opposed to heavier materials.



Aluminum is a malleable material that can be easily configured into different profiles. This gives you many different designs to choose from.

Disadvantages Of Aluminum For Roofing

  • More Prone To Denting (Compared To Steel)
  • Less Availability and Color Options
  • Higher Cost

More Prone To Denting (Compared To Steel)

Aluminum is a softer metal when compared to steel. Aluminum is more prone to dents from hail and the weight of falling branches or debris.

Using heavier thickness aluminum will help increase resistance to dents, strength, and durability, but will also cost you more. As you might expect, the heavier the aluminum, the higher the price.

Where To Buy Aluminum Roofing

Aluminum roofing is harder to purchase than metal roofing. There are fewer manufacturers and suppliers that offer this type of metal. It’s not that it’s exceptionally difficult to purchase, but you will definitely have fewer options. Especially in areas that are not located along the coast.

The lack of availability will also affect the price of aluminum roofing. It’s likely that even if you find a supplier that can get you aluminum roofing, they will have to ship the material in from a different location. This will further increase your costs.

Aluminum Roofing Colors

Because there is less demand for aluminum vs metal, there will be fewer colors to choose from. As long as you want a very basic color it will be available. For example, if you want a specific shade of green you may have a problem. In aluminum, there may only be one or two green colors to choose from. Whereas that same green color for another roofing material would have four or six different color choices.

Aluminum Roofing Has A Higher Cost

While we get into the specifics of aluminum cost in the next section, it’s higher price point compared to other metal materials makes it a disadvantage. Since aluminum is prone to denting as we mentioned, buying aluminum in a thicker gauge is recommended to help with durability. This will further increase the price.


If you want an article that’s a much deeper dive into aluminum roofing:

Aluminum Roofing: The Pros And Cons

How Much Does Aluminum Roofing Cost?

Aluminum is on the higher end of cost when compared to most of the other materials. Aluminum roofing costs about 35% more than steel roofing.

Aluminum Roofing Cost Per Square Foot

  • Corrugated Aluminum Roofing Cost (.040) - $5.00 to $7.00 Per Sq. Ft.
  • Standing Seam Aluminum Roofing Cost (.040) - $6.00 to $10.00 Per Sq. Ft.

What’s The Total Price Of Aluminum Roofing?

Aluminum roofing prices will vary depending upon the difficulty of the installation, location of the job, and the accessories that are required. 

Here’s a ballpark cost including materials and labor:

$9 to $13 Per Sq. Ft.

$11 to $17 Per Sq. Ft.


Copper Roofing - Pros & Cons

Copper roofing is known for its incredibly striking and unique appearance. The copper will change color overtime, going from looking like a new penny like copper to a blue-green or brown patina. The patina will vary depending upon the climate that it’s exposed to.

Copper comes in different styles for roofing including:

  • Copper Tiles
  • Copper Shingles
  • Copper Panels
  • Copper Sheets

Advantages Of Copper Roofing Panels

  • Attractive
  • Extra long lasting
  • Corrosion Resistant
  • Lightweight
  • Easy to install
  • Attractive
  • Corrosion Resistant
  • Extra long lasting
  • Traditional in appearance
  • Longer lifespan than asphalt shingles
  • Lighter than authentic slate
  • Less expensive than authentic slate
  • Lighter than clay tiles
  • Less expensive than clay tiles

Copper Roofing Is Attractive

One of the biggest reasons people choose copper is for its striking and diverse appearance. It changes color overtime when it patinas and the natural variations in color from this process make the look of each copper roof unique.

The Long Lifespan Of Copper Roofing

Copper roofing will outlast almost any other type of roofing. You can expect your copper roof to last at least 60 to100 years or more, as copper has been known to last hundreds of years. In fact, there are famous historical buildings around the world with copper roofing that prove copper can stand the test of time.

Copper Roofing Is Suitable For Installation On The Coast

Copper Will Patina And Become Corrosion Resistant

The natural process that turns copper from looking like a shiny penny into a blue-green color also makes it resistant to corrosion. Once copper is exposed to moisture and patinas, the protective layer that develops keeps it from rusting. Copper is a safe material to use near the ocean because unlike steel and other materials, it will not rust.


