The most basic job of a roof is to protect what’s inside the structure, but a roof can also be a huge part of the design, adding to its appeal. Design is and was used to add character. Read on to learn some of the history of sheet metal roofing in Canada.
1. The Roman Empire
The use of waterproof metal roofs goes all the way back to the Roman Empire. They used lead for roofing and plumbing. Lead, zinc, and copper was used on an ongoing basis and the tradition was taken to North America in the colonial times.
2. Popularity Rises
Sheet metal roofing grew popular in the 1800s; before then builders used copper and lead as protective flashing when it was too difficult to use slate, tile, or wood. Once sheet metal fabrication facilities came into being, the whole landscape of roofing changed.
3. Sheet Iron Roofing
Sheet iron was first made during the American Revolutionary War and was produced at a rolling mill in New Jersey.
4. Corrugated Iron Roofing
First patented in England in 1829, the process that corrugates iron stiffens the sheets of metal to be used over a larger area. It reduced the cost of time and installation costs; thus, many marketplaces built in the early 1800s were covered with corrugated iron.
Corrugated roofing was invented by a British architect and engineer, and originally called CGI (corrugated wrought iron). It was strong, easy to transport, and corrosion-resistant, which made it popular for pre-fabbed structures.
5. Tin Plate Iron
Also called tin roofing, this was used a lot in Canada on churches in the 1700s and 1800s. It was more affordable than copper, zinc, or lead. It was also light-weight and low-maintenance, which made it a popular roofing option. Embossed shingles were very commonly used in the 1800s to add interesting patterns. In many instances the tin roof would be painted red to make it look like the patina of aged copper. Some builders would use a chemical mixture of lead and tin to dip the metal into, which gave it a duller finish.
Rust was a big disadvantage of tinplate roofing, but corrosion could be slowed by the use of more lead in the alloy. Paints were also made to help protect metal roofs. These were typically made from linseed oil or fish oil and, if re-applied on a regular basis, were very effective.
6. Sheet Metal Roofs Today
The beauty, durability, and inclusion of historical designs continue today, and many examples of historical metal roofs can be found all over Canada. When an historic building wants to repair or replace a roof and use its existing style, a combo of modern and traditional styles must be used to ensure a seamless, historically accurate match.
7. Famous Roofs in Canada
Just a few of the most famous sheet metal roofs in Canada include the Town Clock in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Another is the Fort Frederick Martello Tower in Kingston, Ontario. One final example is the Library of Parliament.
8. Decorative Sheet Metal
From copper to stainless steel, galvanized steel, and more, a highly skilled team can reproduce your property’s sheet metal roofing shingles. Your metal can also be stamped in a new tile design that will be unique to your building. Gain inspiration from a photograph or from other buildings. Depending on the specs of your project you have different choices when it comes to metals.
Decorative stamped copper trims, decorative sheet metal elements for domes and finials, sheet metal garlands, and copper balustrades can all be reproduced using the original elements from the building or the inspiration of your choice.