Metal Roofing Styles: Sheet Roofing vs. Shingle Roofing

Posted on: 4 January 2018

If you're thinking about installing a metal roof over your house, you'll probably have continuous sheets/panels (e.g., standing seam roofing) or horizontal shingles. This can be done regardless of the material used, e.g., steel, aluminium, copper or zinc. This article highlights details of both roofing styles, including pros and cons, to help you make a more informed decision.

1. Horizontal shingles

Horizontal metal shingles are available in many styles, including those made to resemble slate or tile by using textures, layering, and coating with granulated stone. They are also available in a number of colours and patterns and are almost indistinguishable from real tile or slate once installed, because of the finishing. Metal shingles can be made as long horizontal panels designed to be applied on whole roofs, or as single shingles to be installed individually. The former is quicker to install and can easily be applied to an existing roof because metal is lightweight (compared with asphalt, concrete, and tile). The latter, however, requires removal of existing material to give a firm and flat surface. Installation of metal shingles has slightly different technique from conventional shingles like tile, wood, and asphalt. Usually, your distributor will provide an accredited metal roofing contractor who takes factory-taught classes before accreditation so that your warranty is not voided by improper installation. Cost of installation differs depending on the metal choice (steel and aluminium are more common and cheaper while zinc and copper are more expensive) and type of shingle (long panels have lower labour costs compared individual shingle installation).

2. Sheet roofing

Sheet roofing is often made from large flat panels (called flat stock) which manufacturers cut into individual panels and apply different finishes. These sheets/panels are ideal for large, unbroken roof expanses because of the flat stock size, and should be considered for roofs that are simple in shape. Sometimes, your supplier will get flat stock and fabricate them on-site. This could create a few problems: limited numbers of finishes (especially with smaller suppliers that have limited equipment), disparities in finishing quality and limited warranties (often a year or less). It's important to ensure they have the right expertise and equipment to produce what you want before work begins. There are two ways to join the sheets together: standing seam roofing which includes a raised, self-sealing seam and batten roofing which has a wider cover cap. In addition, the supplier provides special parts to cover edges, connections, hips, and ridges. Roofing cost depends on the material chosen, and you can call several manufacturers to recommend installers in your area to give bids. Ensure that bids include freight and labour costs so that you compare whole-job prices and avoid surprises after the work is underway. Choosing a manufacturer closer to you will reduce costs, as carriage costs can be very high.  

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