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Metal Shingle Roofing

Metal shingles are manufactured to resemble wood shakes, Spanish and mission tile, slate, and Victorian metal tiles. Most are made from painted or coated steel or aluminum that has been pressed or formed into realistic shapes.

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Metal shingles may be long panels that are applied from the bottom up.

[/media-credit] Metal shingles may be long panels that are applied over battens, starting from the bottom and working up roof.

Some metal shingle roofing materials are amazingly convincing in appearance. Producers of painted metal products reduce tell-tale sheen by texturing the metal, layering the finish, and giving granulated-stone topcoats. These products, typically tile or slate lookalikes, are hard to distinguish from the real thing.

Metal shingle systems are manufactured in large panels (typically about 4 feet long), designed for quick installation, or as single shingles meant to be applied individually. Most panel types can be installed over one or two layers of existing roofing; the individual type requires tear-off so it can be applied to a firm, flat roof deck.

Residential roofing contractors are the tradespeople who install metal shingle systems, though many who install wood, tile, asphalt, and other more conventional products don’t install metal. Because metal roofing requires slightly different techniques, some manufacturers or distributors require metal roofing contractors to be accredited by taking a few factory-taught classes before they will allow their contractors to install their products.

Here are a few popular brands of metal shingle systems:

Stone-coated steel roofing offers the look of shakes with the strength of metal. Photo: Gerard USA

Stone-coated steel roofing offers the look of shakes with the strength of metal. Photo: Gerard USA

Gerard roofing is actually galvanized steel with a tile-colored finish of stone granules made in two patterns, facsimile shake and tile, and a variety of colors. The stone-finished shingles run from $3 to $4 per square foot or more if tear-off is required.


Metal tile roof offers Old World charm. It's lightweight and low maintenance. Photo: Decra

Metal tile roof offers Old World charm. It’s lightweight and low maintenance. Photo: Decra

Decrabond, by Carter Holt Harvey, is a tile facsimile with a granulated-stone finish. Unusually shaped Colortile, by the same manufacturer, is galvanized steel with a baked-on acrylic finish (actually a series of seven coatings). Though available in only six standard colors, custom colors may be special-ordered subject to a minimum order size.


Metal roof takes advantage of a broad color range. Photo: Met-Tile (McElroy Metal, Inc.)

Metal roof takes advantage of a broad color range. Photo: Met-Tile (McElroy Metal, Inc.)

Met-Tile, made from painted 26-gauge galvanized steel, is a tile lookalike that ranges from $1.65 for panels only to $3.20 per square foot for a complete package (materials only); most applications run about $3.


Prestige Copper Shingles from Petersen Aluminum Corporation are made up of real copper bonded to an asphalt-shingle base. They offer the elegant look of a real copper roof at about one-third the price ($5 to $7 per square foot, materials only).


Copper roofing is actually a thin layer of copper laminated onto an asphalt shingle base. Photo: Zappone.

Zappone manufactures aluminum and copper shingles shaped to resemble wood shakes. About half of the shingles sold are owner-installed-a relatively simple but time-intensive job. Material pricing runs from $1.75 to $4 per square foot for aluminum and from $4 to $7 a square foot for copper, depending on the roof’s complexity (the number of accessories needed dramatically affects cost).

You can install copper accents without putting on an entire copper roof by ordering copper ridge caps, drip edges, valleys, or other accessories and combining them with a different roofing material such as wood shingles. Zappone also manufactures half-sized copper shingles for use on bay windows, cupolas, gazebos, and the like. You can shingle a bay window with these for less than $300.


Alcoa makes two varieties of aluminum shakes that resemble wood shakes and slate or tile. Both may be applied over up to two layers of some existing roofing materials. Alcoa offers a lifetime, non-prorated limited warranty that’s transferable when you sell the house.

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About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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