The Importance of Wind Resistance
2015 is upon us and now is the time to turn on the engine and make things start happening! Let’s continue our series of looking at how to properly present the primary benefits of residential metal roofing to homeowners. In past issues, we have covered Durability, Beauty, and Low Weight. In this issue of the Executive Report, we will look at how to promote the Wind Resistance of metal roofing.
If you ask a typical homeowner what the enemy of roofing is, the most frequent answer you will receive is “High Winds”. While we know that the list of enemies is far larger than that, you can take advantage of the fact that wind resistance is something homeowners naturally think about when they consider roofing materials. That means that it will be easy to get them to a place of emotional thinking when you present this topic. Everyone has seen pictures of shingles blowing off of roofs. In fact, every time a major wind event occurs, they see those pictures again.
When presenting wind resistance, I like to establish some basic facts with homeowners first. Conventional roofing materials depend upon three things to hold them tight in high winds: 1) Their own rigidity (which usually diminishes with age). 2) Their weight and gravity. 3) Failure-prone sealants. To help demonstrate this, I will take a small stack of business cards and fan them out on the table in front of us, demonstrating how traditional shingles overlap and really don’t have anything to hold them in place.
While this may seem like common knowledge to us, most homeowners have never really thought about just how non-wind-resistant conventional roofing materials are. And, not only can wind get between the shingles or tiles and lift them up, it can also blow rain, snow, and debris underneath of them as well. Again, this is new thinking for most homeowners – and it’s important to make them consider it!
Next, of course, you will present the interlocking nature of metal roofing. It is ideal if you sell a system that has panels which interlock on all sides and edges. Once homeowners are to the point of being aware of the problems faced by other roofing materials, you can present the better option of interlocking metal roofs. Your products feature rigidity, ongoing strength even as they age, and interlocking panels. Those things make a lot of sense to homeowners and can help them to eliminate conventional roofing materials from their consideration set.
A natural next step then is to substantiate your claims by showing the use of metal roofs in high-wind and coastal areas. Many homeowners will agree that they have seen a preponderance of metal roofing in those areas. You can also discuss the fact that many national chains, which must protect hundreds of buildings in all climates, have turned to metal for their roofing.
Next, discuss the wind ratings and approvals held by the roofing product you sell. Explain how metal roofing wind tests are now done on an uplift basis. These tests acknowledge that the strongest wind pressures placed on roofing are not on the windward side of the building but instead on the “back” of the structure. Winds that hit the structure travel up the windward roof plane and “ roll” over the ridge, creating negative uplift pressures on the other side of the structure. Wind uplift tests try to replicate these pressures by “pushing” or “sucking” the panels off of the test roof rather than trying to blow the roof panels out of place.
This is also an opportune time to explain how wind uplift tests are performed on new roofing materials. Most roofing materials lose wind resistance with age as they become more brittle and as sealants begin to dry out and fail. Metal roofs, though, resist this kind of degradation with weather exposure and instead maintain their wind resistance even as they age.
Now, there is one additional topic which gets pretty complex. However, if you sell a module shingle-style metal roof, you can also make the air permeability of your system a selling point. Because of the interlocks between the panels, air can pass between them. This means that the roof covering alone does not bear the entire brunt of the uplift pressures on the “back” side of the roof. This is a very positive thing and, right now, a major research initiative is being undertaken by Metal Construction Association to learn more about this process, and to be able to better explain it to property owners. If you sell metal shingles and would like to discuss this particular benefit in greater detail, please let me know.
Thanks so much for your time in reading these Executive Reports. The positive feedback we receive to them is very encouraging and keeps us doing them. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org whenever I might be of service.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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