eli5 why roofs aren’t made out of metal or something more durable than shingles?

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Shingles need to be replaced every 10-30 year depending on wear and their type. It just seems so uneconomical and such a pain.

I get that metal conducts heat more easily, but couldn’t you just let a thin layer of moss grow on your metal roof and call it a day? Even if they dry out in the summer, I doubt metal + thin layer of dirt would conduct heat more than black shingles

In: 15

Costs. Although, modern roofing codes are shifting things a little bit. The average costs for a shingle roof is getting closer to a metal one. It used to be that you could replace a shingle roof like 4 or 5 times for the cost of a metal one.

Metal roofs are superior imo. Mistakes and even water infiltration can happen if an installer doesn’t do it correctly, though. For example, the sheets need to be laid going “against” the wind as opposed to blowing up against the seam. You have to be careful not to over tighten the screws because the washer will fail. After it’s all screwed down, you have to caulk all the screws and eventually that caulk will degrade and it will need to be re-caulked. If all of that is done correctly and maintenance is kept up, metal roofs are by far better than 3-tab.

Not sure where you’re located, but where I am in Aus metal roofs are the norm for new builds. I imagine the climate would be a factor in the decision. Metal roofs need additional insulation, particularly in extreme climates, whereas a tile or shingle roof won’t experience as much thermal loss due to being a better insulator.
Probably other factors at play as well.

Midwest US here. Lots of metal roofs on houses around here. They have a much higher upfront cost, and some people consider them unsightly. A hard rain can be relatively loud. A firefighter friend of mine also said you can’t extinguish from above very easily.

Also no, you don’t want any moss on your roof lol. That will eat into the metal. Moss degrades metal and concrete. As far as heat conduction, use a lighter color and it will reflect heat better (that’s recommended for all roofs in hot climates). Really it’s the attic insulation that should be handling most of that, though.