Expert Todd Miller’s Top 10 Metal Roofing Considerations
Does your home need a new roof? Homeowners are increasingly considering metal as an option when re-roofing their homes as well as when building new homes. I have created this list of the “Top Ten Metal Roofing Considerations.”
My Top 10 Metal Roofing Considerations for Homeowners
- What warranties will you receive with your new roof? You should receive warranties both for the product and for the installation workmanship. Make sure that you understand these warranties, know who is providing them, and what the warranty limitations are. Some warranties are much stronger than others in terms of what they cover. Be sure to look at the pro ration and transferability of the warranties.
- Is the product you’ve chosen appropriate for your roof? Various metal roofing materials have certain limitations such as minimum pitch. Even if you have to send photos of your home to the manufacturer, make sure that the product you have chosen is appropriate for your home. Warranty coverage will be lost if not.
- How experienced are the installers? Even the best product, improperly installed, will be a bad situation. Make sure that your installers are experienced with your product and your type of construction. Talk to past customers.
- Do you have low-pitched roofs connected to your metal roof? A different type of roofing material can be required on low pitch roofs. Many of these materials will need to be replaced sooner than your metal roof. Make sure that the junctions between different roofing materials have been designed to allow for easy replacement of the low-pitched roofing.
- How will the penetrations on your roof be flashed? Many roofing materials are heavily dependent upon sealants to seal around chimneys, skylights, vents, and pipes. While sealants will be used on your metal roof, they should not be the sole line of defense against water intrusion. The sealants will not last as long as the metal roof in most cases. Quiz your installer on how things will be flashed to ensure long term performance without sole dependence on sealants.
- Does your roof have areas where debris collects? This could be ice, snow, tree leaves, pine needles, etc. If this is a problem on your roof, there may be special ways to install your roof which help to allow for this collection of debris without damage to your roof. In some cases, the goal is to provide clear paths for debris to exit the roof, or to be cleaned off periodically. Feel free to consult with me or your roofing manufacturer if you have concerns along these lines.
- Do you have attic ventilation needs that should be addressed at the same time that your home is roofed? Proper ventilation will help save summer energy costs and will help avoid an unhealthy and potentially damaging build-up of moisture in your attic. Good ventilation requires both intake and exhaust vents.
- What sort of coating will be on your metal roof? With most metal roofs, the coating provides beauty and protection. A good coating will be fade and chalk resistant and as resistant as possible to streaking and staining. In my experience, the best coatings are those sold under the trade names of Kynar 500® and Hylar 5000® PVDF resin-based finishes.
- What is the condition of your current roof? Many residential metal roofs are ideal for going over existing shingle roofs. There should always be a layer of underlayment installed over the old shingles in these cases. Additionally, any existing leaks or areas of bad decking on your roof must be addressed before the new roof is installed. In most cases, dips and swales in your roof are structural and will still be visible with the new roof.
- Does your roof have flared gables? This is a situation on some home designs by which the ridge (or “peak”) of the roof is wider than the eave (bottom edge) of the roof. This can be a striking design element, but it does not work well with some metal roofing gable end treatments. Make sure that you do not learn this the hard way. If your home has flared gables, make certain that the gable edge treatment being used when your metal roof is installed will not trap water, ice, snow, and other debris.
And, finally, without expanding the list to be eleven considerations, please also know whether your metal roof is quality-certified by the Metal Construction Association. This is a strict quality control program developed by the industry to help ensure quality products in the marketplace.
Kynar 500® is a registered trademark belonging to Arkema Inc.
Hylar 5000® is a registered trademark belonging to Solvay
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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