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Posted by McElroy Metal ● Feb 1, 2022 12:42 PM

How to select a metal roofing contractor

Installing a new metal roof on your home is a big project for most homeowners. The expense and expectations for a new metal roof underscore the importance of finding a trusted roofing contractor to ensure proper installation.

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Once you have decided that you need a new roof and recognize all of the benefits that metal roofing offers, the next step is to identify qualified contractors in your area who specialize in metal roofing. Past hard-earned experiences mean most homeowners know that selecting the wrong contractor increases the likelihood of things that can go wrong.

As you might guess, contractors that only “dabble” or occasionally install metal roofing often steer homeowners toward shingles because it’s their comfort zone. Do not let their comfort zone push you to accept a shorter-term solution for one of the most significant investments you have, your home.

These next steps are critical. Before picking up the phone or sending an email to request an estimate, take the time to check out the contractors in your area.

Ask Around

Talk to family and friends that have installed a metal roof and ask about their experience. 

Look for recent new roofing projects in your neighborhood and ask who they used as their contractor. Nothing beats a referral and a specific understanding of how a contractor performed.

It’s usually wise to go for local roofing contractors when possible. The fact that they’re operating in your area typically means they can be much more responsive and able to provide the best possible service compared to out-of-town contractors. 

A local roofer’s knowledge of local building codes also makes hiring them an advantage, as that familiarity reduces the chances of any non-compliance issues.

You might also find sites like Home Advisor, ThumbTack, and the Better Business Bureau helpful.  Look for good reviews, ratings, and a high number of projects.

Search the internet

Residential Westpoint, CAStart with a search for terms like “metal roofing contractor” or “metal roofing installation” and you will find a list of local contractors.

While reviewing contractor websites consider:

  • Customer testimonials and product types offered.
  • Their posted content on substrates and paint systems.  And if they don’t share this information on their website, make a note to reach out and ask.
  • If they happen to list any vendors on their website, check out those websites, too.
  • If they blog, take the time to read several articles and decide if they seem like a reputable company you’d like to work with.

NOTE: Not all contractors have a website. The absence of a website doesn’t necessarily spell concern. Some smaller contractors do excellent work but haven’t invested the money or resources required to have a website. So while reviewing contractor websites should be a part of your research, don’t exclude someone from your consideration simply because they don’t have their own website.

Search the contractor’s business name and pull up their Google My Business listing. There are often many informative reviews and comments on this page.

And don't forget to see if they have a Facebook page. The chances are good that you can find a wealth of information by looking at their followers and the comments on their posts.

If you’re having trouble finding contractors with experience in metal roofing, check out the “Find a Metal Roofing Contractor” feature on our website. Simply enter your zip code, adjust the desired distance range, and select “Residential Roofing” from the drop-down menu on the right side under the “Project Type” selector box. You’ll find a list of installers in your area who have experience with metal roofing projects. Not all of our contractor customers choose to list on our website, so please contact us if your search doesn’t return any results.

Reach out to contractors

Contractor image 3-1After you’ve done your research and identified your top two or three contenders, it’s finally time to make the call. Ask about their experience, product recommendations, and process when you reach out.

While you’re certainly not limited, below are a few questions to help as you begin your conversations with contractors:

  • How long have you been installing residential metal roofing?
  • How many different metal roofing projects have you completed?
  • What other types of systems have you used?
  • What substrate do you use?
  • What paint system do you use for residential metal roof projects, and why?
  • What training has your crew had for residential metal roofing?
  • What warranty can I expect on both the product and the installation?
  • Does the warranty include labor or just product replacement if I have a claim?
  • Could you give me a list of references where you’ve completed residential metal roofing?

Experience is a critical component for metal roof buyers when selecting a contractor. A contractor with years of experience offers obvious benefits over those new to installing residential metal roofing.  

More experienced roofing contractors are also familiar with a broader range of roofing situations and are presumably better equipped to deal with them.

Lastly, remember that price is important, but it is not the only consideration. Most people are willing to pay a few dollars more for a responsive, available, and courteous contractor who has the right level of experience installing metal roofing.

Get references

It’s important to request references from the contractor’s existing customers. Yes, they will most likely be the happiest ones, but that is OK if the contractor has many long-term satisfied customers. 

Always ask a prospective roofing contractor if they have a portfolio of roofs installed or repaired in the past. That way, you will be able to see the quality of their work for yourself, which should help you determine if they are the best fit.

A typical portfolio for roofing contractors consists of printed photos in a photo album or digital pictures on laptops or tablets. Videos are pretty standard, too, especially with easier access to aerial drone technology, which can give you a much closer look at their work.

Confirm licensing and industry associations

Proper licensing and insurance are a must. Each state is different, so dig in and learn what is required to be a roofing contractor in your state. The roofing contractor should have insurance for all employees and subcontractors and be willing to provide you with a copy of their insurance certificate for verification. Be wary of any contractor that hesitates to share this information. 

