Metal Architecture Home

Metal Shingle Benefits

Aluminum, zinc and copper shingles: long-lasting, attractive alternatives

American Shingle July18 1

The demand for metal roofing is increasing exponentially. Contractors and suppliers, now more than ever, have become more knowledgeable and are willing to offer an attractive, long-lasting alternative to compete with conventional roofing products.

The common misperception of a metal roof, more often than not, is one of long metal panels with vertical ribs or seams, which are more suitable for commercial applications. Many homeowners and businesses have shied away from the metal look when considering a new or re-roofing project. With metal shingles these stigmas and stereotypes are shattered. Not only do metal shingles blend in with any type of construction, they provide all of the benefits of metal without the appearance of metal.

Most metal shingle manufacturers employ an interlocking roofing system. Each shingle locks one with another. This locking system applies not only to the shingles, but to the drip edge, rake metal and valley trim flashings. These interlocking shingles can withstand hurricane force winds up to 185 mph.


Metal shingles come in a variety of styles: slate, shake, smooth, tile and wood grain to name a few. The smooth shingles have become a favorite of architects looking for an attractive wall application. Metal shingles are available in aluminum, zinc and copper. The aluminum shingles are available in many standard and custom colors. No longer limited to single solid colors, many custom designs and prints are available to customize the paint finish to satisfy any look desired.

Roofing contractors love the ease by which metal shingles are installed. Just a few hand tools are needed to complete an entire job. Shingles are fastened with ring shank threaded nails and clips. The metal shingle roof systems are very lightweight and easy to handle. Aluminum shingles weigh as little as 40 pounds per square. Copper and zinc shingles will weigh considerably more but still are a fraction of the weight of the typical architectural asphalt shingles. The majority of metal shingles lay flat on the roofing surface allowing for foot traffic and making roof maintenance easier. This also allows for the installation of metal shingles over an existing layer of roofing.


Many areas have prohibited the use of wooden shake shingles in high-risk fire areas. Metal shingles and shakes offer an excellent alternative. Most aluminum roof shingles have a Class A fire rating and a Class IV impact rating making them a great replacement for wood shake shingles. In higher elevations, snow load is a valid concern. Metal shingles shed snow and ice, reducing the load on the building. Many attractive snow guard options are available that work well with metal shingles to control the snow.

Copper, zinc and aluminum have been well documented as durable and long-lasting metals. They will not degrade over time. Aluminum was used as early as the 1880s on such notable structures as the Washington Monument and the Mormon Tabernacle, and has proven to be a lifetime product. Aluminum will not corrode with salt from the ocean, so many metal shingles have no restrictions with proximity to the ocean.

Copper and zinc go back even further. Both metals were used as far back as the 3rd century. There are documented copper shingle roofs that have lasted over 700 years. Both copper and zinc will patina over time and are not coated with a paint system.

Aluminum, zinc and copper are impervious to rust, rot, curling and splitting over time. Many metal shingles have a lifetime warranty for the initial owner of the building or home. An added benefit of metal shingles is their adaptability on almost any roof. Turrets, gazebos, mansard roofs and even rounded roofs have metal shingles installed on them. Due to the size of the shingles, damaged tiles can be easily replaced. This also allows for minimal waste during installation.

Aluminum, zinc and copper shingles are quickly becoming a mainstay and their popularity increases each year. These metal roofing systems are very energy efficient and many are made with over 90 percent recycled materials. Energy Star-rated shingles provide savings on heating and cooling costs as well. Aluminum will reflect heat instead of absorbing the heat like traditional asphalt shingles. Metal shingles provide an excellent option for any roofing project, both big and small.

Kevin Stapp is president of The Aluminum Shingle Co., Layton, Utah. To learn more, visit