Choosing A Metal Roofing Contractor

When choosing metal roofing contractors, consult the checklist below for helpful insights. The questions will help guide you to metal roofing contractors who will offer quality and expertise when it comes to installation, materials and working relationship.

Choosing Metal Roofing Contractors: What You Need to Know

Make sure the contractor specializes in metal roofing.

Some roofing contractors dabble in metal, but mostly do asphalt roofing. Others claim to have expertise in metal roofing, but when you dig deeper, you’ll find they sub-contract metal projects. Make sure the metal roofing contractor you choose is truly a metal roofing specialist.

Ask metal roofing contractors for proof of proper licensing and insurance, and ability to secure proper permits. 

Ask for a copy of the General Contractor’s License prior to signing an agreement. Also verify that they have proof of worker’s compensation insurance for their installation crew to protect you from liability. They should also show you proof of General Liability Insurance. This protects you financially from damage caused to your property during installation.

Make sure metal roofing contractors adhere to current safety requirements. OSHA now requires all roofers to use safety equipment including an anchor point, and OSHA-compliant safety lines and lanyards.

And make sure the company can secure proper permits for the job.

Make sure communication is clear and references are solid.

Technical expertise is critical for all metal roofing contractors, but it’s only part of the job. When you speak with the contractor, everything should be communicated in a clear and concise manner, in a language you can understand. You should never feel pressured, and you should always be treated with respect.

Demand a complete attic inspection as part of the metal roofing sales process.

A complete attic inspection is critical to determining an optimal service plan. A thorough inspection may minimize future problems and unwelcome expenses. Simply inspecting and measuring the roof’s surface is not adequate and is risky to the homeowner. During an inspection, a professional roofing contractor will conduct the following:

  • Ventilation Analysis: Trained metal roofing contractors will understand venting code requirements and ensure that the quote will be accurate. Proper attic venting will prevent mold and reduce energy consumption throughout the seasons.
  • Ventilation Inspection: to ensure you do not have open can vents and gable vents used in unison with a ridge vent.
  • Moisture Inspection: to determine if there is a moisture source that may cause issues in the future.
  • Infrared Temperature Evaluation: Using an infrared heat gun, attic temperatures are checked and recorded at the eave and ridge.
  • Soffit Inspection: Soffit venting is checked for blockage. Since soffit is needed for intake of air, solutions should be recommended in the event of obstruction.
  • Exhaust Venting Inspection: Bathroom and kitchen exhaust vents are inspected to see if they are venting properly through the roof or gable wall and not into a soffit.
  • Structural Inspection: A visual inspection of rafters and sheathing.
  • Heat Source Evaluation: Ductwork and pipes in the attic should be inspected to ensure that there is no evidence of heat build-up or ice.

Make sure metal roofing contractors use permanent roofing materials.

Using appropriate roofing materials ensures that the roof will not succumb to premature failure. Don’t work with a contractor that cust costs by using inferior roofing materials. Check to make sure your contractor uses the following:

  • Premium Ice and Water Shield: On a project that requires a tear off, this is needed six feet up from all eave edges, around all protrusions, and in all valleys.
  • Woven Synthetic Underlayment: should be installed with plastic cap nails, not staples.
  • Interlocking Starter: necessary for high-wind certification.
  • Open Valleys: Open valleys that are self-cleaning are vital, versus closed valleys that allow ice to freeze around them, and can rip apart when ice and snow shift.
  • Baffled High Volume Ridge Vent: should contain 21 square inches of venting per lineal foot.
  • Premium Sealants: versus silicone sealants that can fail with modern ceramic finishes.
  • Energy-Saving Finish: Heat reflective finishes such as Hi-R Kynar will provide you with maximum energy savings and longevity.
  • Hidden Fasteners: versus metal roofs fastened with neoprene screws or rubber washers that can fail and leak due to the sun’s UV light attacking the washer.
  • Four-Way Interlock: These panels prevent debris and wind from getting underneath them. Overlapping panels collect unsightly debris.
  • Permanent Finishes: Steer clear of inexpensive metal products that mimic asphalt by gluing granules to the surface. These granules will come off over time.

Make sure your metal roof is backed by the proper guarantees and warranties.

Ask about the following types of guarantees on the product and installation.

  • Limited Lifetime Non-Prorated Product Manufacturer’s Warranty: This type of manufacturer’s warranty covers 100% of labor and material and is non-prorated. The limits are mostly due to acts of God.
  • Manufacturer’s Transferable Product Warranty (20-40 years depending on product chosen): This warranty should be non-prorated with no limit on the number of transfers.
  • Non-Prorated Installation Warranty (5-15 years depending on product chosen): A contractor’s installation warranty is covered at 100% and is typically non-prorated for a period of 5-15 years. The limits are mostly due to acts of God.
  • Chalk and Fade Warranty: Look for a manufacturer’s 30-year chalk and fade paint-finish warranty.

Ask these questions to make sure things will run smoothly once your metal roof project starts.

Will the project go smoothly from start to finish? These questions can help you ensure smooth sailing long after you sign on the dotted line.

  • Are you a member of any professional industry organizations or have you won awards?
    Membership in the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) or other professional organizations and earned accolades or awards are good signs that the company is a respectable one.
  • What are your policies regarding changes to the agreed work order?
    Does the contractor document all changes on a change order form? When updates aren’t properly recorded, you run the risk of receiving a surprise on your final invoice.
  • What are your job site clean-up standards?
    Do the installers sign a written agreement pledging to do daily job site clean-up and a thorough clean-up of the entire work site when the job is completed?
  • Do you have a Worker Conduct Agreement?
    All workers should sign a compliance agreement that outlines expectations for worker conduct.
  • What training and/or certification does your installation crew have?
    Focus factory certification and continuing education programs are crucial. All installers should receive certification from the manufacturer, and you can ask to see a copy before making your decision.

These helpful insights can save you a lot of time and money, and protect you against unpleasant surprises when choosing metal roofing contractors.