Click here to learn more about state-by-state licensing requirements for contractors.

With their license, you’ll know that a roofing contractor is qualified to provide roof repair and replacement services in your area. Being a licensed roofer also indicates that they’re compliant with the state’s laws and guidelines covering the roofing industry.

Insurance, on the other hand, is your guarantee that you won’t be held liable for any third-party personal injury or property damage that occurs while they’re working on your roof. Conversely, if you hire an uninsured roofer, you will likely be responsible for any such incident that may occur.

Licenses and insurance policies also help you ensure that the roofer you’re hiring is not a “storm chaser,” a derogatory term used to describe contractors posing as roofers and offering their services to unwitting customers, usually after severe weather.

Far too many homeowners have fallen prey to these storm chasers, who often charge lower rates to draw in more customers but provide a rushed and sub-par job—if they do any work at all.

The next step is to request a metal roofing estimate.

A roofing contractor quote indicates the cost of labor and materials, start and finish dates, and waste disposal plans, among other things. It’s important to request quotes from three or more prospective roofing contractors.

With multiple quotes in your hand, you can make a clear comparison between them, allowing you to see which one would work best for you.

It’s also important to make sure there are no surprises or changes after making your contractor and materials choices. Consequently, if they didn’t visit your property during the bidding process, a site visit is a must before signing any contracts.  Site visits ensure contractors understand the current condition and any unique aspects of your home. 

Read every contract very carefully before signing. Successful roofing contractors will be more than happy to sit down with you and make sure you understand all aspects of the project. If a roofing contractor isn’t willing to invest the time to ensure your understanding and agreement of the contract, it shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

Additionally, all roofing materials and quality should be guaranteed for a period of time. Make sure you understand the warranty that comes with your new roof as well as what it does and doesn’t cover. 

The roofing material itself should come with a 20-to-40-year warranty from the manufacturer. Be sure to check out the resolution path for warrantable claims. Some remedies are limited to only the amount paid for the material, while others include labor to remove the bad material and replace it with new material. The financial difference between these two approaches is substantial!

Beware of any contractor who says they are a claim specialist or will handle your insurance claim. This practice is prohibited in most states. Tread lightly if you hear contractors using this type of language. This situation often occurs in the immediate aftermath of a storm or other natural disaster.

Don't cave in to pressure tactics. If you feel pressured or face a take-it-or-leave-it ultimatum, you should strongly consider walking away. A reputable contractor will go at your pace and be busy enough not to need to pressure you into signing a contract.

Read this article for more helpful tips - Keys to a Successful Residential Metal Roofing Project.

Make sure you are getting the best materials

MCA Certification Logo with borderWhile contractor selection is critical to an excellent residential metal roofing installation, ensuring you’re receiving certified products is also essential. The UL Label and the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval are two examples intended to give consumers a level of confidence in the products they choose. The  Metal Construction Association is the equivalent certification standard for metal roofing products.

The Metal Construction Association (MCA) is an organization of manufacturers and suppliers whose metal products are used in structures worldwide. Since it was formed in 1983, the MCA has focused on promoting the use of metal in the building industry through marketing and education. The MCA also developed a Metal Roofing Certification program to assist homeowners and professionals in choosing the right metal roof based on their needs.

The MCA Roofing Certification is based on industry standards published in the Guide Specification for Residential Metal Roofing. This program offers certification in the categories of both substrates and coatings.

Roofing products that meet the MCA Metal Roofing Certification criteria may be promoted as “Metal Construction Association Certified Premium Painted™,” “Metal Construction Association Certified Standard Painted™,” or “Metal Construction Association Certified Natural™.” Look for this label on bundle packaging of metal roofing panels. 

This Certified Premium Painted label is your assurance that your roof panels are coated with a high-quality Kynar 500® (PVDF) coating. Kynar 500® is a fluoropolymer (polyvinylidene fluoride or PVDF) resin used by leading paint manufacturers to create long-life coatings for many end uses, including metal roofing and siding.

Because Kynar 500® offers the most outstanding protection against panel fade and chalk, homeowners have the assurance that their homes will still look great decades after the initial installation.

Choosing the right contractor who uses the best metal roofing materials is critically important to ensure that your project goes smoothly and you will enjoy the benefits of your new metal roof for decades.

If we can be of any help on your journey to source the best products and installers, please contact us.

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Learn everything you need to know about Residential Metal Roofing. Check out our metal roofing resources for inspiration and answers to your questions.

About McElroy Metal

Since 1963, McElroy Metal has served the construction industry with quality products and excellent customer service. The family-owned components manufacturer is headquartered in Bossier City, La., and has 13 manufacturing facilities across the United States. Quality, service and performance have been the cornerstone of McElroy Metal’s business philosophy and have contributed to the success of the company through the years. As a preferred service provider, these values will continue to be at the forefront of McElroy Metal’s model along with a strong focus on the customer.

Topics: Metal Roofing, FAQ

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