Stainless vs Galvanized Steel Roofing - What's Better?

The two most common elements utilized in steel roofing are stainless steel and galvanized steel. But which one is better? This is a point experience roofers often debate. But chances are good you don’t have time to engage in a lengthy debate over stainless steel vs. galvanized steel roofing. Therefore, let’s go over the basic differences so you can make an informed decision.

First of all, it’s worth noting that walls, framing, roofs and siding are all comprised of metal because the material is very resilient and strong. It’s a material that doesn’t absorb water during heavy downpours or floods, so there is never a chance of rot or mildew. Steel, whether stainless or galvanized, is excellent for that reason. Also, steel cannot catch on fire and burn and is flexible during earthquakes, or when facing the force of strong hurricane winds. Cost-wise, steel is many times less expensive than wood or masonry buildings because it is prefabricated and simple to connect together.

Stainless Steel

Let’s start with stainless steel: Stainless steel has variety going for it, as there are around 60 different grades of this metal. There are also different categories of stainless steel, including Martenistic, Austinitic, and Ferritic, and you’ll need to be sure of your category if you’re planning to do any roll forming. One big advantage of stainless steel is that it is anti-corrosive and is designed to resist many different corrosive agents. It is made of a sturdy material, chromium. The percentage of chromium included is approximately 10.5 percent. Furthermore, chromium oxide film is applied to the steel, which helps makes it corrosion resistant.

Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel also has many advantages. For one, it is inexpensive. It’s also productive steel that can be applied to many different applications. Some of its more common uses include cars, steel frame houses and roofing. It’s also utilized in drain pipes and siding. Another advantage is that it can be recycled and reused many times. Like stainless steel, galvanized steel is also corrosive resistant. This is because it is put through a chemical treatment, and during this treatment, the steel is coated with layered zinc. The great thing about zinc is that rust cannot harm zinc. And what causes galvanized steel to be so useful is that its chemical reaction during alloying permanently connects this zinc to steel. In short, this is what is meant by the term "galvanized." It takes its name from the Italian scientist, Luigi Galvani. Galvanized steel is more durable than most other material utilized for building. It can also be painted and comes in many different looks.

There are slight differences between stainless steel and galvanized steel. But when you compare it to other materials, such as wood or masonry, either of these steel varieties are much stronger and more durable materials. It’s really not an either/or question, and whether or not one is better than the other. Instead, it all depends upon the job you need to do and which steel—galvanized or stainless—meets your particular needs best.