Residential retrofit ’08: ABC

It’s not quite as easy as sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring, but that’s how most of Dennis Wenger residential re-roofing jobs come in.

Actually, Wenger’s roofing company, Skyline Roofing of Harrisonburg, Va., works hard to stay busy. And Skyline Roofing stays pretty busy.

“We do a local home and garden show every year,” Wenger says. “We have a slide show of jobs we’ve done. This year’s show was about two months ago and we’ve picked up three or four jobs from that already. More and more people are shopping for metal and there’s about three or four contractors around here we compete with.”

Skyline Roofing installs roofing from American Building Components for residential applications in approximately an 80-mile radius. Wenger says most home-owners he deals with choose the SL-16 profile with striations. ABC’s SL-16 is a 16-inch wide snap-lock panel with one-inch leg. Wenger says most customers prefer panels with striations to keep the appearance of oil canning to a minimum. “There’s always a few customers who like the flat pan and they understand it will show oil canning more, but that’s what they want,” he says. If they know what they want, he doesn’t try and talk them out of it.

The good news is Harrisonburg-area consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about metal roofing. “A lot of people want metal until they see the price,” Wenger says. “The up-sell of metal right now for us is the energy efficiency. Asphalt absorbs heat; metal reflects heat. Energy savings get people excited. And we sell on the fact that metal is a long-term investment.”

While residential installations comprise of only about one-third of Skyline’s work, Wenger honestly says the attraction to maintaining a residential presence in the market is the margins. It’s a niche market that requires a true craftsman to install it correctly. Wenger says the quality metal product from ABC and his craftsmanship are the selling points to residential customers. “Anyone can nail down an asphalt shingle,” he says. “Plus customers recognize this will be the last roof they will have to put on. They’re sick and tired of messing with shingles every few years. With metal, they never have to mess with their roof again.”

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