With a hot U.S. housing market and still-favorable interest rates, the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) is predicting a heavier than usual demand for qualified metal roofing installers and contractors for spring 2018.
For building owners planning improvement projects this season, that means the time to swing into action is now, says MRA Executive Director Renee Ramey. That’s especially true for metal roofing, which is booming in popularity thanks to its durability and performance in severe weather.
“Not only are we seeing more demand in general, we’re also coming off a tough winter which leads to the need for more qualified re-roofing contractors,” says Ramey. “In many cases, homeowners should be aware that these factors can increase the competition and the timeframe for being able to complete re-roofing projects.”
Even with the flurry of activity predicted for this spring, MRA is cautioning building owners to take their time and do their homework to vet contractors thoroughly before embarking on any re-roofing job. Inexperienced installers may prey on the impatience of building owners and the high market demand, using it as a means to overcharge or push sub-quality services and materials. Inadvertently or not, rushed contractors under pressure or anxious to get to their next job may cut corners or overlook key details, so it’s up to building owners to make sure the job is done to their satisfaction each step of the way.
“No matter what the material, a new roof is a major investment, so building owners will want to take the necessary steps now to ensure their building is protected, comfortable and will perform reliably for many years to come,” says Ramey.
MRA is reinforcing these tips for building owners seeking quality metal roofing installers this year:
- Don’t assume all roofers are equally skilled
Some contractors push homeowners towards a certain roofing material, not because it’s the best or most appropriate for their building, but because it may simply be the option the installer is most familiar with. Make sure your installer is properly trained, experienced and skilled in installing metal roofing. Ideally, look for a roofer that has been in business for at least five years; roofers who don’t do quality work usually don’t last that long.
- Get referrals
Reputable installers are typically involved in the industry and are committed to keeping abreast of the latest trends and techniques. Check to see if the prospective installer is a member of MRA and other reputable trade alliances. Be sure to ask for and contact recent references. When contacting references, ask if they were satisfied with the work, if the process went smoothly, if the installers were careful and courteous and they did what they promised, including sticking to the estimate and change orders. Also, ask the installer to provide you with a few recent job locations so you can drive by and check out the work. While pictures may be helpful, there’s nothing like seeing how a roof looks first-hand.
- Do your own homework
With metal roofing alone, there are hundreds of different options, material types, finishes and installation techniques. Request the highest-rated, longest lasting material you can afford and always do your own research for whatever product recommendation your installer suggests, verifying it’s what you want for your home. For resources about metal roofing materials, styles and options, check out www.metalroofing.com or visit the manufacturer’s website directly.
- Protect yourself
Make sure that installers are licensed, insured and carry workers’ compensation coverage. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof-of-insurance certificates and the insurance agent’s name. A reputable installer won’t hesitate to provide you with that information. Don’t pay the full amount of a job upfront; ideally, pay one-third upfront for materials, and the remainder when roofing and clean up are completed to your satisfaction. It goes without saying that evaluating warranties is essential; make sure it covers not only materials and finishes, but leaks, flashing failures and other labor-related defects.
- Be thorough
Putting on a new roof is only part of the equation. Replacing eaves flashing, pipe boots and roof jacks is less complicated when reroofing, so consider having it done at the same time if needed. Be sure to have your contractor or HVAC provider verify proper attic ventilation. Poor ventilation can cause significant damage, high utility bills and worse case, can lead to serious safety issues.
“Metal roofs are one of the most reliable ways to protect a building for the long run,” says Ramey. “We’re encouraging building owners to invest some time and effort upfront before their re-roofing project begins, and it will pay off with many years of loving their new roof.”