6 Tips for Installing Metal Roofs in Indy

Gretchen Becker
Written by Gretchen Becker
Updated June 15, 2021
Indy homeowner gets new metal roofing
Metal roofing can last longer than traditional asphalt shingles if installed properly. (Photo courtesy of Indianapolis member Gramman S.)

Need a new roof? Indianapolis-area roofers discuss the pros and cons of installing metal instead of asphalt shingles.

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Leaking roof? Flapping shingles? When it’s time for a new roof, most Indianapolis-area homeowners opt for asphalt shingles, but several area contractors also offer durable metal roofs.

Contemplate the pros and cons of rocking the metal option the next time you’re in the market for a new roof.

1. Consider the Cost

Metal roofs can cost two to three times as much as asphalt shingles. Highly rated Formation Roofing & Sheet Metal, located in the Garfield Park neighborhood, installs a variety of metal roofs ranging from about $6 per square foot for a painted, steel covering to as high as $20 per square foot for a copper roof, says owner Chris Underwood. Beware of companies offering inexpensive metal roofs, he warns, as they typically don’t install them with the proper parts to last.

2. Know the Local Rules

Highly rated Elbert Construction of Noblesville installs about two metal roofs a month compared to hundreds of asphalt roofs. Homeowners associations and local laws can limit residential installations of metal roofs, says Davey Avenatti, commercial division manager.

“A lot of HOAs don’t allow full metal roofs, and some city ordinances forbid it except for commercial buildings,” he says. Look in your neighborhood covenants or city ordinances to find out if they’re allowed on your house. “Some places will allow for metal accents, such as over a bay window in copper.”

3. Metal Roofing Lifespan

“Long term is the benefit of metal roof,” Underwood says. “Asphalt may be a 25- to 30-year roof. Properly installed, metal and all the components will last 50 to 100 years.” Other providers estimate asphalt roofs need replaced every 15 to 20 years; whereas they say a quality metal roof offers a 30- to 50-year life span.

But before you install a metal roof, make sure your contractor plans to include an ice and water barrier to set a proper foundation for the roof, Avenatti says. Leaks could otherwise decrease the roof’s life.

4. Weather the Storm

Any roof is at risk when large hail hits the area, says Doug Miller, owner of highly rated Coomer Roofing, a Southside company that installs both asphalt and metal roofs. “Metal roofs are pretty much hail proof,” he says. “You’re not going to have the leakage.”

For cosmetic purposes, he’s replaced some dented panels, but that typically only happens when hail larger than golf balls rain from the sky. “Dents won’t cause a leak,” he adds.

Standing seam metal roofs, one of many varieties, use screws and gaskets to secure the roof to the structure, and they’re not exposed to the elements, which prevents leaking and damage during storms, experts say.

5. Keep Accents in Mind

Instead of covering your entire residential roof, consider metal roofing as an accent over a sunroom or a covered outdoor kitchen, Miller says. “Metal roofing hasn’t caught on very well [in Indianapolis],” he says, explaining that cost, as well as HOA and government regulations, steer Indy-area consumers toward asphalt roofs. “Accents can look better. I do more metal roofs on commercial businesses.”

6. Reap Energy Savings, or Not?

Metal roofing companies tout claims such as using the roof’s reflective qualities to save money by using less energy. Take eco-friendly claims with a grain of salt, Underwood warns. “It does reduce heat loss, but in Indy when you have a roof that reflects all the heat, the ice and snow stays on your roof longer.”

Experts agree, however, that metal shingles can be recycled more easily than asphalt varieties.

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