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Posted by McElroy Metal ● May 23, 2024 8:00 AM

Product Feature: Roof Hugger

Product Feature: Roof Hugger

McElroy Metal is proud to partner with trusted brands like Roof Hugger, to provide the best accessories available. We recently spoke with Dale Nelson, President at Roof Hugger, to learn more about their history, product offering, and what lies ahead.

Take us back to the beginning…tell us how Roof Hugger was started.

DALE-REDBack in 1990, I was asked by my retired, long-time friend and ex-employer, D.V. “Red” McConnohie, to retrofit one of his rental buildings. I organized the project with a bunch of hat channels to be screwed down on top of the old roof and some new roof panels to be installed on them. Red, came by his property and asked what I was going to do. I explained to him the way it was always done, and he replied, “Not on my building”! Ok, I said, but there is no other way to do it. “What do you suggest”? He said, “Give me a couple of days, and I’ll get back to you”.

A week or two later, he came back with the idea of a “Notched Zee” that would fit over and around the corrugations of the existing metal panels and attach directly to the existing purlins. We eventually found a fabricator in Tampa, Florida, and built the first notched zees for his building. They worked perfectly!

colorsectRed then said, “You know, I’ll bet other people could use this, let’s start a business and see if we can sell these to other contractors and manufacturers”.

In 1991, Red McConnohie and Dale Nelson formed Roof Hugger, Inc. and began selling sub-purlins for retrofitting existing metal roofs. In 1994, Roof Hugger was awarded its first of several patents.

How has the direction of your company evolved over the years?

We decided early on that in order to be accepted by the metal building manufacturing community, we needed to do everything we could to meet their standards. We studied their minimum requirements, their testing requirements, and their specifications and structured ourselves to meet all of them. We also joined several associations that are influential in our industry, The Metal Construction Association, Metal Building Manufacturers Association, The Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association, Roof Consultants Institute (now International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants), Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Association.

Tell us about the products you offer to metal contractors.

We offer Roof Hugger sub-purlins for all styles of existing metal roof panels, from the old-style corrugated panels to the latest tall clip trapezoidal standing seam panels. Custom height Roof Hugger sub-purlins are also available when needed for specific conditions or insulation requirements. We also offer structural-grade high-strength hat channels in many different sizes.

Most importantly, we can now provide a no-charge preliminary project analysis to estimate what will be required to meet today’s stringent code requirements.

What is your top-selling metal roof-friendly product?

overlay - both directions-1The products for retrofitting existing “R” panel roofs are still our most popular, that said, over half of our sales are custom-fabricated sub-purlins.

Do you have any new products being released?

Yes, the weight of a retrofit system is always of concern to designers and clients. We have done extensive AISI Continuous Span Base Testing to establish the additional strength Roof Hugger Sub-Purlins can provide to the existing purlins system. This is important, especially when the customer is adding new photovoltaics to an existing building. These systems can add 6 pounds per sq. foot. or more to the existing building. We have created proprietary design software that can determine if Roof Hugger sub-purlins may be able to overcome this added weight and, if so, what size and gauge.

Additionally, we are now testing different reinforced sub-purlins and different tensile strength components to see what we can do to further improve the performance of the newly retrofitted roof.

What are you most proud of about your company?

I am most proud of the people that make up our company. DJ Highnote now heads our operations as I am transitioning into semi-retirement. That said, however, all our staff is knowledgeable and well-trained in retrofit.

We were acquired by the LSI Group, Logansport, IN, in 2016, creating Roof Hugger, LLC, and they have provided the resources and support we needed to move to the next level in our industry. We now have an amazing production ability, great buying power for our high-specification steel, and full support for any future testing or R&D we need to undertake.

What makes your company stand out?

Our in-depth understanding of the metal-over-metal retrofit industry. What it takes to meet the very stringent IBC codes, FM requirements, Texas Wind Storm, or any other structural requirement. Each is specific to the existing building geometry, design, and existing and proposed new panels.

McElroy Metal would like to thank Roof Hugger, LLC, for their partnership, and we look forward to watching their continued growth.

If you would like to know more about Roof Hugger products, please contact us.

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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: Accessories, Product Feature

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