Residential retrofit ’08: Drexel Metals

With today’s technology, there are many more avenues for building owners, architects and consumers to learn about all types of roofing products. It also seems anyone and everyone is looking for a marketing advantage especially when it comes to making the presentation for a project to re-roof. This makes everyone’s job more difficult during the selling process as you are telling your potential customer something they may already know. Why metal and why should they purchase this from you? Do you focus on the green benefits of cool metal roofing, aesthetics, functionality or dependability? With the threat of a recession, lack of consumer confidence and soaring fuel costs it is becoming more difficult to sell the benefit of the installed price of metal roofing versus the less expensive roof systems even though a metal roof offers so many long term benefits.

Bob Delisle is a commercial product manager for Harvey Industries in Waltham, Mass., a large roofing, window and home improvement distributor serving all of New England. “Metal roofing is one of the most durable roofing materials on the market today,” he says. “Metal roofing allows snow to come off more easily than other roofing materials and thus offers homeowners relief from snow dam conditions. It will be the last roof the owner will need to install.

“Metal roofing can be installed directly over asphalt shingles with the proper barrier — weight is not an issue and it eliminates the need for (and expense of) disposal.”

A quick fact: According to the National Association of Homebuilders Research Center, 20 billion pounds of asphalt shingles are dumped into U.S. landfills every year. If one loaded those in 40,000 pound trailers and lined them up end-to-end they would make a line from New York City to Los Angeles, back to New York City and on to Chicago.

Selling points for metal roofing?
It’s a green product that meets “cool” roofing standards and easily accepts photovoltaic (solar) panels. Metal roofing is low maintenance, durable, lightweight and aesthetically pleasing — and it’s the last roof a homeowner will need. Metal roofing …

— Is wind resistant

— Reflects rather than absorbs the suns energy

— Is manufactured from recycled content

— Is fire resistant

Let the customer know!

Delisle says a company can gain a competitive advantage by eliminating layers and manufacturing their own metal roof systems. “Our mobile metal roofing trucks allow us to service metal roofing customer needs with short lead times,” he says. “By having the products and accessories in stock we can provide the product in a timely manner; we are less reliant on a fabricator. We can also sell the same coil and accessories to our contractor customers who have their own roll forming machine.”

What profiles and why?
The philosophy at Harvey Industries is to go with a single profile in each of markets. “We chose the profile that is the most popular in each of these markets,” Delisle says. “For Vermont we chose the 1-inch mechanical and for New Hampshire/Northeastern Massachusetts we chose the 1-1/2-inch snap lock panel.”

Delisle says Drexel provides his company with exceptional support in the field. Drexel can assist a contractor in estimating and installation of his first project or a new detail he’s encountered for the first time. This takes much of the fear of metal roofing away for the new user.

“A big challenge for the residential re-roofer is educating the consumer of the benefits of using metal roofing over traditional asphalt shingles,” Delisle says. “Also getting traditional asphalt roofers to offer metal as an option is difficult. Overcoming their fear of the product has been a challenge. By having this service and the support of Drexel in the field we’ve successfully converted many roofers to using this product.

“I once heard a owner say ‘why would I install a temporary roof and accept the fact that I’ll have to replace my roof in 10 to 15 years — my roof is the most important part of my home as it keeps my family safe and protects everything I worked for.’ With that being said, why would anyone choose not to install a metal roof — it will be the last roof they’ll need.”

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