Last updated on January 24th, 2023 at 08:46 am
Metal Roofing Prices? Don’t Be Shocked…
If you’re considering a metal roofing upgrade, you have probably done a “Metal Roofing Prices” search online, only to find that most metal roofing companies shy away from the topic of pricing. In an effort to help property owners get a good idea of what a metal roof really costs (and save them from potential price shock) we have broken down what they can expect here. Note: This article has been updated to reflect current pricing in Canada.
How Much Will it Cost to Put a Metal Roof on My House?
For a ballpark idea on how much a metal roof will cost for your home, multiply the installed price per square foot by your roof area. For example: The average roof size in Canada is about 2000 ft2 and the average residential metal roof installed cost per square foot is about $9.50. So the average cost of a metal roof in Canada last year was close to $19,000.
How much Does a Metal Roof Cost Compared to Shingles?
Asphalt roofing prices will vary depending on product and labour costs. Assuming you are considering a mid-range shingle installed by a licensed contractor, a residential metal roof will cost about 3+ times more than asphalt.
Factors That Affect Metal Roofing Cost
There are a number of important factors that need to be considered when calculating the cost of a new metal roof:
- Substrate Metal
- Panel Design
- Finish (Coatings)
- Roof Design and Location
- Labour Cost
- Stripping and Disposal
How Different Factors Affect Price:
Substrate: The pricing on metals used to form the roofing panel are affected by supply and demand for raw materials and associated processing costs. Galvanized Steel and Aluminum are the most common metals used for residential roofing because they provide the best performance for the money. Although exotic metals like copper, zinc and stainless steel perform exceptionally well, they are less common roofing options because the cost is prohibitive for most people.
Panel Design: The 2 major design options that affect price are overlapping vs interlocking panels. Interlocking panels will cost more than overlapping panels because they have more structural detail, go through a more extensive forming process and take up more room on a truck to ship. Panels designed to interlock on four sides will also tend to have a better quality finish which also adds to the cost.
Finish: Also referred to as coating, is an important factor to consider as it can drastically change the cosmetic lifespan of a metal roof. Polyester based paints are the cheapest form of coating with the shortest lifespan while PVDF (Polyvinylidene Fluoride ) formula coatings are accepted as the industry gold standard due to their exceptional lifespan, adhesion, chalk and fade resistance.
Underlayment: Often overlooked, the underlayment of a metal roof is a crucial second line of defense against the elements. If the roof is a new build it will require an ice and water shield which costs up to 5 times more than a breathable synthetic membrane (sufficient for re-roofing over asphalt situations).
Roof Design and Location: The design of the roof structure combined with physical location make the difference between whether your roof will be classified as “easy” or “difficult” to install by your roofing contractor. Is the roof walkable? Or so steep that special equipment is needed? Navigating around elements like valleys, dormers and windows increase labour time and waste factor. If your home is in the City of Toronto for instance, will the installers need to buy special parking permits? Are the alleys around your house too narrow to prop a ladder? Having an “easy” vs “difficult” roof is the difference between paying in the lower range vs higher range for any given product type.
Labour Cost: Most metal roofing providers in Canada sub-contract roofing installers. In general, established contractors (most likely to be around in the future) will have higher prices because they have higher costs for liability insurance (protecting you and your home), WSIB (or your local provincial workplace and safety board) premiums, project managers, and training programs. A highly skilled project manager who specializes in metal roofing is invaluable as they will be able to provide recommendations for proper ventilation, insulation, or water management. Note: On batten mounted roofing systems (not recommended for residential use) you will pay more for labour. In some cases the cost of labour will exceed the cost of materials as it is a complicated and labour intensive installation method.
Stripping and Disposal: In addition to the cost of your metal roof will be the cost to strip and dispose of your old roof. If you will be re-roofing with a lightweight product then this may not be a necessary step. Check the building code in your province for weight limitations on roofing structure or seek advice from a metal roofing professional.
Metal Roofing Prices in Canada by Product Type
Now that we have covered the kinds of factors that will affect metal roofing prices, lets look at what to expect in terms of pricing for each type or class of metal roofing product. Note: Metal roofing price estimates are based on price of material per square foot of roof space plus installation cost, referred to as “installed price”. In big box home improvement stores it is important to note list prices are for panels of roofing material only. The following price ranges reflect the factors listed above but do not include stripping and disposal. The prices by product will give you an idea of what you can expect to get or be giving up based on your budget. Included are “re-roofing cycles” so you can see how many roof replacements you might need to do over 50 years.
Economy Metal Roofing:
At the low-end of metal roofing options are products with exposed fasteners. Originally designed for agricultural or commercial use, these products will also have a lower grade (polyester based) paint finish and may be compromised of a lower grade of steel alloy (iron to carbon ratio). These products will have minimal flashings, and could depend on sealants and overhanging panels. Low-end roofing will also rely on problematic battens or strapping for installation. Another consideration with cheap metal roofing is country of origin. Offshore manufacturers are unlikely to have regulated quality control measures.
