Galvalume vs. Galvanized Metal Roofing

Galvalume vs. Galvanized Metal Roofing image using canva

As city skylines evolve and suburban neighborhoods expand, one element remains constant in protecting both homes and commercial buildings from the whims of nature — the roof. Among the myriad roofing materials available, steel remains a resilient, long-lasting, and sustainable choice.

From their composition to application, let’s uncover the distinctions between galvalume vs galvanized metal roofing, shedding light on the factors that sway the choice for architects, builders, and homeowners alike.

What is Galvalume Metal Roofing?

Photo Credit: Doug Oliver Development / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Renowned for its exceptional resilience and enduring allure, galvalume combines the strength of steel with the protective prowess of zinc, aluminum, and silicone. With 43.4% zinc, 55% aluminum, and 1.6% silicone, galvalume coating is a harmonious fusion of innovation and performance.

Bethlehem Steel played a pivotal role in the development and commercialization of galvalume panels. Its creation involves a meticulous, roll-forming process:

  1. Cold-rolled steel, meticulously crafted, is the core material.
  2. This foundation then undergoes a transformative hot dip in a bath of molten zinc, during which the steel forges an unyielding bond with the zinc coating.
  3. Molten aluminum and silicone infuse with the alloy substrate – forming an impenetrable shield against the relentless forces of corrosion.

Its true magic lies in its unrivaled ability to ward off rust and decay, even in the face of nature’s harshest temperaments. Weathered landscapes and coastal domains, notorious for their high humidity and corrosive tendencies, bow before this steel’s resilience, making it an idyllic choice for structures that stand tall amid challenging environments.

Apart from its protective attributes, galvalume steel roofing also has the following benefits:

  • Adds a touch of elegance to any architectural landscape
  • Its reflective surface captures and disperses sunlight
  • Cuts down on A/C and heating use
  • Contributes to energy efficiency
  • Requires minimal maintenance
  • Has a long lifespan

What is Galvanized Metal Roofing?

galvanized metal roof
Photo Credit: luyag / Canva Pro / License

Born from a marriage of steel and zinc, galvanized roofing embodies the essence of durability and corrosion resistance.

The process of producing galvanized steel sheets culminates in a protective layer of zinc being delicately applied to the surface of roll-formed steel. It creates a robust shield, safeguarding the underlying steel from moisture, oxidation, and environmental adversaries that threaten to compromise a roof’s integrity.

Apart from providing reliable protection, it also has the following characteristics:

  • Complements the aesthetics of any home
  • Stands the test of time without leaving you broke
  • Acts as a formidable barrier against leaks and water infiltration
  • Offers a versatile canvas for homeowners to express their architectural tastes
  • Provides an opportunity for creative customization without compromising on its protective qualities

But while this type of metal panel excels in many aspects, note that in more aggressive environments, where exposure to high humidity or corrosive elements is prevalent, galvanized metal may require diligent upkeep to ensure its longevity.

What are the Differences Between Galvalume and Galvanized Metal Roofing?

These two formidable contenders each bear a distinct set of attributes. As you choose the perfect roofing material for your home, you must grasp the nuanced disparities between these metallic adversaries.


  • Galvalume: This alloy comprises a skillfully crafted blend of zinc, aluminum, and silicone. It forms an unwavering barrier against corrosion, making it a stalwart choice in regions prone to high humidity, salt spray, and acid rain.
  • Galvanized: Galvanized steel roofing, on the other hand, is rooted in the marriage between steel and a protective layer of zinc. While it offers commendable resistance to corrosion, it may need more maintenance in areas that experience harsher weather conditions.


  • Galvalume: Due to its superior corrosion resistance and aluminum content, it comes with a higher upfront cost. But this investment can translate into long-term savings due to its extended lifespan and minimal maintenance. If you choose this steel for your metal roofing project, the installation will cost around $5.85 to $10.50 per square foot.
  • Galvanized: Galvanized metal roofs appeal to budget-conscious homeowners and builders. Its initial affordability makes it an attractive choice for those seeking a reliable roofing option without a significant upfront expense. Expect to spend between $4 and $6.50 per square foot for a galvanized shingle roof installation.


  • Galvalume: Renowned for its exceptional resilience, this steel can endure the test of time with minimal signs of wear and tear. Its resistance to rust and corrosion allows it to thrive in even the most demanding environments, making it a favored choice for coastal properties and regions with adverse weather patterns.
  • Galvanized: While durable in its own right, galvanized roofing may require closer attention in more aggressive environments to safeguard against potential corrosion and maintain its longevity.


