History of Metal Roofing | Wagner Metal Roofing & Remodeling

History of Metal Roofing

History of Metal Roofing

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History of Metal Roofing

Beginning Stages of Metal Roofing

Metal roofing has been around for hundreds of years. Metal roofing was loved back then for the same reasons we love it today. The material was sturdy, could be easily bent to fit roofs perfectly, and would last for years. The craftsmanship that goes into constructing a metal roof back then was a work of art. Therefore, metal roofing was specifically used for sacred structures, such as temples or wealthy households. Think of the famous ancient European structures still standing today. Many of them have the same original metal roofs that were installed hundreds of years ago!

Today, we have roll forming machines to roll out coils of steel to create the panel shape we desire. Obviously, it wasn’t that easy back in the day. Until the 1700’s, metal sheets were heated and hammed by hand to create metal roofs. Could you imagine how much work would go into creating these roofs? Metal roofs would take many months to complete—especially on larger projects like temples and museums.

Inventions that Transformed Metal Roofing


( Image courtesy of Spotlight On Main Street )

Rolling mills transformed the metal roof industry. Without this invention, we’ll never know if metal roofs would be accessible to residential homes! Once rolling mills were introduced in the 1700’s, metal manufactures were able to produce more sheets of metal much quicker. Rolling out the sheets of metal—rather than pounding them by hand—drove down the cost of metal roofing. Before, metal roofing was utilized for wealthy families and other important structures. Cutting the cost by using rolling mills allowed the metal sheets to be used on industrial and commercial buildings. Rolling mills began exporting their goods all around the world.

Metal Roofing in America

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Copper Roof on Historic Building

The history of metal roofing began in Europe. Rolling mills made it possible for these European countries to ship metal sheets to America. Like most areas of the world, metal roofing was typically used for important structures at the beginning of production. Thomas Jefferson’s home—Monticello—was one of the many famous monuments that introduced metal roofing to America

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Metal roofing on a residential platform didn’t become popular until after the civil war. This new roofing system was used in geographic locations experiencing harsh weather conditions due to its durable properties. Metal roofing was said to be the most long-lasting roofing system, heavy-duty, low maintenance, and fire-resistant. Does this sound familiar? The history of metal roofing has carried the same core values since it was created hundreds of years ago! Since metal roofing was created back in Europe, the formulation has been modified to make the material more affordable.

Tin roofing

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In the history of metal roofing, tin roofing is one of the most familiar terms. Tin roofing—despite beliefs—is not completely compromised of tin. These roofing sheets are tin-coated—hence its name tinplate. These sheets of metal were rolled and exported around the world. This is the first version of metal roofing that was introduced to America. Manufacturers were aware that between manufacturing, exporting, and installing, metal roofing was extremely expensive. To make the material even more affordable, metal manufactures invented a new formulation. This formulation would be a 65:35 lead to tin alloy. This sheet was called a terne plate. The lead formulation made the metal appear dull, but it made the tin roofing system much more affordable. Now, this roofing system is within the financial realms to be introduced to residential households!

The History of Metal Roofing vs. Metal Roofing Today

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Metal Roof-Wagner Metals Roofing and Remodeling

The history of metal roofing began with tin, lad, and copper; however, today our metal roof materials are much different. Now, our metal panels are predominately made of steel. Over time, technology improved to make the metal roofing system better than ever. Today’s steel roofing panels are put through a series of weather durability tests, paint coating tests, and more. The results from these scientific evaluations help experts improve upon the roofing system, making it even better for years to come. The foundation of metal roofing has been around for generations. Metal roofing wouldn’t be where it is today without the skilled experts over the generations to improve upon the product.

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