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How much does a metal roof cost?

If you are looking for a new roof then a metal roof is certainly going to be towards the higher end of the cost spectrum. However, the cost of a metal roof is intended to be an investment for the future and save you money over the long term with fewer maintenance costs and a greater time before replacement or renewal is needed compared to more traditional roofing materials.

The actual cost will vary depending on the style of roof and the choice of metal but an average to work too is between £1,000 and £4,000 just for materials Stainless steel and aluminium come in at around £40-£75 per square metre whilst copper is more expensive at £85-£110 per square metre. Tin is also an option and is the cheapest metal at around £10 per square metre.

Metal prices do vary quite significantly so make sure that the prices you are looking at online are up to date. The cost for the installation of the roof and any preparation works will be additional and the estimates you receive should be separated out between the price of materials and labour.

Why consider metal roofing?

One of the biggest advantages of metal roofing is the energy efficiency of the material, reflecting heat in the summer and saving energy costs from electric fans and air conditioning units and insulating during the winter months.

There are a surprising amount of metal roofs around.  Modern metal roofs use materials such as zinc, copper and aluminium so forget the ugly and chunky corrugated iron or tin roofs from the 20th century most commonly seen on sheds and outbuildings.

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What factors can make a difference in the cost of a metal roof?

There are lots of different elements which can affect how much a metal roof will cost and these include:-

  • The size of the roof
  • The design or complexity of the roof – different pitches or features like dormer windows will increase the time of the installation and the labour costs
  • The choice of metal
  • Access to the site
  • Whether the old roof is to be removed incurring labour charges and waste disposal costs
  • Where you live in the UK – trades in London and the south-east are always more expensive than out in the regions or in rural areas

Let’s look at the different types of metal and the metal roof cost in more detail.  All of these prices are just for the materials, they don’t include fixings, rainwater accessories, installation and labour.

Aluminium roofing – aluminium is one of the most malleable and flexible metals available for roofing so it can be easily shaped and curved to suit different roof styles and designs.  Aluminium is naturally highly reflective so it is one of the most energy-efficient metals you can choose - it also has enviable eco-credentials.  An average price to work to is £40-£75 per square metre

Zinc roofing – Zinc is an amazing roofing material – as it weathers it forms a coating that protects the metal and reseals itself if there are any scratches or damage from falling masonry or branches from nearby trees.  Zinc literally can heal itself!  Zinc is also maintenance-free and will look stylish even as it weathers and changes.  When it comes to the cost of a metal roof, zinc is a popular option as the base price is very competitive especially compared to copper and lead.  Zinc roofing costs on average £15-£20 per square metre and as a roofing material, also offers exceptional longevity so overall it is a very economic product for the lifespan of the average roof

Tin roofing – tin is very affordable and is naturally resistant to corrosion and easy to shape and style.  Corrugated or galvanised tin roof sheeting does have a bit of an old-fashioned image associated as it is with sheds and outhouses from yesteryear but tin roofing is growing in popularity.  This is because it is very low cost and has a rugged appearance which is becoming quite fashionable as roofing on contemporary buildings.  One thing to bear in mind with tin roofing however is that there must be adequate insulation to protect against the sound of wind and rain particularly in exposed locations

Copper roofing – Copper is a metal that lasts an incredibly long time so offers excellent value for money over the longer-term.  It does have a higher price point at installation and the cost usually comes in at £85 - £110 per square metre.  Copper has been popular as a roofing material for centuries and there are early to mid-20th-century houses which still have their original copper roofs – they are easy to spot as copper develops a green patina which is a reaction in the metal and actually helps to preserve it from corrosion

How to work out the cost of a metal roof

One of the biggest challenges with the cost of a metal roof is the variation in metal prices; all materials can alter their base price to some degree but metal is a traded commodity and so the prices can fluctuate wildly.  The prices given will give you an idea of the cost of the materials – by working out the area of the roof and the price of the chosen metal per square metre, it is possible to obtain an estimate for materials but there will be additional expenses such as the labour for the installation and fitting and ancillary costs like scaffolding hire.

What are the other cost considerations of a metal roof?