  • Galvalume: Galvalume metal roofing boasts an extended lifespan of around 50 to 70 years, outperforming galvanized roofs.
  • Galvanized: While durable, galvanized roof panels may have a slightly shorter lifespan. But it can still last 20 to 50 years, depending on maintenance and environmental conditions.


  • Galvalume: A unique feature of this metal is its self-healing ability. When cut or scratched, the aluminum in the alloy coating reacts with moisture to form an oxide barrier, preventing further corrosion of the cut edges and maintaining the roof’s integrity.
  • Galvanized: Galvanized coating lacks self-healing properties, requiring prompt attention to any exposed areas to prevent red rust formation.

Corrosion Resistance

  • Galvalume: Its remarkable corrosion resistance sets it apart, making it highly suitable for coastal and humid environments, as well as regions with heavy industrial pollution.
  • Galvanized: While it also provides corrosion resistance, it may not match the superior performance of galvalume in aggressive climates.

Application and Uses

  • Galvalume: This steel roofing finds applications in various sectors, including residential, agricultural, industrial, and commercial buildings, particularly in harsh weather and corrosive environments.
  • Galvanized: Galvanized steel is well-suited for diverse applications in residential homes, agricultural buildings, and commercial structures. Unlike galvalume, this material is also suitable for animal confinement.


  • Galvalume: It exhibits excellent malleability, allowing for easier shaping and forming during the manufacturing process, making it a preferred choice for complex roof designs.
  • Galvanized: While it is also malleable to a certain extent, it may not offer the same level of ease in forming intricate roof shapes as galvalume.

Aesthetic Appeal

  • Galvalume: It boasts a sleek and modern appearance, reflecting sunlight to provide a visually striking and energy-efficient roofing option. Its metallic luster adds a touch of contemporary elegance to any architectural design.
  • Galvanized: This steel roofing is available in various colors, offering versatility in matching architectural aesthetics. However, its appearance may be more traditional and utilitarian compared to the modern appeal of its counterpart.

Environmental Impact

  • Galvalume: With its aluminum content, it is considered more environmentally friendly as aluminum is a highly recyclable material, contributing to sustainability efforts.
  • Galvanized: While it is recyclable, it does not possess the same eco-conscious advantages as the former – primarily due to its lack of aluminum content.

Noise Reduction

  • Galvalume: Due to its multiple layers and thickness, this metal product has superior noise reduction capabilities, reducing rain and hail noise compared to thinner roofing materials.
  • Galvanized: This roofing product also offers some noise reduction benefits but may not match the acoustic performance of its counterpart.

As you weigh the merits of these metal products, consider the specific demands of your project, regional climate conditions, and budgetary constraints.

FAQ About Galvalume vs. Galvanized Metal Roofing

Which steel should I use for coastal areas with high humidity?

Galvalume is the preferred choice for coastal areas with high humidity. Its superior resistance to corrosion, owing to the presence of aluminum, provides an unparalleled defense against the corrosive effects of salt spray and moisture-laden air. Its robust composition equips it to endure the challenges posed by coastal environments.

Can galvanized roofing be painted?

Yes, galvanized roofing can be painted to suit your desired aesthetic preferences. The zinc coating on galvanized steel provides a suitable surface for paint adhesion, allowing you to customize your roof’s appearance.

However, you must undertake proper surface preparation before painting to ensure a long-lasting and visually pleasing finish. Also, check if the paint distributor offers a warranty on its product so you can be sure of its quality.

Which steel should I choose if I want a more eco-friendly roof?

Galvalume steel boasts a more environmentally friendly profile than galvanized steel. Including aluminum in its composition enhances its eco-conscious appeal, as aluminum is a highly recyclable material. This recyclability aligns with sustainability efforts, making it a preferred choice for those seeking roofing solutions that minimize their environmental impact.

But whichever metal you choose for your standing seam or corrugated roofing system, investing in a high-quality material ensures peace of mind and long-lasting protection for your home.

Make the Right Roofing Choice For Lasting Protection

Choosing between these stalwart contenders boils down to a delicate balance of priorities. While galvalume dazzles with its unyielding armor against corrosion and its eco-conscious edge, galvanized steel’s affordability and versatility have won over many hearts.

Don’t wait until the next storm rolls in or the season changes. Take the next step and contact a reputable roofing pro today.

Main Image Credit:
Galvanized metal roof: Mr_Twister / Canva Pro / License
Galvalumed metal roof: TakashiKanai / Canva Pro / License

Melanie Joseph

After discovering her passion for writing through her beauty blog, Melanie left her engineering job in California, became a writer, and never once looked back. When she isn't writing, she loves dipping in the pool, tending to the garden, or doing simple home improvement projects.