metal roofing

How to Pick the Perfect Metal Roofing Material – Exploring 5 Types

Metal roofing materials have come a long way from the corrugated “tin” barn roofs that leap to mind for many of us. Today, they encompass a range of options, each with their own strengths and aesthetic styles. Whether you’re a homeowner looking to invest in a new roof or beginning a new garden building project, this guide will walk you through five popular types of metal roofing materials and offer tips on how to choose the right one for the perfect weatherproofing protection. Make sure to check out London Eco Metal to explore a variety of options for the perfect metal roof.

Copper: The Classic Choice

Copper roof

Copper roofing is the granddaddy of metal roofing. It has been used for centuries due to its longevity and the beautiful patina it develops over time. A new copper roof shines like a new penny, but gradually it transitions to a greenish-blue patina that can protect the metal underneath for centuries. It’s lightweight and can be recycled, making it a choice that’s both classic and environmentally conscious.

How to Choose: If your home is historic or you’re looking for that aged look that will stand the test of time, copper might be your best bet. Just remember, it’s a premium material with a price tag to match, and it’s best installed by professionals experienced in working with copper.

Aluminium: The Versatile Warrior

Aluminium roof sheets

Aluminium roofs are a hit in coastal areas because they resist salt corrosion better than most metals. This material is lightweight, durable, and doesn’t rust, which makes it an ideal choice for homes in harsher weather conditions. Plus, aluminium can be finished in a variety of ways, giving you a good amount of design freedom.

How to Choose: If you live near the ocean or in an area with a lot of wet weather, aluminum could be your go-to. It’s middle-of-the-road in terms of price, but make sure to go for quality since not all aluminum roofing materials are created equal.

Steel: The Sturdy Protector

Corrugated steel roof sheets

Steel roofing is an alloy made up of iron and other elements. It’s one of the most common metal roofing materials thanks to its toughness and cost-effectiveness. You’ll often find it comes in three variations: galvanized (coated with zinc), galvalume (coated with an aluminium-zinc alloy), and weathering steel (designed to develop a rust-like appearance to protect against the elements).

How to Choose: If you’re budget-conscious but still want durability, steel is likely your best option. It’s also pretty customizable in terms of colour and finish, so you won’t have to sacrifice style for savings.

Zinc: The Durable Eco-Friendly Option

Zinc roofing

Zinc has a lot going for it. It’s incredibly durable and has a lower melting point than other metals, which means it requires less energy to manufacture. Like copper, it develops a protective patina and has a lifespan that can exceed 100 years. Its ability to be easily formed into different shapes also makes zinc a favourite for more creative architectural designs.

How to Choose: If environmental impact and longevity are at the top of your list, zinc could be the way to go. Its initial cost may be higher, but the low maintenance and longevity could make it more cost-effective in the long run.

Tin: The Quaint, Historical Material

tin roofing

While not commonly used anymore, tin roofing once referred to what is now more accurately known as terneplate: steel coated with a tin alloy. Today, when people say “tin roof,” they’re often referring to modern steel or aluminium roofing that mimics the traditional tin roofs’ appearance. These materials are durable and often have a stone-coated finish.

How to Choose: If you’re after a nostalgic or historical look but with modern performance, the new “tin” options may be for you. They’re great if you’re restoring a vintage property or if you want the charm without the rust and maintenance of actual old tin roofs.

Making Your Choice: Factors to Consider

When it’s time to choose a metal roofing material, consider these factors:

  • Climate: The weather patterns where you live can greatly affect the performance of a metal roof. Salt air, high humidity, heavy snow, or extreme temperatures all play a role in which material will work best for you.
  • Longevity: Think about how long you want the roof to last versus how much you’re willing to invest. Materials like copper and zinc could outlive several generations, but they come with a higher upfront cost.
  • Aesthetics: What’s your style? Sleek and modern? Traditional and rustic? The choice of metal can drastically alter the look of your home.
  • Environmental Impact: If you’re eco-conscious, consider the recyclability and energy efficiency of the material. Metals like aluminum and zinc score high in these areas.
  • Installation and Maintenance: Some metals require special installation or maintenance. Make sure you have access to contractors skilled in these materials.


Metal roofing materials are more than just practical; they offer a blend of durability, eco-friendliness, and beauty. Whether you choose the classic patina of copper, the versatility of aluminum, the sturdiness of steel, the sustainable durability of zinc, or the quaint charm of modern “tin,” you’re investing in a roof that’s as unique as your home.

Remember to weigh the longevity, cost, and appearance against your personal needs and the demands of your local climate. A well-chosen metal roof is more than a shelter; it’s a statement that can last for many years to come. Your home or garden building projects can benefit from selecting the right metal roofing material for your climate and region so do your research carefully.

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