Aluminum Roofing vs Steel Roofing


Today, metal roofing is one of the most fashionable trends in the building industry. As such, there is an increasingly growing demand on metal roofing materials across the globe. They are largely popular due to their durability, lightweight, and ability to withstand any weather condition.

When it comes to the manufacture of metal roofing, the major materials used are steel and aluminum. If you are a builder or designer considering using metal roof, you may be wondering: what is the difference between steel and aluminum with regard to the choice of a metal roof?

This article explores the similarities and difference of these two types of metal roofing materials to help you make an informed choice whenever you want a roofing material for your building project.

The Differences between Aluminum Roofs and Steel Roofs


While the thickness of steel metal roofing is normally designated by gauge, aluminum metal roofing is designated by decimal thickness. Therefore, the thickness in steel metal roofing normally ranges from 24 to 26 gauge – the higher gauge is thinner than the lower.  For aluminum, the decimal thickness ranges between .023 and .040.


If you are pegging the choice of your roofing material on weight, then you should know that aluminum is lighter than steel. In fact, aluminum is the lightest metal used as a roofing material.  It is also worth noting that its strength-to-weight ratio is one of the highest among the common metals. With the thinness and lightness of aluminum metal roofing, it not only stores very little heat, but it can also cool down quickly when it stops receiving direct sunlight.

Resistance to Rust

While steel is quite vulnerable to sea water damage with time, aluminum is highly resistant to rust caused by seawater. This means that whereas both aluminum and steel perform quite much the same, the finish warranty usually does not cover steel panels for coastal regions. This is primarily because the coil coating has a potential to separate from the substrate around the edges, resulting in corrosion in environments that are close to salty water bodies.


Steel is naturally stronger than aluminum.  In addition to being less expensive, it is also more resistant to fire without underlayment. Aluminum, on the other hand, doesn’t have a class A fire rating.

While aluminum is much more malleable than steel and you can configure it into profiles that are more complex, you will need reasonably heavy gauge aluminum and this will raise its cost.

The Similarities between Aluminum Roofs and Steel Roofs

  • Compared to other roofing materials, both aluminum and steel have better strength, better environmental sustainability, and a much longer lifespan.
  • Both aluminum and steel can minimize noise from rain, small hailstones, as well as snow. This is however due to underlayment and sheathing below the roofing material – not the material itself.
  • For both steel and aluminum metal roofing, the coil coating s are available in a wide array of colors, which can be customized to meet your tastes.
  • Aluminum and steel are the two leading energy efficient metal roofing materials. They both naturally emit heat and reflect light.

Now that you understand the difference between aluminum and steel metal roofing materials, the choice of what to go for will depend on your individual needs. If your project is near the sea, for instance, you will certainly choose aluminum. Whatever the case, choose the metal roofing material that best suits your needs.


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