What is the Cost of a Metal Roof: Factors, Considerations, & Examples

Understanding where your money goes when making a large purchase is important, which is why knowing how the price of a metal roof can fluctuate and what the price depends on will help with your decision.

It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a pair of shoes or buying a new metal roof, it’s always the most important question: How much does it cost?

Here’s the short answer to that question: It depends.

We understand that might not be the answer you were looking for, but it’s true. No one type of metal roof costs the exact same as the next one, and we think it would be unfair to lump all different options together under one price. Instead, we want to give you an accurate and thorough explanation of:

What is the Cost of a Metal Roof: Factors, Considerations, & Examples: Main
  • What factors into the cost of a metal roof?
  • What specifications affect the cost of a metal roof?
  • What is the cost of a metal roof?

At Sheffield Metals, we know how important it is for you to price out a metal roof that you are most comfortable with, which is why we want to equip you with the information you need to make an informed purchase. 

What Factors Into the Cost of a Metal Roof?

Understanding the different variables that factor into the cost of a metal roof will help you better determine what type or style of metal roof is the best choice for you or one of your clients. To better understand where or what your money goes to when you purchase a metal roof, we’ve broken it down into three separate costs:

  • Cost of materials
  • Cost of labor
  • Operating costs

Cost of Materials

The cost of materials required for a project accounts for roughly 1/3 of the total price to install a metal roof. This part of the overall cost accounts for:

  • Metal panels
  • Flashings
  • Underlayment
  • Accessories (such as clips, fasteners, rivets, and sealant)
  • Other miscellaneous materials that might be needed to complete an install

Cost of Labor

What is the Cost of a Metal Roof: Factors, Considerations, & Examples: Cost of Labor

Accounting for another 1/3 of the price of a metal roof is how much the contractor and/or installer charges for the actual installation portion of the project. Here’s a list of the breakdown to better understand what the cost of labor covers:

  • Number of hours required to complete the project
  • Wages and salaries of contractor’s employees
  • Benefits and insurance for employees
  • Payroll taxes paid by the contracting company

These factors are not always concrete and can vary based on the structure of a business, how long the project will take, and the complexity of the installation.

Operating Costs

Finally, the last 1/3 of the cost is comprised of the operating costs that help keep the company in business and functioning in the market. For a metal roof install, this part of the cost could help cover:

  • Rent or utilities of a building or office space used
    • Office supplies, internet, phones, and furniture
  • Advertising and promotion
  • Vehicles and trailers needed to haul employees and materials
    • Plus fuel and vehicle insurance costs
  • Equipment or machinery used to rollform, cut, and seam panels
  • Licensing and training required by industry or government
  • Insurance
    • Plus coverage for potential damages not covered by insurance
  • Taxes
  • Other day-to-day miscellaneous tools and items

No two businesses operate the same or require the same amount of money to function, which means there could be dramatic differences in operating costs from contractor to contractor.

Download the "Standing Seam vs. Exposed Fastener: A Comparison Guide" here!

What Specifications Affect the Cost of a Metal Roof?

Just as important as what factors into the cost of a metal roof is what could affect, both positively and negatively, the end cost of a metal roof, including:

  • Size of the roof
  • Residential vs commercial
  • Type of metal material
  • Order specifics
    • Width
    • Gauge
    • Color
    • Paint type
    • Seam type
    • Accessories
    • Flashings
  • Location or where you live
  • Customizations

What is the Size of the Roof?

As you could probably already guess, the cost to complete a roofing job varies depending on the size of the roof (measured in square feet). If you need help calculating the square footage of your pitched roof, which is different from the flat base area of a home, follow these instructions:

  1. Find out what the house base area, or the area of land, the house covers.
    1. If you have a home that is made up of numerous complex shapes, determine the area of the individual shapes and then add all of the parts together.
    2. Also, if you know you have a two-story home at 2,400 square feet, you would only use the square feet of one level (1,200 square feet).
  2. Determine your roof pitch, or how much the roof rises over 12 inches. For example, if your roof rises 8 inches for every 12 inches, the roof pitch is 8/12. Here’s a photo for reference:
  3. From there, you will multiply the area by the typical slope correction values (these may vary slightly between manufacturers, but offers an approximate square foot value) shown in the chart on the right.
  4. For example: If you have a 8/12 roof pitch on your home and a 1,200 square foot house base area, you would reference the multiplier in the chart for that pitch, or 1.202, and use this formula:

Square foot base area    x    Roof pitch multiplier   =   Roofing square feet

1,200 (square feet)    x    1.202   =   1,442.4 roofing square feet

Commercial or Residential Project?