Maintenance Required: By about year 10 polyester based coating will lose uniformity and need to be repainted. By year 15 exposed screws will need to be tightened and/or replaced with larger screws to compensate for wallowing holes caused by natural thermal movement.
Re-Roofing Cycles over 50 Year Period: 2-3
Expect to Pay: $6.00 – $8.00 CAD per square foot installed.
Steel Shingle and Shake:
In Canada there is a wide range of steel roofing products designed for residential use. G90 (0.90 ounces of zinc coating per square foot of steel surface) is the accepted “standard” for roofing. G110 and G115 will perform better against acid rain or in marine environments. A high-end steel system will not need battens and strapping for installation, and panels will be interlocking (won’t blow off due to high speed winds). A galvanized steel roof with interlocking design and PVDF finish will have a better life expectancy than cheaper steel options. Coatings on a high-end steel system sometimes include reflective pigments to enhance energy efficiency. Keeping in mind that there is no steel roofing product that unconditionally guarantees against rust, cosmetic life is shorter than functional life.
Maintenance Required: Optional, re-paint to cover rust.
Re-Roofing Cycles Over 50 Year Period: 1 if corroded through back of panel.
Expect to Pay: $10.00 – $13.00 CAD per square foot installed.
Aluminum Shingle and Shake:
An aluminum roof designed for residential use will have concealed fasteners, interlocking panels and PVDF coatings. Accessories and trims will be factory-formed for quality and consistency. When reflective pigments are used in the paint formula, it is the most energy efficient option and classified as a cool roof. A cool roof quickly releases heat in summer and deflects the sun’s rays. The energy savings on a cool aluminum roof will help offset the premium you will be paying up front for the better product. With the highest strength to weight ratio of a roofing product, aluminum can be installed over the existing roof. Roofing over asphalt eliminates costs associated with tear down and disposal as well as decreasing landfill burden. Ideal for coastal or marine environments. If you live on the East or West Coast, look for products that are covered by warranty at any proximity to the ocean.
Maintenance required: None
Re-Roofing Cycles Over 50 Year Period: None (aluminum will not rust)
Expect to Pay: $14.00 – $22.00 CAD per square foot installed.
Standing Seam Metal Roofing:
Also known as vertical panel metal roofing, standing seam is available in Canada in a variety of options. Through fastened systems with exposed fasteners (over battens) are not ideal for residential use because they do not allow for thermal movement of the roof structure. In Canada, the drastic changes from hot to cold weather cause the roof structure to constantly expand and contract. Over time this wallows out the screw holes and causes the long vertical panels to buckle. In roofing terms this buckling or rippling is referred to as “oil canning” because the ripples resemble those on a can of oil. A better standing seam will be designed so that it can be installed using fasteners that are concealed and allow the panels some room for movement. G90 (minimum) galvanized steel and solid aluminum with PVDF coatings (go by the trade names Kynar 500 or Hylar 5000) will give a better return on investment. As with any steel roofing product, warranties cannot unconditionally cover against rust formation so repainting may be necessary at some point.
The labour cost to install a standing seam roof on a house will be significantly higher than the cost of installing metal shingles or shakes. The long vertical panels have to be cut to measure the entire length of your roof from eave to ridge. These long and clean looking panels are very unforgiving so extra care needs to be taken when shipping, handling and installing. With this product it is recommended that only the most skilled and experienced metal roofers be contracted to do the work.
Note: a better quality standing seam roof is installed directly to a clean roof deck prepared with an ice and water shield. Re-roofing with standing seam over asphalt is not recommended as any impressions transferred to the surface will be highly visible.
G90 Steel Standing Seam Expect to Pay: $19 – $25.00 CAD per square foot installed
Aluminum Standing Seam Expect to Pay: $24– $30.00 CAD per square foot installed
Aluminum Standing Seam with Concealed Fasteners: $30.00+ per square foot installed and up depending on difficulty
Exotic Metal Roofing:
Mill finished zinc or copper roofing are available as standing seam panels or shingles. Often used on churches or historical buildings, exotic metal roofing is a sort of “specialty” roofing that is not widely available or accessible due to a higher priced product and the level of expertise needed for installation.
Maintenance required: None
Re-Roofing Cycles Over 50 Years: None (copper and zinc will not rust)
Expect to Pay: $50.00 – 60.00 CAD per square foot installed.
Other Considerations: Fees associated with tear down and disposal of your existing roof are not included above and will vary among contractors. In the case of aluminum roofing it may be possible to install on top of your existing shingles. Careful analysis of product warranties can often reveal a product’s true life expectancy. Try to focus more on what’s in the fine print rather than the number of years advertised since most roofing warranties are pro-rated or contain loopholes around rust.
Conclusion: If you have only ever had quotes for asphalt roofing then chances are you are still in shock. In general metal roofing cost will usually be about 3+ times that of a professionally installed and fully insured asphalt roofing quote. In perspective, asphalt roofing is at an all-time low in terms of quality and longevity so you can plan to re-roof every 8-12 years. If you are planning on staying in your home for 16 years or more, you stand a good chance of saving a substantial amount of money by upgrading to a high quality metal roofing system.