Galvanized vs. Galvalume Roofing: Pros, Cons & Costs 

Kenneth Wilson

If you’ve decided that you’re going to install a metal roof at your property, there’s a lot to think about. And your first decision is which metal to choose. After all, there isn’t just one type of metal for your roof, and you can select from the likes of stainless steel, copper, lead, tin, galvanized, or galvalume metal.

In this article, we provide you with a detailed comparison of galvanized and galvalume roofing, introducing some of the pros and cons of each, as well as a cost comparison.

We end with our verdict on which is better to help you come to a decision about which material to use for your metal roof installation.

What is a Galvanized Roof?


Galvanized metal has been treated with a protective zinc coating, which prevents premature rust and corrosion from occurring. This makes it more long-lasting and economical than untreated metal and is, therefore, an ideal material to install on a roof. (Related: 7 Types of Metal Roofs: Which One Is Right For Your Home?)

The galvanization process has been utilized in the building industry for almost 200 years and was first patented by Stanislas Sorel in 1836. As such, galvanized metal is widely used on roofing projects all around the world.

Galvanized Roofing Pros & Cons


Pros

  • Galvanized Metal is long-lasting. When properly installed, a galvanized metal roof has an expected lifespan of approximately 40 – 50 years.
  • It’s also an environmentally friendly roofing option. Typically, a galvanized metal roof is comprised of at least 25% recycled materials and can be completely recycled when they need to be replaced.
  • A galvanized metal roof is energy efficient. Thanks to the reflective properties of a galvanized metal roof, your heating and cooling bills will reduce, depending on the season. Homeowners can save up to 25% on utility bills by installing a galvanized metal roof.

Cons

  • Galvanized metal is prone to damage. In spite of its treatment with zinc, your galvanized metal roof is prone to dents and damage, particularly if you live in an area that receives regular storms.
  • It’s not the best metal roofing option available. As we explore below, galvanized metal is not the best option available to you. Stainless steel and even galvalume steel are potentially better options for your home.

Galvanized Roofing Installation Costs


According to Home Advisor, the typical cost of a metal roof installation is $5,405 - $15,171. A galvanized roof with a steel core and zinc coating will cost you between $150 and $350 per square.

You will also have to factor in additional costs like installation, which could be anywhere between $5,000 and $12,000, as well as additional materials like fasteners and gauges.

A galvanized steel is a cheaper option than stainless steel, with the latter typically commanding anywhere between $400 and $1,200 per square.

What is a Galvalume Roof?


If you’re looking to install a metal roof at your property, another option is galvalume steel. A galvalume roof is one that has been treated with zinc (55%), aluminum (43.4%), and silicone (1.6%) to enhance its anti-corrosion properties.

Although it’s similar to galvanized metal, galvalume has several added benefits, as we introduce below.

Galvalume Roofing Pros & Cons


Pros

  • Galvalume is 2–4 times more resistant to corrosion than galvanized steel. Ensuring your roof doesn’t corrode is super important, which is why galvalume is an excellent option. Thanks to the addition of aluminum and silicone, it is more durable than galvanized steel (50+ years).
  • A Galvalume roof is affordable. Galvalume is cheaper than stainless and galvanized steel, which makes it a more affordable option for your new roof.
  • Galvalume steel is self-healing. There is an edge creep on galvalume metal roofing, which means that any discoloration doesn’t get worse over time, and it cures red rusting at the edges where the steel has been cut.

Pros

  • It can degrade when in contact with other materials. A galvalume roof may degrade more quickly than other metals when it comes into direct contact with brick, iron, lumber, and concrete.
  • Galvalume is not as aesthetically pleasing as galvanized steel. When installed as a roof, galvalume is less shiny than galvanized steel and typically doesn’t look as good as other metal roofing products.

Galvalume Roofing Installations Costs


Home Advisor tells us that galvalume roofing is cheaper than galvanized steel, with most roofing projects costing somewhere between $70 and $200 per square.

As you can see from the table below, galvalume is one of the most affordable metal roofing options:

Material

Average Cost per square

Stainless steel

$400 - $1,200

Galvanized steel

$150 - $350

Galvalume steel

$75 -$200

Tin (terne)

$350 - $1,000

Aluminium

$150 - $600

Copper

$800 - $1,500

Zinc

$600 - $1,000

Lead

$1000+

Ultimately, if you’re looking for a pliable metal roof that is affordable and has anti-corrosion properties, a galvalume roof is a great option.

The Verdict: Which is better – Galvanized or Galvalume Roofing?


The bottom line is that both galvanized and galvalume are good options for roofing projects, as they’ve both been treated to resist rust and corrosion. As for which is better, we’ve put together a simple comparison table below to help you decide:

Property

Galvanized

Galvalume

Durability

40–50 years

50+ years

Affordability

$150 - $350 per square

$70 - $200 per square

Composition

Zinc

Zinc, aluminium, silicone

Self-healing?

No

Yes

We suggest that a galvalume roof provides better overall value for money and is much more durable than galvanized steel. Therefore, it’s an excellent material to choose for your metal roof, as you don’t need to worry about high up-front costs or repair costs as your roof is exposed to the elements.

It’s little surprise, then, that galvalume roofing projects are increasing in popularity, as more and more homeowners are realizing the benefits of this anti-corrosive roofing material.

Kenneth Wilson
November 22, 2021
Cost Guides, Roofing

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done.

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