Metal makes up some of the most durable, long-lasting roofing systems available on the market today. With the ability to mold, texturize, and coat metal, this versatile material has the added benefit of mimicking the look and feel of high-end specialty materials – without the hefty price tag.
Still, metal roofing is an investment to take seriously. Being primarily natural elements, each metal has different reactions to different environments, and it’s important to take those factors into account before installing a metal roof. We’ll highlight the best (and worst) metal types for each South Carolina region, and highlight the climate and exposure differences that impact how certain metals age.
LOWCOUNTRY / COASTAL:
The coastal Lowcountry is known for its marshes, sandy beaches, and hot climate. With a high concentration of ambient salt, taking salt exposure into account when selecting a roofing material is particularly critical in this region.
Salt air corrodes steel, causing it to rust and rot out, and causes aluminum to form a chalky white coating (aluminum oxide). High coastal winds (particularly during storm season) adds an additional layer of difficulty when choosing a metal roofing system in the Lowcountry. Top metal choices for the Lowcountry are copper and zinc.
- COPPER: A classic, timeless material that provides a lifetime of protection, copper is renowned for its versatility, durability, and long lifespan. It doesn’t corrode with salt exposure (though it develops a patina as it ages, so it will change as it ages), and is the premier choice for coastal South Carolina homes. Copper roofing is more expensive than other metals, but has low lifetime maintenance and provides decades of protection. All in all, copper is a top choice for South Carolina’s waterfront homes.
- ZINC: Resistant to rust and corrosion, zinc is a highly durable metal for coastal applications, and is known to last up to 100 years! Like copper, zinc develops a patina as it ages; it begins as a dark gray, and actually ages lighter – into a light blue or light gray hue.
CENTRAL / MIDLANDS: The central portion of the state, also referred to as the midlands, is punctuated by the state capital – Columbia, South Carolina – and the Saluda River, which stretches for 200 miles and historically served as a power source for the state’s booming textile mills.
- STAINLESS STEEL: Touted for its wind-resistance and all-around durability, stainless steel takes the cake for metal roofing in central South Carolina. This flat stretch of the state experiences high winds during storm season, and records the highest temperatures state-wide during the summer. Stainless steel roofing naturally reflects the sun, as well, making this option particularly attractive when considering summer cooling costs. Though all metal types work in South Carolina’s central climate type, stainless steel is best suited for the combination of high winds and pounding sun beams.
UPSTATE / PIEDMONT:
The mountainous upstate of South Carolina is known for rocky terrain, and includes a small section of the Blue Ridge Mountains. This region experiences higher rainfall and lower temperatures than the rest of the state, and is also prone to tornados and hail.
- MOLDED METAL TILES, SHINGLES, OR SHAKE: More of an aesthetic than a metal type, molded metal shingles combine the look of specialty materials with the durability and superior water-resistant capabilities of metal. Particularly in the mountainous Upstate, which experiences a higher concentration of hail, heavy rains, and tornados, metal is an ideal fit for long-lasting protection.
- STANDING-SEAM COATED METAL: Again, this is more of an aesthetic than a type of metal, but with the variety of coated metal products available, standing-seam metal roofing deserves a spot on our preferred metal list! Coated metal panels provide decades of top-notch waterproofing, and provide unparalleled protection against high winds during tornado season. Standing-seam metal panels are jointed to allow for expansion and contraction with temperature fluctuations, so this roofing system is ideal for the Upstate (where winters can dip below freezing and summers can easily top 100 degrees!).