What to Know Before Providing Metal Roofing Services
The most successful roofing companies offer a wide variety of roofing services for various roofing types. Whether you specialize in commercial roofing or residential, provide maintenance, repairs, or a complete replacement, possessing knowledge about metal roofing is essential to growing your business. If you’ve mastered asphalt shingle roofing installations and you are looking to expand your business, you’ve come to the right place.
1. Weigh the Costs
Overall, the North America Roofing Market is expected to reach $47,517.8 million by 2025 (Allied Market Research). In particular, U.S. demand for residential roofing product is expected to grow 1.4% per year to 173.91 million squares in 2022. Anticipated market growth is attributed to the nation’s aging housing stock that will support demand in the re-roofing market for years to come. The highest growth within the U.S. roofing market can be seen in the Southwest (due to weather effects), followed by the West and Northeast. Roofers operating in these regions especially, should consider expanding their services.
In most areas of the country, asphalt is still king because it is significantly less expensive, but metal roofing demand continues to rise in regions experiencing climate extremes, as well as areas where environmental awareness is high. The latest figures from the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) suggest that local demand may be outpacing the supply of qualified roofing installers in some regions, creating a significant opportunity for roofers looking to expand their business.
In 2019, the states whose residential customers expressed the most interest in metal roofing were Florida, Pennsylvania, California, New York and North Carolina, with Texas close behind.
Studies show the residential metal roofing market in the U.S. will continue to grow. A new roofing study from Cleveland-based, The Freedonia Group, notes the U.S. demand for metal roofing is expected to rise 2.7% per year to 32.63 million squares in 2023. Design aesthetics, energy efficiency, solar readiness, and the long-term value are all contributing to the increasing popularity of metal roofing.
Among the metal roofing contractors surveyed, 75% expect the market to grow over the next three years and suppliers echo similar growth expectations. Growth will be driven by the expansion in both commercial and residential markets, as well as an increasing acceptance of metal roofing among property owners. It may be in your best interest to purchase an in-depth report of metal roofing demand by region to get a better understanding of your immediate market and evaluate your business’s potential for growth.
2. Gain Experience
An investment in knowledge pays the best interest! Identifying a metal manufacturer whose product you would like to install is a good place to start. Typically, a manufacturer’s website will provide resources and training materials that you can utilize to learn as much as you can about the product. The manufacturer you select may even offer classes – providing hands-on experience with their product(s).
Speaking of classes, another great way to get in-depth experience and training is by taking advanced classes at an industry event, such as a trade show like the International Roofing Expo. Shows can be a great educational experience – discover new products, network with other metal roofing professionals, and take classes to help build your business.
Finally, industry associations can also be an excellent resource for training materials. The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) offers a variety of resources through their website, as well as continuing education courses and workshops. If your business specializes in residential roofing, you can also find helpful information from the MRA, who helps connect homeowners with expert metal roofing professionals.
Establishing familiarity with one specific manufacturer, taking advantage of training courses, and visiting trade shows, will all help to provide the comfort and confidence you need to take on metal roofing projects.
3. Acquire Quality Tools
Several tools are required to successfully install a metal roof, but you may already have a few of the tools on hand.
Protection and accuracy are key on any job; safety and measuring tools include many items that you could use from a shingle roof and/or a metal roof.
Gloves are important to protect your hands from the metal panels and avoid any injuries or cuts.
Goggles, Glasses, and Sunglasses are also an essential safety tool that you probably already have on hand.
Straight Edge/Measuring Tape/Marking Tool
A Straight Edge and Measuring Tape comes in handy to make markings on the panels to ensure everything lines up and locks into place. (You will especially need a straight edge when marking in the valley.) Occasionally, roofers will use a piece of wood in place of a straight edge, but a proper metal straight edge that is five to six feet in length is recommended. A Sharpie Marker will make the perfect Marking Tool.
You can plan on making many markings and a lot of scoring of the metal. It is best to have a folding, locking Knife/Blade in your belt at all times.
*Pro-Tip: To save you time and energy, make a mark with a Sharpie at one inch on both sides of your blade. This way, rather than reaching for the tape measure every cut, you may simply cut to that line.
Hemming is a bending operation that bends and folds an edge of sheet metal back upon itself. Hemming conceals the sharp edge of sheet metal. The standard procedure for hemming a panel can be found in a Rapid Video, here. Hemming tools provide a quick and safe way to provide a consistent bend in the desired metal.
The purpose of the brake is to bend material in a straight and precise angle. Brakes for roof installations are normally hand powered but come in various sizes. The length of the brake will normally determine the length of a single bend allowed at one time. Sizes generally range from around two feet in length, to brakes which allow bends of over 14 feet. The width, or depth, of a bend depends on the throat size of the brake.
The brake is designed to be set up and operated on-site. Some styles lay flat on a table; others have legs which support the brake. Others may even have wheels mounted on the frame, allowing for quick and easy change of positions.
Finishing the seams on some panels requires the use of a seaming tool. Handseamers and crimpers are available, but are normally used only for small repairs, difficult seam locations, and touch up work.
When a roof system uses panels, which do require machine folding of panel seams, an electric machine seaming tool is used, such as the Accuseamer. These machines are specific to the seam type and panel profile being installed. It is important to know that preparation of the panel for electric seaming requires the use of hand seamers.
Snips are the tool of choice when an installer must do final trimming, or short and curved cuts by hand during an installation. Snips come in three design configurations: left edge, right edge, and centerline (straight) cuts. Snips normally have color coded handles: Red for left edge cuts, green for right edge cuts, and yellow for straight or centerline cuts.
The rivet gun is used to install pop-style rivets, also referred to as blind rivets, into panels, trim, and flash molding. It is normally a handheld manual tool; however, pneumatic rivet guns are often used when many rivets are required.
The Malco TurboShear is easy to use and allows for quick cuts along a panel. It easily snaps on to the end of a cordless drill, and in a matter of seconds the metal shear creates beautiful, clean cuts.