Home metal roofing: recognizing the old style



Look at the two photos below; which one do you want live under. The one on the left dates back to the late 1800s; the one on the right, the late 1900s. There is no right or wrong answer, just personal preference for your home metal roofing.

Old style panels New style panels

Three characteristics identifying vintage metal panels


One of the most obvious differences is the older metal roofs crimped the roof ridges and other peaked seams.

Both methods are quite effective to prevent leaks. yet the modern style screams,"fast food joint".

In Fayetteville, NC, the brand new metal panel roof over the old train station caused an outcry since the roof did not look traditional. City officials changed the roof to the crimped style.

Crimped style on Inn of Cape May New way of seaming

Roof edges

The panels on the older home metal roofing structures just curl over the roof edge with the vertical seams running continuously. Modern roof edges are usually different, with the roof edge taking a razor straight look.

Old style lip New lip edging

Horizontal seams on panels

On the flat areas of the panels, older vintage panels boasted horizontal seams. In today's installation, these seams are missing

Example of a traditional roof panel with horizontal seams New panels

As our train system expanded, longer panels could be successfully moved. Today, an installer rarely has to deal with the horizontal seaming so common in earlier days. A modern installer merely pulls up a cutting machine and long 25 foot panel lengths, then cuts to desired lengths.

As a contractor, I have been surprised to discover this old method of making long panels by soldering shorter pieces together has worked quite well. Rarely are we having to repair damaged horizontal seams on older structures.

written by Miriam Cunningham

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