Deciding on a roof for a new building or a re-roofing j is difficult. It’s easy to see why it can be challenging to make sense of all the voices involved, given the variety of viewpoints and concerns of architects, designers, contractors, suppliers, building departments, architectural committees, subcontractors, and building inspectors (and there may be others!). But, after thirty years in the industry, I know better than to demand harmony from that chorus. Find the best Standing Seam.
First and foremost, remember that most designers and contractors have established relationships with specific roofing companies and that those roofing companies tend to have relationships with particular roofing material suppliers. There will be a thousand excuses why it’s too expensive, too complicated, hard to find, etc., if they don’t require prior knowledge or interest in the roofing material. In general, builders would rather not have to work with something they are unfamiliar with, and this is especially true for roofing materials.
Recently, I encountered an impasse between the client’s desired features for their new home (an energy-efficient metal roof) and the contractor’s desired features (an asphalt composition roof). The client had committed to the rebuilding of their forever home by signing a contract. They wanted it to be a suitable structure that wouldn’t put a strain on the environment and would also look great. After starting the project, they realized they wanted a metal roof for its longevity and energy efficiency, so they contacted me.
When I learned they were already working with a general contractor, I politely asked if I could introduce myself and provide details about the metal roofing options their client was considering. They looked at me as though I had threatened an OSHA inspection. The call dropped off the hook. After getting a negative response from the contractor, I called the client to let him know. With the client’s assurance that I wasn’t wasting my time, I persevered through the unfriendly welcome from the folks wielding the hammers.
I proceeded to measure, specify, and prepare a variety of colors and samples. The client was adamant about getting a roofing material that was good for the environment, would reflect a lot of solar heat to reduce cooling costs, and would last as long as they did (in this case, forever). Everything you’d want in a high-quality metal roof. It’s too bad the contractor didn’t put quality control first.
The client went through the trouble of selecting colors and reflective liners for beneath the exposed metal, along with the accompanying accessories and accents, only be left with an asphalt roof in the end. ASPHALT SHINGLES! The WORST for the planet, with the shortest lifespan and stance to solar heat. Cheapest roofing material available. This brings us to their ideal dwelling. That’s a complete U-turn.
The contractor’s option won out even though the homeowners wanted a metal roof because of its durability, aesthetic appeal, and financial feasibility. The contractor persuaded the customer that the project’s timeline would suffer if they decided to use something other than the asphalt roof that had been planned. That’s ridiculous; it wouldn’t have acted in that way. The contractor, however, was not interested in including this “green” enhancement in his project since he did not want his little, reliable source of income to be disrupted by introducing an unknown variable. After hearing the contractor’s concerns (including “…it would need new engineering…”), I could only chuckle at the client. It’s inaccurate that “…it would change the ventilation…” because the metal roof was jusinaccurateavy as the asphalt roof. While it’s true that “…it might hold up the job…” if installing a metal roof on top of a composite roof, that’s not the case. False – more experienced roofers are available now than ever, and metal roofing is just as accessible as asphalt shingles.
It’s further proof that the person in charge is whoever is physically there on the job site, managing traffic and overseeing an unfinished structure while the clock keeps ticking. Green, long-lasting roofing? Perhaps at a later day!
Most professionals in any field develop a sense of comfort with a routine they’ve settled into and will resist change and feel comfortable that the most prevalent roofing material, asphalt shingles, is also the one with which most contractors and designers are most familiar. Although they are the cheapest and have the shortest lifespan, they are the quickest to install and call for minor expertise on the installer’s part. The ease of installation alone makes them very appealing to the typical builder.
Many architects and builders have a limited understanding of roofing goods and materials, which may surprise the general public. Don’t trust someone who doesn’t make a life studying roofing materials to ensure your next roof project turns out great. Do not take the advice of someone who will never occupy your home, such as your builder, but rather do your research and base your decision on common sense and your priorities. You might be shocked to learn that many architects are unaware of the various benefits of metal roofing, even though many of them have previously created hundreds of custom houses and even though they are counseling their clientele.