Top Metal Roofing Materials in 2024

metal roofing materials overview

Metal roofing materials choosing  for your roofing project is not just a decision, it’s a choice and a commitment to your home: to its safety, its appearance and its longevity. The material science of roofing is relevant in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), where climate change dictates sweltering heat waves and monsoonal rains. Why copper instead of aluminium? Why galvanized steel in the city? This article examines the properties, pros and cons of metal roof and applications of metal roofing materials.

Did you know that some metal roofs can last more than a century? Talk about staying power! That durability is one more thing making metal roofing favourite from Phoenicia to Phoenix, protecting everything from medieval castles to modern skyscrapers.

Overview of Metal Roofing Materials

Your choice of roofing material may depend largely on understanding the unique characteristics and advantages of each metal. We hope that the following expanded examination of the more common metals used for the roofs of Toronto homes will shed some light on their properties, both in the past and today, and how these metals compare, in addition to suggesting which metal may be right for your home.


  • Characteristics: Aluminium is the lightest among the metals and is easy to handle and install. It is a non-ferrous metal with excellent resistance to corrosion. Aluminium is, therefore, not prone to rust when exposed to moisture for prolonged periods of time. It reflects radiant heat of the sun and helps to withstand the high temperature during summer months.
  • Originally, it was popularly used at the beginning of the 20th century, because it could be made into shapes quite easily. Also, the metal was hard-wearing. 
  • Current Use: However, aluminium has gained popularity, being eco-friendly- 100 per cent recyclable with no quality loss, lightweight and perfect for structures that can’t bear a heavier roof.

Galvanized Steel

  • Properties: Galvanized steel has an outer layer of zinc, giving it extra protection against corrosion, as well as making it generally harder wearing than standard steel. It’s also less prone to scratches or damage from being dented. May be tempted to say that ‘galvanised’ describes the appearance of something. However, its history makes clear that it’s about a method of prevention – it’s the more surprising meaning. 
  • Historical Use: We’ve been galvanizing steel for more than 100 years, safe in the knowledge that it protects against corrosion. 
  • Contemporary Use: It is still a popular choice due to its affordability and durability under a range of environment conditions.  For example, galvanized Steel from Metal Exterior Products we use for commercial buildings and houses that are looking for a more durable roofing solution. 


  • Properties: As it is naturally outdoors, the copper rust, made from copper, forms a natural patina that is not only beautiful and distinctive, but also serves as a natural protection against corrosion. It has tested its durability that it will last for more than a century. 
  • Applications from Ancient Times to the Present: Copper has been used for roofing for thousands of years, as (ancient) buildings still having their original roofs around the world prove.
  • Modern Use: Today, copper is commonly used in architecture for beauty and longevity. It is used in high-end residential designs and on buildings seeking to distinguish themselves through architecture.


  • Properties: Although tin is not sufficient for roofing on its own, tin-plated steel or terne plate (steel coated with a tin alloy) has good resistance to corrosion and is fairly durable.
  • Historical significance: Tin was commonly used for roofing in the 19th century and before, because it is one of the most economical roof materials available and has acceptable protective capabilities. 
  • Current Use: It has become less widely used, mainly found in restoration work, or for a particular materially historic appearance. 


  • Properties: Zinc is an especially appealing roofing material due to its corrosion-, scratch-recovery (scratches can be healed over time through patination), and low-melting point. 
  • Historical Application: Zinc has been used in Europe for roofing and cladding for hundreds of years, thanks to its durability and malleability.
  • Modern Use: It is becoming popular in North America — especially for projects seeking green credentials and longevity: Zinc can last for up to 100 years with almost no maintenance. 

Each brings a different range of benefits to the table – from aesthetics to environment resistance – so this knowledge can help homeowners in Toronto and the GTA decide what is best for their particular situation, taking into account factors such as climate, building design and budget.

metal roofing galvanized steel

Comparative Analysis of Metal Roofing Materials

Roofing your home in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area with metal is a good idea, but how does each type of metal fare when measured against the four most important factors, namely weight, longevity, cost and degree of corrosion? In the table is an analysis of the most commonly used metals for this purpose.

Weight the Different Metal Roofing Materials

Aluminium: The lightest of the metallic roof treatment options, aluminium is a good choice for houses unable to support heavier materials, reducing necessary structural reinforcements and potentially saving money on building.

Steel/Metal: Heavy enough for longevity and light enough for navigability, galvanized steel is a good compromise of strength and weight in the middle of the range. Galvanized steel is appropriate for most residential and commercial applications without major adaptations to structure. 

