Residential Metal Roofing Types, Style & Colors

This article would go into the various residential metal roofing types, styles, and colours. As usual, if you’re considering any of the above choices, we recommend hiring a professional roofing company. 


Aluminum is a lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant metal roofing material suitable for virtually any residential metal roofing structure, including standing seam, shake shingle, tile, and slate profiles. Aluminum can never rust, making it a suitable product for marine applications and other environments where steel may be at risk. In addition, aluminum has an exceptionally long lifetime due to its corrosion resistance. 

Nowadays, almost all aluminum roof systems are pre-painted, and aluminum can be used in almost every metal roofing profile. However, due to aluminum’s high malleability and heavy forming that provides structural strength, more highly moulded materials lend themselves very well to aluminum. In addition, aluminum roofing is typically made from a high proportion of recycled material, the vast majority of which is post-consumer material such as used beer cans.

The recycled content of aluminum roofing is usually 90 – 95 percent. One square of aluminum roofing will use up to 1,152 aluminum beer cans, effectively closing the recycling circle for the user. Many homeowners quickly determine that residential aluminum roofing is the best option in terms of total performance.

  • Pros: Lightweight, rust-free, attractive, energy-efficient.
  • Cons: More costly than steel. Not as resistant to hail, particularly in less-formed profiles.
  • Recycled Content: Usually around 95%.

Galvalume steel

Galvalume steel is a carbon/iron steel that has been treated with an aluminum/zinc alloy. As aluminum is combined with zinc, both its positive and negative properties are enhanced. BSince aluminum is a very corrosion-resistant metal, and galvalume steel is also very corrosion-resistant; in other words, the aluminum/zinc alloy offers barrier protection rather than galvanic protection. The alloy’s aluminum content disadvantage is that galvalume does not self-protect cracks or cut edges and galvanized steel.

Galvalume steel is also more prone to a phenomenon known as “tension bent staining.” As steel is moulded into different metal roofing profiles, the galactic zinc/aluminum and galvanized zinc coatings are applied very thinly over regions of the metal with broad folds or tight bends thin the coating can shape microscopic cracks. Galvanized steel can guard against scratches due to the galvanic action of zinc. 

Tension bend staining occurs as moisture or other corrosive elements permeate these cracks, allowing rusting to occur. As a consequence, rust “stains” appear in places where the metal folds and bends. In addition, corrosion will eventually work its way under the metallic layer, causing additional oxidation.

As a result, galvalume steel is most widely found in more straightforward metal roof types, such as standing seam, since it bends less. In addition, Galvalume steel is mounted unpainted or with a low-cost acrylic transparent coat, so it is more corrosion-resistant than galvanized steel. Although this is more often seen in commercial installations, homeowners who choose a vivid, polished metallic appearance have often chosen unpainted galvalume. The majority of galvalume, like galvanized, is coated for additional resilience and appeal.

  • Pros: Quite corrosion-resistant, sturdy, and reasonably priced.
  • Cons: Susceptible to tension bend staining, reduced profile availability, must be cut using a shearing action rather than a saw-cut.
  • Recycled Content: Usually around 35%.

Galvanized Steel

Since the standard carbon/iron steel alloy rusts when exposed to the elements, steels used in the metal roofing industry are painted on all sides with a particular thickness of another metal or alloy. The hot-dip technique is used to achieve this, and it entails running the steel into a molten bath of the metal to be added. The hot-dipped method is a less expensive and more effective alternative to a related process known as electroplating.

Steels are graded and labelled based on the alloy that is used. For example, galvanized steel is carbon/iron steel with a metallic zinc coating. The coating metal has two types of protection: galvanic and barrier protection. Galvanic defence is a self-sacrifice mechanism in which the metal coating self-destructs rather than allowing the base metal to rust. Simply put, barrier safety means that the covering metal prevents the elements from touching the base metal.

Galvanized steel is the most commonly used metal in the metal roofing industry and is available in most metal roofing profiles. Most other roof materials are more expensive than galvanized steel roofing. It’s also challenging and has a good knack for holding colour. 

But for mill-finished shingles or other metal roof types, all galvanized steel structures are painted with some kind of base paint cover. Furthermore, much higher-quality galvanized steel roofing materials, significantly shake, shingle, and residential tile systems, have a “post-forming” coat to help protect against corrosion in places where the metal was refashioned during the manufacturing process. This is covered in greater depth in the Coatings portion.

Galvanized steel is not a safe choice for homes in coastal areas or areas where the air has an unusually high concentration of corrosive elements. Other components, such as salt spray, will hasten corrosion and shorten the life of galvanized steel. Overall, when considering just the metal itself, galvanized steel is very suitable for residential materials.

  • Pros: Strong, lower cost, comes in almost any look.
  • Cons: Shorter life cycle than most metals, can rust early if not used or assembled correctly, can be more challenging to deal with, and must be sheared rather than saw-cut.
  • Recycled Content: Usually around 35%.


Copper is widely regarded as one of the most appealing metal roofing materials. 

Unfortunately, it comes with a hefty price tag. Copper is the priciest of the three most popular roofing metals. Copper is seldom used for an entire residential roof; however, it is mainly used for accents over bay windows, dormers, and other places where a touch of charm is sought. In addition, copper is often used on architectural structures such as church steeples, cupolas, and the like. Copper is typically mounted in short standing seam panels or sheeting, but some copper shingles are also available. 

Copper is often used as a flashing material in combination with other roofing materials. On the other hand, copper metal roofs can not be used for aluminum or steel roofing. 

Copper is best known for its beautiful blue-green, verdigris, patina after being exposed to air for 8-15 years. The exact time it takes to complete patination depends on what is in the air—salt spray, for example, hastens the process significantly in a coastal setting. The patina acts as a shield to corrosive elements and contributes to copper’s extraordinarily long life. Although many homeowners may process copper to accelerate or delay the patination process or even bought pre-patinated, most homeowners choose to let copper weather naturally achieve the rich, glamorous verdigris look.

Since copper is soft and malleable, it is relatively simple to deal with and usually solders well. In addition, copper steel roofs are incredibly durable and have a long life—up to 100 years. 

Recent coating technology has given homeowners the choice of selecting steel or aluminum roofing that has been copper-coated. Many finishes are available, ranging from shiny “pure” copper to entirely weathered copper, as well as coatings made to look like copper in various stages of patination. Classic’s aluminum roofing systems come in various colours along this spectrum, offering homeowners the permanence of copper at a discounted rate.

  • Pros: Beautiful, incredibly durable, simple to work with, and quickly solderable
  • Cons: Runoff will streak or dye other products, and natural patination takes time.
  • Recycled Content: Varies but is often around 35%.

Other exotic materials

Other options for residential metal roofing include rolled zinc, stainless steel, terne-coated steel, terne-coated stainless, and titanium. Roofs constructed from these more exotic metals are usually architect-specified and custom-formed by a fabricator for a specific use.

To know more about our Steel & Metal Roofing services. First, get in touch with Merlin’s Roofing today. Then, call Merlin’s Roofing at (613) 601-2570 for all of your Steel & Metal Roofing needs.