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Complete History of Metal Roofing

Published On September 15 , 2023

The significance of having a roof on any structure cannot be overstated. A roof serves as a vital protector of the building’s structural integrity, whether it’s a residential, commercial, industrial, or public edifice, safeguarding both its occupants and their possessions. Beyond its practical function, a metal roofing profile also contributes to an appealing aesthetic that enhances and complements any architectural design.

Metal roofing is a product born out of the industrial revolution and has played a pivotal role in shaping the roofing and construction industries throughout history. Many early architects who influenced the architectural styles of Canada and the United States preferred metal roofs, resulting in numerous historic buildings featuring this distinctive roofing material. Exploring the evolution of metal roofing from its inception to the present can assist you in determining whether it suits your needs.

Metal Roofing’s Historic Roots

Copper Roofing: The use of metal in roofing can be traced back to the 1700s when copper was a popular choice. Notable structures like Philadelphia’s Christ Church, constructed in 1727, featured copper roofing with standing seams. Initially, all copper sheeting was imported from England until rolling facilities were established in America.

Sheet Metal: During the American Revolutionary War, Robert Morris introduced sheet metal roofing for his Philadelphia mansion. This material gained traction in the 19th century, especially after it was used to replace the roof of Princeton’s Nassau Hall in 1802. Sheet metal roofing was preferred for roofs with gentle inclines or domes, where traditional materials like tiles or clay couldn’t maintain their shape.

Corrugated Iron: In 1829, corrugated iron was patented in England, bringing structural stiffness to metal sheets used in roofing. This innovation allowed for larger coverage areas and lighter support frames, reducing installation time and labor costs.

Tinplate Iron: Commonly known as tin roofing, this material was widely used in Canada in the 18th century. Thomas Jefferson advocated for tin roofing in the United States, using it on the Monticello in Virginia. Its lightweight, low-maintenance, and cost-effectiveness made it a popular choice throughout the 19th century.

Galvanized Metal: Developed in France in 1837, galvanized metal roofing provided rust protection by applying a zinc coating. This innovation found applications in train sheds, post offices, government buildings, and factories. The combination of galvanized and corrugated iron sheets added a ‘fireproof’ element to the structures they covered.

Modern Metal Roofing Trends

Today, metal roofing panels are predominantly made of steel and subjected to rigorous testing for paint coating durability and weather resistance. This continuous pursuit of improvement has cemented metal roof panels as a favored choice for commercial roofing.

Benefits of Commercial Metal Roofing

  • Cost-Effective: While the initial cost of metal roofing may be higher than asphalt shingles, its long lifespan (3 to 4 times longer) and minimal maintenance requirements make it cost-effective over time.
  • Resistant to Hail, Wind, Mould & Fire: Metal roofs offer superior resistance to hail, wind, fire, and mold, ensuring long-term durability and safety.
  • Energy Efficient: Metal roofs can reduce energy costs by up to 40% in summer and 15% in winter, thanks to their ability to reflect heat and insulate during colder months.
  • Boosts Property Value: Installing a metal roof can increase your property’s value by up to 6%, with potential cost recoupment upon selling.
  • Long-Lasting: Metal roof panels are considered lifetime systems, lasting for decades compared to the 10-20 year lifespan of asphalt shingles.
  • Excellent Protection: Metal roofs are lightweight, have a Class A fire rating, and offer reliable protection against the elements, making them ideal for various settings, including wildfire-prone areas.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Metal roofing profiles enhance a property’s appearance without compromising its structural integrity.
  • Over Existing Roof Installation: In some cases, metal roofs can be installed over existing shingles, saving on labor and reducing waste.

In the world of commercial roofing, metal roofing has not only evolved over the years but has also become a top choice for its durability, efficiency, and aesthetic appeal. Whether you’re considering a new commercial roof or retrofitting an existing one, metal roofing offers a compelling solution that stands the test of time. For expert guidance and installation, consult with a commercial roofing professional experienced in metal roofing systems.

Get Affordable & Reliable Metal Roofing Solutions from Us

Clients are starting to see the value in metal roofs, causing the number of residential homes with tin roofs to surge in NY. ForeverSlate provides residential homeowners with an innovative, attractive, and environmentally sustainable roofing service and solution. We use only top-rated roofing products that are designed and tested to be beautiful, strong, and last a lifetime. Get in touch with us today and let us discuss the metal roofing solution that is ideal for your project.

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