Over our last several posts, we focused on various cost-efficient structural church design options. Recognizing that the integrity of your church building structure is only as good as the roof which protects everything below it, we turn to a review of the four most common, economical types of church building roofs. We will share the pros and cons of each. In this post, we will look at two types of metal roofs.

Option 1: Screw-down Roofs

One of the oldest, and most traditional types of metal roofs is a screw-down roof. As the name indicates, it’s attached to your church building with metal screws. The issue with screw-down roofs is that metal expands and contracts with heat and cold, while the building below stays relatively stable. Over time, this means that the metal moves those screws around, loosening them and opening little holes which can allow the roof to leak.

So, every screw on a screw-down metal roof must be regularly checked and tightened. While these roofs are very inexpensive to install, you must consider the longer-term cost of manual labor needed to check these roofs regularly. Screw-down roofs are also impractical with larger church buildings. For these reasons, we seldom recommend screw-down roofs, even though they are quite inexpensive to install.

Option 2: Standing Seam Roofs

Many church leaders who purchase pre-engineered steel buildings are interested in metal roofs—sort of a complete metal package, as it were. Fortunately, there is another metal roof option. A standing seam roof will work over almost any type of church building and can last for 50 or even 60 years.

A standing seam roof floats above the church building structure itself. Specialized clips are used to attach the roof to the building, allowing the roof to expand and contract as needed without impacting the structure below. Because of the way these roofs are put together, very few fasteners are exposed—the ones that are, are mostly on the very top and along the bottom edge of the roof. Those fasteners do need to be checked periodically, but there is less opportunity for them to work loose, unlike the screws in a screw-down roof.

Metal Roof Maintenance for Your Church Building

Of course, no roof is completely maintenance-free. Any time you penetrate the metal, you create an opportunity for leaks. If you install an HVAC system on the roof, for example, those points of attachment need to be checked. Plumbing vent pipes are a necessary point of penetration that will need to be checked too. And all flashings will move at a different rate than the roof itself, loosening seals over time.

Another maintenance need will be painting; however most metal roofs today have Kynar paint that will not fade for 20 years.

The point here is that every roof will require some maintenance. It’s important to consider the relative cost of maintenance for each type of roof, over its lifespan, as well as the initial installation cost when choosing the best roof option for your church building.

In our next post, we will discuss two more types of roof options: membrane and shingle. This information all comes from one of our recent i3 webinars where we cover a wide-array of church building and design topics. Our free 2018 webinar series will be unveiled soon, so stay tuned!