Metal Up Close: Victorian stamped shingles

Every metal roofing profile is directly affected by trends. The variety available to consumers in residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial markets keeps growing. Some profiles are old reliable standbys, while others are for a very specific niche.
The Victorian stamped shingle is definitely closer to the very specific niche end of the scale. Because of this very few companies still manufacture Victorian stamped shingles, but they still have their place.
From the 1880s to the 1920s, metal shingles — mostly tin — were very popular because of their light weight, fire resistance, low maintenance, and relatively low cost. Shingles weren’t always stamped — early shingles were handmade by metal craftsmen from tin and terne. Just before the turn of the century, manufacturers started stamping shingles, and eventually, galvanized iron and steel became popular materials from which to manufacture shingles.
Today, Victorian stamped shingles are used mainly on historical restoration projects, where building owners want to retain the original look, or regain a look that may have been removed or covered up in favor of a different roofing material. More than 100 years ago, the stamped shingles were popular in both institutional and residential applications.
Joel Cook says most of the shingles sold by Conklin Shingles are for residential applications or for historical preservation projects. “We’ve been stamping the same shingle for over 130 years,” he says. “We figure if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
“After the look, the No. 1 thing people like is the longevity of the shingle. A minimum of 75 years, compared to 10, 12, or 15 for an asphalt shingle. In the long run, they’re saving money.”
Conklin offers 10-inch by 14-inch 26-gauge shingles in a variety of metals: galvanized, Acrylume, copper, Terne II, and Terne-Coated Stainless II. The  company also offers a shingle it calls Paintgrip, which as the name suggests, can be painted.
“People like the rustic effect, the look it provides for their home,” Cook says. “In coastal areas, it holds up well in high winds, and it’s durable. It holds up even when it’s hit by other blown-off roofing materials.”
Cook says he gets calls from all over the country for Conklin products and the market has been consistent — not growing, but not losing ground.
Two years ago, Follansbee Roofing expanded its architectural metal panels line to include a stamped diamond-pattern shingle, with the same technology used at Conklin. The Follansbee shingles are manufactured from its TCS II, Terne II, and KlassicKolors.
 “It’s a specialty item,” says Wayne Poynter, a southeastern representative for Follansbee. “If you drive through little towns in Alabama and Georgia, you see a lot of old buildings with the old Victorian shingles. A lot of it’s residential and it was installed back in the time when it was very popular.
“We’ve still got people who are interested in it, they love the look, but they’re only interested until they see the price. So either they don’t want to pay the price or they don’t care enough about restoring that look. They realize they could get three asphalt roofs for that and it’s not in their budgets. The ones that get it like it enough to pay for it.”
Conklin also offers its shingles in copper, which of course, adds to the cost. “Some people like the patina effect and they ask us if there is a way to hasten the process,” Cook says. “A lot of people, and it’s the way I am, like to watch that gradual change to the patina green.”
Cook says Conklin is investigating several methods to provide that patina look upon installation, but prefers to do it without the use of chemicals.
Another manufacturer still producing Victorian stamped shingles is Berridge Manufacturing. Berridge’s Classic and Victorian shingles offer 9-inch by 12-inch exposure and are fabricated from 24-gauge galvanized steel or Galvalume. They are stamped with scalloped patterns and feature an interlocking design. They are fastened to a solid substrate with concealed fasteners, and are available in Kynar 500 over G90 or Galvalume, or unpainted Satin Finish Galvalume.
Berridge was drawn into the Victorian stamped shingle business in the 1970s. The First United Methodist Church in San Marcos, Texas, received funding from a National Park Service grant and aid program for historic properties through the Texas Historical Commission. Buildings listed on the national historical register were eligible for funds to restore the building, including the roof, to its original look. The church’s original roofing material was a metal shingle, but designers were having a difficult time finding a shingle that matched.
John Volz, now of Volz and Associates in Austin, Texas, says Berridge came to the rescue and developed a shingle product to match the original profile. Berridge still stamps that same shingle.

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