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Posted by McElroy Metal ● Mar 21, 2024 8:00 AM

Build to Last: Why Metal Roofing is the Superior Choice for Commercial Buildings

Commercial contractors wear many hats – and we aren't just talking about hard hats!

Planning and development, cost estimation and budget maintenance, paperwork, and more paperwork, as well as overseeing a successful project to completion. There are many facets to your job as a commercial contractor.

commercial-metal-roof-SAIAAnother essential key to building a successful project is guiding your customers to the best material choices for building. We want to offer you, the builder, valuable resources to help your customers make the best choice for your commercial building roofing.

Metal roofing is a superior choice for commercial buildings for many reasons, and your customers will want to know how metal stacks up against other materials, like shingles or membrane systems. This post will answer those questions and give you talking points to share. Here are some common questions from contractors about how to discuss metal roofs with their customers.

How To Talk About Cost

Metal roofing comes with a higher upfront price tag than traditional shingles or membrane systems. While this might raise cost concerns for your commercial customers, several counterpoints must be made:

1. Consider the value of your investment over time

Upfront costs for a superior material pay off over time; the long lifespan of metal means that a replacement will not be necessary for 50-60 years as opposed to the 12-15-year lifespan of a shingle roof or the 25-30-year lifespan of a membrane system. It’s important to realize that metal roofing will last twice as long as other popular options.

2. Consider the value of a low-maintenance roofing system

Metal is known for requiring minimal maintenance and rare repairs – features that save both future costs and future headaches. Shingle roofs are highly susceptible to weather and storm damage, and membrane systems are vulnerable to cracking, punctures, and seam failure. Besides being expensive fixes, these failures can also expose inventory and business operations to the elements that can carry additional expense and stress.

3. Consider the value of reliability

Investing in a superior material provides the best possibility that a commercial building will function without interruption from damages, dangers, or degradation.

blue-icon-warrantyWhat About Warranties?

When selling any product, it’s important to be well-versed in the various warranties your customer can expect. When discussing metal roofing, substrate, paint, and weathertightness warranties are often involved.

Galvalume®and Galvanized are two popular substrates utilized in the metal roofing industry. Galvanized substrates feature a zinc coating applied to the raw steel, while Galvalume substrates feature an alloy of zinc plus aluminum. Performance testing shows that Galvalume offers improved long-term performance and is often backed by a 45-50-year warranty, depending on the supplier. In contrast, Galvanized substrates do not offer a warranty on the substrate. While Galvanized is a better choice in a few limited applications, Galvalume is generally considered the preferred choice for commercial projects.

Beyond the substrate warranty, you’ll also typically find a warranty on the panel finish. At McElroy Metal, we offer three types of coatings - best, better, and good. Kynar 500® (PVDF) coatings are the "best" for long life, color retention, and chalk resistance. Silicone Modified Polyester, often referred to as SMP, is the "better" coating and performs well in general use; however, visible fade and chalk should be expected. In this scenario, polyester represents the "good" coating and is typically only used for basic shade and shelter applications due to its lower performance.

Beyond substrate and finish warranties, some commercial building owners also request a weathertightness warranty. Weathertightness warranties offer contractors and owners an assurance that the building will remain leak-free for a period of time. Most reputable manufacturers, including McElroy Metal, limit weathertightness warranties to their standing seam panel products. If you’re considering including a weather tightness warranty in project specifications, be sure to discuss your expectations for liability limits with all manufacturers included in the specification and ensure your specification is very clear on the desired liability limit.

For more information on our warranties, you can visit this page.

Maxima Curved Metal Roof Installed on Commercial BuildingWhat Design Options Can I Offer My Customers?

Metal roofs come in various styles, colors, and finishes, allowing customers to achieve the desired aesthetic for any commercial property. Metal panels can seamlessly integrate with a range of architectural styles, from contemporary to traditional. There is a metal roof match for every building.

