It’s all in the Finish: Metal Roofing

I remember growing up and my dad always talking about the “finish”, whether it was with chores at home, or while playing sports, he kept reminding my siblings and me that the “finish” was the most important part. The gravity of that didn’t really hit me until I was a bit older; that in most things in life – if not all – the “finish” really is what we are graded on.

That’s also true when it comes to roofing. I want to look at the “finish” in two different ways in this short blog: 1) Let’s look at the actual FINISH of the product, what is going to keep it beautiful and keep you loving your roof for many, many years and 2) The FINISHED product, were there shortcuts taken during installation, or were the smallest of details attended to – after all, the devil is in the details.

Let’s first look at the choices of “finish” when it comes to roofing options. There are of course temporary roofing solutions, like asphalt shingles. The truth is they have the lowest upfront cost and might look great when first installed. The issue is, of course, their appearance erodes as quickly as the granules fall off, and the streaking and staining that mars the appearance of your beautiful home begins almost immediately. As the shingle manufacturers have pulled out oil content to keep the shingles low cost, they have greatly reduced the life of the shingles. The funny thing is, in name only they have extended the warranties on asphalt shingles, but have written in more loop-holes so that warranty claims are nearly impossible to make.

Then there are stone-coated options, a steel roofing system with granules simply glued down to the panels. Best of both worlds, right? The strength of metal with the familiar appearance of asphalt shingles, but the problem here is that all of the issues that plague asphalt shingles and their aesthetic deficiencies exist on the stone-coated products as well. Granule loss, streaking and staining and possibly even rust are not the kind of “finish” I think most home-owners want.

So painted metal roofing is where you might land, and I’m happy that you have, but let’s be honest – not all metal roofing products are created equally. In order to cut cost, and increase profit margin, some companies have opted to use inferior metals, or lower-grade paint systems – both of which will lead to the “finish” maybe not living up to your standards. Polyester paints – or super-polyesters as they are sometimes called – perform really nicely on some roofing surfaces, but only for about 10 years and then the fading becomes quite dramatic. When I think of a lifetime roof, I am definitely thinking more long- term than 10 years, and so these lesser paint systems just don’t meet my criteria, and I doubt they do yours either.

Now let’s talk about the details of the finished job. How happy would you be if when purchasing your new car you realized that the right turn-signal didn’t work, two floor mats were missing and the front- driver’s side tire was flat – all minor issues in the grand scheme of things; but would you be happy? Of course not, and you shouldn’t be.

The details are often what separates a wonderful experience from a miserable one. When selecting your roofing system, and the contractor that will install it, be sure that they both pay attention to the details. Has the system been designed to hide the fasteners, thus beautifying your home, or does the product leave your home looking like a pincushion with ugly fasteners visible all over? Does the contactor take the time to make sure that the final product is beautiful, or are they happy to just slap the roof on, get paid and get the heck out of Dodge?

Here’s what I recommend so that when your roof is “FINISHED” that you are pleased.

1. If a Lifetime roofing solution makes sense for you, make sure you’re getting a roof where the aesthetic life of the system matches the functional life. Here’s what I mean, don’t buy a roof that you’ll be unhappy to come home to in a few years because it’s no longer beautifying your home, but instead making it an eye-sore on your street. Choose a roofing solution that utilizes a
polyvinylidine fluoride paint system, or PVDF (sold under the trade names Hylar or Kynar), these systems promise and deliver incredible performance of the paint finish – and after-all, don’t you want your roof to look beautiful for a long time?

2. Choose a contractor like Classic Metal Roofs LLC that can point you to hundreds of installed jobs and happy customers. Jobs that you can drive past and see the care with which the roofs were installed, and see for yourself the attention to detail. A history of happy customers and beautiful jobs is a great indicator for the experience you can anticipate with your new roof.

It’s all in the finish. Don’t be duped by a slick sales-pitch or the promise of a “lifetime” roof backed by a warranty with no teeth. Make sure that when your roof is finished, that it is truly the roof you have been dreaming of, and one that you’ll enjoy for years to come.

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Todd Miller

About Todd Miller

Todd Miller is president of Isaiah Industries, Inc., a leading manufacturer of specialty residential metal roofing. Graduating from Bluffton University in 1986 with a degree in Communications, his entire career has been spent in the metal roofing industry. Todd has a passion for helping property owners achieve worry-free roofing futures and he believes that one of the greatest obstacles to that is the huge amount of misinformation that exists in the marketplace and is often provided by contractors who are ill-informed. He frequently can be found on the internet answering homeowner questions about roofing and ventilation as well as other construction and “healthy home” topics. Todd is a founding member of the Metal Roofing Alliance and has also played leadership roles in the Metal Construction Association, and Cool Metal Roofing Coalition as well as numerous local non-profit and religious organizations. Connect with Todd on Linked In, or his roofing help site.

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