Disadvantages Of Copper Roofing Materials

  • Expensive
  • Denting
  • Less Availability


Copper Roofing Panels Are Expensive

Copper is not the right roofing material when you are working with a strict budget. This type of roofing is one of the most expensive of all the metal roofing materials. This is the main reason that you will see copper used for small accents, but not on an entire roof. For example, you may have an asphalt roof, but a small accent feature of the house will be in copper.


Copper Roofing Can Be Dented

Copper is a softer metal that can be dented from hail or falling debris that will decrease its aesthetic appeal. The two most common thicknesses of copper are 16 ounce and 20 ounce.

We recommend that if you’re going to spend this type of money on a copper roof to use a 20-ounce copper. Upgrading from16 ounce to 20-ounce copper will cost you about 25% more. However, it’s a better product that will be more resistant to hail and denting and less prone to oil canning.


Where To Buy Copper Roofing

Copper roofing is harder to purchase than metal roofing. You will have fewer choices of roofing suppliers that offer copper roofing sheets. That’s mainly because it’s an expensive material to inventory. In many instances, it will have to be ordered specifically for your job and that can delay the schedule for your project.

At Western States Metal Roofing we stock copper roofing panels including standing seam copper roofing.

If you want an article that’s a much deeper dive into copper roofing:

Everything You Need To Know About Copper Roofing

How Much Does Copper Roofing Cost?

Copper is more expensive than just about every other types of metal roofing. Zinc is the one metal roofing material that costs about the same. Copper roofing costs about triple the price of steel roofing.

Copper Roofing Cost Per Square Foot

  • Corrugated Copper Roofing Cost - $13 to $20 Per Sq. Ft.
  • Standing Seam Copper Roofing Cost - $15 to $25 Per Sq. Ft.

What’s The Total Price Of Copper Roofing?

Copper roofing prices tend to vary more than aluminum or metal. It’s a premium product at a high price point so it’s not uncommon for the installer to charge a premium when bidding a copper roof. Copper roofing prices will vary depending upon the difficulty of the installation, location of the job, and the accessories that are required. 

Here’s a ballpark cost including materials and labor:

  • Price Of Corrugated Copper Roofing - Materials and Installation

$19 to $28 Per Sq. Ft.

  • Price Of Standing Seam Copper Roofing - Materials and Installation

$23 to $35 Per Sq. Ft.


Standing Seam Metal Roofing


Steel Roofing - Pros & Cons

When the term “metal roofing” is used, most commonly it’s referring to steel. Even though all of the materials we’re discussing are metal, when someone says “metal roofing”, they’re almost always talking about steel roofing. For this section, we’ll use the terms interchangeably.

Steel is an alloy, made from iron and other elements. Metal roofing has been commonly used on commercial buildings for years but now has been gaining popularity for use on residential homes as well for its affordability, longevity, and low maintenance.

Metal roofing comes in a variety of panel types, all of which affect factors such as its cost, appearance, and installation. We discuss the specific types of metal panels available in the next section.

Advantages Of Metal Roofing Panels

  • Low Maintenance
  • Resistance To Fires And Rotting
  • Longevity And Cost Effectiveness
  • Durability

Metal Roofing Is Low Maintenance

Once installed, the maintenance on a metal roof is minimal, especially when compared to other types of roofing. Metal roofing performs best when you remove any leaves, branches, and debris off the roof. You should also keep debris from accumulating in gutters and on the roof itself, as that can lead to corrosion problems in the future.

Washing the roof annually and inspecting the roof yearly or after major weather events is all that you need to do. Compared to other types of roofing, this is minimal maintenance.

If you would like to learn more about maintaining a metal roof we suggest:

Maintaining Your Metal Roof: 6 Steps You Need To Be Taking


Metal Roofing Is Resistant To Fires And Rot

Metal roofing will not rot or have problems with mildew. It also isn’t susceptible to termite or rodent infestation.

One of the biggest advantages of metal roofing is that it’s one of the few fire-resistant roofing materials. When installed correctly, it has the best fire rating available, Class A, making it ideal for areas that are prone to wildfires.

