7 Key Considerations for Choosing a Metal Roofing Supplier
March 6, 2018
As a manufacturer of specialty residential metal roofing, we’d love to have the opportunity to work hard for your confidence. However, whether you consider us or not, we want to share with you the key things to consider when choosing a metal roofing supplier.
- Types and Styles of Metal Roofing
As you research metal roofing suppliers, it will not be unusual to find that different suppliers focus on providing different types of metal roofing. A common distinction is whether they focus on vertical seam metal roofing or modular panel metal roofs that look like wood shakes, slate, tile, or other materials. However, amongst the vertical seam products, you will find further differentiation with manufacturers producing exposed fastener products, nail hem panels, true clip-fastened standing seam panels, and mechanically-seamed standing seam panels. Amongst the modular panel manufacturers, you will find companies specializing in painted products, usually using the industry-leading PVDF technology, and stone-coated products. As you start to zero in on the style of metal roof that best meets your needs and the architectural design of your home, we suggest choosing a supplier and manufacturer that has significant experience with your preferred style of metal roofing.
Taking into account the “ship-to” location of your new roof is important. Here’s why:
If the choice for your home is a vertical seam roof, the panels will likely be ordered in custom lengths sized from the bottom of the roof to the peak. On many homes, these panels can be from 15 – 30’ in length or even longer. Shipping these panels over long distances can be quite costly. While shipping a long distance may be necessary for Premium Grade panels, lower grade panels are produced regionally and may only need to be shipped 50 miles or less depending on where you live. The required shipping distance will impact your cost as well as the embedded energy in your roof’s environmental footprint.
“Modular” metal roofs that look like shingles, wood shake, slate, or tile are much easier to ship because they are palletized and do not involve long panels. These products are regularly shipped across the country as well as overseas by US and Canadian manufacturers.
The experience level of your metal roofing supplier is very important. There are things that companies learn to do better over the years, especially in the areas of flashing design and installation details, that impact a roof’s long-term performance. Additionally, your metal roofing manufacturer will provide the product warranty for your roof and you will want to seek a manufacturer with proven history and stability that indicates their ability to support any future warranty claims. You will also find that the more experienced and stable manufacturers will usually play industry leadership roles with highly educational websites and active participation in industry trade associations such as the Metal Construction Association and the Metal Roofing Alliance.
- Raw Materials
Be certain to confirm the quality and grade of metals and coatings used by the manufacturers and suppliers you are considering. Many manufacturers are using non-North American metals for their roofing systems as these metals are less expensive. If buying a roof made from USA-produced raw materials is important to you, you can seek out companies that produce their products only from domestic raw materials. An additional way to determine raw material quality is by seeking out suppliers that meet or exceed Metal Construction Association’s Certified Metal Roofing program requirements.
- Pre-Formed Accessories
Most quality metal roofing manufacturers and suppliers offer pre-formed accessories that accommodate all common roofing angles and details. This is very important as their accessories will be made from the same raw material as the roofing panels themselves and will carry the same warranty. Their accessories will also be time-proven and tested as part of the overall roof system. If your metal roofing supplier does not offer pre-formed accessories, then those accessories will need to be formed by your contractor on job site equipment. If that is the case, be sure to ensure that they are forming and shaping them to meet the roofing manufacturer’s specifications. Also, verify who is warrantying the accessories and the metal from which they are formed.
- Service and Delivery
While it is important to know how long it will take to receive your roofing materials (and it could be from a day to several weeks), we strongly suggest doing a little research with your metal roofing supplier to see how responsive they will be should you ever need them down the road. Go to their website and send them an email or complete a response form and ask them some technical questions related to their roofing materials or to your own home’s roof. See how long it takes for them to respond with personal answers. If they do not give a timely and personal response to a prospective customer, it is hard to imagine that they will give timely responses to existing customers who are experiencing problems or have questions.
The Product Warranty offered by various suppliers can vary greatly in terms of length, coverage, proration, and transferability. Please keep in mind that you should receive two written warranties upon the completion of your metal roof installation. One will be a Product Warranty covering the integrity and performance of the product and the other will be a Workmanship Warranty.
The Product Warranty will typically come from the metal roofing manufacturer or supplier and the Workmanship Warranty will come from the contractor who installs the metal roof on your home.
Many metal roofing manufacturers produce metal roofing materials primarily for agricultural, commercial, and industrial applications. The common Product Warranty for those types of installations is from 20 – 35 years. Companies specializing in residential roofing materials though, who use top quality raw materials, will provide the longer term warranties that are usually sought after by homeowners. These warranties will often be 40 or more years in length and may even be for the lifetime of the initial owner.
Things to consider carefully as you look at different Product Warranties are:
We believe that our products meet all seven of these requirements. You can experience how we meet requirements for everything from types, styles, and finishes, to our industry-leading warranties by exploring our Isaiah Brand websites.
- Is the warranty prorated over time, meaning that its coverage or ultimate payout reduces the longer the roof has been installed? Some warranties never prorate, some prorate gradually but consistently over time, and some prorate in large amounts, such as perhaps staying at 100% coverage for ten years and then prorating to 50% at year eleven and continuing their proration over time. The proration schedule of your roof warranty plays a role in how much value the roof adds to your home.
- Does the warranty cover specific types of possible product failures or does it just have a blanket “manufacturers defects” or “cosmetically acceptable” warranty? The latter two can be very difficult to make claims on as they are very subjective and interpreted differently from manufacturer to manufacturer. We suggest looking for product warranties with specific coverage for coating adhesion and performance, panel integrity, fade, and chalk.
- Is the warranty transferable to future owners of your home? Some warranties never transfer, some may transfer once or twice, and some transfer unlimited times over the duration of the warranty. A warranty with limited transferability may indicate the manufacturer’s lack of complete confidence in their product.
We hope that this list helps guide you to a metal roofing supplier who is equipped to meet the needs of you and your home. As always, contact us or call us at 1-800-543-8938 whenever we can be of help or guidance.