Metal Shingle Roof: Surprisingly Inexpensive

"It's raining again.  For about the 1,000th time this year, Mrs 'Struction asked me to check the attic.  Her anxiety disorder is exhasperating, but not misplaced.  In our attic is an array of buckets and tarps arranged to catch the various leaks.  There's always a new one, it seems.  If I don't catch it in the attic, then it shows up as a stain and flaking paint in one of the bedrooms or crumbling plaster over the stairs.  Time for a new roof.  "

That was the entry I started six months ago.  We've been comfortably under a new roof for a couple months now, and the change is amazing.  I can finally return all those storage bins to their original purpose, and pull down the tarps and plastic drop cloths I'd stapled up in the attic to try to funnel the various, dispersed leaks into waiting buckets.  No more trips down the stairs with full buckets to empty into the upstairs toilets, or mouthfuls of 100-year-old-tar-paper-tea while I set up siphons to drain the buckets.  I can finally start thinking about the attic as less of a war ground and more of an opportunity for home improvement.  What shall it be, master bedroom suite?  Game room?  Home laboratory?  Workshop?  Combination of all?

The whole process has been an education for me.  The first was dealing with contractors.  Growing up, we'd always done our own roof replacement.  The relatively flat roofs and asphalt shingles were well suited for a father and sons homeowner team to tackle.  This roof presented some challenges, however, and I wasn't all that comfortable with trying to tackle it myself.  First off, the pitch is 45 degrees.  Not exactly something you can walk around on.  Add to that the fact that on the downhill side of the house, you have an almost three story drop.  

On the plus side, I learned a valuable lesson about going green.  The old, crumby, leaking roof had been something I didn't have a lot of experience with: metal shingles.  Not surprisingly, they had rusted out, hence all the leaks.  The surprising part was that they were original to the house: 100 years old!  How often to do hear about a 100 year roof?  With that obvious benefit in mind, I girded my loins and asked for a quote to get the same style put on.  I also asked for a quote on a standard, short-lived, asphalt shingle roof.  To my surprise, the metal roof came in at only 20% more expensive.  Couple that with the fact that the metal roof qualifies for an energy tax credit, and it actually comes out about the same.

So for just about the same price as I would have paid for a traditional roof, I get one that is going to save me money on cooling costs every summer, and that I probably will never have to worry about replacing again.  Oh, and because it's the same style as the old one, I don't have to go through the red tape of convincing the historic district commission to let me put it on.  

Pretty sweet.  

Here's a close-up picture.  At least as close-up as I can get from the ground.  The shingles are available in a lot of colors, but we went with almond because it has the best reflectivity and emmisivity characteristics.  i.e. It reflects the most sunlight, while simultaneously dumping the most built-up heat.