Meet The Material: Corrugated Sheet Metal

Article Posted By: Jae Warren

of The Home Depot

Corrugated Sheet Metal Ceiling

Corrugated metal is a material uniquely reminiscent of early twentieth century rural Americana. Even today, if you venture into the countryside, you might catch a glimpse of a chicken coop, barn or outhouse with an old corrugated tin roof. Shortly after corrugated galvanized iron was invented by British architect/engineer Henry Palmer in the 1820s, it quickly became a common building material used in many parts of the developing world. Its utility and durability continues to stand the test of time.

What is corrugated sheet metal? Corrugated sheet metal, often referred to as roofing tin, metal or steel roofing and a variety of other names, is produced by a roll forming process of pulling sheets of galvanized (zinc-coated) metal or aluminum through rolling dies that create rippling patterns in the sheets of metal. Originally made from wrought iron, you can now find corrugated metal sheets in stainless steel, aluminum, copper and a variety of different metals to suit your particular needs.

What are some of the cool properties of corrugated metal? Well, for one, corrugated metal just looks cool. It can appear equally rustic, industrial, or even kitschy. Corrugation gives tin roofing a “very high strength-to-weight ratio,” producing a versatile, lightweight, easily portable, corrosion-resistant, low-cost building material — perfect for “prefabricated structures and improvisation by semi-skilled workers” and DIYers.

How is corrugated sheet metal used? Once used primarily for roofing and siding, corrugated metal has become increasingly popular for its architectural and design appeal.

What can you use corrugated metal for? If you’re contemplating a little urban farming, corrugated metal will make a great roof for your hen house. And if you are looking for material inspiration for your next project, take a look at a few of the interesting things we found folks doing with corrugated metal.

Raised Bed Planter made from corrugated metal

Our new Flickr friend doublewinky used corrugated metal to build raised beds for her tomatoes. We think she made a great choice. (Thanks for letting us share your picture, Sara.)

Headboard crafted from corrugated aluminum

Check out this crafty corrugated tin headboard, designed and built by the dynamic husband and wife team behind kara paslay designs. 

Painted corrugated patio walls

You can completely transform the look of your outdoor living space with a few sheets of corrugated metal and a little Behr paint. You’ll want to apply a primer made especially for galvanized metal first.  Jen shares more photos and details of this patio intervention on her blog, Made By Girl.

Corrugated tin applied to bath walls

Simple building materials can make a bold design statement.

Bonus fact! The very first corrugated sheets were made made of tin-plated wrought iron, which soon after was replaced by zinc-coated steel. “Tin roofing” remains to this day the most common term used for corrugated sheet metal [via builder bill]. And it’s just as well — because I’m not sure if Cat on a Hot Wrought Iron Roof would have had the same ring.

Corrugated sheet metal is available in-store at select Home Depot locations. If you are looking for corrugated sheet metal for one of your DIY projects check with your local The Home Depot store.

Meet the Material is a series designed to introduce you to some of the everyday goods sold at The Home Depot. Is there a material you’d like to know more about? Just let us know in the comments!