Copper is heavier than aluminum but lighter than steel. Its weight contributes to its robustness, making it a reliable option for roofing without imposing too much load on the building structure.

Tin: Rarely used by itself; weight of tin-plated steel as weight by weight is approximately equal to that of galvanized steel, and design requirements are similar.

Zinc: It has much the same weight as copper, so it has good durability with moderate structural effect. It is suitable for roof structures which can accommodate a mid-range weight.

Metal Roofing Materials Longevity

Aluminium: Galvanized and copper aluminium roofs will last 50 years and more if installed to spec, especially in corrosive environments such as in proximity to saltwater.

Zinc-coated steel (galvanized): In cases where zinc serves as a protective layer, galvanized steel will last between 45 and 75 years in various environments, depending on the thickness of the galvanization.

Copper: An exceptionally long-lived material, copper roofing can last more than 100 years, and historic buildings illustrate that original copper roofs can far outlast other original components of a building.

Tin: People don’t typically use tin anymore, but tin roofs used to last, on average, 40-50 years and might last longer than that if tin-plated steel has the right coatings on it.

Zinc: Unlike other roofing metals, zinc roofs last a long time: 60-100 years, and that’s because it is so self-healing. Zinc has the ability to self-repair scratches and small holes and is one of the only metals that can do that.

Steel rooftop, best metal roofing materials

Metal Roofing Materials Cost Comparison

Aluminum: Always slightly more expensive than steel, but still cost-effective overall since it’s more durable and requires less maintenance. The average cost of aluminum metal roof installation Is between $9.50 – $12.00 per square foot.

Galvanized Steel: Is among the popular roofing choices for homeowners in Ontario and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) because it’s inexpensive when installed and comes with low maintenance costs in the long-term. For those who want the highest quality roof at an affordable price, galvanized steel’s relatively low installation cost at the start, compounded by its minimal maintenance costs, lowered energy bills, and a boost to the house’s selling value, will be the main considerations when buying a roof. Choosing galvanized steel for your roof either for home renovation or in a newly-built home is the best practical, strong and efficient roofing option you can ever have. The average cost of aluminum metal roof installation Is between $4.50 – $20.00 per square foot.

Copper: The most costly option, chiefly because of its aesthetic value and durability, but also because it can be fashioned with minimal assistance into various intricate patterns, and by suitable patination prolonged usage will have a character quite different from that at inception. It can be used in high-end architectural projects – where cost is, put otherwise, less of a touching factor. The average cost of aluminum metal roof installation Is between $30 – $40.00/sq.ft.

Tin: Modern tin-plated steel is moderately priced but less common than other materials.

Zinc: Although initially more expensive than steel and copper, over the long term it offers a cost-saving combination of low maintenance and long life. The average cost of aluminum metal roof installation Is between $20 – $30.00 per square foot.

Corrosion Resistance

Aluminium: Great for resistance to corrosion; therefore, its use is highly recommended for homes in coastal areas or with a high precipitation level.

Galvanized Steel: The zinc coating resists rust well, but if the coating is penetrated, it rusts more than regular steel. At Professional Metal Roofing, we use G90 zinc coated metal roofing with a thickness of 0.53 mm/25, which is completely protected from corrosion for decades.

Copper: Naturally resistant to corrosion, a copper surface both acquires and increases its resistance over time with the creation of a protective patina.

Tin: Tin-plated steel is fairly resistant to corrosion, but it works in the same way as galvanised steel, depending upon the outer coating for protection.

Zinc: Corrosion-resistant almost everywhere, even in industrial, chemical environments.

metal roofing material

Advanced Coatings and Treatments for Metal Roofing Materials

Today’s most commonly used metal roofing materials can be significantly improved in terms of their long-term performance and aesthetic appeal through a wide range of state-of-the-art coatings and treatments. The bulk of this article is devoted to providing descriptions of the most common (and, in my opinion, most effective) of these treatments. Let’s begin with an overview. Numerous forms of advanced coatings and treatments can significantly improve the long-term performance and aesthetic appeal of metal roofing.

  • Galvanization of metal roofing materials

Galvanization, named after Luigi Galvani, comprises the coating of steel or iron with a layer of zinc. The word specifically comes from the process of “galvanism,” which Galvani demonstrated when he made the muscles of dead frogs twitch using electrical currents. “Galvanize” now commonly refers to a specific technical meaning in the field of materials science, the process of coating a metal. This method, known as “galvanization,” is crucial in prolonging the life and durability of metal structures and components in various applications, from construction to automotive manufacturing.

