A Midwest manufacturer is changing the way coastal communities handle storms.
Hurricane season in the U.S. brings with it shocking images of flooded cities and roofs torn from the tops of buildings. As climate change intensifies the human impact of extreme weather events, scientists predict the destructive power of storms will only increase. Yet one company is aiming to mitigate its worst effects with a surprisingly simple innovation.
Founded in 1976 as the metal shingle division of Reinke Manufacturing Co., Reinke Shakes is set to release its new Lifetime shingles in March. The company’s tagline, “Shingle for the last time,” is emblazoned on its main facility in Hebron, Nebraska and encapsulates the main selling point of the new and improved metal shingles—when fitted properly, they’ll never blow off.
“There was a need in the marketplace for an updated shingle. We needed to adapt to the new environment or we weren’t going to continue,” says Bob Reinke, owner of Reinke Shakes. His assessment of the market led to an investment in a machine that could manufacture larger, stronger shingles. Available in both aluminum and copper, the Lifetime shingles have set new standards in roofing quality and offer an abundance of additional benefits to customers.
1. More Durable
Few roofing companies can make the bold guarantee that their shingles will remain in place even during a hurricane or tornado. Yet Reinke is proud to assert that claim with Lifetime shingles. “The wind uplift test had phenomenal results,” he says. “Based on that, we are guaranteeing the shingles will never blow off as long as the nails are in the sheeting.”
The strength of the product’s design sets the Lifetime shingles apart from competitors, as the corrugated ridges in the metal add to its durability, Reinke says. The material is also 25% thicker than what’s required in hurricane zones. Customers can opt for 20-gauge aluminum or 16-ounce copper, both of which are UL 2218 Class IV Hail resistant. “We went above and beyond to make a better, stronger shingle,” he says.
2. Faster Installation
Reinke says the new Lifetime shingles can be installed five times faster than the company’s original shingles. How did the company achieve this feat? A lot of it has to do with the size of the product. Instead of containing 150 shingles per roofing square, the new ones feature only 70 shingles per square. On top of that, the Lifetime shingles can be air-nailed with a nail gun—further speeding up the installation process. “Back in the day, hand nailing with a hammer was no big deal. But today, that’s old news,” Reinke says. Faster installation dramatically reduces labor costs, saving customers a substantial sum on installation.
3. Environmentally Friendly
Reinke Shakes uses 99% or more recycled aluminum in its shingles, which saves considerable energy during both the mining and manufacturing processes. It also reduces the need to extract additional raw materials from the earth. Should the shingles ever need to be replaced, the company recycles all drop off material. The Lifetime shingles also build on improvements in energy efficiency. The new material is less glossy than previous shingles, which increases solar reflection and helps cool buildings in warmer months.
4. Fire Resistant
Standard metal roofing materials are already more fire resistant than traditional asphalt shingles. Yet the thicker material of the Lifetime shingles provides additional resiliency in the event of a fire. On top of that, the ridges in the shingle create small pockets of air space, ensuring that the heat from a fire is not directly transferred to the shingle. “You generally need to put some sort of fire-proofing underlayment under shingles,” Reinke says, “but we passed Class B fire testing with no underlayment because of the air cells.” With the underlayment, the shingles easily passed Class A.
Though Reinke Shakes made its name specializing in shingling geodesic domes, the company has sold shingles in all 50 states and internationally for just about every kind of project imaginable. Considering its roots in the Midwest, the company has also provided roofing for countless agricultural buildings. Reinke Shakes shingles adorn residential homes, commercial buildings, and churches alike. Even Alabama’s tallest skyscraper, the RSA Battle House Tower in Mobile, is crowned with Reinke Shakes copper shingles.