Apr 132012
 

Hopefully all my readers are homeowners who have some sort of hard-on for the material their house’s roof is made out of. All my research indicates this is the case, so I think we’re good to go here.

My house is, without a doubt, better than your house. After all, I live in it, which automatically makes it 462% better. It has my aroma everywhere, which doesn’t smell the least bit like ass. My dirty underwear is strewn about, stepping on it is like stepping on treasure. Random boxes of potato chips are tucked away in random corners, snacks for when somebody comes over. It is the perfect house, which means some girl will undoubtedly mess it all up when she moves in. I will complain loudly, but will gladly exchange regular sex for scented candles and end tables.

(Aside: check out my post that gives you a peek inside my house. It has very little to do with finance.)

Back in 2008 when I bought my house, one thing that drew me to the house was the metal roof. Internet genies, can I get some sort of metal roof picture?

The previous owners kept all their paperwork on the metal roof, partially because the company who installed it guaranteed it with a 50(!) year warranty, and partially because they were a little anal and kept every single shred of paper that had anything to do with the house. Including, a handmade map of who lived in each house on the block and the names of their pets. I wish I was kidding about that.

Back to the roof. It was installed in 1996, meaning, if it was a girl, it would be annoying you with its constant texting and dressing like a slut. It still looks as good as the day it was installed. Even though most asphalt singles are supposed to have a 25 year life, most roofs only get about 20 years before they have to be replaced. For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume my metal roof will get 3 times the life of a normal one.

Normal asphalt shingles cost about $1.75 per square foot. Depending on which metal shingles you buy, you’re looking anywhere from $4.00 to $5.00 a square foot. Let’s take the median cost and assume $4.50. Let’s also assume labor costs would be the same for both roofs, since my crack internet searching couldn’t find a difference in labor costs. The cost of the metal roof is 2.57 times the cost of an asphalt one, so it looks like a slight savings to buy one right from the get go.

Thanks to inflation though, the savings add up even more over time. If a metal roof originally sets you back $10,000, that means a similar asphalt one would cost $3891. 20 years later, if inflation averages 2% per year, the next roof will set you back $5781, and in 40 years the third roof will set you back $8590. That means, 3 asphalt roofs will cost you $18,262 over the life of your home, assuming you stick around there for 60 years before you kick the bucket.

Saying that though, in terms of equal purchasing power, the two processes work out the same. If inflation means a $3891 roof turns into a $5781 roof over 20 years, that means the price of everything else should go up as well, including your income. If $3891 is 0.5% of your income now and $5781 is 0.5% of your income 20 years from now, is it really so bad to pay the seemingly inflated price 20 years from now?

Anyway, the cost is only marginally cheaper over the long haul, that’s the point.

A metal roof will be a selling feature if you do sell, but it won’t cause any buyers to mess their shorts or anything. It’ll also save you a little on cooling costs in the summer, since metal shingles do a better job at reflecting sunlight than asphalt ones do. Since metal shingles either interlock or are literally screwed to your house, you don’t have to worry about shingles blowing off during big-ass windstorms. But wait, there’s more!

I feel like the ShamWow guy.

For you eco-hippie type people, you’ll be happy to know that there are all sorts of metal roofing products that are made from recycled materials, meaning somebody’s old Coke can could be keeping your living room dry. They’re also more fire resistant than normal shingles, since asphalt ones are made from oil, which is just a little bit flammable. A metal roof is also lighter than a normal one, which would make your house faster if it raced other houses in the neighborhood.

For me though, the best part about getting a metal roof is only having to screw around with roofers once during your time owning the house. If you’re in the house you know you’re going to stay in, you only have to deal with getting a new roof once. Nobody really knows if their roofer is giving them a good deal or not, they usually have a number in their head and if the roofer’s quote is close to that number, they’ll pull the trigger. We’re bad at dealing with contractors, myself included. Minimizing those headaches, plus the cost advantages, makes getting a metal roof a pretty good idea. Sure, it’ll cost you more day 1, but it’s a good investment.

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  17 Responses to “Why Don’t More People Get A Metal Roof?”

  1. I’m all for investments like this one, unfortunately the average home owner can’t see past the fact that it’s more expensive. I sell geothermal heat pumps and they basically have the same selling points: last longer, 75% cheaper to run over oil or electric, more durable, 100% emissions free, etc, but the downside is they are about 2x the cost. As soon as that price comes up, most people balk. It’s really too bad.

  2. Hmm.  Are there any other differences with a metal roof?  Does it sound like hell when rain, hail, or freezing rain hits it? 

    You make a good case.  Including the cost of installation, looks like you at least get a return above the current risk-free rate.  I honestly had no idea that a metal roof would realistically last 60 years vs. 20 years.  Then again, I don’t own a home – and pretty happy I don’t.

  3. What about thermal bridging/other insulation issues?  What sort of framing does your house have – metal or wood studs?

    I can get behind a metal roof I think, hail is rare in the Bay Area.  There is a metal roof on the sunroom which sounds pretty cool in the rain, but I assume with the extra insulation on the main part of the house you wouldn’t hear much.  Write more about this roof!

  4. When I replaced my roof a few years ago, the labor cost was the biggest factor (and the biggest savings) for me.  Our total cost was only about $1800, which included all materials from Lowe’s, a dumpster, tool rental and pizza and beer for all of my family and friends who helped out.  Besides the fact that I wouldn’t have a clue on how to install a metal roof.  I can definitely see the benefits though if you plan to live in that house well into your golden years.

    Another great benefit of a metal roof is the way the snow smoothly glides off of it, as compared to the way it doesn’t on asphalt shingles.  Thus, my Canadian comments via The Twitter!

  5. [...] homeowners, Nelson asks “why don’t more people get a metal roof?” His numbers make sense, and I like that metal is not flammable. I have a thing about [...]

  6. When our current roof expires (likely 10 years from now) we will replace it with a metal one.

  7. Labor cost is always be biggest factor

  8. [...] Process For Selecting Your Work At Home Business OpportunityWhy Don't More People Get A Metal Roof ul.legalfooter li{ list-style:none; float:left; padding-right:20px; } .accept{ display:none; [...]

  9. I searched the web and found a metal roofing company that will package everything you or your contractor need to install your roof, once you select the style and give the dimensions and slope of the roof. Delivery was free with orders over $1,600. I installed it myself, literally no help from anybody. It was real work, and I installed a safety line and wore a harness just in case. Bottom line, it was under $2,900, has gone through hurricane Sandy, looks great, not noisy. I I have actually gone on the roof a couple of times just to admire it.

  10. [...] above zero in my neck of Canada, which is always a welcome break. As I wrote about before, I have a metal roof on my house, which, is mostly a good thing. Except when it gets warm, and there’s a foot of snow on my [...]

  11. [...] have a metal roof on my house. It is the greatest thing ever. The roof on my house will last longer than my actual house. I think [...]

  12. […] Another week, another weekender coming to you from the Bay Area.  Just hours after I left a comment at blogging pal Nelson’s site Financial Uproar about how it rarely hails in the Bay Area, it… hailed in the Bay Area.  Must have been a Friday the 13th Thing.  On that note, read his article about getting a metal roof. […]

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