4 Key Choices You’ll Have To Make When Designing A Metal Roof

When it comes to designing your new roof, you have a wealth of options at your fingertips. One of the biggest decisions you'll have to make is which material to use, and whilst timber trusses remain to be the most popular choice, structural metal is garnering a lot of attention in the roofing industry. If you're considering installing a metal roof, there are four key choices you'll have to make to ensure you get the most out of your structure:

Choosing the Right Design

With metal roofing, it's important that you keep a desired end product in mind so that you can choose your materials effectively, rather than trying to make specific materials fit into your plans. This means considering the broader issues of roof construction, such as: design life, strength, aesthetics and cost. Only once you have a specific design in mind can you move onto choosing your materials and finishes.

Choosing the Right Material

When it comes to choosing a particular metal and finish, you have a wide range of options at your disposal. Hard metals -- such as stainless steel -- offer your structure a distinctive appearance whilst being extremely durable. This is because hard metals have a self-protective mechanism that helps protect against degradation. Additionally, these metals are relatively low weight and are fully recyclable, offering you the added benefit of an eco-friendly construction.

Another construction option is zinc. This is a material that has been garnering the attention of architects throughout the country, and for good reason. Zinc is a highly durable, highly aesthetic metal that can be used on the whole building envelope. It offers designers a wide variety of construction options, being particularly useful in creating bespoke roof designs.

Choosing the Right Build-up

Once you have a design and material in mind, it's time to start on the construction side of things. Getting this part correct is key, as you want to ensure your roof has the structural integrity to last its design life.

Getting the right build-up means choosing a suitable layout to ensure your metal roof maintains its structural integrity. With non-corrosive resistant alloys such as zinc and copper, you run the risk of underside corrosion if the wrong substrate is chosen. Therefore, it's imperative that you plan this carefully to avoid any degradation down the line.

The critical part of any build-up is allowing proper ventilation of the structure. Typically, this is achieved by installing a ventilated cavity with ridges that allow moisture to be removed from the structure naturally. If installed properly, this will keep your roof condensation-free for its entire lifespan.

Choosing the Right Contractor

With any roofing installation, be it metal or otherwise, a good roofing contractor can be the deciding factor between a great looking, durable roof and a weak roof that will require lots of maintenance. As such, you should choose your roof contractor wisely as it may come back to bite you down the line.

In order to choose a fully qualified professional rather than a cowboy contractor, consider the following tips:

  • Always look for recommendations, whether it's from a family member or previous client. Word-of-mouth is a contractor's best marketing technique, and any worthy tradesmen will have a number of recommendations ready for you.
  • Check your potential contractor's insurance. Make sure that damage to your property is covered, as well as damage to people who may be around the construction site.
  • Make sure your contractor offers manufacturer's warranty.  This will cover you in the event of any damage following installation that is due to workmanship.
  • Get everything in writing.  This means not only the price, but the expected duration of construction works, working hours and safety considerations.
  • Trust your gut. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Charlatan contractors have a great way with words, so if your instinct is telling you something's wrong, then trust your gut.