Stefan Boyer, vice president of sales at Weatherguard, in Birmingham, Ala., has a pretty clear idea of the typical metal roofing customer: someone aged 55 and up who, more importantly, has lived in the house for an extended period of time and has had some experience with the upkeep a house requires.

Typically, Weatherguard, which specializes in metal roofs, replaces roofs that have asphalt shingles. In some cases, Boyer says, customers inform him that they were assured the shingles would last 30 years but find they’re wearing out early. “That’s not a warm and fuzzy,” Boyer says, “and it makes [our job of] selling metal easier.”

Several Reasons To Buy

The prime attraction for buyers of metal roofs is longevity, and they’re willing to pay two to three times as much for their “last roof.” But metal roofing specialists — such as Quarve Contracting, in Spring Lake Park, Minn. — make a case beyond longevity.

In appealing to customers, co-owner Pat Quarve, who also sells under-40 owners of historical homes, cites insurance discounts, wind and hail resistance, design flexibility, and extended warranties as reasons to choose the smooth metal shingles and shakes his company installs.

Quarve Contracting, which markets itself as a green remodeler and has displayed in the Minnesota State Fair’s Eco Pavillion, also makes a strong case for energy savings. Quarve points out that the layer of air between steel shingles and the roof’s wood sheathing results in a “storm window effect,” which, coupled with reflective coatings on the steel, creates a barrier to heat transfer. A metal roof, in an attic that’s properly vented and insulated to code, can reduce energy consumption by as much as 30%, he says.

Downplaying Negatives

Metal roofing’s negatives include the idea that metal roofs rust (metallic and polymer coatings provide corrosion resistance), sink when stepped on (like walking on any roof), and make a racket when it rains (one study shows noise levels no higher than asphalt or wood shingle roofs). (For more information: metal roofing FAQ.) Boyer says that Weatherguard, installing metal roofs since 1983, has never had a roof blow off. “As long as the house is still standing, we’ve never lost a roof.”

—Jim Cory is editor of REPLACEMENT CONTRACTOR.

Related articles:

Tried & True: A few roofing companies in every market still hand nail shingles

Stormy Weather: Storm work brings big bucks for local roofers

Heavy Metal: Metal roofing leads residential category growth