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Posted by McElroy Metal ● Jul 23, 2020 12:58 PM

Recover Systems Price is Competitive With Single-Ply

There are literally thousands of existing metal roofing systems, many up to 50 to 60 years old, which need replacement. Building owners looking for quick fixes need to be aware of some inexpensive and short-term options.

The roofing team here at McElroy Metal has developed some long-term options that allow metal roofing installers to compete with roofers offering short-term, non-metal systems.

New McElroy Metal recover systems price-competitive with single-ply

“We’re trying to increase the value for building owners by providing the most durable system at the lowest possible cost,” says Charlie Smith, National Recover Manager at McElroy Metal. “As far as I know, no one else is doing this. McElroy Metal is on the leading-edge, developing better ideas and getting patents for them.”

Exposed fastener R-panels

McElroy Metal has been issued patents on two frameless systems to recover the most prevalent metal roof panels in open frame metal buildings: exposed fastener R-panels and 3-inch tall trapezoidal standing seam.


Both systems weigh about two pounds per square foot. “We use tall clips, fasteners, and insulation with our recover systems,” Smith says. “A major advantage of these systems is not having to add edge or corner framing to meet the wind uplift pressures on the vast majority of existing buildings with 5-feet on-center framing.


“We also received a patent on an inexpensive natural light strip that can be utilized with either system, so the owner can keep or increase the natural light entering his building with a minimum chance of leaks.”


Metal buildings became a popular and economical method of construction in the 1960s and early 1970s. The R-panel and trapezoidal standing seam roofs on these buildings are showing their age. Metal roofing manufacturers have been able to offer several options to replace these roofs, everything from the expensive tear-off and replace, to the metal-over-metal recover through the use of sub-purlins between the old and new roofing system.


Metal offers the best long-term solution, but price often pushes building owners to look for less expensive options – mostly short-term alternatives when compared to metal.


“The first thing people want to try is a coating,” Smith says. “And they may get a warranty, but a coating is a Band-Aid, not a permanent fix. For about twice as much as a coating, they can go to a single-ply guy and get a 15- to 20-year warranty.”

Single-Ply Alternatives

Single-ply systems have been winning a large portion of these re-roofing jobs, according to Smith, and it’s all about price and perceived value. “Single-ply may not be the best solution in many of these cases,” Smith says. “There are aesthetic as well as attachment issues. Also, these structures are designed to have water flowing down individual panels. Without individual panels, water tends to flow toward the mid-span of the purlins over time and this has caused some collapses of single-ply recovers over trapezoidal roof panels.


“Now, instead of offering a solution that will be twice as much as the single-ply system, a high-end standing seam roof can be installed for about the same price or as little as 25 percent more.”

Smith says that evens the playing field and provides a roof that will last for many decades, as opposed to a single-ply system with a much shorter life expectancy.


Titan Roof of Nashville, Tenn., has been using the 238T panel to recover both R-panels and trapezoidal panels. Vice president Ches Booker says this method of recover saves his crews time and saves the customer money as compared to employing a zee purlin retrofit system.

“We’ve been using this system for a couple of years and metal is the long-term solution,” Booker says. “McElroy Metal is on the cutting edge with the tall clips. Depending on the job, there can be an enormous savings as compared to using sub-purlins.”

238T Before Seaming238T Retrofit

The 238T Retrofit Clip is what sets apart the metal-over-metal recover system from McElroy Metal. The 238T Retrofit Clip works with the company’s 238T symmetrical standing seam panel by sitting between the ribs of the existing roof and holding the new panel above the ribs of the existing roof while attaching to the purlin below. When installing over an existing R panel, the ideal width for the 238T panel is 24 inches, with clips attached to the purlins between every other rib of the R-panel. This system eliminates the need for sub-framing.


Booker says Titan Roof installs single-ply roofing as well, but generally educates the customer to make the long-term choice for a similar price. “We use iso insulation with single-ply roofing and it’s expensive and requires a lot of fasteners.” He says. “The sub-purlins also require a lot of fastening. With the 238T and the tall clips, we can use special form cut EPS or roll out unfaced batt insulation. That saves time and money.


“When we’re done, the customer has a roof that offers longevity and less maintenance.”

Roofmasters Roofing and Sheet Metal of Hays, Kan., has installed the 238T panel over R panels and trapezoidal panels as well. Roofmasters owner Lucas Haines says he also has installed plenty of single-ply membranes and sloped metal framing with metal roofing. The 238T panels allow Roofmasters to stand out from the competition.


standing-seam-metal-roof-retrofit-solar-panelsSymmetrical panels allow us to start practically anywhere on the roof and work each way,” Haines says. “The details at transitions are easy to follow and are sensible. The tall clips are the major advantage which allow for the roofing system to be installed without costly added light-gauge framing. Any time you can remove a step from an application, time will be saved during installation. Handling time is less, installation time is less, which allows the customer to receive a quality product at a cost-effective price point.”


On top of the price savings for the customer, Haines says the symmetrical panel with tall clips adds less load to an existing structure. “The symmetrical panels are easy to remove and replace in the field when the customer may have to make a change of mechanical equipment,” Haines says. “The panels are typically 24 inches wide and extremely fast to install. Another advantage is the added insulation and R-value that can be installed between the existing roofing and the new symmetrical panels. Who doesn’t want to save money on heating and cooling costs?


Another great advantage to both a building owner and a competitive advantage for installers is the fact that the system doesn't have any penetrations into the existing roofing that cannot be covered up with roofing panels. No penetrations left exposed to the elements means no leaks.”


Set up a Meeting with our Recover Specialist Charlie Smith

CTA for recover guide


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, Recover and Retrofit, Exposed Fastener Panels, Standing Seam Systems, R-Panel, 238T Metal Over Metal, Cost

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