Cost Effectiveness And Longevity

Metal roofing is the least expensive of the five types of roofing materials. It will cost 35% less than aluminum and ⅓ the price of copper or zinc.

A metal roof can last 40-60 years or more when installed correctly. Not only is it the most affordable roofing material discussed in this article, but it also brings long-term value when you compare it to other roofing materials that aren’t metal.

For example, an asphalt shingle roof will last roughly 10-20 years before needing to be replaced. While a shingle roof costs half the price of a metal roof in some instances, a metal roof lasts at 3-6 times as long.

Therefore, installing a metal roof is cost effective in the long term if you plan on living at your house for at least 15 years. Because that’s the average amount of time before you’d have to buy a second shingle roof.

For a deeper dive into metal vs asphalt shingles cost, check out:

Shingles Vs Metal Roof Cost: Is The Price Of A Metal Roof Worth It?


A metal roof has strength that makes it resistant to cracking, chipping, or warping. It can survive gail force winds up to 140 mph and can withstand impact from falling objects.


Disadvantages Of Metal Roofing Panels

  • Less Corrosion Resistance
  • Greater Weight
  • Lifespan

Less Corrosion Resistance

Metal roofing panels are long lasting and corrosion resistant. However, aluminum, copper, and zinc will not corrode. Steel is an excellent choice as long as you don’t live near the coast or in an environment with excessive moisture.

The Weight Of Metal Roofing

Metal roofing will weigh more than aluminum or copper roofing. This will create more of a load on your house that causes stress on the structure. Even with the additional weight metal is still lighter than most non- metal building materials.

How Long Does A Metal Roof Last?

Metal roofing lasts a long time and it’s considered a “lifetime roof”. It’s designed to last 40 to 60 plus years, which is longer than most non-metal materials. The lifespan of your metal roof will be determined by a number of factors including the style of the panel profile, gauge of the steel, and the finish.

Even though metal is an excellent choice and it’s long lasting, it still has a shorter lifespan than aluminum, copper, or zinc.

What Is The Cost Of Steel Roofing Materials?

Metal or steel roofing is the least expensive metal roofing material. Metal roofing costs about 35% less vs. aluminum roofing and it’s ⅓ the price of copper or zinc roofing.

Metal Roofing Cost Per Square Foot

  • Exposed Fastener Roofing Panels Cost - $2.00 to $4.00 Per Sq. Ft.
  • Standing Seam Roofing Panels Cost - $3.00 to $5.00 Per Sq. Ft.
  • Specialty Paint Finishes - Two Tone Paint Systems Cost Approximately An Additional $1.00-$1.50/Sq. Ft.


What’s The Total Metal Roofing Price?

Metal roofing prices will vary depending upon the difficulty of the installation, location of the job, and the accessories that are required.


Here’s a ballpark cost including materials and labor:

  • Price Of Exposed Fastener Metal Roofing - Materials and Installation

$7 to $12 Per Sq. Ft.

  • Price Of Standing Seam Metal Roofing - Materials and Installation

$10 to $16 Per Sq. Ft.


Tin Roofing


What Is A Tin Roof Made Of?

Tin roofing is rolled steel that is coated with tin. The tin is chemically bonded to the steel, which helps make the roof durable and resistant to cracking.


When Was Tin Roofing Invented?

Metal began being used for roofing in the 1700s, although tin roofs were not really used in the United States until the late 1800s. Tin became a very popular roofing material because it’s a lightweight material, which made it easy to maneuver and install. However, it’s popularity in roofing began to rapidly decline over a century ago. Aluminum began being used instead of tin which has ultimately led to tin becoming obsolete. It’s rare to find a tin roof today.

If you’re looking to install tin for roofing, then it’s nearly certain you’re referring to metal roofing or aluminum roofing in today's terminology.


Advantages Of Tin Roofing

  •  Lightweight
  • Easy To Install


Tin is often compared to aluminum because they share similar qualities like being a lightweight material.

Easy To Install

When tin roofing was used, it was popular for its ease of installation.


Disadvantages Of Tin Roofing Panels

  • No longer used and it’s not available

Where To Buy Tin Roofing

While tin was a very popular roofing material in the mid 19th century, it is no longer used today as roofing. It has been replaced by more durable metals such as steel.

