Eventually a homeowner will think about the possibility of installing a metal panel roof on his or her home, and then wonder about the feasibility of these metal roofing, what might they look like, and of course the cost. Maybe they have thought a metal panel roof would weather hailstorms better and obviate the need to reroof after every major storm, therefore saving them money. Maybe their homeowner's insurance policy would be less.
First, there are only two types of metal roofs that are applicable for consideration on a reasonable priced middle class home: "R" Panels and Standing Seam Panels.
Standing Seam Panels are rolled out panel by panel, length by length, at the job site. So you have maybe a 12" wide horizontal panel and a vertical 1" standing seam that is mated to the next 12" wide horizontal panel, and so on. Hence the term "Standing Seam". The standing seam height and the panel width can vary because you have the option of rolling whatever width and seam height you need. Your ridge panels, valley metal panels, and roof edging are also rolled out on the job site as needed. Standing Seam is more costly because of the added labor, rolling press machine on the job site, and the skill of the installers. A good look for a standing seam panel roof is what I call the "Austin Stone Look" with Galvalume Metal Panels.
More common is the "R" Panel Roofs. These can come in many different colors and profiles of the panels themselves. Typically "R" Panels are 36" wide with different lengths, and a 3-4" overlap of the panels. You use a seam tape where the panels overlap horizontally to make it water-tight. To work longer lengths, you just overlap the higher panel on top of the lower slope panel vertically.
Now you can see the major differences between the two types of panel roofs. With Standing Seam there are no overlapping vertical seams, just one continuous panel length, and I believe that gives a much cleaner look. "R" Panel Roofs come in 26 and 24 Gauge, and even 22 Gauge. However, the fasteners will show on this roof.
Both of these roof panels need to be installed over a clean substrate and not over an existing shingle roof. Both Standing Seam and "R" Panel Roofs are more expensive than a typical shingle roof. With big hail hits, however, the dings will still show but should not compromise the integrity of the roof. Metal Panel Roofing is a good alternative to a shingle roof.