Typically, commercial metal roofing projects tend to cost more than residential metal roofing projects due to the fact that more materials, time, technique, and labor are required on commercial buildings.

What Metal Material is Used?

The type of metal material makes a difference in the final price, as some metals come at a higher cost and some cost significantly less. For the purposes of this topic, we’ll focus on the five most common metal materials: Galvalume, aluminum, copper, zinc, and stainless steel.

As far as pricing goes for metal coil and sheet raw materials, it can vary quite a bit. Here are average price ranges for just the coil and does not account for installation, other thicknesses, finishes, colors, locations, or special orders:

  1. Bare and painted Galvalume (24-gauge): $0.75 to $1.25 per square foot
  2. Painted Aluminum (.032” to .040”) : $1.05 to $1.60 per square foot
  3. Stainless steel (.015” to .024”) : $3.00 to $8.00 per square foot
  4. Copper (16-oz to 24-oz): $4.00 to $8.00 per pound
  5. Zinc (.7 mm to 1.5 mm): $3.00 to $6.00 per pound

The cost ranges differ from one another for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Premium Materials
    • All metals used in metal roofing are viable options for home or building owners, but some are stronger than others or carry specialized qualities that put them at a higher price. For example, copper and zinc both develop a protective covering called patina over time that further resists against corrosion, which is one reason why both of these cost more.
  • Market Price
    • All of the metals above are commodities, meaning they go up and down according to the selling price in a given market. Recently, there has been a spike in the price of copper (follows Comex) and a spike in the price of zinc (follows LME), which is reflected in metal roofing prices.
    • Additionally, there could be changes to the price of steel and aluminum, as there are two Section 232 investigations on these two metals waiting to be reviewed and decided upon by U.S. President Donald Trump.
  • Availability
    • For example, steel is a common alloy produced and used in infrastructure and construction, so it’s easy and readily available for companies to purchase from domestic or foreign steel manufacturers. The same goes for aluminum, which is the 3rd most abundant metal in the earth’s crust by making up about 8.1% of it.
    • On the other hand, copper makes up less than 0.0007% of the earth’s crust, so it makes sense that it comes at a much higher price when compared to other materials.
  • Quantity
    • Going along with the availability in the industry or in the earth’s crust, the less availability means the less amount produced by manufacturers. In other words, some manufacturers might not even carry zinc or copper options, which is another factor that affects the price.

What are the Order Specifics?

What is the Cost of a Metal Roof: Factors, Considerations, & Examples: Order Specifics

An attractive feature of metal roofing is the number of options available for buyers to choose from. At the same time, a number of these options on a quote or order can cause the price to fluctuate in either direction.


Metal coil and sheets typically come in many different standard widths (anywhere from 48’’ to 16”) that manufacturers will cut to with no extra charge. If a customer or buyer needs the coil or sheets in a non-standard or customized width, it could lead to a higher price.


The gauge, or thickness of the metal, definitely factors into the cost as well. The thicker the metal is, the higher the price will be. (For reference: The higher the gauge number, the thinner the metal is and vice versa.)


Have you ever been to a car dealership and noticed that some cars are more expensive just because of the color? This same concept applies to metal roofing. Some colors are harder for paint companies to develop, some require extra materials to be added, and some might need one or more layers; all of which can increase the price.

