About Tin Roofs


Of all of the available roofing materials, "tin" roofs are among the most durable and dependable. The term "tin" has been used as a catchall phrase to describe a variety of metal roofing materials, including steel, aluminum, alloys and stainless steel, as well as actual tin. Regardless of the type of metal used, a "tin" roof will provide decades of reliable service when properly installed by a qualified roofing-installation contractor. Metal roofing material is available in a variety of colors, textures and styles.

Real Tin

  • Metal roofs have been used for centuries. Actual tin roofs are constructed of rolls or sheets of tin pressed to a fine gauge. Tin roofs must be refinished on a regular basis to maintain their performance in inclement weather. Tin performs well when exposed to water and salt, but highly acidic rain, often found near industrial areas, can cause corrosion. Applying regular coats of metal roofing paint will help maintain the strength and integrity of a tin roof.


  • Tin is also found in the coating used on steel roofing materials to create a rust-resistant finish. In a process similar to galvanizing a nail, the steel roofing material and the tin are exposed to high heat, which facilitates a permanent bond. Most galvanized steel roofs are also manufactured with a multi-layered primer and paint finish system that reduces the need for regular refinishing.


  • Regardless of the metal chosen for the construction of a roof, there are two basic seaming systems used at installation--a flat seam or a standing seam. In a flat seam installation, two roofing sections are linked together by interlocking hooked rims (or flanges) on either section. The sections are then pressed and soldered together to create a water-tight flat seam. In a standing seam installation, a hooked flange on one section fits over the straight flange of another section, and the two are pressed firmly together. In both instances, the sections are anchored to the roof substructure using metal roofing clips.


  • When installing a tin roof or any metal roof, an additional layer of insulation is needed under the roofing material to reduce rain noise. The addition of this extra insulation also makes these roofs highly energy efficient, in both the cold of winter and the heat of summer. Also, during the summer, these roofs reflect the heat of the sun and help reduce energy use.

Using a professional

  • The main drawback to a metal roof, particularly a tin roof, is the cost of installation. Any metal roof installation is best left to a metal roofing installation contractor, and that is often required to establish roofing material warranties. When it comes to a tin roof with a flat seam, professional installation is especially important. Tin soldering is an exact craft that requires a high degree of experience and expertise. The additional cost of professional installation is, however, amortized over time due to the long life of a metal roof. Many warranties extend for up to 50 years.

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  • Photo Credit tile image by musk from Fotolia.com roof line image by John Sfondilias from Fotolia.com tin roof image by Scott McCarty from Fotolia.com
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