Because consumers often want cheap solutions, some unscrupulous companies offer inferior screw-through barn metal roofing to homes and businesses. But this temporary solution can do more harm than good and is no substitute for standing seam metal roofing and other permanent metal roofing systems designed for homes.
It’s difficult to call a company that sells and installs barn metal on homes a true roofer. This material offered by some scammers is designed to be used in unheated agricultural buildings, not on homes with roof decking, insulation and HVAC systems.
Wondering if some of your neighbors have fallen victim to barn metal fraud? It’s easy to see when walking or driving by. Just look for long corrugated steel panels that are secured with hundreds of screws going right through the metal into the roof deck below. You’ll see all those screw heads from a distance. That’s why this material is sometimes called screw-through roofing.
It’s Fine For Unheated Barns, But…
Screw-through barn metal roofing creates a cascade of problems when used inappropriately on a house. While it may look solid at first and even have a certain visual appeal, the problems show up quickly. Roofing panels naturally expand and contract with the heating of the day, loosening the screws since they go directly into the wooden decking below.
That’s right: If you have barn metal put on your roof, those hundreds of screws are soon loose – and that means they will leak. There’s no doubt about it. A screw-through roof can fail in as little as 3 years – while a metal roofing material intended for homes and businesses can outlast the structure itself.
Going with cheap barn metal roofing means the potential for a rotten roof deck in just a few years or less. All those screw holes mean the decking is ruined, the insulation below it is ruined and so is your ceiling. Mold and mildew are likely. And complete replacement of the roof – including the decking – is essential to restoring the structural integrity of the home.
If a roofing company tells you it can provide metal roofing at a much lower cost than the competition or even at a cost lower than asphalt shingles, it’s probably trying to sell you inferior, destined-to-fail screw-through metal roofing. Don’t fall for it, and don’t create a nightmare inside your home by having this junk used in place of genuine, guaranteed, proven and reliable metal roofing from a reputable maker and installer.
The 8 Reasons Not To Use Pole Barn Roofing On Your House
Screw-down metal works fine on pole barns, for unheated warehouse roofs and in some light industrial applications. But there are 8 big reasons you should never allow barn metal roofing to be installed on your home or business:
1. There are an astounding 70 screws per roofing square. That means the average home roof of 2,000 square feet contains between 2,100 and 2,500 screws, each a potential point of failure. Standing seam metal roofing, the preferred choice for many applications, has only a fraction of that number.
2. Rubber washers are finicky. While each of those screws on a barn metal roof is supposed to be protected from leaking with a rubber washer, the system only works if every screw is carefully driven to the correct depth. Under-driving means the screw will leak from the beginning. Over-driving damages the washer and causes eventual failure. A screw driven at a slight angle won’t seal at all. And rubber washers degrade in the sunlight anyway.
3. Rubber washers always fail over time. While metal panels can last 50 years or longer even with minimal care, rubber washers usually fail in 10 to 15 years. Metal expands and contracts more than any other kind of roofing, and the daily cycle of shrinking and expansion causes failure of the seal and the washer itself.
4. Barn metal doesn’t fit around home roof obstacles very well. Since screw-down metal roofing wasn’t designed for homes or businesses, there’s no kit or trim pieces available for chimneys, skylights, pitch breaks or valleys, so heavy caulking must be used to seal these areas. And caulking always fails many years before a solid sheet of metal.
5. Panels don’t interlock. That means they aren’t as strong and they aren’t as waterproof as home metal to begin with. Interlocking features on home metal roofing are designed to make the roof watertight. Once again, standing seam metal roofing is the industry standard in interlocking metal roofing.
6. The investment is too much for what you get. If screw-through metal roofing lasted the lifetime of your home, it might be worth it. If it lasted as long as asphalt shingles yet cost less, you might consider it. But since the cost isn’t that far below the cost of genuine home metal roofing, the price is way too high in most cases for what you get, meaning you’re getting a bad deal.
7. All those screws may just pull out. Barn metal is usually screwed into 3/8-inch wood sheeting, but that’s not really enough to give the screws anything substantial to hang onto. Even 1/2-inch plywood isn’t really thick enough. And with all those screws, every row can’t be on a rafter.
8. The point of failure is hard to locate. When there are more than 70 screw holes per roofing square, pinpointing which areas are failing first so they can be repaired is a nearly impossible task, so even the smallest failure can be difficult to locate and correct.
The Roof That Stands Up To The Elements
There are many kinds of roofing materials that are better than barn metal roofing. Even asphalt shingles can last longer and do less damage to your home than screw-through roofing. If you want the durability of metal, there are products designed for homes that mimic the look of asphalt, wood shingles and even ceramic tiles. And then there’s standing seam metal roofing, a premium product for durability and reliability.
With standing seam metal roofing, screws are only placed on the part of the roofing material that sits up above the decking, not on the surface that’s against the decking, so there’s a greatly decreased chance of leaking and only a few holes through your wooden roof decking in carefully chosen locations. And since standing seam metal roofing is designed for homes and businesses and not for barns, trim pieces are available to fit into valleys and around the skylights, vents and other obstacles on your roof.
Plus, standing seam roofing is:
- Available in a wide range of colors that won’t chip or fade
- Resistant to rust
- Installed with only horizontal seams, not vertical seams that can leak
- Designed to last 50 years
- Still waterproof even if dented by hail or a falling tree limb
- Intended to stand up to the elements better than any other kind of roofing
Choosing a reputable company for metal roofing products and services is your key to getting a good product and professional installation that will ensure your roofing system lasts as long as your home.
You have choices in roofing, but some choices are better than others. Don’t get duped or scammed by a barn metal roofing sales pitch. Instead, go with pros who install standing seam metal roofing and other time-tested and weather-proven roofing systems.