Summary: The action lies not only on the scale of the zinc particles adhering to the base metal roofing panels, but of a scale many times bigger. It is a physical barrier to stop rust. Where the surface is scratched, the zinc works not simply by painting over the damage, but by serving as a sacrificial anode.

Result: The metal is then dipped in a molten bath of zinc, which bonds to it, creating a hard, robust coating that is resistant to mechanical damage.

Advantages: One of the biggest plus points for galvanised metal roofing is that it makes the roofing material much more durable and longer-lasting. This is one of the most popular steel treatments and it gives the best protection against corrosion at reasonable prices.

  • Powder Coating

Summary: When powder coating is sprayed onto the metal object, it is done electrostatically and then cured under heat to form a hard protective finish. The sheen is very similar to a paint finish, but because it is powder, it is considerably thicker.

Process: It’s a fine powder of pigment and resin particles, and the metal is charged electrostatically such that these adhere and are cured to form a tough coating.

Pros: The powder-coatings used for the metal roofs are far more resistant to fading, chipping and scratching than conventional paint, and can be prepared in many colours to accommodate an almost endless range of architectural styles or personal tastes. Also, powder coating is very environmentally friendly, emitting zero or near-zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

  • Anodizing of metal roofing materials

Summary: Anodizing is most often performed on aluminum and it functions by improving the natural layer of oxide growing on the surface of the metal via an electrochemical process.

Process: Aluminium is dipped into an electrolytic cell and passed an electric current to create an oxidation reaction in the aluminium’s surface to develop an aluminium oxide to thicken.

Advantages: The anodizing process provides better corrosion resistance for aluminium and enhances its lifespan. It also colours the metal, resulting in a decorative finish that makes the metal look pretty. Anodized aluminium looks like metal and provides a contemporary feel while offering enhanced technical qualities. 

  • Epoxy Coatings

Summary: Epoxy coatings which are commonly used to protect metal surfaces from corrosion and UV damage are composed of a category of synthetic resins. Although not as popular as paints, they are highly used while working with protective covers.

Process: Applied as a liquid, epoxies cure to create a hard, impervious film. The protection afforded by coatings can be improved by priming and topped with another layer for extra protection and longevity.

Advantages: it has great chemical resistance which is very useful as it can be exposed to chemicals in industrial environments or heavily polluted areas. It is also resistant to moisture, reducing the risk of humidity or water that may cause rust increasing its lifespan.

  • Chromate Coatings

Summary: The application of chromate coatings on aluminum and other metallic substrates raises the corrosion resistance of the substrate. This is due to the mechanism by which the chromate coating acts as a corrosion inhibitor, primer, and chemical passivation layer.

Process: You apply a protective coating by dipping something made of reactive metal in a chemical process called a chromate conversion coating.

Advantages: Chromate coatings provide good corrosion protection and are typically used as a primer to enhance the adhesion of paints and other finishes. Still, they are often used in extremely harsh environments and can in certain circumstances significantly extend the life of the roof.

Modern coatings and treatments help in improving the performance and service longevity of steep-sloped metal roofing components.  Choosing suitable coating treatments will make the roof more durable and reveal a nice looking visual appearance.These treatments are of the highest standards in the industry.Although they increase the initial cost of the roof, they reduce the long term maintenance costs and prolong the effective service life on the roof.

metal roofing materials coating

Suitability of Metal Roofing Materials for Different Environments

The selection of a roofing material for a home in Toronto or metal roof in Hamilton and anywhere in the GTA must always take into account the specific environmental challenges presented by this region.

Various types of metal roofing materials perform differently, depending upon individual environmental factors such as coastline conditions, industrial exposure, heavy snowfall and prevalent high UV radiation. Here is an extended analysis of how each metal reacts under different environmental conditions.

  • Coastal Areas (High Salt)

Aluminium: Silver’s metallic lustre would show off your siding, but aluminium is a better choice for coastal homes because it resists salt corrosion better. Salty sea air can’t break through its thin layer of natural oxide, so the pillars of your colony can stand tall for years in a home on Lake Ontario.

Copper: In turn, coasts are especially conducive to copper, which creates a patina of verdigris, optimising both beauty and corrosion-protection in a feedback loop.

Zinc: Also in the running for coastal homes is zinc. This material does have the ability to self-heal minor scratches and is also naturally corrosion-resistant.

Galvanized steel: Zinc is applied as a protective coating to steel to prevent it from rusting, but performance in the coastal environment can be less predictable than with aluminium and copper, particularly where the zinc coating has been breached.

Tin: Tin-plated steel will work in coastal environments but typically requires more care and protective treatments, as well as more frequent attention, to achieve the same longevity that aluminium, copper and zinc often deliver. 