When people today seek out tin roofing, it is usually because they enjoy the sounds of heavy rain on a tin roof along with tin's simple and rustic aesthetic. Both the look and sound of tin can be achieved with either galvanized steel, painted metal or aluminum roofing, which is what people are usually referring to when they discuss tin roofing today.


How Much Is A Tin Roof?

Since actual tin roofing is no longer sold today, you want to look at galvalume or painted metal panels when you are looking for the rustic aesthetic of a tin roof. Below is a price range for these metal panels.


Galvalume® Metal Panel

Painted Metal Panel

24 Gauge Corrugated

  • $ 1.10 - $ 1.50 Per Square Foot
  • $1.30- $2.00 Per Square Foot

26 Gauge Corrugated

  • $ .75 - $ 1.15 Per Square Foot
  • $1.10 - $1.50 Per Square Foot


Zinc Roofing - Pros & Cons

Zinc roofing is similar to copper. It has a beautiful appearance that will patina and change color overtime. Most of the zinc roofing panels that are used today are actually pre-patinated, or have not yet developed their protective layer which changes the appearance of the zinc. While zinc roofs are commonly found in Europe because of their aesthetic, they are not very popular in the United States due to the high cost.

Zinc roofing

Advantages Of Using Zinc For Roofing

Zinc Roofing Is Attractive

Zinc roofing panels have a striking aesthetic that makes them really stand out. Once zinc is exposed to moisture and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, it will form a protective layer of zinc carbonate. The result from this process is a beautiful blue/gray patina.

Zinc Will Patina And Become Corrosion Resistant

Besides being beautiful, patina also serves a purpose in keeping the zinc from rusting. The protective layer that forms keeps the zinc roof from corroding. This makes zinc a great option to use as roofing if you live near the coastline as it will not be negatively impacted by the moisture in the air.

The Long Lifespan Of Zinc Roofing

A zinc roof will last 80-100 years or longer. Like copper, it’s a “lifetime roof”. Once you install it, you won’t need to worry about installing another roof again.


Disadvantages Of Zinc Roofing Panels

  • Expensive
  • Chalking
  • Less Availability

Zinc Roofing Panels Are Expensive

Similar to copper, zinc roofing panels are not the right choice if keeping your cost low is a top priority. While it’s cost is often justified by its long lifespan, it’s still one of the most expensive metal roofing options.

Chalking On Zinc Roofing Panels

Once zinc patinas and turns to its blue/gray color, it’s possible for a chalky residue to develop in areas where water runs on the roof. These white streaks are generally perceived as being unattractive.

Limited Availability Of Zinc Roofing

Zinc roofing panels are the most difficult material to purchase that’s currently available. There are only a handful of suppliers in the United States and most of them import the zinc from Europe. VM Zinc is a supplier of pre-patinated zinc materials, but they don’t manufacture the zinc roof sheeting.

If you want an article that’s a much deeper dive into zinc roofing:

What Is a Zinc Roof? Pros, Cons, And Alternatives

How Much Does Zinc Roofing Cost?

Zinc will cost about the same as copper, but will be significantly more expensive if the project is small. The lack of availability means that your shipping costs could be more expensive than the roofing materials themselves on a small project. Zinc roofing costs at least three times the price of steel roofing.

Zinc Roofing Cost Per Square Foot

  • Corrugated Zinc Roofing Cost - $13 to $20 Per Sq. Ft.
  • Standing Seam Zinc Roofing Cost - $15 to $25 Per Sq. Ft.

What’s The Total Price Of Zinc Roofing?

It’s difficult to find an installer that is familiar with zinc roofing installation. This material has some pitfalls and should only be installed by an installer that has experience with zinc. There will be significantly fewer qualified installers to choose from so the installation prices will vary more than any other type of metal roofing material.

Here’s a ballpark cost including materials and labor:

  • Price Of Corrugated Zinc Roofing - Materials and Installation

$19 to $28 Per Sq. Ft.

  • Price Of Standing Seam Zinc Roofing - Materials and Installation

$23 to $35 Per Sq. Ft.


