A notable founding father, Thomas Jefferson, is credited with influencing the early use of metal roofing. Due to the durability of the metal, the increasing availability of metal due to the industrial revolution and improved transportation, metal roofs established a strong hold on the roofing trade. World War II, introduction of inexpensive asphalt-based shingles, and increasing manpower wages ended tin roofing’s reign.
Today, owners of vintage homes face an expensive decision when the existing metal roof rusts and starts to leak-save or replace.
Most owners would prefer to save a visible tin roof. There are four excellent reasons:
1. An old “tin” roof is usually a strong statement that “This residence belongs to someone who wants to save our heritage.” Beginning in the 1990s, the release of modern coating materials allow this possibility. These modern coatings do not flake, last over ten years, and weatherproof against leaks. Plus these coatings are available in most colors.
2. Almost without exception, owners of tin roofing enjoy the sound of rain drops striking the roof panels.
3. Vintage metal roof owners tend to be aware of the importance of conserving our earth’s resources. Indeed, this awareness has caused a resurgence of metal roofing because metal roofs are maintainable, reducing unwanted landfill deposits of old asphalt shingles. Vintage tin roof owners contribute to this renewable spirit by keeping a maintainable structure.
4. Finally the expense of maintaining a 100 year old roof compares favorably to new asphalt shingles and modern metal panels.
For the above reasons, tin roof owners are seeking and finding solutions to weatherproof older panels, protect the old metal integrity and improve the appearance of the residence.
If any tin roof owner wants proof of the durability of his/her roof, inspect the underside of a tin panel. Most of these metal panels were installed over slats, so the underside of the panels is clearly visible.
It is likely that the original coating is still intact over the original metal sheet. If the coating on the outside of the sheet is maintained, then that metal roof will probably outlast the present tin roof owner….and his/her children.