Rethinking Low Weight
In this issue of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report, I want to continue taking a fresh look at the benefits of metal roofing and discuss creative, new ways to make them emotional and relevant to homeowners. In past issues, we have reviewed increased home value and beauty, and I now want to take a closer look at the low weight benefits of residential metal roofing.
When making their reroofing decision, homeowners rarely research or consider the weight of various solutions. We spend the majority of our lives under-roof and never consider its weight baring down on the structure around us. Yet, depending on the system, the roof can weigh anywhere from 1,200 – 36,000 pounds!
Metal roofing is truly the only low weight solution available, but before you can leverage this benefit, you must first help homeowners grasp the weight of alternatives and understand its consequences. A heavy roof wears on the structure of the home. We know a typical metal roofing customer plans to stay in their home long term – they need the structure to stay as healthy as possible. Below are some new units of measure to help homeowners grasp how heavy a roof can be. No one would want these sitting on their home!
At 30,000 – 36,000 pounds, a slate or tile roof can weigh as much as three Asian elephants, three tiny houses, five Hummer H2s, or 1,455 tires.
At 7,500 to 10,500 pounds, an asphalt shingle or synthetic roof can weigh as much as a John Deere 420 tractor, one African elephant, three hippopotamuses, or 455 tires.
When put in these terms, homeowners quickly become conscious of a roof’s weight and how it will impact the long-term health of their home, and you have created context for them to see value in your low weight solution.
Reducing the home’s structural load is the primary benefit of installing a low weight roofing system. Especially this time of year, many of us are conscious of losing a few pounds to preserve our body, what if homeowners could do the same for their home! Doctors all use the analogy of how we would feel if we were no longer carrying around a couple gallons of milk or a spare tire around our waist. We can multiple that by hundreds for the roof!
Here are some under-sold, additional benefits and how they are relevant to the homeowner:
- A low weight roof will increase the chances of a home surviving a tragic fire. With less weight to bear, the structure of the home will hold up longer, giving firefighters longer to save it.
- A low weight solution gives the homeowner the option to roof over a layer of existing asphalt shingles. Every situation is unique, but 60 – 70% of our product every year is installed over a layer of shingles. The asphalt shingle manufacturers, by voiding their wind warranties if the previous roof is not torn off, have propagated a belief that a tear-off is always required. The reality is, when adding a metal roof, you are probably adding less weight than the asphalt shingle lost through degranulation and oil evaporation. By roofing over, you are allowing the homeowners to invest in a premium solution rather than spending to tear-off the previous one. We always advocate inspecting the decking from the attic, and conducting pull-out tests if necessary, but have never seen negative repercussions from roofing-over in 37 years. But, if the homeowner insists they want the previous roof torn off, you never argue with the one writing the check!
- A low weight roofing system creates a safer environment for your crew members and preserves their longevity. They no longer spend all day carrying 1/3-square bundles of asphalt shingles up a rickety ladder, allowing you to retain experienced craftsmen and maintain the highest level of quality. Our products are all packaged in either one-square or half-square boxes weighing 40 lbs.
- With the unique printcoat technology transforming our industry, when it comes time for homeowners to replace their old slate or tile roof, you are able to provide a beautiful emulation without all the weight. Their homes were originally built to withstand the weight of these systems, but they are often older homes that have already born the weight for a hundred years. Too often these homeowners go back with slate or tile – compromising the future performance of the home’s structure – or, due to cost, choose asphalt shingles – compromising all character and architectural integrity of the home. You can provide them a low weight, moderately-priced alternative.
Homeowners do not naturally consider weight when making their re-roofing decision. But if you first make them aware of the wide weight variation between alternatives, and help them grasp the ramifications, you can make it a key component of their criteria and build value in your low weight solution.
Thank you for reading and participating in this conversation. I would love to learn how you sell the low weight benefits of metal roofing, please reach out through my contact information below! And, as always, please do not hesitate to let me know how we could be serving you better.
Mark your calendars for the Metal Roofing Summit: March 13 – 15, 2017 in Piqua, OH!
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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