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Metal Roof

Is a Metal Roof Better Than a Shingle Roof?

By Tobias RobertsRise Writer
Apr 7, 2019

When shopping for a new roof, many roofing companies will advertise products that will supposedly last for at least 30 years. However, the truth of the matter is that most “30-year roofs” will last significantly less time, especially when not properly cared for. While shingle-style roofs might cost less upfront than their metal roof counterparts, the cost of regular maintenance and repairs over the roof's lifetime can certainly add up. Composite shingle roofs can be made to look like terra cotta or slate roofs but are much less durable and will most likely only last for 10-12 years before needing replacement. 

Asphalt shingle roofs are the most popular roofing option on the market, making up almost 80 percent of the roofs over American homes. However, asphalt shingle roofs are made from the petrochemical industry and come with a sizeable carbon footprint. Despite claims that this common roofing material can last for up to three decades, improperly installed asphalt shingle roofs often suffer from several problems, including blistering, curling, premature cracking, thermal splitting, and granule loss. With the increasing probability of severe weather events, asphalt shingle roofs also stand to suffer major damage from severe storms, especially high winds that have the ability to remove the mineral granules from asphalt shingles, making them susceptible to leaks. 

Standing-seam metal roofs have long been considered to be a more durable roofing option. However, not all homeowners like the “warehouse look” of long sheets of aluminum placed over their homes. 

One solution? Reinke Shake, a Nebraska-based company that has been manufacturing metal shingles for roofs since 1976. 

What Are Reinke Shake Shingles? 

Reinke Shake shingles are small, metal shingles made from either copper or aluminum for a unique roofing alternative. The company offers a lifetime warranty on the shingles, essentially protecting your investment against wind damage, hail storms, leaks, and other common roofing problems. While these roofs are significantly more expensive than asphalt shingles, the lifetime warranty should pay for itself when considering the regular repairs and total roof replacement costs that come with other common roofing materials.

Reinke Shake shingles
Photo Courtesy of Reinke Shakes

Reinke Shake shingles are made from 20-gauge American-made coil stock made from recycled, American-sourced metal in technical terms. The shingles are made from either aluminum or copper, thus helping to avoid any issues with rust that are common with steel roofing. The 16-inch wide metal stock is manufactured down to a common width of 12.5 inches, adding 24 “bends” in the metal to offer an enormous amount of strength. The finished roofing product is 25 percent thicker than building code regulations for coastal homes in hurricane-prone areas. 

The weather-resistant coating on Reinke Shake shingles is baked on by the coil supplier, thus ensuring that homeowners will never have to recoat their metal roofing. These shingles are designed to be installed with similarly durable coil nails that are double zinc dipped to avoid rust damage that could lead to leaks. 

Advantages of Reinke Shake Shingles

One of the most vulnerable aspects of any home is the roof. A weak, substandard roof will often lead to unnoticeable leaks that can ruin your attic insulation and lead to a buildup of mold that compromises your indoor air quality. On the other hand, resilient homes invest extra resources in vulnerable parts of the construction process to protect the house from external elements. A high-quality, strong, durable, and enduring roof should be a priority for all homeowners, especially those that live in areas where hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, and other severe weather events are common. 

The main advantage of Reinke Shake shingles is that they offer unmatched strength and durability. Besides being guaranteed never to blow off your home, the LT version of the Reinke Shake shingle is 0.030 thick and comes with stronger ribs. This allows the shingles to be virtually hail-proof and comes with a UL2218 Class IV Hail Resistance. The aluminum or copper shingles are also fire resistant and have passed wind uplift tests by over three times the minimum requirement. 

In terms of environmental advantages, these shingles are made from aluminum coil stock guaranteed to be sourced from 99 percent or more recycled American metal. The nails are also made from up to 99 percent recycled metal. The fact that all of the metal used in the manufacture of Reinke Shake shingles is sourced from the United States helps lower the roof's embodied energy footprint. Even though these shingles are lifetime guaranteed, the company also promises to recycle all drop-off material, should you choose to replace your aluminum or copper shingles. 

In terms of energy efficiency, the aluminum used in the roofing shingles is an excellent conductor and offers a radiant heat reflection of up to 94.5 percent. While dark-colored asphalt and fiberglass shingles will absorb heat from the sun, the asphalt will reflect much of the light and heat away from your home. One test found that homes shingled with aluminum shingles were 19 degrees cooler than fiberglass-shingled homes. During hot summer months, Reinke Shake shingled roofs will completely cool within 5 minutes after the sun has set, thus allowing for more comfortable indoor temperatures that improve thermal performance and reduce your evening cooling load—and reduce your electric bills.

Reinke Shake shingles are extremely versatile and can adapt to different styles of homes and roofs. While this roofing alternative is often touted as a great option for geodesic domes, it is also adaptable to all different types of commercial and residential buildings. 

A Few Potential Drawbacks

The main drawback to Reinke Shake shingles is that they will represent a much higher upfront cost. The company claims that the total cost is significantly lower than less durable shingle roofs over the 50-year lifespan that Reinke Shake shingles are guaranteed to last. However, for homeowners who have financial limitations, this roofing option will certainly increase the total upfront cost of your home. The average cost per square for Reinke Shake shingles is between $245 and $275 (and the stunning 100% copper is $975 per square)—compared to about $80 to $100 per asphalt square. To receive an estimate for your roofing cost, you can call Reinke Shakes Inc. at (402) 365-7521 or contact them here.

Another potential drawback to Reinke Shake shingles, along with all metal roofing options, is related to sound infiltration into the home. While some homeowners might find the sound of rain on a metal roof to be a soothing, white noise, it can be bothersome to others. High-quality attic and roof insulation, however, will substantially reduce moist noise from any metal roof.  

Other Similar Roofing Options

While Reinke Shake shingles are one of the only metal roofing options on the market that offers a lifetime warranty, there are other companies offering metal roofing shingles, including: 

  • InterLock Roofing: This company offers a unique metal shingle manufactured and designed to look similar to more traditional cedar shingles. The interlocking aluminum shingles also come with the Alunar® Coating System embedded with TEFLON™ surface protector to provide an extremely durable and attractive surface. 
  • Atas International: This company also specializes in a wide range of metal roofing shingles. Their Advanta shingle is unique in that it comes with pre-punched direct fastening points with a four-way interlock for weather tightness. The fact that it is extremely lightweight allows these shingles to be installed over an existing roof without the need for tear-off and disposal. 
  • PermaLock Roofing: PermaLock Roofing also offers ENERGY-STAR rated metal roofing alternatives. Besides aluminum and copper, they also offer a zinc shingle formed into just about any shape while providing years of virtually maintenance-free protection.

Any of these companies offer high-quality, durable, and environmentally-friendly metal roofing options for a sustainable and resilient home. 

The bottom line is that these unique aluminum and copper metal shingles share the appearance of shingle roofs while offering the durability, weather resistance, and low maintenance requirements of metal roofs. If you are building new or replacing an existing roof, they are worth checking out, especially when you consider the lifetime costs.

Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsement however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2021-07-09T10:37:23+0000
Tobias Roberts

Article by:

Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.