Metal Roofing Materials Cost Comparison Chart

The chart below lists the price range for material only for the metal roofing materials in order of cost from least to most expensive.

  Steel Aluminum Tin Copper Zinc
COST $2.00-$5.00 per sq. ft. $3.50-$6.50 per sq. ft. N/A $13.00-$25.00 per sq. ft. $13.00-$25.00 per sq. ft.



Factors That Affect The Price Of All Types Of Metal Roofing Materials

The price of metal roofing panels varies depending on many factors including:

  • Panel Profile - There are two types of metal roofing systems. Exposed fastener panels such as a wavy corrugated metal roofing or concealed fastener panels such as a standing seam panel. Exposed fastener panels will cost about half the price when compared to standing seam metal roofing panels.
  • Gauge or Thickness of Steel - Metal roofing panels will range in gauge from as light as 29 gauge to as heavy as 20 gauge. If you have a typical residential metal roof that’s on a wood substrate, then purchasing a heavy gauge steel such as 20 or 22 gauge would not be necessary. Conversely, we wouldn’t recommend a flimsy 29 gauge roof that doesn’t perform that well and only saves a minimal amount of money.
    Most metal roofs will be 26 gauge or 24 gauge steel. Heavier 24 gauge steel will cost 25% to 40% more than 26 gauge steel.
  • Finish And Paint System - In most instances a metal roof will have a galvalume substrate and then a paint finish on top of that. There are two types of paint finishes, SMP or PVDF.

SMP paint finishes are typically available in lighter gauge steel such as 29 or 26 gauge. The color of panels will fade at a faster rate than a PVDF paint. This is the most cost effective paint system.

PVDF paint is the gold standard of metal roofing paint finishes. Since PVDF colors will fade at a slower rate, you will often see bright and vibrant colors only made in a PVDF paint finish. Normally, you’ll be required to purchase light gauge steel and must use a 24 gauge minimum.

PVDF costs 30% to 40% more than SMP painted roofing panels because you are both buying a better paint and a heavier gauge steel.

For a more specific price, we suggest requesting a free quote.

Get a Free Quote for Metal Roof or Metal Wall Panels Today! Click Here


Metal Roofing Colors

One of the unique qualities of metal roofing is the amount of colors and designs you can choose from. You can find almost any color you are looking for. There are even roofs that look like they change color throughout the day!

Metal roofing comes in:

There are so many choices that it's easy to be overwhelmed when choosing a metal roof color. We recommend downloading our exclusive guide to help you choose the best color for your metal roof.

Download Your How To Choose A Metal Roofing Color Guide


Metal Roofing Panel Types

If you decide to purchase a metal roof there are more options than just metal roofing panels. Western States Metal Roofing doesn’t sell metal shingles, slate, or tile, but they are excellent systems that we will touch upon.

  1. Corrugated Metal Roofing- Exposed fastener panel.
  2. Standing Seam Roofing- Concealed fastener panel.
  3. Metal Shingle Roofing- Metal roofing with a traditional look.
  4. Metal Slate Roofing- Affordable alternative to slate.
  5. Metal Tile Roofing- Affordable alternative to clay tile.


Corrugated Metal Roofing - Pros & Cons

If you’re considering using corrugated metal roofing then it’s critical that you understand the differences between an exposed fastener panel and a standing seam metal roof. This is the starting point in your research when determining what type of metal roofing panel to use. Each of these metal roofing systems have their own set of benefits and drawbacks.



Corrugated metal panels
are made from rolled steel that is shaped into wavy or boxy looking panels. It is the most affordable type of steel roofing on the market and has exposed fasteners which makes it an easier panel system to install.


7/8" Corrugated roof

Corrugated metal roofing is a great alternative to asphalt shingles because it’s similar in price when compared to shingles. However, with corrugated metal you have more color choices and it a significantly longer lifespan.


Advantages Of Corrugated Metal Roofing

  • Inexpensive
  • Durable, lightweight, and long-lasting
  • Easier to install and DIY friendly

Disadvantages Of Corrugated Metal Roofing

  • Exposed fastener system
  • More maintenance when compared to standing seam

Corrugated Metal Roofing: The Ultimate Homeowners Guide

How Much Does Corrugated Metal Roofing Cost?

