Corrugated Metal vs. Standing Seam: Corrugation Myth Busters

Who Invented the Original, Corrugated Iron / Steel Roofing Style?

Henry Robinson Palmer learned his civil engineering under Scotsman Thomas Telford, the greatest builder of roads, canals, and bridges in the British Empire in the early 19th century.

Standing seam vertical sheet metal panels

In 1821 Palmer applied for a patent for a single elevated rail supported by pillars spaced ten feet apart that sported wheeled carriages hanging down from either side that would roll along the rail when pulled by a horse. Henry Robinson Palmer had invented the world’s first monorail.

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If you research Palmer’s life today, every source details the creation of the monorail. For most thumbnail sketches of Palmer’s life that is the end of the story, but Palmer himself did not concern himself much with the monorail after building the first one in 1825, about one mile long, in Cheshunt, a town twelve miles from London.

Two years later the 32-year-old Palmer landed a job as resident engineer for the London Dock Company. It was his responsibility to construct the walls along the Thames River to keep the world’s busiest port humming.

The aging wooden docks were in constant need of upgrade. To keep up Palmer patented a lightweight metal building panel that was self-supporting due to a series of waves or folds molded into the sheets.

Palmer’s manufacturing process consisted of pushing his sheet metal across fluted rollers to create the ridges that gave the metal strength. He called this “corrugation”, from the Latin word for “wrinkled.” It remains a common method for manufacturing corrugated metal today.

Palmer erected the world’s first corrugated building on the Thames River docks in 1829 and he continued to patent improvements in the construction of arches and roofs.

It is ironic that today Henry Robinson Palmer is remembered for the invention of the monorail, which is rarely encountered outside of amusement parks, airports, and a classic Simpsons episode. He is scarcely recognized for the development of corrugation, which became so ubiquitous in the 19th century for cheap shelter that most people – and historians – assumed it had been with us since antiquity.

Historical Significance of Corrugation

Corrugated metal roof-on a single-story house

Without corrugated metal there would have been no rapid development of the United States frontier, a less frantic California gold rush, much slower settling of farmland on the Great Plains and much harsher living conditions on the battlefield.

The strength to materials imparted by corrugation extended beyond the sheet metal shop to other industries; it was critical to the development of the cardboard, for instance.

Metal Roof Construction

metal-roof-on-a-log-home

By stiffening the metal sheets, corrugation permits a greater span across a lighter framework, ideal for the balloon construction techniques that became widespread in the 19th century.

However, metal for roofing has been used for centuries, although it was rare in early America. Thomas Jefferson was a metal roof fanboy and installed tin-plate iron on the roof of his beloved Monticello in rural Virginia.

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Metal Shingles Roofs Installation Basics, Costs, and Pros & 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.

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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.

If you own a classic colonial or a brick house, then a metal shingles roof 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.

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Stone Coated Steel Roof Cost: Gerard, DECRA, Metro, Boral Steel

Stone coated steel roofing is generating a lot of buzz (and sales) with homeowners that want a roof with staying power — one that combines good looks with outstanding protection against the elements including fire, wind, and hail.

Boral Steel (previously Gerard USA) stone coated steel tile roof – Barrel Vault Profile. Source: BoralSteel.com (previously gerardusa.com)

It’s certainly a strong plus that stone-coated metal roofing is energy-efficient, uses recycled materials and is recyclable, unlike straight-to-landfill asphalt shingles.

Here’s your complete guide for comparing products, costs, pros and cons, and other options:

What to Expect in Terms of Costs

Total cost to install the product is the first factor many homeowners consider, so let’s see if stone coated steel roofing is in the budget for your home.

Note that 1 square = 100 square feet.

  • Material Costs: $450-$650 per square for stone coated steel shingles, shakes, and tiles, plus the underlayment, fasteners, ridge cap, trim and other accessories required
  • Installation Costs: $550-$1,000 per square depending on various factors affecting cost, which are listed below

Total Installed Cost: $1,000-$1,650 per square.
That seems like a broad price range, but the range for asphalt shingles can be even broader. The best asphalt shingles can cost 3-4 times the cost of the cheapest option.

New Shingle Roof

$7,500
Average price
New Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
New Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

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