Metal roofs are durable, fire retardant and almost maintenance-free. But metal roofs can also be made to resemble wood shakes, clay tiles, shingles, and Victorian metal tiles. Aluminum or coated steel is formed into individual shingles or tiles, or into modular panels four feet long that mimic a row of shingles or tiles. Metal roofing material is also energy efficient; metal reflects heat and blocks its transfer into the attic. Steel roofs offer other environmental benefits as well. They are made from between 60 percent to 65 percent recyclable material. Because they weigh very little, metal roofing can be installed over existing roofs, eliminating the need to dispose of excess material in a landfill.

Installing some metal roofing can be an intricate process best done by a professional, and the initial cost of a premium metal roof is higher than most other roofing materials. You need to compute the lifecycle cost to see if paying more to begin with for a metal roof will prove to be a better investment than some other form of roofing.