Metal Shingles Roofs & Their Pros and Cons

Tamko-metal-shingles-roof If you are a homeowner interested in installing a new metal roof on your home, but you are afraid that your home may end up looking like some sort of a barn or way “too modern” for your neighborhood, then you should consider installing an architectural metal shingles roof that can provide the same superior performance as other premium systems. A metal shingles roof offers a unique look of conventional roof systems including composition shingles, slate, cedar shingles, tiles, and more. Additionally, a metal shingles roof will often cost less than a comparable in quality, architectural standing seam roof, while providing the same level of protection, durability and longevity.

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If you own a classic colonial or a brick house, then a metal shingles is definitely the way to go, especially if you want to preserve that “authentic traditional look”, yet, have all the benefits of a metal roof.

steel shingles roof

What is It All About?

Interlocking metal shingle roof is the second most popular type of residential metal roofing, after standing seam. There is a huge variety of different metal shingle styles from many different manufacturers. Most common metals used to manufacture metal shingles are G90 galvanized steel and aluminum, though you can also find a few types of copper and even zinc shingles.

Metal shingles are manufactured using a stamping press, through which the metal coil is fed, and the die stamps the shingle in two or three steps. First, the profile of the shingle is stamped out, with the lock flanges. Then, in step 2 and/or 3, the locks are made, and the shingle comes out of the press and is packaged into the box.

Did you know? Most metal shingles come painted with Kynar 500 or equivalent premium paint, with a total of seven layers of paint and primer, baked onto the metal coil.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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Styles:

Distinguishing characteristic of metal shingles is the low profile and a four-way interlocking design. Low profile allows for easy walking on metal shingles (during installation), without damaging the shingles, along with a simplified roof flashing system (easier to install, and hence costs less compared to standing seam).

Many popular styles of metal shingles include cedar shingle and natural slate impression. – These metal shingles can closely resemble both types of premium roofing materials, but will cost either the same (as in case with cedar shingles) or considerably less (slate impression metal shingles) to install. Metal shingles will also last a lot longer than cedar shingles.

metal shingles roof

Another popular type of metal shingles is a simple flat tile impression, which is basically a smooth surface metal shingle, with stiffening ribs in the middle, which create the look of separate tiles. Same stiffening ribs are used in all other types of metal shingles.

Installation Basics:

Most metal shingles systems are installed from the eave of the roof, up. The first course of shingles is locked or hooked onto the drip edge / starter trim, which is nailed or screwed to the properly prepared roof deck. Metal shingles are attached to the roof using nail and either special built-in hems or clips.

Estimated Roof Costs (1620 s.f.)
Asphalt Shingles
Metal Roofing
Flat Roof
$7,500
$14,500
$8,225
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Once the first row of shingles is installed, most roofing contractors start “building a stair” or staggering the shingles and adding rows on one side of the roof so that each new diagonal run of shingles would have as many shingles as possible. Basic premise here, is that you don’t want to install one row at a time, by going from one end of the roof to another. You want to run as many rows of shingles at once, as possible. See the video below, which will demonstrate the installation of aluminum interlocking metal shingles.

Installing curb flashing on a metal shingles roof:

Unlike a standing seam metal roof, where the ribs/locks demand the use of z-bar flashing for any curbs and other rectangular roof penetrations, thus making it very difficult to flash roof penetrations such as chimneys and skylights. The flashing detail on a metal shingles roof is much easier to implement compared to standing seam, and it works better, as the low profile of metal shingles does not require the use of a Z-bar flashing.

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10 comments

  1. I didn’t realize that metal shingles come in so many different styles. I’ve always thought that they come in the same style. It would be nice to have a new metal shingle roof installed since it seems to be really durable. It would be nice to have a metal roof that comes in a natural slate impression.

  2. I totally agree, if you own a classic colonial type home or a brick house, then a metal shingles roof is definitely the way to go. Metal shingles are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they can also help cut down on air conditioning. Metal deflects a lot of the heat that hits your house. I’ve also heard that metal roofs last pretty long. Definitely worth looking into if you’re in need of a new roof!

  3. One problem with these roofs is that they run 4 to 5 times the cost of a conventional roof. You will not recoup that money in energy savings or even the fact you wouldn’t have to re-roof again, unless you plan on living in the same residence for a 100 years.

    1. An average asphalt shingles roof will cost around $400 per square installed, while metal shingles will cost about $800 per square installed. So the difference is more along the lines of two times, not four or five, unless you compare the cost of professional metal roofing installation to the cost of hiring a weekend warrior or storm chaser to quickly slap together a bunch of shingles over the existing layers of old shingles, without much thought for long-term roof performance.

    2. Jeff, I think that getting a metal roof is a very valuable thing to do. I had a metal roof put on my last house and it actually helped raise the value of the home when I sold it. Yes, I know that it is improbably to think that you might live at the same residence for a 100 years, but, because of the durability that the metal adds, you can recoup that money if you end up selling your house.

  4. This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that low profile metal shingles are less expensive to install. I knew metal was a good option for residential homes, but I didn’t know that it could be installed as shingles! My husband and I are looking for a replacement for our roof, so we’ll definitely look into this as a less expensive option. Thanks for the great post!

  5. My house has overhang. In our climate, snow and ice will freeze on this section, but higher up the roof, snow will melt and the water accumulates at the bottom, creating a dam, then the water has nowhere to go but up under the shingles. At night the water will freeze and lift up the shingles.
    With an asphalt shingle that is flexible, this is not a problem since the sun will heat up the shingles and they will take their normal shape. With the steel shingle, will the ice lift the shingle, and bend it out of shape?

    I would love to install a metal shingle roof but this is an issue I would like to clear up.

    Have you sold this product in winter climates with snow and ice.

    Thank you.

    1. Hey Robert,

      I’ve been installing steel shingles and aluminum shingles featuring a 4-way interlocking design for over a decade. When installed correctly, there is no way for the water to actually get underneath the shingles, since they metal shingles are locked-in with the other, surrounding shingles on all four sides. The quality of the installation is the key, though, because if the interlocking metal shingles are not properly aligned in relation to each other and the roof, then you may end-up getting a system that lacks integrity on a structural level, which can sometimes happen due to installers’ errors, especially on more complex roofs with multiple dormers and valleys.

      To answer your question specifically regarding ice dams, I found that a properly installed metal shingles roof will perform really well in an area that receives a lot of snow fall, and is therefore subject to ice dams forming on roofs of homes due to onset of low temperatures following a major snowstorm.

      Now, it should probably be mentioned that ice dams are normally the result of poorly ventilated and under-insulated attic space. Whenever you get ice dams, you know that you also lose energy due to insulation issues. This means you are probably paying more for heating than you should be. So, even if your new metal shingles roof helps resolve ice dam issues on your roof, you may still want to look into upgrading your attic floor insulation and fixing any ventilation issues that cause heat-built-up in your attic.

      Thus, I recommend that you look for an experienced metal shingles installer. — You should make sure that the crew that will be working on your roof knows exactly what they are doing and that they are not cutting any corners, which is sometimes the case with large companies employing sub-contractors.

      You can find an experienced installer on http://www.150points.com

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