Learning All About Roofing Materials

Learning All About Roofing Materials

Choosing The Right Metal For Your Shingles

Beverley Hall

Metal roofs are well known for being durable, low maintenance, and impact resistant. But for a long time, getting a metal roof meant installing metal panels. And while they came in a variety of colors, there was no guarantee that their shape and style would match your home.

Today, however, metal panels are not the only option for a metal roof. Many people are choosing metal shingles instead, which can be made to mimic many different roofing materials. These shingles are pressed into textured shapes that can look like anything from cedar shakes to clay tiles. In addition to mimicking the shape of other materials, they may be given a color coat or even a topcoat of stone to change their surface appearance.

Most metal shingles are made from either aluminum, steel, copper, or zinc; each metal has its own strengths and weaknesses.


Aluminum shingles are lightweight and energy-efficient. They can be stamped and shaped into many different forms to mimic other roofing materials. They are an excellent choice for metal roofing that will be installed over an old roof because of their light weight. In addition, aluminum doesn't rust, and it is highly resistant to corrosion as long as the shingles are anodized or finished.

However, it is also a softer metal, so it is more easily dented if you live in an area prone to hailstorms. While denting is almost always a cosmetic issue, it can be annoying to go through the trouble of installing an attractive roof only to have it damaged in a storm. In addition, aluminum is less fire resistant than other metals, so you will need a fire-resistant underlayment to achieve the same resistance as other metal roofing.


Like aluminum, steel shingles are durable and can mimic many other materials. It is also highly wind and  fire resistant. Unlike aluminum, steel can rust; for this reason, steel shingles are usually galvanized or aluminized. This means coating the steel with zinc or aluminum, respectively, to protect it. In coastal areas, salt can wear down this coating more quickly, so keep an eye out for that.


While it's possible to get copper shingles that mimic other materials, most people who choose copper roofing are interested in the special aesthetic qualities of the copper itself. They are usually more expensive than steel or aluminum, but copper shingles won't rust, and they have the durability you would expect from a metal roof. However, their distinctive look may or may not be suitable for your home.

The unique beauty of copper comes from two things: its warm color when new and the green patina that forms as it ages. It's possible to buy copper shingles that already have this patina; on the other hand, if you prefer the look of new copper, the shingles can be treated to slow the oxidation that causes this patina to form.


Zinc shares many properties with copper, including high durability even by the standards of metal roofing. It is also highly malleable, allowing it to be formed into many different shapes. And like copper, it is best used when the particular look of zinc is a good fit rather than trying to change the look of the zinc to match the home.

Zinc does come in different shades of gray and can even be pigmented with subtle hints of green, red, or blue. However, the real beauty of zinc comes from the patina that forms as it ages. Instead of turning green as copper does, zinc ages to a soft matte pewter. If that look fits with your home, zinc shingles are a gorgeous roofing choice.


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About Me
Learning All About Roofing Materials

Hi, I'm Dwight Eberstark. I am crazy about all of the different types of roofing materials available today. While upgrading the roof on my home, I looked into the material options in great detail. I studied all of the different metal materials used to create modern shingles. I also looked into switching to asphalt, wood or tile shingles. I eventually settled on bronze shingles designed to last for decades. Instead of aging, the bronze finish just continues to improve. I also switched to metal gutters that make a beautiful sound when the rain falls onto the surface. I would like to share my passion for roofing materials through this site. Thank you for coming by. Visit again soon.