The Metal Advantage: Durability & Efficiency for Commercial Roofing

Durability, cost-effectiveness, and safety are paramount when choosing the right roofing material for a commercial building. While traditional options like asphalt shingles or membrane roofing may seem easy and affordable in the short term, they often fall short in the crucial areas of long-term cost, safety, and lifespan. Alternatively, metal roofing offers many advantages for commercial buildings.

Unmatched Durability: A Lasting Investment

Metal roofs are renowned for their exceptional longevity, easily outperforming other roofing materials. Unlike shingle and membrane systems that only last 15-30 years, metal roofs assure a lifespan often exceeding 50-60 years. This translates to significant savings in the long run, as owners avoid the recurring costs of replacing and repairing their roofs.

Metal roofs are exceptionally resistant to harsh weather conditions. High winds, heavy snowfall, violent hail, and extreme temperatures are no match for this hardy material!
By contrast, membrane systems like EPDM are prone to cracking and seam failure in extreme temperatures and storms.

Most metal panels are rated Class 4, an impact test standard used for shingles and metal roofing that ensures the highest performance and safety standards in any weather. McElroy Metal has over two dozen steel profiles with a Class 4 rating, available in thicknesses down to 29 gauge.

Another benefit of metal roofing is its inherent strength, which minimizes the risk of leaks and structural damage, ensuring a reliable shield for valuable assets and operations. The overall durability and longevity of metal provide a huge advantage you can offer your customers as they plan their building.

Weight Class Advantage: Installation and Infrastructure

Metal roofs are significantly lighter than materials. This reduces the overall weight burden on the building's structure, offering potential benefits regarding foundation design, reduced infrastructure requirements, and lower surrounding costs. For example, lightweight roofing reduces the load on the building's support structure, sometimes allowing for lighter beams, columns, and foundations, leading to cost savings on materials and construction.

Alexander3 (1)An additional bonus

Metal panels can be shipped and installed at a far more attractive rate than many other materials, defraying the overall expense of this investment.

Installation: Quick and Easy

Production speed benefits both customers and contractors. Metal panels often cover from ground to eave or from eave to ridge with a single panel. Between panel length and cover widths ranging from 18”-36” wide, panels install very quickly, allowing significant savings on installation labor and time.

For larger projects, on-site roll forming can save time and remove leak-prone panel endlap conditions. McElroy Metal offers onsite jobsite production where factory personnel use on-site equipment to produce continuous-length panels from eave to ridge in lengths up to 250’. Single-piece panels improve weather tightness and greatly reduce jobsite labor, leading to happy contractors and happy customers! As an added bonus, manufacturing and delivery capabilities do not limit architects' design efforts.

Energy Efficiency: Saving Your Customer Money

Metal roofs significantly reduce a building's energy consumption, cutting down costs for the building's lifetime. In order to maximize energy efficiency, it’s important to investigate colors and paint formulations early in the project planning phase. Color selections in lighter shades can also make a noticeable difference in deflecting heat, which translates to decreased reliance on air conditioning systems and leads to substantial energy cost savings.

Superior Fire Resistance: Ensured Safety and Peace of Mind

Metal roofs offer exceptional fire resistance compared to traditional roofing materials. They are classified as non-combustible, meaning they will not ignite or contribute to the spread of flames in the event of a fire. This significantly enhances the safety of a commercial building's occupants and valuable assets. Additionally, metal roofs can help mitigate the risk of fire damage spreading to neighboring structures, making them a responsible choice for businesses near other buildings.

In Summary

Metal roofs are a wise investment for businesses and a worthy recommendation from commercial contractors. Establish yourself as experienced in the aspects and advantages of metal roofing, and consider McElroy Metal your trusted resource should you have any questions!

About McElroy Metal

Since 1963, McElroy Metal has served the construction industry with quality products and excellent customer service. The employee-owned components manufacturer is headquartered in Bossier City, La., and has 14 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, Onsite Rollforming

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