Corrugated metal roofing is the least expensive type of metal roofing. It costs about half of the price of standing seam. 

  • 26 gauge corrugated pricing EXCLUDING installation: $ 1.50 - $ 2.00 Per Square Foot
  • 24 gauge corrugated pricing EXCLUDING installation: $ 2.00 - $ 2.50 Per Square Foot
  • 26 gauge corrugated pricing with SMP paint EXCLUDING installation: $2.00-$2.50 Per Sq Ft
  • 24 gauge corrugated pricing with SMP paint EXCLUDING installation: $2.50-$3.00 Per Sq Ft

  • 24 gauge corrugated pricing with PVDF paint EXCLUDING installation: $2.50-$3.50 Per Sq Ft
  • 22 gauge corrugated pricing with PVDF paint EXCLUDING installation: $3.50-$4.50 Per Sq Ft


Corrugated Metal Roofing Cost In Specialty Paint Finishes


⅞” Corrugated in Streaked Rust®

A paint print will try to replicate a naturally occurring patina. It is a painted panel that looks old and weathered. Specialty paint prints normally consist of painted panels that try and replicate the following appearances: orange/brown rust, weathered gray, patina’d copper, blackened steel.

  • 24 gauge corrugated with a specialty paint EXCLUDING installation: $3.50-$4.50 Per Sq Ft

Where Can I Buy Corrugated Metal Roofing?

Where you purchase your metal roofing from is the single greatest way to save a substantial amount of money. In this section we will discuss the most common purchasing channels

  1. Metal Roofing Manufacturers That Sell Direct To Public
  2. Distributors
  3. Roofing Contractor

Most metal roofing manufacturers will not sell directly to homeowners and in some cases even metal roofing contractors. If you can find a metal roofing manufacturer that deals directly with the public it will be your greatest opportunity to save money on your metal roof. Buying directly from the manufacturer will save you 15% to 50%.

When you purchase directly from the manufacturer you will need to know what you need. The manufacturer will NOT create your materials list. You will need to know how many panels at what length plus all of the trim.

Western States Metal Roofing is a metal roofing manufacturer that sells direct to homeowners, roofing contractors, and general contractors.

It is common to purchase material through roofing supply companies or other distributors. They will put a mark up on the panels that is normally in the range of 15% to 50% depending upon the size of the job.

If you already know what you need, this might not be the best option for you. However, if you need guidance through the process of figuring out your materials list and the appropriate trims then this is money well spent.

When you get a bid for a metal roof the contractor will normally give you a price on materials plus labor. However, the contractor typically will put a mark up on the panels that is normally in the range of 10% to 20%.

If your contractor was getting a good price to start with, then a 20% mark up would be reasonable. This covers the time to create a materials list and liability if something goes wrong. When sourcing material from roofing contractors, there are two things to consider:

  • Limited selection of colors and finishes
  • Did they get the best price prior to marking it up?

If you find your own source to purchase the metal roofing, you’ll have more flexibility. You can now choose from a much larger selection of colors and finishes. In addition, the process of comparing bids is easier because it’s universal. Everyone is supplying the same thing in the bid: labor only. It is an apples to apples comparison.

If you decide to do this there a couple of important things to keep in mind

  • Verify that the roofing contractor will supply a materials list to the metal roofing manufacturer.
  • Find out whether underlayment is included within the bid. This is a major part of the bid and it is important that you choose the right underlayment. Underlayment can be purchased from either the supplier or contractor. In either instance we suggest that you specify the type of underlayment that you would like installed on your roof.

Size Of The Metal Roofing Job

Smaller jobs will always cost more money than larger projects. In most instances the cost difference is relatively minor. However, if you have a really small or really large project you will see significant price differences. We’ve broken this into three groups and will give you some guidance on each.

  1. Really small job under 1,000 square feet
  2. Typical job 1,001 to 5,000 square feet
  3. Larger than 5,000 square feet

A job of this size will normally cost 20% to 100% more than a larger project of greater than one thousand square feet and less than five thousand square feet.

