What’s New with Metal Shingles?

By Sharon Glorioso –

With the proliferation of metal roofing companies, today there are more metal roofing materials, styles, colors and manufacturers to choose from than ever before. To hold their own in the industry, companies are producing additional kinds to satisfy what the customer is looking for. “There are a lot more players in the industry now, compared to in the past, especially in the residential roofing industry. With so many options to choose from, customers are likely to find what they like,” said Todd Miller, president of Isaiah Industries.

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Green American Home’s Centura Steel Shingle. Photo courtesy of Isaiah Industries.

Metal, primarily thought of as a low-slope roofing material, has been found to be a roofing alternative for home and building owners with steep-slope roofs. There are two types of metal roofing products: panels and shingles. Numerous metal panel shapes and configurations exist. Metal shingles typically are intended to simulate traditional roof coverings, such as wood shakes, shingles and tile. Apart from metal roofing’s longevity, metal shingles are relatively lightweight, have a greater resistance to adverse weather and can be aesthetically pleasing. Some have Class A fire ratings.

Changes in the Industry
Natalie Tanner of DECRA Roofing Systems says that things have really changed throughout the industry in recent years. “It used to be that when you were talking about metal roofing, it was just assumed that you were talking about standing seam roofs. Now, everyone has accepted metal shingles, and most contractors are asking for more information about them to learn about all of the different kinds,” Tanner said.

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The DECRA Shingle XD was introduced about a year-and-a-half ago. Photo courtesy of DECRA.

“We saw a lot of interest at the IBS [International Builders’ Show] this year. There were a lot of contractors there that were asking a lot of questions about the different products of metal shingles. Their goal is to help the homeowner make a better informed decision about what roof is better for them, and the more information they can get about the different products and the benefits, the better they can help the homeowner. It’s easier for the roofers to sell the asphalt roofs because everyone knows what that is. But the more informed the roofer is on metal products, the easier they can sell it to the homeowner,” 
she said.

Miller also points out that homeowners are tending to stay in their homes for longer periods of time. “We [metal shingle manufacturers] really benefit from homeowners that want to stay in their homes longer than 10 to 15 years,” he said. “Also, in the past, the industry was more popular with high-end homeowners and now it is appealing to everyone else as well. Homeowners want the benefits of having their homes look like it’s got an asphalt roof, but it has the longevity of a metal one.”

Metal shingles offer the look of traditional asphalt but because they are non-porous, they do not have the same mold and mildew streaking problems of asphalt. Metal shake offers the look of hand-split cedar with a Class A Fire Rating and virtually no maintenance. Metal tiles give a home the look and feel of a Mediterranean villa for one-half the cost of real tile and up to 1/7th the weight. And metal slate allows every homeowner to afford the rich and luxurious look of slate without the exorbitant cost.

No longer does metal roofing carry the stigma of one size or one type fits all. Once, metal roofing wasn’t seen as diverse or accommodating with regard to style. Today, however, metal roofing is as diverse and versatile as other types of coverings.

Styles to Choose From
Some popular examples of shingles include the wood shake style, clay tile style, shingles/slate style and the standing seam style.

The wood shake offers the popular wood style without the problems of ongoing maintenance and eventual tear-off and replacement. The clay tile style provides the unique look of clay along with the proven benefits and durability of metal roofing. Shingles and slate style provide the architectural modern benefits of shingles/slate, but with the long-lasting beauty and efficiency unmatched by fiberglass shingles.

Metal shingle and slate, metal tiles in different textures and colors, metal shake, panels made from various types of metal, as well as natural metal roofs are all available options. For a range of homes and businesses, metal roofs can be customized and fitted to specially coordinate and complement the existing style.

According to Brad Newell with EDCO Products, Inc., painted metal shake roofing became popular in the 1960s and 1970s as gas stations and chain restaurants wanted to upgrade their buildings and have a uniform look. “The early panels were usually stamped aluminum panels with a paint finish that was not very fade resistant. The colors offered were limited and monotone,” Newell said. Early manufacturers included Reynolds Metals, Nichols Homeshield, Alcoa and Kaiser Aluminum.

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Husky Metal Roofs used EDCO Steel Shingles to cover a geodesic dome. Photo courtesy of Husky Metal Roofs.

As time went by, other people entered the market and started using galvanized steel, as steel stood up better to the elements. New paint finishes, such as Kynar 500, were developed that greatly improved the fade resistant characteristics.

At Classic Metal Roofing Systems, a division of Isaiah Industries, throughout the 1970s, its owner Don Miller watched as big metal manufacturers attempted to infiltrate the roofing industry with their revolutionary metal roofing products, having limited success. The specialty products required a level of attention large companies could not provide. Miller believed a small company could build the meaningful relationships and provide the attention to customers necessary for the product to succeed. And in 1980, he purchased the Rustic Shingle from Kaiser Aluminum. It was then that Classic Metal Roofing Systems, the founding member of Isaiah Industries, was born.

Classic Metal Roofing Systems has been a leading manufacturer of residential metal roofing since 1980. Its shingles, shakes, tile and standing seam roofing products beautify and protect fine homes, churches and other buildings throughout the United States, Canada and around the world.

Furthermore, EDCO started manufacturing a steel shake panel in 2001 using a Kynar 500 finish in 10 solid colors.

