Aluminum is everywhere—literally. The most abundant, naturally occurring metal in the earth’s crust, aluminum is an essential element of modern life. Worldwide, virtually every person uses aluminum daily. So, how does aluminum work as a base metal for residential roofing?
Before we answer that question, let’s take a look at where aluminum is already used extensively in today’s home construction and remodeling markets. High end wood windows are clad in aluminum. Aluminum siding is making a comeback with the superior paint finishes now available. Gutters and downspouts are mostly aluminum, as is the flashing used by the asphalt roofing industry. So, many products used on a home’s exterior are aluminum.
In fact, the anti-corrosion properties of aluminum also make it an ideal choice for roofing applications. Many of the members of the Metal Roofing Alliance make roof panels out of aluminum. In addition, aluminum is the primary element in Galvalume® that is used to coat and protect steel roofing panels.
In North America, most aluminum used in roofing is painted to appeal to a wide range of homeowner preferences. The aluminum coils are painted at a coil coating plant using high-speed paint lines that bake on the coating. The painted coil is then shipped to a roofing manufacturer where it is formed into long panels by a process called rollforming, or the coils can be stamped into individual metal shingles using large presses.
Contractors find that working with aluminum is easier than with other materials because it is lighter per square foot that any other type of roofing. Aluminum roofing panels are easier to handle and to cut. And, there are no concerns that a scratch on an aluminum roofing panel will red rust because of the unique properties of aluminum.
In addition to aluminum roofing’s rainbow of color options that appeal to homeowners, properly coated aluminum roofs can reflect up to 95 percent of the solar energy that strikes them, dramatically improving energy efficiency. And, in coastal areas, aluminum roofing is the preferred choice for homes battling the salty sea air. All types of metal roofing are extremely durable, offering warranties of up to 50 years.
To learn more about the variety of aluminum roofing systems available for residential applications, visit the Manufacturer Section of the MRA website.