If the job is closer to one thousand square feet the difference is minimal. If the job is under 500 square feet it would not be uncommon for the price to be twice as expensive.

There will be a range depending on the size of the job, but it is minimal. Typically the jobs that are closer to five thousand square feet are 10% to 15% less than the smaller ones.

There will be a small cost savings of maybe 5% when the job gets closer to ten thousand square feet. If the project is even larger, there is an opportunity for more savings.


Price Fluctuations In The Steel Market

The price of steel is never the same. When we purchase steel, the cost is always different. Normally the difference is minimal. There are circumstances, such as the current steel shortage, that can greatly increase the pricing. If your project is a long way out then the price that you were quoted may not be the price that you get when you are ready to purchase.



Other Considerations

It can be surprising to realize that there are a wide variety of products that fall under the category of corrugated metal roofing. This is why the pricing for corrugated sheet metal is not “one size fits all”. Before moving forward with receiving a quote, make sure you have an idea of which product you are looking for.

To help narrow down the choices, consider the following questions:

Save Money On Your Corrugated Metal Roofing. Buy Directly From The Manufacturer

There are many factors that we have discussed that go into the cost of corrugated metal roofing. The numbers in this article should provide you with an estimate for the price of your new roof or wall. You’ll find that you cannot get an exact price as each job is different.

The only way to know exactly what your project will cost is to speak with metal roofing manufacturers and contractors and get a quote. If you don’t need guidance selecting the right materials for your roof, buying directly from manufacturers is the most affordable route. We’d love to speak with you and provide you with a free quote.

At Western States Metal Roofing, we have route trucks that service the entire USA, Canada, and Mexico. Our freight department is dedicated to sending your order on the fastest and least expensive route possible.

Get a free quote for metal roofing and metal wall panels by clicking here.


For a deeper dive into corrugated metal roofing cost, check out:

How Much Does A Metal Roof Cost? Corrugated Metal Roofing Pricing

Standing Seam Roofing - Pros & Cons

Standing seam roofing is a clean, modern-looking steel roof with concealed fasteners that provide a streamlined appearance. It’s the best metal roofing system that you can purchase. In addition, the concealed fasteners make it a weathertight panel which decreases the chances of any roof leaks.

Standing Seam metal roof in Black Ore Matte®

Advantages Of Standing Seam Metal Roofing

  • The most weather-tight metal roofing panel system
  • Attractive and contemporary looking
  • Requires less maintenance when compared to corrugated metal roofing


Disadvantages Of Standing Seam Metal Roofing

  • It cost twice as much as corrugated metal roofing
  • More difficult to install. Not meant for a DIY installer.

There’s a large price difference between corrugated roofing and standing seam. So, it’s important that you know the differences between the panels. Check out this article:

Corrugated Metal Roofing v. Standing Seam (Pros & Cons)


How Much Does Standing Seam Roofing Cost?

Standing seam metal roofing is the most expensive type of metal roofing system. It costs about twice the price of corrugated metal roofing Standing seam panels will cost between $2-$4 per square foot for the material.

Standing Seam Metal Roofing Cost - 24 Gauge

Galvalume/Galvanized (24 Gauge) $2.50 to $3.50 Per Sq. Ft.
PVDF Painted Finish (24 Gauge) $3.00 to $4.00 Per Sq. Ft.
Specialty Painted Finish (24 Gauge) $4.00 to $5.00 Per Sq. Ft.


Metal Shingle Roofing

Metal shingles offer the traditional look of shingles but come with the superior quality of metal roofing. If you don’t want to deviate from the look of the other homes in your neighborhood but still want a roof that will last 2-3 times as long as a traditional asphalt shingle roof, a metal shingle roof is a great option to consider.

Metal shingle’s biggest advantages are being:

  • Traditional in appearance
  • Longer lifespan than asphalt shingles

Metal Shingle Roofing

How Much Does Metal Shingle Roofing Cost?

Metal shingle roofing runs between $3- $5 per square foot for materials. When you include installation it’s about the same price as standing seam. Metal shingles will cost $8 - $12 per square foot including materials and installation.