In 2005, EDCO added a slate profile to its ArrowLine roofing line. People liked the new look but still were looking for more. “They wanted something that looked more like an asphalt roof with blended colors,” Newell said.

EDCO listened to its customers and in 2008 came out with their enhanced line on ArrowLine metal roofing in both the shake and slate profiles. “What made these panels different from anything else in the market is that the panels had a dark and light highlight color applied to a solid color panel,” Newell said.

Some manufacturers went a different route and added colored granules to their panels to give them a variegated look.

EDCO added the Generations line in 2011. This panel used a different type of baked-on finish over the top of a solid color base panel.

A Lot To Choose From
Gerard has 18 standard colors to choose from—three of which are Energy Star approved colors. They offer a full range of non-standard special order colors. Special order colors, or custom color blends, require additional lead times, and a special order manufacturing price premiums. Minimum order quantities may apply.

Metro Roof Products just recently presented its latest creation of stone-coated steel in the form of a uniquely coated and formed exposed fastened roofing panel to complement the Metro line of roofing panels and accessories at the International Roofing Expo in late February—The Metro COTTAGE Shingle. “This panel brings a new look to the market due to its two-course design and multi-tone high definition stone chip accent system,” said Pete Croft, with Metro Roof Products. Veteran stone-coat manufacturing manager Joe Wilson, a Metro engineer, designed the shingle.

“The process took some major investment in both time and money to get it right, but we feel that the six earth-tone colors developed with the sales team are a winner,” said Wilson.

He went on to say, “The smaller 7-inch coursing of the COTTAGE-Shingle panel helps enhance the natural look of weathered wood shingles.” With 21.5-pieces per roofing square, the COTTAGE-Shingle panel is sized and installs like other popular Metro panels.
Another industry first for Metro is the wide side-lap (3-1/2 inch top and 2 -1/4 inch bottom courses) formed into each COTTAGE-Shingle panel, with deep multi-grooves to ensure weather protection at this critical area of the roof.

The panels are installed on solid or closely spaced sheathed roof decks and are exposed fastened just like Metro’s shake, tile and roman tile panels. With a fastener installed at the side-lap on the middle course, Metro expects this panel to provide exceptional wind uplift protection and be suitable for use in High Velocity Hurricane Zone (HVHZ) areas.

In addition to this new panel, Metro is introducing a new wider trim cap that provides 6 inches of coverage on either side of the ridge or hip center-line. The new wider trim cap works perfectly with all standard continuous ridge vent materials and helps simplify the roof venting process for contractors.

Metro expects this wider trim cap to also be used with other Metro profiles. It is anticipated that the wider trim cap will be available for shipment in the spring.

Long Service Life
When buying any product, you want it to last. Metal has been proven to last longer than many other materials. According to a Troy, Mich.-based Ducker Worldwide study in 2007, a nonmetal roof lasts 15 to 23 years—composite shingles, 15 years; single-ply membranes, 20-1/2 years; polymer-modified bitumen, 23 years; and built-up roofing, 23 years—compared with metal roofing, 41.6 years.

DECRA Shingle XD, launched about a year-and-a-half ago, has the rich bold appearance of a heavy weight architectural shingle at a fraction of the weight. With its thick cut edges and deep distinctive shadow lines, DECRA Shingle XD provides greater dimensionality and a robust appearance. This profile adds wonderful appeal to traditionally styled homes and is ideal to those who prefer the look of heavy-cut wood shingles.

DECRA Shingle XD is pressure formed aluminum-zinc alloy coated steel with an acrylic bonded stone chip finish. The stone coating resists fading and UV penetration.

MRA Promotes Products
According to Miller, contractors may be very interested in tools that have been developed by the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) as well as by individual manufacturers to help contractors in the sales of metal shingles and other residential metal roofs. “The MRA has developed an in-home sales presentation that positions our industry’s products very well against other roofing materials. Additionally, individual manufacturers, including my company [Isaiah Industries], have beefed up the materials we provide such as samples, brochures and promotional items to help contractors generate interested consumers and successfully sell more metal roofs to them,” Miller says.

“As we see metal shingles move their way more into suburban areas of the country, contractors need the necessary tools to present our products as important home investments. The energy efficiency, other green benefits, fire safety, wind resistance and other features of residential metal roofs make them ideal choices for homeowners who want their homes to be more beautiful and valuable, and to provide great maintenance-free protection for their homes,” Miller says.

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Classic Metal Roofing Systems’ Country Manor Shake is an aluminum shake product. Photo courtesy of Isaiah Industries.

Do Your Research
There is no such thing as the perfect product, but there are ways to find the most suitable material for each roofing application. For every roofing job, you review the specifications, understand your customer’s wish list, examine the building and consider which roof system will meet your customer’s needs. When considering metal shingles, knowing their good and bad attributes will help you determine whether they are the best fit for your project. With all of the products out there and more and more manufacturers in the industry, there are many options to choose from.

Both Miller at Isaiah Industries and Croft at Metro Roof Products expect 2014 to be a good year. “We saw a slowdown in 2013, but 2014 seems that it’s going to be a strong year,” Miller says.

 “2014 seems to be heading in the right direction,” Croft agrees. “The economy is getting better. It seems to be much slower in turning around in the right direction, but it’s getting there.” MR

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