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

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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.

What are Metal Shingles All About?

An interlocking metal shingle roof is the second most popular type of residential metal roofing, after standing seam. There is a huge variety of different metal shingle styles from many different manufacturers.

Most common metals and alloys used to manufacture metal shingles and tiles are G-90 galvanized steel and aluminum, although you can also find a few types of copper and zinc shingles.

Metal shingles are manufactured using a stamping press, through which the metal coil is fed, and the die stamps the shingle in two or three steps. First, the profile of the shingle is stamped out, with the lock flanges. Then, in step 2 and/or 3, the locks are made, and the shingle comes out of the press and is packaged into the box.

Did you know? Most metal shingles come painted with Kynar 500 or equivalent premium paint, with a total of seven layers of paint and primer, baked onto the metal coil.

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Distinguishing characteristic of metal shingles is the low profile and a four-way interlocking design. Low profile allows for easy walking on metal shingles (during installation), without damaging the shingles, along with a simplified roof flashing system (easier to install, and hence costs less compared to standing seam).

Many popular styles of metal shingles include cedar shingle and natural slate impression. — These metal shingles can closely resemble both types of premium roofing materials but will cost either the same (as in case with cedar shingles) or considerably less (slate impression metal shingles) to install. Metal shingles will also last a lot longer than cedar shingles.

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Another popular type of metal shingles is a simple flat tile impression, which is basically a smooth surface metal shingle, with stiffening ribs in the middle, which create the look of separate tiles. Same stiffening ribs are used in all other types of metal shingles.

Cool Roof Colors:

Most metal shingle and tile roofs are available in 7 to 15 standard colors, depending on the manufacturer. All metal tile roofing systems are designed for residential applications, and hence feature a premium protective paint finish like Kynar 500 or Hylar 5000.

Unlike standing seam where custom colors are vast and numerous, 100% custom colors are typically not an option with most metal shingles, shakes, and tiles because they are pre-stamped and shipped in boxes to a job site or to the supplier for pick-up.

However, some metal shingle manufacturers like PermaLock and FutureRoof may be able to offer premium colors in addition to the range of standard colors on larger orders of metal shingles, tiles and shakes.

If you are interested in an energy-efficient metal shingle roof, then look for CRRC rated CoolRoof colors. The higher the SRI score for a particular shingle color, the greater the energy saving potential will be.

Installation Basics:

Most metal shingles systems are installed from the eaves of the roof, upwards. The first course of shingles is locked or hooked onto the drip edge / starter trim, which is nailed or screwed to the properly prepared roof deck.

Metal shingles are attached to the roof using nails (made of the same material to prevent corrosion) and either special built-in hems or clips.

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Once the first row of shingles is installed, most roofing contractors start “building a stair” or staggering the shingles and adding rows on one side of the roof so that each new diagonal run of shingles would have as many shingles as possible.

Basic premise here is that you don’t want to install metal shingles “one row at a time”, by going from one end of the roof to another. You want to run as many rows of shingles at once, as possible. See the video below, which will demonstrate the installation of aluminum interlocking metal shingles.

Installing curb flashing on a metal shingles roof:

Unlike a standing seam metal roof, where the ribs/locks demand the use of z-bar flashing for any curbs and other rectangular roof penetrations, thus making it very difficult to flash roof penetrations such as chimneys and skylights.

The flashing details on a metal shingles roof are much easier to implement compared to standing seam, as the low profile of metal shingles does not require the use of a Z-bar flashing at the ridge.

How Much Does a Metal Shingle Roof Cost?

The national average cost to install a metal shingles roof on house can range between $8.50 and $14.50 per square foot. At the low-end of the price range, you can expect a typical over-top installation (no tear-off and disposal of old shingles) on a simple gable roof. On the high-end, you have a complete replacement job and a tear-off of up to two layers of shingles.

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What's a Typical Cost To Install a new Roof? Average Price: $5,960 - $12,740
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12 thoughts on “Metal Shingles Roofs Installation Basics, Costs, and Pros & Cons”

  1. My house has overhangs. In our climate, snow and ice will freeze on this section, but higher up the roof, snow will melt and the water accumulates at the bottom, creating a dam, then the water has nowhere to go but up under the shingles. At night the water will freeze and lift up the shingles.

