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The Evolution of Metal Roofing and Siding: From Ancient Craftsmanship to Sustainable Solutions

Metal roofing and siding have a rich history that spans centuries, evolving from ancient civilizations to becoming a popular choice in contemporary construction. Established in 1988, Central States Manufacturing has also transformed over time, embracing sustainability and environmental consciousness, employee ownership and pioneering customer service advances with Central Link.

The constant through all this is metal – although it too has changed over time with more recycled ingredients. But the material still remains one of the most durable choices for residential or commercial building projects.



Ancient Metal Building Products

Lead and Copper

These metals played significant roles in architecture for thousands of years. Lead, with its low melting point, was easily formed to create watertight roofs. Copper, too, was widely used, with examples like the copper roof shingles atop the Lovamahapaya Temple in Sri Lanka dating back to the 3rd century BCE. The Romans even covered the Pantheon with copper in 27 BCE.

Iron and Terne

As iron smelting became widespread in the 19th century, iron sheets were coated with molten tin or zinc to prevent rust. Terne, an iron plate dipped in a lead-tin solder, gained popularity for roofs and weather-resistant farm items.

Corrugated Galvanized Iron (CGI)

In 1829, corrugated galvanized iron emerged as a favorite roofing material worldwide. Its strength and lightweight nature made it a game-changer.


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Metal Roofing Today: Sustainability and Environmental Consciousness


Metal roofing systems are made from a high percentage of recycled materials. At the end of their extended life cycle (which can be up to 60 years or more), metal panels can be 100% recycled. This stands in stark contrast to some other popular building products, like asphalt shingles, which primarily end up in landfills.

Weight and Shipping Efficiency

Metal panels often weigh less than half of asphalt shingles, making them easier to transport up a roof. Their lower weight may allow the building structure to be lighter and use fewer materials. Additionally, metal panels can often be installed over existing roofs, reducing the need for removal and landfill disposal.


Metal roofing can last two to three times longer than traditional asphalt roofs. This durability can mean fewer repair and replacement possibilities, reducing overall environmental impact.

Coating Technology

Modern metal roof and siding panels incorporate advanced coating technology. Features like solar reflectance and heat emittance can drive down energy use and allow buildings to work more harmoniously with the environment.

Repurposing and Reuse

Metal panels are long-lasting and can be repurposed or reused. Their versatility ensures that they don’t end up as waste but continue to serve a purpose.


From the ancient craftsmanship of copper-clad temples to today’s sustainable metal roofing and siding, the journey has been remarkable. As consumers prioritize environmental stewardship, metal remains a top choice for those seeking longevity, recyclability, and eco-conscious solutions.


To learn more about quality Central States metal – click HERE.


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