The price range shown is for shingles made of steel or aluminum. Shingles can also be made of copper or zinc although those shingles are much rarer and more expensive.


Metal Slate Roofing

Metal slate roofing are steel panels that are designed to look like slate. Authentic slate roofing is not only much more expensive than metal, but it is also much heavier. The extra weight adds stress on the structure of your home that can cause damage if your roof is not designed to handle the weight. You can also expect the labor costs for metal slate to be less because it’s a lighter, easier material to carry and install compared to real slate.


Metal slate’s biggest advantages are being:

  • Lighter than authentic slate
  • Less expensive than authentic slate

How Much Does Metal Slate Roofing Cost?

Metal slate roofing runs between $3.00-$5.00 per square foot for material. It’s also about the same price as standing seam metal roofing including materials and installation.

By comparison, authentic slate costs between $6.50 and $15.00 per square foot for material.


Metal Tile Roofing

A metal tile roof gives you the look of tile but at the price and weight of metal. Similar to metal slate, this type of roofing was made as an alternative to the heavier material it’s designed after. Metal is used instead of clay tiles to avoid extra costs or damage from its weight.

While metal is one of the most lightweight roofing materials on the market, clay tiles weigh roughly 600-650 lbs per square and can weigh even more when it rains. A clay tile can absorb up to 15% of its weight in moisture.

This type of weight can easily exceed your home’s roof load-bearing capacity. Too much weight on your home can result in your roof caving in.

In order to avoid this, you’d have to get a structural engineer involved to reinforce your home to make sure it can handle the weight of clay tiles. This is an extra consideration that can cost you up to $10,000.


Metal tile’s biggest advantages are being:

  • Lighter than clay tiles
  • Less expensive than clay tiles

How Much Does Metal Tile Roofing Cost?

Metal tile roofing costs $4.00-$6.00 per square foot for material. The installed price of a metal tile roof is slightly higher than the other metal roofing options listed in this article.

By comparison, a clay tile roof costs anywhere from $10.50-$18.50 installed, but without factoring in the potential cost of reinforcing your home if needed.

How To Choose The Right Metal For Your Roof

As you can see, there are a lot of options when it comes to metal roofing. To help narrow down your choices, we recommend considering the following:

  • What is your roof budget?

Metal roofing materials come in a very wide price range. If you are looking to be as cost-effective as possible, then a corrugated metal roof is an affordable solution. On the other hand, if cost is not a concern, consider a copper or zinc standing seam roofing.

  • What is your desired roof appearance?

Each material we discussed has its own unique look and style. Which one is best for you depends on your personal preference.

  • How long do you want your roof to last?

If you are looking for a metal roof with a traditional look, metal shingles will blend in nicely with the rest of your neighborhood. If you are looking for a striking appearance, copper has a beautiful appearance that will stand out. If you are looking for a modern look, standing seam is very popular for its contemporary aesthetic.

  • Is your roof near the coast?

You can’t go wrong with any type of metal roofing when it comes to longevity. While they all have long life expectancies, installing a standing seam roof in zinc or copper roof can potentially last over a century. This will ensure that you never have to worry about installing another roof on your home again. However, even a corrugated metal roof can last up to 40 plus years.

  • Do you plan on installing the roof yourself or hiring a professional?

If you live near the ocean, you want a metal material that will not rust from the salt in the atmosphere. Aluminum, zinc, and copper are all corrosion-resistant materials that will not rust when installed near the coast.


We always recommend you hire a professional to ensure your installation is done correctly. However, if you plan on installing your metal roof on your own, corrugated metal roofing is the most DIY friendly material to use.

At Western States Metal Roofing, we offer metal roofing panels in corrugated metal, standing seam, and copper.


To learn more about the differences between these panels, we recommend reading:

Exposed Fastener Metal Panels v. Standing Seam Systems For Metal Roofs


Our metal panels come in hundreds of colors that will enhance any type of home. Take a look through our color catalogs and read how to choose a metal roof color.

Download Your How To Choose A Metal Roofing Color Guide

Metal Roofing Learning Cener

About Lauren Risotto

Lauren is the Content Manager at Western States Metal Roofing and provides insight on content creation and product promotions.