    With an asphalt shingle that is flexible, this is not a problem since the sun will heat up the shingles and they will take their normal shape. With the steel shingle, will the ice lift the shingle, and bend it out of shape?

    I would love to install a metal shingle roof, but this is an issue I would like to clear up.

    Have you sold this product in winter climates with snow and ice.

    Thank you.

    • Hey Robert,

      I’ve been installing steel shingles and aluminum shingles featuring a 4-way interlocking design for over a decade. When installed correctly, there is no way for rainwater and melted water from snow and ice dams to get underneath the metal shingles, since the interlocked metal shingles are locked-in with each other, including all the surrounding shingles on all four sides.

      The quality of the installation is the key; if the interlocking metal shingles are not properly aligned in relation to each other and the roof, then you may end-up getting a system that lacks integrity on a structural level, which can sometimes happen due to installers’ errors, especially on more complex roofs with multiple dormers and valleys.

      To answer your question specifically regarding ice dams, I found that a properly installed metal shingles roof will perform really well in an area that receives a lot of snow fall, and is therefore subject to ice dams forming on roofs of homes due to onset of low temperatures following a major snowstorm.

      Now, it should probably be mentioned that ice dams are normally the result of poorly ventilated and under-insulated attic space. Whenever you get ice dams, you know that you also lose energy due to insulation issues. This means you are probably paying more for heating than you should be.

      So, even if your new metal shingles roof helps resolve ice dam issues on your roof, you may still want to look into upgrading your attic floor insulation and fixing any ventilation issues that cause heat-built-up in your attic.

      Thus, I recommend that you look for an experienced metal shingles installer. — You should make sure that the crew that will be working on your roof knows exactly what they are doing and that they are not cutting any corners, which is sometimes the case with large companies employing sub-contractors.

      You can find an experienced metal roofing installer by filling out our simple estimate form on this page (above the comments).

  2. Can metal shingles like the ones in the video be installed over an existing asphalt shingle roof? Or would I need to tear off the shingles first?

    • Yes, absolutely.

      Make sure that there aren’t already two layers of shingles in place before the installation of a metal shingles roof. You can install a metal roof over a single layer of shingles, but not over two or more layers.

      Also, be sure that a breathable synthetic underlayment such as GAF Deck Armor is used in between the old asphalt and metal.

  3. This is some great information, and I appreciate your point that low profile metal shingles are less expensive to install. I knew metal was a good option for residential homes, but I didn’t know that it could be installed as shingles! My husband and I are looking for a replacement for our roof, so we’ll definitely look into this as a less expensive option. Thanks for the great post!

  4. One problem with these roofs is that they run 4 to 5 times the cost of a conventional roof. You will not recoup that money in energy savings or even the fact you wouldn’t have to re-roof again, unless you plan on living in the same residence for a 100 years.

    • An average asphalt shingles roof will cost around $400 per square installed, while metal shingles will cost about $800 per square installed. So the difference is more along the lines of two times, not four or five, unless you compare the cost of professional metal roofing installation to the cost of hiring a weekend warrior or storm chaser to quickly slap together a bunch of shingles over the existing layers of old shingles, without much thought for long-term roof performance.

    • Jeff, I think that getting a metal roof is a very valuable thing to do. I had a metal roof put on my last house and it actually helped raise the value of the home when I sold it. Yes, I know that it is improbably to think that you might live at the same residence for a 100 years, but, because of the durability that the metal adds, you can recoup that money if you end up selling your house.

  5. I totally agree, if you own a classic colonial type home or a brick house, then a metal shingles roof is definitely the way to go. Metal shingles are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they can also help cut down on air conditioning. Metal deflects a lot of the heat that hits your house. I’ve also heard that metal roofs last pretty long. Definitely worth looking into if you’re in need of a new roof!

  6. I didn’t realize that metal shingles come in so many different styles. I’ve always thought that they come in the same style. It would be nice to have a new metal shingle roof installed since it seems to be really durable. It would be nice to have a metal roof that comes in a natural slate impression.


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