Metal Shingles Roofs vs. Standing Seam Metal Panels

Metal shingles roofing systems are a very popular choice for a residential metal roof, and although they are not as common as standing seam metal roofs, they nevertheless represent a significant chunk of the total number of metal roofs installed each year.


Metal shingles come in many styles, colors and metal options and profiles. Two of the most common types of metal shingle roofs are interlocking shingles and overlapping tiles.

Metal shingles are true architectural metal roofs, and can provide you with a long lasting roofing solution and looks of natural slate, clay tiles or cedar shingles at a fraction of the cost and a much longer roof life.

Metal shingles vs. Standing Seam

Most interlocking metal shingle roof systems are also VERY flexible when it comes to their installation. Metal shingles and can be on some of the most difficult and cut-up roof designs. You can easily roof around a hexagon tower with metal shingles, while the same would be nearly impossible to do with standing seam metal roofing panels.

Flashing a roof penetration such as a pipe flashing or even sky-light or a chimney is a breeze compared to the same procedure using standing seam or stone coated steel tiles roof. Because of low panel profile (average interlocking shingles metal roof sticks about 1/4″ to 3/8″ from the roof deck) metal shingles flashing is easy to fabricate and install in the field.

As you can see in the video above, the chimney flashing (as well as skylight flashing) on a metal shingles roof is rather simple, compared to that of standing seam metal roof, which you can see in the photo below:

The chimney flashing photo below shows a standing seam metal roof with a chimney located on the ridge line, which makes the flashing detail much simpler and eliminates the back pan flashing, which is the weakest point of this flashing detail.


The elimination of ribs (r-panels and/or vertical snap-lock or the seam on a standing seam metal roof) makes the flashing detail using metal shingles for both chimney and skylight, a breeze.

How metal shingles are manufactured:

Metal shingles are made in factory settings using a stamping manufacturing process on an industrial size press. A special dye stamps the metal shingle profile, while two additional dyes bend the locks on all four sides of the shingle.

Metal shingles are stamped from a steel, aluminum or copper coils of certain thickness. Steel and aluminum coils are usually painted with 7-layer bake-on Kynar 500 paint finish, which provides the longest lasting discoloration and peel/chip resistance, and heliminates the need to paint your metal roof every 5 or so years.

All accessories for a metal shingles roof system are made using either a rolling or bending process on a computerized brake. These are your drip edge, side-wall / head-wall flashing, valley pan, etc.

The ridge / hip caps are usually also stamped out of the same coil used to stamp shingles. A 10 foot field-fabricated ridge-cap section can also be used, with exposed of concealed fasteners.

Metal Shingles Roof Installation:

Metal shingles should be installed over a solid sheeting deck such as CDX plywood or OSB board and proper underlayment such as GAF DeckArmor breathable synthetic roof underlayment sold at Lowe’s for about $150 per roll of 400 square feet. Try to stay away from non-breathable underlayments and Ice & Water shield with metal shingles roof, as they trap moisture and may cause roof deck rotting.


If your deck is 1×6 boards or similar, you may run into problems with installing and nailing metal shingles. If the row of shingles lands on the crack between boards, your nails will not have a solid substrate to be nailed into.

A solid working solution in the above situation may be using longer clips, that extend past the crack between the boards, or installing a layer of 3/8″ plywood or OSB over the boards.

Using long clips will however result in weaker fastening and lesser pullout / wind uplift rating for the metal roof. Installing a layer of 3/8″ sheeting is a preferred method.

Metal shingles are fastened to the roof deck with nails and either clips or built-in nailing strip on the metal shingle. There are various types of metal shingles and each has its own fastening method, though they are rather similar to each other.

Metal shingles should be nailed to the roof deck, using nails made out of the same metal as the shingle. Thus a steel metal shingle is nailed with regular galvanized roofing nails, and aluminum metal shingles are nailed with aluminum ring-shank nails.

Metal shingles are installed from the bottom, going up. Direction of shingles placement is dependent on the shingle design, but most metal shingles systems are installed from left to right. Each metal shingle is locked into the locks of 6 neighboring/surrounding shingles, making the whole system very durable and resistant to high-speed winds.

As shown in the video above, an aluminum metal shingles roof is installed over a properly prepared roof deck, and nailed down with aluminum ring-shank nails, through special “ears” or nailing strip built into the metal shingle. Other systems will have different nailing detail such as clips, or a nailing strip going across the top of the shingle.

Metal Shingles Cost Considerations:

Metal shingles roofing is usually made from steel or aluminum, and on a rare occasion you will see a copper or zinc metal shingles roof. The reasons for using steel and aluminum are the facts that both metals are very durable and long lasting (assuming the steel is properly galvanized using G-90 galvanic coating or Galvalume).

Steel is somewhat cheaper than aluminum, but difference is not very significant, and much of roof installation cost comes form professional installation as well as a rather high cost of metal.

Copper and zinc metal roofs are generally very expensive and therefore not as popular as steel or aluminum roofs. Installation costs for either type of metal roof will vary from one region to another, but in general, metal roofs tend to cost two to three times higher than asphalt shingles roofs.

As compared to the cost of standing seam, metal shingles shingles are considerably less expensive, as they are made from thinner gauge metal, and are easier to install.

2 thoughts on “Metal Shingles Roofs vs. Standing Seam Metal Panels”

  1. Can you post mph wind resistance comparison between SSMR and metal shingle roof? Numbers please, not a subjective comparison.
    You mentioned nails for metal shingle roof: shouldn’t they be using screws instead of nails, to achieve the advertised wind resistance?

  2. Hi

    I live an older home in Phoenix, which has a roof made of steel shingles with gravel (very small pieces of rock).

    Recently had my drainage system replumbed, and the plumber suggested I talk to a roofer about resealing the main vent stack to the roof.

    I have been calling roofers for about three weeks and have had one company respond with an offer of $2500 to do the repair.

    Is there a list of roofers with metal roofing experience in Phoenix, or perhaps a trade association that I can use to try and find a roofing contractor that may be of help?

    Thanks for any info you may be able to share.

    E. Alabaster

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