  • Metal Roofing Materials Application in Industrial Areas

Zinc: Its robustness makes it perfect for industrial areas where there are chemical pollutants; it has the ability to withstand a wide range of chemicals without severe degradation.

Galvanized steel: The zinc coating of galvanised steel also affords good resistance to chemical exposure, although underlying steel can still corrode if the coating is damaged.

Copper: Resistant to corrosion, cheerfully un-leached by chemical pollutants, and therefore well suited to roofing in industrial areas, so long as budgets allow.

Aluminium: It is quite resistant to corrosion by chemical exposure and therefore a good choice of material. However, in highly polluted industrial environments, aluminium should be anodised or very well coated to ensure it lasts a long time.

Tin-plated steel: In contrast to the well-performing products with zinc and copper coatings, tin-plated steel which has a thinner coating requires frequent maintenance in order to function well in industrial zones, for it is much relative to be an easy furniture type that gets destroyed by coarse chemicals.

  • Heavy Snowfall Areas

G90 Galvanized steel: Because it is strong and sturdy, galvanised steel is an excellent choice for all Canadian areas with heavy snowfall. The structure of the metal can hold up under a heavy load of snow without bending or breaking.

Copper: The capacity of copper to withstand a high snow load offers additional structural strength, while its slippery surface easily sheds snow. 

Zinc: Like copper, zinc is well-suited to straining under heavy snow loads, since it has the ability to ‘self-heal’ should windblown or moving ice or snow cause any surface damage that’s not harmful to the roof’s integrity. 

Aluminium – aluminium roofs are likewise an excellent option for snow-prone areas – they are lightweight but very robust, but extra structural support could be needed for the heaviest snowfalls.

Modern tin-plated steel will serve well enough in winter if it has secure structural bracing.

  • High UV Exposure Regions

Copper: Copper reacts superbly to high UV exposure. For one thing, not only is it readily available but it is also resilient to UV-light induced degradation and sun exposure enhances the patina process.

Zinc: Zinc is also extremely weather resistant. Its surface gradually forms a patina that increases its resistance to further weathering. 

Aluminum: Its reflective properties make this metal great for reducing inside temperatures by bouncing out UV rays.

Coated Galvanized Steel. It is generally highly resistant to UV breakdown, but is subject to the same problem as galvanised steel if not properly maintained.

Tin: Tin-plated steel is also less used today, and in general performs worse than all the other metals mentioned when it is exposed to high levels of UV.


To settle on the best metal roofing material for your area, a thorough understanding of your region’s specific environmental challenges is of essence. While most metal sheets garner our praise, each comes with its own unique pros and cons. Therefore, the best you can do as a homeowner in and around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is to identify the best cladding material that’ll suit your roof as well as take into account the challenges and threats your environment poses.

Top Metal roofing materials 2024


Knowing the science of the various metal roofing materials is a practical step toward ensuring that your home remains safe, energy efficient and hits all your aesthetic goals. The variety of climates and environments in Toronto and the general vicinity means that for both the warm summers on the lakeshore and even the white-out blizzards that can beset winter, selecting the right metal roofing material makes a big difference to how long your roof will last as well as how it looks. The metal you choose (aluminium, copper, zinc, galvanised steel, or tin) all have their own properties that suit specific needs and challenges.

No matter what the preferred metal, advanced treatments and coatings such as galvanization, powder coating, anodizing, epoxy coatings and chromate treatments can give every homeowner a roof above their heads that far surpasses their expectations. These technologies not only increase the structural integrity and longevity of many roof systems, but they also improve aesthetics and enhance the curb appeal, and ultimately increase your home’s resale value.

Are you looking to make an informed decision regarding your roofing needs? This could be because you are building a new home, replacing an old roof, or simply wanting to upgrade your roofing. No matter the reason, deciding on the best roofing for your home will greatly impact your home’s future and will actually determine whether you need to make another investment in your home in future – and perhaps quite an expensive one too. 

The first step in making the best roofing decision for your home is to understand the different available options. So don’t make this decision on your own. Contact Professional Metal Roofing today, we are your number one specialist in providing roofing solutions for Ontario citizens. We put into consideration your home’s preferred architectural styles, your environmental concerns, and your budget.

Call us at 647 619 7662 or visit us at  to book a free appointment. Our experts will ensure your installation goes smoothly, from choosing the right material to the final installation. Give your home a roof, which will last long, impress everyone and guard it thoroughly. 

See our works

Giving you a sense of what a metal roof will look like in your home of commercial property