The Last Tin Roof- metal roofing in Northern Virginia

All over the historic areas of Northern Virginia roofs of houses, state buildings and even barns have been protected by what we’ve come to know as the tin roof.

A few months ago Follansbee Steel www.follansbeesteel.com/about stopped producing what we have come to know as terne metal or tin roofing; the company was founded in the early 1800’s and had changed hands a number of times since then. It doesn’t look like they will begin producing metal anytime soon if ever unless a buyer is found for the plant. It is one of my favorite metals to work with and I truly hope they find a way to get back in business. Terne is a mild steel with a coating of zinc and tin alloy to protect the steel from rust. Once the material is formed and installed it gets painted; as long as the paint is kept up once every ten-fifteen years you are left with a roof that can last a century. Terne is the go-to material for any historical replacement work. Follansbee also made a version with a  stainless steel core material named TCSII; you can read more about it here; https://www.lyonscontracting.com/blog/standing-seam-terne-metal-roof The job below is a house that was a former church; the existing terne metal roof wasn’t installed properly or maintained at all and was leaking. The majority of the roof was around 60 years old and still in really good shape; the only reason the roof needed to be replaced was that there were leaks that had been ignored and had caused the roof decking to rot. You can click on any picture to enlarge: Tear off: The previous contractor installed a ridge vent that was meant for a shingle roof, not a metal roof; this caused leaking along the peak of the roof.

This roof was retrofitted with a vent meant for a shingle roof
This roof was retrofitted with a vent meant for a shingle roof

Notice how the back side of the panels are rusted most from the top down.

Rusty metal roofing
Removing the old tin roof

To keep the project moving I made the most painstaking parts of the roof in the shop a few days before. The next two pictures are of the skylight and chimney flashings; by making them in the shop we are able to deliver a superior job in less time. I made the skylight flashings to fit the new openings exactly; the chimney flashing was made to match the slope of the roof and the length and width of the chimney. The seams on the flashings are double locked and will not leak. If you are a roofer and would like pre made flashings for your next job just give us a call or send an email to tom@lyonscontracting.com; we ship all over the US.

Skylight flashing kit for standing seam roof
Flashing kit for standing seam roof
Chimney flashing kit for standing seam roof
Flashing for chimney on standing seam roof

Moving right along: the skylight flashings and curbs are set and the new roof panels are being installed to close the roof in. The flashings are made a little bigger than they need to be, this allows us to fold the ends up and double lock them into the field panels. Once double locked the seams are completely watertight and need no caulk or sealant.

Skylight flashings for standing seam metal roof
Skylight flashings set in place

Day 2: This job moved so quickly that I barely had time to take pictures; this was taken at 11am on the morning of day 2 and the roof was already 75% completed. You can see the new wood along the peak of the roof, the ridge vent that was mentioned in first picture really did this roof in; if the leaking was discovered ten years earlier the roof probably could have been saved.

old roofing removed and decking repaired
Old roofing removed and roof decking repaired
Standing seam roof inside corner flashing
Flashing inside corner on standing seam roof

This is the inside corner behind the parapet wall; I have double lock seamed the corner panel to keep this area waterproof. This technique requires no caulk and will not leak.

Inside corner flashing on standing seam roof
The inside corner is very labor intensive

Here is a close up of the same area after paint: its hard to see but every metal element you see here is double locked to its neighbor providing a waterproof joint that needs no caulk or sealant to keep the building dry.

Standing seam inside corner flashing detail
The radius joint is completely watertight
terne metal roof before paint
terne metal roof before paint

Here is the roof nearly finished, the next step is to paint. Terne roofing needs to be painted with https://www.calbarinc.com/cat_product_list10.html it will last and keep the roof looking great. Due to the elements involved in coating the metal not all paints will work on Terne metal.

After paint; just touching up a few spots and final cleanup.

Nearly completed standing seam terne metal roof
Standing seam metal roof skylight flashings

We also installed snow guards to keep sliding snow and ice from damaging the gutter and landscaping below.

snow guards on standing seam metal roof
snow guards on standing seam metal roof

This job turned out perfectly and with regular maintenance will last for the next 80-100 years. The only part that disappoints me is that no one can see it from the street; the parapet wall in front cover all but a tiny sliver of my roof. If you’re looking for a metal roof for your home give me a call and we can discuss the possibilities.

Thanks for reading,


(703) 299-8888

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