According to experts, the global metal roofing market had an estimated value of $7.72 billion in 2020. Furthermore, they expect it to grow to reach a staggering worth of $8.58 billion this 2021.
Aluminum roofing, in turn, is one of the key players in the metal roofing segment. While still not as common as shingles, its popularity is increasing, especially in the US.
So, if you’re installing or renovating a roof yourself, be sure to consider aluminum. This guide gives an insider look at why it’s a great option, so be sure to read on.
Long-Lasting Life Due to Self-Protective Features
Many types of metals oxidize when exposed to air and water. On iron, this reaction leads to corrosion or rusting. On copper, the result is verdigris, a bluish-green patina that most folks don’t like to see on their roofs.
By contrast, aluminum surfaces form an invisible layer of self-protective oxide. This oxide layer acts as a barrier, preventing more oxidation. This is what makes aluminum roofs resistant to corrosion.
For the same reason, aluminum metal roofing can last for up to seven decades with proper care.
Aluminum isn’t invincible, though, especially not against chlorides or sulfides. Chlorides, in turn, are chlorine compounds, such as sodium chloride (NaCI). NaCI, the chemical name for salt, is prevalent in the air surrounding seawater.
That’s why aluminum roofing materials aren’t ideal for properties near the ocean. However, if your house isn’t near the sea, aluminum is one of your long-lasting roofing options.
Far Lighter Than Copper or Steel
Aluminum weighs approximately one-third of the weight of copper or steel. This low density is also one of the reasons aluminum is the preferred material for aircraft. In fact, automobile makers are now increasing the aluminum content of their vehicles.
On roofing systems, aluminum’s lightweight properties allow for ease of and faster installation. After all, this means roof components are easier to transport, lift, and move around. It also puts less physical strain on the roofers themselves.
Aluminum’s lightness also helps reduce wear and tear on the materials it sits on. In this way, it has less of an impact on the structures that support it, such as trusses and columns.
Resistant to Fire and Sparks
Solid aluminum and aluminum alloys do not burn, nor do they contribute to fire spreading. In fact, many tests conducted on aluminum and its alloys confirmed that it’s not flammable. Instead, they have significantly high melting and boiling points.
As such, aluminum roofing is an ideal option for buildings in areas prone to wildfires. It’s a worthy investment, especially since wildfires have been increasing over the years. For example, in the US alone, 40,474 wildfires already occurred from January 1 to Aug 16, 2021.
In most cases, aluminum materials don’t spark, either. In fact, sparking from aluminum is very rare, as it may only occur when aluminum hits rusty iron or steel.
Numerous Options to Choose From
When designing a roof blueprint, you need to consider how well it blends with the rest of the structure. Fortunately, it’s not so hard to do so with aluminum, as you can find it in many styles, from shingles to tiles and sheets. In addition, anodizing aluminum allows the dyeing of the metal in almost any color.
Aluminum roofs are also easy to customize with skylights or roof lanterns. That’s because aluminum is easy to fabricate, thanks to its lightness and flexibility.
Reflectivity That Helps Keep Your Home Comfy and Cozy
Another great thing about aluminum roofs is their exceptional reflectivity. They reflect many electromagnetic aspects, such as the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. The sun’s infrared light and radiant heat also bounce away from aluminum surfaces.
Because aluminum doesn’t absorb the sun’s heat, it helps keep building interiors cool. In the summer, this translates to a cooler home and reduced air conditioning costs.
In the winter, aluminum roofs also help keep the warm air from space heaters inside the building. This is again thanks to their reflective properties that bounce back radiant heat. So, the air from your heater or furnace is more likely to stay inside your home instead of exiting the roof.
All that can result in year-round energy savings, putting back money into your pockets.
A More Eco-Conscious Roofing Option
Aluminum is 100% recyclable, which means it can undergo recycling over and over again. What’s more, it doesn’t lose any of its properties even after repeated recycling. For this reason, over 90% of aluminum in buildings and cars undergo recycling at the end of their life.
By contrast, most roof shingles end up as non-recycled building waste. In fact, the US alone generates an estimated 11 million tons of waste asphalt shingles each year. As a result, they account for a considerable percentage of the disposed waste stream in the US.
Moreover, asphalt shingles contribute to the continued depletion of petroleum. That’s because making asphalt requires distilling crude oil or petroleum. It’s this process that creates asphalt deposits.
Now, keep in mind that petroleum, derived from fossil fuels, is a non-renewable resource. It takes hundreds of millions of years for fossil fuels to form. For the same reason, the world is close to exhausting its petroleum supplies.
Aluminum, on the other hand, is the Earth’s second-most abundant elemental metal. By weight, it accounts for about 8% of the Earth’s crust. However, since mined aluminum is recyclable, we don’t have to keep digging for new aluminum.
So, aluminum is a much better choice than asphalt shingles if you want your home to be more eco-conscious.
Aluminum Roofing for the Win
If there’s any drawback to aluminum roofing, it’s the cost, as it’s pricier than asphalt shingles. However, don’t forget that you can make an aluminum roof last for 70 years. That’s over three times longer than asphalt shingles’ average lifespan of 20 years.
Since aluminum roofs have far more benefits, these advantages easily outweigh their cost.
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