For example, at Sheffield Metals, we have five different price levels that apply to our standard 24-gauge Kynar products:

  • Unpainted Galvalume Plus (lowest)
  • Standard
  • Premium
  • Metallic
  • Weathered (highest)

Paint Type

Going right along with the paint color is the type of paint system used to coat the coil, which can swing the price in both directions:

  • Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) – This resin is made up of about 70% PVDF and 30% acrylic. Commonly referred to as Kynar 500® or Hylar 5000®, PVDF resins are the best protective coatings available and therefore cost more.
  • Silicone-modified polyester (SMP) – SMP coatings, a combination mixture of polyester and silicone materials, are a step below PVDF. SMPs offer great protection, though not as well as PVDF, and come at a lower price.
  • Fluoroethylene vinyl ether (FEVE) – Below SMP paint systems on the price and protection scale are FEVE resins, which are made up of various vinyl ether and fluoro-olefin units.
  • Polyester – While polyester, a synthetic polymer, is not the top performing resin to use on a metal roof or wall panel to protect against chalking or fading, it does come at the lowest price point.

Seam Type

There are essentially four general seam types used to connect panels in metal roofing:

  • Snap-lock
  • Mechanical
  • Tee
  • Lap

Of the four, snap-lock and lap seams are the easiest to install. With a snap-lock system, the panel edges are rollformed to snap together without any mechanical seaming needed, which cuts down on labor and keeps costs lower. With lap seams, the ends of the panels aren’t truly ever connected together, as the edges overlap and are then fastened to the deck through the top of the panel.

The more labor-intensive, and therefore more expensive, seam options are mechanical or tee seams. Both of these require a hand or mechanical seamer that bend the edges to lock the panels together.

What is the Cost of a Metal Roof: Factors, Considerations, & Examples: Accessories


Accessories are the pieces and parts needed to ensure the metal roof performs to the best of its ability. There are numerous different options for most accessories, which can make the cost go up or down depending on the type. Here’s a quick run-down of the different types and if one option is more expensive:

  • Clips
    • Engineered clips (more expensive)
    • Non-engineered clips
  • Rivets (requires a rivet gun)
  • Fasteners
  • Underlayment
    • Mechanically attached synthetic underlayment
    • Fully-adhered peel and stick
    • Ice and water shield (most expensive)
  • Clamps
  • Sealant & butyl tape
  • Paint pens

Flashings / Penetration Zones

Another factor that can affect cost is the number of flashing zones and/or penetration points on a roof. To distinguish between the two, just know that all penetration points are flashing zones, but not all flashing zones are penetration points:

  • Flashing zone – A spot on the roof where extra materials, whether it’s a sheet metal, rubber, or otherwise, are added to provide extra weather-tightness. This often happens with valleys, chimneys, skylights, and other cuts in the roof.
  • Penetration points – A point on the roof where something is coming through the metal. This includes vents, pipes, or chimneys. For weathertight warranty applications, many manufacturers often require non-round penetrations to use pre-welded curbs. For bidding purposes, this can drive the material cost up significantly on a metal roof.

These scenarios require installers to make extra precision cuts in the materials or install extra materials, such as a pipe boot or sheet metal, or both. These will likely increase the cost of a metal roof.

Where Do You Live?

You might be asking yourself: Why would the cost of a metal roof change by location?

Just like the cost of a home changes depending on the city, state, or even the country, not every product costs the same everywhere you go. That being said, here are a few factors that weigh into why a metal roof might be higher or lower depending on your location:

  • The overall cost of living
    • For example, products and services cost more in New York City or Los Angeles because the cost of living is higher
  • The cost of labor
    • Union labor: More expensive, but typically have a higher emphasis on training
    • Non-union labor: Less expensive, potentially less-trained workers
    • There is no concrete evidence that union or non-union contractors are better than the other, so just do your research and ask for referrals ahead of time in order to avoid any potential metal roof problems
  • The prominent regional manufacturers in the area
  • Quantity of portable rollformers in the region
  • Where the materials are coming from
    • For example, the majority of steel mills are located on or near the east coast of the U.S. If you live on the west coast, it could cost more because the coils/sheets require additional shipping.

Will Anything Need Customization?

