No doubt about it, time are rough. Underwater homes, shadow inventory, foreclosures and other depressing signs of how our current recession has hit the housing market aren't making anyone jump for joy - particularly those of us in the home improvement industry. And what about homeowners in houses badly in need of major repairs or replacements, like a new roof? We've heard from a few of them looking for honest feedback to the question, "Should I replace my roof as cheaply as possible or does it make sense to upgrade to something like metal?" If you're asking yourself the same question, follow it with another and you'll have your answer:
If you're planning on staying in your home for at least another decade, then it absolutely makes financial sense to upgrade to metal - regardless of our current economy.
Now let us explain why. Historically, it was our experience that when real estate values were leveling off or declining, the demand for metal roof products actually increased. It may seem paradoxical, but there is logic to the occurrence.
When housing is in a rapidly inflating state, as it was in 2004 and 2005, many homeowners stop thinking of their residence as their "home" but rather see it as a stepping stone. If a roof only has to have an immediate "return on investment," then all other considerations - life expectancy, maintenance, fire resistance, seismic safety, etc. - become secondary to the immediate resale value. After all, in a few years, "It'll be someone else's problem!"
Conversely, when home prices aren’t rising as rapidly, quality becomes more significant than short-term resale value - even now. And when "houses" become "homes,” premium upgrades like metal roofs are a smart choice. Right now, many people owe more than their home is worth. The're considering short sales and foreclosures, so for them, the cheapest solution is the right move, if they've got a roof falling down around their ears and they've simply got to do something. But interestingly, though we're currently experiencing a housing and home improvement market with no precedent, our experience still holds. Does it make sense to upgrade to a metal roof? Yes, if you're plannning to stay in your home, it certainly does. Factors like longevity, durability and lack of maintenance mean that a pricier metal roof will actually have a less expensive life-cycle cost than the cheaper options. And that's a fact. Average prices for shingle roofs double roughly every 10 to 15 years. So imagine you're in the home you'll stay in, and its resale doesn't matter because you won't be leaving for the foreseeable future anyway. You compare roofing options - say, $4,000 for the shingle job and about $9,000 for a metal roof package. You go with shingles and they're fine at first. But, inevitably, they start peeling and blowing off, and replacement becomes necessary in 10 years of so. Now that same comp roof is somewhere in the neighborhood of $8,000, which means you're looking at $12,000 for the pleasure of re-roofing with a petroleum-based product twice. And you won't be done, either. Suddenly, that $9,000 for a lifetime metal roof seems like a bargain.
Here's the bottom line - if you're staying put, consider what a roofing material will cost and how it will perform not just the day and year it's installed, but five, ten, twenty years down the line. That's the best way to determine if upgrading to something like metal is worth your money.