Exploring Metal Construction Misconceptions, Part 1

Shawn ZuverBy Shawn Zuver,

Whether it's the existence of Bigfoot, assassination conspiracy theories, or the idea that the U.S. moon landings were faked, the appetite for urban legends and myths seems to be at an all-time high. This summer there was even a planned movement (apparently conceived as comedy, which some took seriously) to storm Area 51 in Nevada with the hope of proving that the government was hiding evidence of alien encounters.

There have been countless opinions already offered on those topics mentioned above, so I won't bore you with my thoughts (even though I do weigh in on the side of the believers concerning at least one of them). Instead, I'd like to offer my opinions on a few common myths or misconceptions about metal construction products that have been around for decades.

Metal Roofs Are Noisy. I'll start with perhaps the most common assumption that I've heard about metal roofs through the years. Is it sometimes true that metal roofs are noisy? Absolutely. Is it true of all metal roofs? No. The simple fact is that any type of roof can be noisy, it just depends on the overall construction of the complete roof system - including things like the type of deck that is used (or not used) and insulation. If you enjoy the sound of rain pinging on a metal roof, that’s definitely an option. If you’d prefer to keep the outside noises on the outside, that’s also easy to achieve. If you’re a homeowner or building owner, you’ll find that your general contractor or roofing contractor can provide you with whichever option you’d like. And if you’re a contractor who’d like some advice on how to engineer more or less noise into your metal roof, check with your metal roofing supplier who’s sure to be able to help.

Metal Roofs And Walls Are Rusty. I’m guessing that virtually everyone has heard some variation of this statement at one time or another. And, like most myths, there’s some basis in reality. I’m sure we can all recall a rusty old building from our childhood—and there are probably still some that can be found in areas not far from you. Today’s reality, though, is that rusty metal roofs and walls are usually due to long-outdated, inferior coatings or because of corrosive environments. Current products are formed from reliable base metals and there are many high-quality paint finish options. If, however, you’d like a rusty appearance for a particular application—and many designers feel that rust can offer a certain charm in some applications—it can still be accomplished.

All Metal Roofing And Walls Will Fade. We’re all familiar with chalking and fading, having seen what the sunlight can do to the engine hood of a dark blue 1960s Buick. Just like in the auto industry, paint integrity on metal panels has improved dramatically in the past 30 - 50 years, and continues to get better. Today’s products look great when they’re installed on a building and, with minimal maintenance, they can continue to remain attractive for many years. It all depends on the quality of the original paint system—often times, a small cost increase to upgrade to a premium coating can add years to a beautiful paint finish.

There are plenty more of these metal construction myths to explore, so I’ll continue this discussion in my next column (click here). In the meanwhile, please keep me in the loop if you have undoctored photos or videos of Bigfoot...preferably emerging from an alien spacecraft.

Shawn Zuver is editorial/content director for He has been covering the metal construction industry, including residential and non-residential construction, since 1985. To contact Shawn, email

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