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Do your homework before purchasing that new, metal roof

Spring in Western Pennsylvania kicks off several wonderful seasons — baseball, fishing, picnic and for those of us invested in our homes, roofing season.

Hundreds of hard-working roofers are already dancing across the surfaces of hundreds of roofs, ripping and tossing shingles, tar paper and slate from homes — both new and old. It is a backbreaking and scientific profession; those guys deserve our utmost respect.

Many roofers will be nailing down traditional asphalt shingles. But, as times, technology and consumer preferences change, metal roofing is becoming more popular and with good reason. While asphalt shingles are less expensive, they simply do not have the longevity of metal. Shingles usually have a lifespan of 25 years. But properly installed, high-quality metals can more than double that. Thanks to innovation in the industry, metal roofs hold their color, withstand severe weather and provide a more reflective and energy-saving finished product.

I have studied the pros and cons of metal roofs for several years and installed two of them on my own property. My experience has been overwhelmingly positive, but — buyer beware: Not all metal roofs are the same and the installation process is critically important to the life and performance of the product.

Before committing to a metal roof, it is important to know that the material has to match the pitch and run of your roof. Design and engineering make a difference. Likewise, qualities in paint and coatings vary as does the gauge of the metal. To best understand these aspects of the product, I suggest going straight to the manufacturer. Get the techs and specs from the people who make the stuff.

As for the installation process — and I cannot stress this enough – choose your contractor wisely. During my study of metal roofing materials, I learned a great deal about installation. Unfortunately, what I found out was that the majority of metal roofs are incorrectly installed. Metal roofs may seem simple in design, but they are specific in application. Done wrong, their value is lost.

The roofing manufacturer I chose was very liberal with installation information and I used every bit of what was offered. My contractor was excellent and the payoff is a perfectly performing roof.

Roofing isn’t fun like baseball, fishing and picnics But it’s important. So please do your homework before selecting a metal roof and a roofer. The investment is huge and the payoff should be just as big.

Ed Pfeifer is a freelance columnist for the Tribune-Review and the owner of Pfeifer Hardware Inc., 300 Marshall Way, Mars. If you have questions, call the store at 724-625-9090.


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