Like most products, customization typically comes at a cost. This includes:

  • Custom color
    • This is one that truly varies by the color choice and the quantity. For example, a custom earth-tone color is a small increase because it’s easier for the paint company to develop. A non-standard or vivid custom color will experience the highest price jump, especially if only a small quantity is needed.
    • Keep in mind: Some manufacturers limit their paint warranties with customized colors. Make sure to ask before you buy.
  • Custom flashings
    • If specialized flashing materials, like customized pipe boots or valley flashings, need to be made and installed, an additional fee could be charged.

What is the Cost of a Metal Roof?

What is the Cost of a Metal Roof: Factors, Considerations, & Examples: Cost / Quote

The best way for us to explain how much a real metal roof will cost is to give the quoted prices of actual metal roofing projects that have been completed. Keep in mind, these prices capture one project based on its individual specifications.

While these price ranges are good representations of the cost of a metal roof installation, prices will still vary depending on:

  • Coil/metal type
  • Size/specifications
  • Roof geometries
  • Seam or profile type
  • Geographic location (cost of living)
  • Residential vs commercial
  • Accessories
  • Colors and finishes
  • Engineering requirements

Standing Seam Metal Roofing Costs & Prices

PRICE EXAMPLE #1 – Residential Project

  • Coil: 24-gauge Galvalume
  • Profile: 1.5” FF Snaplock Standing Seam
  • Color: Standard (Medium Bronze)
  • Structure Size: 2,500 square feet
  • Location: Midwest (non-union contractor)
  • Quoted Price: $5.00 to $8.00 per square foot

PRICE EXAMPLE #2 – Residential Project

  • Coil: 24-gauge Galvalume
  • Profile: Snaplock Standing Seam
  • Color: Standard
  • Structure Size: 5,000 square feet
  • Location: Los Angeles, California (non-union contractor)
  • Quoted Price: $7.50 to $10.00 per square foot

PRICE EXAMPLE #3 – Commercial Project

  • Coil: 24-gauge Galvalume
  • Profile: 1.5” Snaplock Standing Seam
  • Color: Premium (Regal Blue)
  • Structure Size: 3,000 square feet
  • Location: Cleveland, Ohio (non-union contractor)
  • Quoted Price: $7.00 to $9.00 per square foot

PRICE EXAMPLE #4 – Commercial Project

  • Coil: 24-gauge Galvalume
  • Profile: Snaplock Standing Seam
  • Color: Standard
  • Structure Size: 5,000 square feet
  • Location: Palm Springs, California (non-union contractor)
  • Quoted Price: $9.00 to $16.00 per square foot

Exposed Fastener Metal Roofing Prices

PRICE EXAMPLE #1 – Residential Project

  • Coil: 29-gauge SMP
  • Profile: Exposed Fastener
  • Color: Standard (Evergreen)
  • Structure Size: 4,000 square feet
  • Location: Midwest (non-union contractor)
  • Price: $2.50 to $3.50 per square foot

PRICE EXAMPLE #2 – Agricultural Project

  • Coil: 26 to 29-gauge SMP
  • Profile: 7/8” Corrugated Panel
  • Color: Standard
  • Structure Size: 7,500 square feet
  • Location: California (non-union contractor)
  • Price: $5.00 to $8.00 per square foot

PRICE EXAMPLE #3 – Commercial Project

  • Coil: 29-gauge SMP
  • Profile: Exposed Fastener
  • Color: Standard (Evergreen)
  • Structure Size: 2,000 square feet
  • Location: Central Ohio (non-union contractor)
  • Price: $2.50 to $3.50 per square foot

Final Thoughts on the Cost of a Metal Roof

What is the Cost of a Metal Roof: Factors, Considerations, & Examples: Final Thoughts

There are a lot of factors that affect the cost of a metal roof, so we understand that it can be overwhelming at times. The best advice we can give you is this: Be realistic and keep your budget in mind. You always want to get the most out of your money, but you also don’t want to spend money that you don’t have, so set a price and try to stick to it.

Remember, if you ever want to know more about what goes into the cost of a metal roof, talk to the manufacturer you’re purchasing from. They will be able to shed light on why one or more options could change the cost.

At Sheffield Metals, we are here to answer your questions and help you choose the best metal roof that fits your budget.

To schedule a consultation or speak with one of our helpful metal roofing experts, contact us today!

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