When people hear about metal roofs, they may think about the noisy, old-fashioned tin roofs of the early 20th century. But metal roofs have changed — and most people have no idea how much.

“Metal roofing has long been a favorite of agriculture, and is fast becoming a preference for residential use,” says Dale Walton, manager of residential product marketing for CertainTeed Roofing. “Thanks to modern manufacturing, we can take advantage of the dynamic properties of metal and offer a variety of options.”

Metal roofing is increasingly becoming the choice for eco-minded homeowners. And, because of its longevity (often lasting 50 years or more) and low maintenance needs, it has a much higher return on investment than traditional roofing. In addition, many metal roofs today are classified as cool roofing because of their high solar reflectivity — meaning a reduction in home cooling costs.

1. Durable

“There’s no denying the durability of metal, and when you couple that durability with minimal maintenance and cool roof technology, you are hard-pressed to find a better roofing material option,” Walton says. “Plus, when the time does ultimately come to replace a metal roof, it can be recycled.”

Walton adds that metal roofing provides excellent hail protection and, when compared to roof types such as wood shake, is safer due to metal’s high resistance to fire. These benefits can make a big difference in the price of insurance premiums in areas where hailstorms or wildfires are issues.

2. Quiet

And that beloved cliché of rain clanking against a tin roof? Walton advised that it doesn't apply to today's metal roofing.

“A contemporary metal roofing system, properly installed, is no louder than any other type of roof system. A solid deck under the roof, an insulated attic space and ventilation all play a role in reducing the acoustic transmission of the rain into the living space.”

3. Stylish

When it comes to aesthetics, there are many options. The metal roofing frequently seen today, called “standing seam,” is constructed from flat vertical panels. This look, though, is often not complementary to modern or classical architecture. As a more fitting alternative, metal is stamped into panels which mimic the color, dimensionality and texture of traditional roofing profiles such as wood shake, slate and barrel tile. These architectural metal roofing designs are ideal for practically any building type.

 “From a design perspective, there’s really nothing that metal cannot accomplish. We’ve seen it picturesquely top off homes inspired by Mediterranean villas, as well as revitalize aged church roofs with the stately look of slate. The appearance is so convincing that often people cannot tell architectural metal from the traditional roofing type which it replicates.”