Residential retrofit ’08: ATAS International

If every new home had been topped with a metal roof, there would be no residential re-roofing market. That market is where a lot of metal roofing installers make their living.

Bill Zeigler of Zeigler Contracting in New Ringgold, Pa., is a third generation metal roofing contractor and he’s happy most people installed asphalt shingles on their homes.

“We don’t want to get too big and we don’t want to get into commercial,” Zeigler says. “Housing is down right now, but we’re staying busy. We’ve always got work. We’ll take the small jobs, the little porch or the bay windows. Those jobs often lead to bigger jobs.”

Most residential re-roofing sales are similar, Zeigler says. He humbly admits if he gets a chance to talk with a customer, he can help them see the light when it comes to choosing metal as a re-roofing product. “I had a good teacher,” he says. “My father taught me well.”

For this particular project in Fogelsville, Pa., the homeowner was familiar with metal, but wanted to learn more about re-roofing options for her 30-year-old home. Once Zeigler explained the benefits of metal roofing, it was a no-brainer.

“She lost her husband a while back and she’s got a 12-year-old son,” Zeigler says. “She has no intention of moving in the near future, so she wanted a one-and-done roof. It’s one less headache in the long run.

“The roofing products available nowadays are so much better, with the Kynar finishes and all. Any roofing I do now, I certainly won’t have to worry about going back to replace.”

This home is topped with the Advanta Shingle from ATAS International. The color is Desert Tan. ATAS is Zeigler’s main roofing supplier. In fact, he even does some training for the company with new customers.

“There are some people out there who get into metal to make money,” he says. “It’s not a get-rich-quick thing. At least it isn’t for us. Every roof is different and has to be approached that way.”

For Zeigler, word of mouth is his top salesperson. “That’s why we take the time to install it right,” he says. “We don’t cut corners. On this project, we had to work with four skylights, four valleys — it was a little bit challenging, but not impossible.”

Good work leads to more work, especially in the residential re-roofing market, where people are looking for the best value. A metal roof, installed properly, will provide the best deal.

“When you can offer a lighter material that can be installed right over the top of old shingles, you lower labor cost,” Zeigler says. “When we get up in the Poconos, we find a lot of people who want to ‘keep ahead of the Joneses.’ They’ll say they want something different and better than their neighbor. That’s good for our business.”

Residential re-roofing in eastern Pennsylvania farm country occasionally can be challenging because of the initial investment, Zeigler says. With new homes, price is less of an issue to the customer. “Some people simply don’t have the funds,” he says. “We’ll try to cut them a break on labor to help people out. They know it’s the best choice.”

Better educated customers and a growing customer base in the residential re-roofing market has forced Zeigler to learn more about the wide array metal roofing products available. The first two generations of Zeiglers ran 1-inch field lock panels off a roll former from ESE Machines. Working with ATAS International, Zeigler has more arrows in the quiver, a variety of profiles. Zeigler says ATAS will even make up special trim pieces for him if he draws them up. “Sometimes, the standard trim pieces just don’t look right,” he says.

“I’ve learned that as stuff changes you have to keep up with the times,” he says. “There’s not a panel out there I don’t know at least a little bit about. I have to be able to answer those questions as they come up. I have to know what I’m talking about.”

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