Lots of factors can affect the overall bill and some of these are less obvious and may include:-

  • The complexity of the design, does the roof have different pitches or windows?  This can affect your choice of metal as well as the labour costs when it comes to installation
  • The condition of the supporting wooden structure  - it may require repair and refurbishment before the new roof is fitted
  • Some roof renewals may require planning permission if there are to be substantial changes to the design or dimensions, this can incur the professional fees of a surveyor or architect to draw up the plans and these costs are usually in the region of £800 - £1,000.  There will also be the application fee to the council which is around £200
  • For semi-detached and terraced homes, a Party Wall Agreement will need to be in place with one or more neighbours; this is required under the 1996 Party Wall Act and protects neighbours from damage and nuisance caused by any building works to an adjacent property.  The Act refers to work on or next to a boundary which in this case is the join in the roof to the house next door.  This doesn’t specifically need to involve a wall although it can do.  Sometimes there are costs associated with these agreements
  • If the works to the roof are substantial  - perhaps there is also a loft conversion happening – then a Building Inspector from the local council will need to make stage visits to ensure the works comply with local building regulations – this can attract a fee of a few hundred pounds

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Metal doesn’t have to look like metal

Most people often don’t realise they are looking at a metal roof as many products are designed to mimic traditional roofing materials and it’s not as if you are able to look that closely from the ground.  There are aluminium, copper and steel roofing materials that are designed specifically to imitate slate and clay tiles.

Metal has been slow to catch on as the roofing material on the main dwelling but is becoming popular for extensions, conservatories and link buildings.

Do metal roofing sheets need expensive treatment against rust?

It’s a common sense thought as metal does rust and most homeowners won’t want to choose a roofing material that requires regular and expensive maintenance in order to remain weatherproof.  However, this is not necessary.  Steel sheets have metallic coatings of zinc or a combination of aluminium or zinc to protect against corrosion and a painted finish that’s baked on to keep it looking nice.  Copper doesn’t usually require treatment and aluminium products also come pre-treated.

For more information on keeping your roof clean and protected from the environment, read our pages on roof cleaning and coating costs and on the cost of roof moss removal.

The cost-effectiveness of metal roofing

The joy of metal roofing lies in its longevity especially compared to other roofing materials.  For the householder, this means not needing to renew or replace a roof for a longer amount of time; some metal roofs are guaranteed for periods ranging from 30 to 50 years.

Are metal roofs eco-friendly?

For many people, eco-credentials are very high on their wish list when it comes to choosing products and installations for their home.  Happily, metal roofs are at least 30% - 60% recyclable and aluminium and copper are often designed to be 95% recyclable.  Metal can often have a lower carbon footprint at the production stage too.

These eco-friendly roofs can cut down on waste as well as saving you money on a new installation as in many cases, the metal sheets can be fitted on top of an existing roof thus saving the cost of removing the old materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are metal roofs vulnerable to theft?

Metal has always been a target for theft especially from roofs and particularly when metal prices are very high as scrap values can be enormous.  However, thefts tend to be confined to isolated rural buildings like country churches where thieves can work often undisturbed for several hours.  Metal thieves are unlikely to target houses on residential roads and are also more interested in small pieces of metal which can be removed unobtrusively which is not usually the case with large metal roofing sheets.

Will the cost of a metal roof pay back in the long run?

The exceptional longevity of metal roofs is what makes them attractive to householders – it’s a cost you won’t have to revisit in 20 years time.  A new roof of any material can give an ROI – Return on Investment – of up to 60%; a metal roof will be at the higher end of this scale simply because they last for such a long time.  A new metal roof will also increase the curb appeal of your home if you are thinking about putting it on the market; new buyers are always attracted to houses that have had major works done well and which they know they won’t have to worry about for years to come.

Will a metal roof cut my heating bills?

Metal is very thermally efficient and a great insulator but as with any roof, the internal lagging and weatherproofing features of the installation are also key to keeping the property energy efficient and utility bills low. Metal roofs can reduce energy costs by as much as 40%.

What are the ways to manage the cost of a new metal roof?

Any new roof can be a significant expense and the cost of a metal roof will be towards the higher end of price averages.  Some homeowners will take out a Home Improvement Loan with their current mortgage company based on residual equity in their property.  Others will use a remortgage to release funds either with their existing lender or move to another company to take advantage of better rates.

Still not sure about a metal roof and the cost?

Talk to different contractors – it is always wise to obtain several estimates – and ask to look at properties they have worked on so you can see what a metal roof likes like when it is finished.  If possible, talk to householders who have used metal as a roofing material and discuss their experiences.

Metal roofs are certainly more expensive than other roofs at the point of installation but the cost of a metal roof is money well spent as these roofs represent an investment for the future.  Now that roof sheeting is available to mimic more traditional materials, an increasing number of householders are being persuaded towards the merits of a metal roof.

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