Metal's staying power

Nearly 25 years ago, NRCA published One Hundred Years of Roofing in America. The book's publishing coincided with NRCA's 100th anniversary in 1986. A reading of the book, which is to be updated and rereleased next year for NRCA's 125th anniversary, reveals the industry's resiliency and how loyal contractors can be to their choice of materials.

This month, METALCON International 2010 will be held in Las Vegas and showcase new developments in the metal industry as it celebrates its 20th anniversary. But many attendees may be unaware of the successful and storied history metal has had in the roofing industry.

According to One Hundred Years of Roofing in America, some of the earliest metal roofs can be traced to 1763-64 when copper was imported from England to roof New York City Hall.

Zinc also was a popular roof covering, and it began to gain traction in the early 1800s. An 1818 advertisement for zinc roofs in a Virginia newspaper stated: "It has been sufficiently ascertained by experiment, both in this country and Europe, that this valuable invention has introduced a better covering for houses than any other materials that have heretofore been in use."