Metal roofing shingles have been a staple in the design and construction of roofs since the early 20th century. They offer designers, architects, and builders a roofing solution that is highly durable, yet also lightweight and virtually fireproof.
Modern roof materials are a far cry from the old-school corrugated tin roofs on barns that often come to mind when you mention metal roofing. Today’s metal roofs serve as high-tech answers to the need for long-lasting roofing that looks at home on a house. In addition, it’s easy enough to replicate historically accurate metal shingles, which comes in handy if you’re tackling a complex restoration project.
Whatever the roofing plan, it’s paramount to know how to choose the correct materials for your project, so your (re)creation of old-world charm won’t deteriorate over time.
Here are three tips for choosing sheet metal roof shingles.
1. Ask Yourself If a Sheet Metal Roof Is for You
Before actually choosing a kind of sheet metal, perhaps it’s more important to first determine if metal roofing is what your construction project requires. While more expensive than asphalt materials (for example), metal roofing actually lasts longer and is more wind resistant. Depending on the slope of your building, you may also want to consider if sheet metal is even a viable option.
In terms of the quality of material, many sheet metal roof shingles can be made from a wide variety of metals (all which come with their own pros, cons, and costs). Steel roofs are the most common and come with various zinc coatings or painted finishes, while copper roofs are perhaps the most expensive, being installed unfinished and weathering to a protective green patina over time. Most metal roof options are available in sheet or shingle form and can easily be installed hidden or exposed.
In addition, sheet metal roofs may be made from recycled materials and can most commonly be recycled when replaced. They are fairly durable, lightweight, and offer good resistance against fire and wind. Metal roofs are a great choice for any building project, but be sure it’s the option that makes the most sense in terms of budget and design.
2. Materials Matter
So, you’ve decided to go with a metal roof, but what metal specifically? As previously mentioned, metal roof sheets and shingles come in a variety of metal compositions. From sturdy to supple, affordable to expensive, the materials that make up your chosen metal shingles can affect design choices both practically and aesthetically.
The most common (and affordable) options are aluminum and steel-based metal roofing materials; using copper and alloys tends to cost much more. The “cheaper” options are not only economical, they also finish very well and are durable. However, aluminum is a softer material, thus, it dents more easily and is actually more expensive than steel (which can be galvanized to strengthen it). In addition, aluminum won’t corrode like steel if the finish is compromised by the elements.
3. Shingle Style
Metal shingles are a go-to design choice because they can be fashioned into just about any shape to fit your project needs. From faux wood reproductions to Spanish mission tiles, coated steel or aluminum shingles can be painted and formed into almost any style.
You better believe that a lot of hard work goes into replicating texture and look when it comes to metal shingle roofing materials. Whether it’s layering finishes or adding custom granulated-stone topcoats, certain shingle styles are hard to distinguish from the real thing! Best of all, these custom styles and finishes don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. In fact, most metal shingle systems are manufactured in large panels and are designed for quick installation. However, not all roofs are made equal, so you have to make sure to use the proper techniques or hire accredited professionals to install your roof.