I hope this is an appropriate place to ask this question. We've just bought our first house and it is in need of a new roof, so I'm shopping around for quotes. Metal roofs seem like something we'd be interested in for their "cool roof" (thermal) effect and their longevity. I asked one of the roofing companies whether or not they install metal roofs and if so, how much that would run for compared to composite shingles, and I got this response:

Metal roofing is extremely fragile and is susceptible to leakage only after a few years, we do not install any metal roofing anymore as a result.

This seems to contradict everything I've read so far about metal roofs. For full context, I was specifically asking about CertainTeed Presidio Metal Roofing, so maybe their answer was about that specific product instead of metal roofs in general? Regardless, I am a bit perplexed about how to reconcile all that I've learned about metal roofs vs this statement by a company that does nothing but install roofs. The roofing company was highly recommended by several of our neighbors who recently had their roofs redone (with composite shingles).

Are metal roofs a bad decision? Are metal roofs via Presidio Metal Roofing a bad decision? We live in the San Francisco Bay Area, so snow is not a concern for us; wind, rain, and fire are probably the three biggest threats to our new roof as I understand it.

3 Answers 3


Metal roofs are not fragile, that's complete baloney.

The gold standard for long lasting roofing are standing seam copper, slate or quality tile. Standing seam steel won't last quite as many decades, but it's good. All of these have high up front cost, but will save money over the long term. Composition roofs must be thrown in a landfill every few decades. Yes, metal can dent with heavy hail, but a few dents is not failure by any stretch. And if you're in a fire prone area... metal is really hard to beat.

ArrowLine Slate Roofing is a good product for a slate look steel.

A lot of roofers only install composition shingles, it's all they know.

If you go with true rock based slate, check out http://www.slateroofers.org/

Re-roofing is also a chance to get an energy and building performance evaluation done. There's a lot of detail on venting and deck top insulation that can be fixed as part of roofing job --- saving energy and cost and increasing comfort for the life of the building.

  • Thanks, I thought as much. My hesitation with looking into slate is the cost and the weight, as I understand slate is much heavier. For the energy and building performance evaluation—is that a service the roofers could provide or would I have to contact another professional to have that done? If another professional, what sort of search terms could I punch into Google to find a local professional to do that evaluation?
    – neezer
    Jul 30, 2018 at 22:07
  • A "home energy audit" is the way to go, that's the right expert.
    – Bryce
    Aug 21, 2018 at 5:34

Roofers need to be certified by the metal roofing manufacturer before they are allowed to install that manufacturer’s roofing. They also need to STAY certified, which requires taking classes (continuing education) for the latest trends, etc.

I like metal roofs because, 1) lightweight, 2) fire resistive, 3) certified installation approval by manufacturer, 4) better warranty than other roofing materials, 5) colors and aesthetics.

  1. This is especially important in older structures.

  2. Insurance companies often give a discount for metal roofing.

  3. Metal roofing manufacturer’s have reps that will inspect the WORKMANSHIP.

  4. You can purchase an extended warranty up to 20 years on a “no penal sum basis”. Shingle warranty roofs will give you a 30 or 40 year warranty, but it’s for “material “ only and it’s pro-rata. That is to say, if a 30 year shingle roof goes bad after 15 years, they pay 1/2 cost of ORIGINAL cost of shingles...no labor. A metal roofing “no penal sum” guaranty pays for labor and material at the then current cost. (That cost is significantly higher than original cost , say 15 years prior.)

  5. Metal seems more permanent.

I don’t like metal roofing because, A) cost v. composition shingles, B) difficult to walk on when wet/cold/etc., C) dents easily, D) needs good / level sub-base, E) existing roofing must be removed, F) difficult to repair.

A) You pay for what you get.

B) It’s slippery when wet/cold. You can’t get on the roof when it’s raining, during a storm, etc.

C) Flying debris in a wind storm is a problem...and is not part of warranty.

D) If your roof sheathing is wavy, it will need to be fixed. If not flat it will show defects.

E) Metal roofing must be installed on solid wood (plywood or OSB board) only.

F) Replacing a single panel is difficult. (Hint: Buy a few extra sheets and store in attic incase your color is discontinued.)

Oh, if you select metal roofing, I’d use standing seam, concealed fasteners, best finish they offer and thickest metal they offer. (If you live in a “high wind” area, make sure they increase the holddowns proportionately.)


His sentence is badly formulated. A lot of guys refuse to install what you're asking for specifically, because they don't believe in the product and specially the methods of installation with all the extra caulking and splicing. A standing seam metal roof is probably more expensive, but is in my opinion a much better alternative. You can have one continuous panel, made to "infinite length", top to bottom. If done properly, there is no room for leaks.

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