A few years ago the local varsity basketball coach asked me to quote the roof on his house. This was a simple ranch style home with a fairly low slope. From the outset he wanted a standing seam panel roof (concealed fastener system). He had heard that these roofs were the best a homeowner could put on their roof. So that’s what I quoted him.
A couple days later I submitted a quote for about $22,000. And he was ready to pull the trigger. Then I asked a question that I didn’t normally ask. “Mr Z, Why do you want a standing seam roof? The pitch is fairly low, and doesn’t have a large appearance as far as curb appeal. Are you looking for longevity? Are you looking for the snow to shed off your roof? The low pitch most likely won’t let it shed. Is there a specific issue you’re trying to solve by installing a metal roof?”
He responded by saying, “For years I have had to get my snow rake out several times a week to pull the snow down from the eave. If I don’t, the snow will turn to ice, back up in the valley, and creates a leak that comes into the house. I don’t want to use the snow rake anymore. I don’t care about aesthetics as much, and don’t really care if the snow stays up there as long as it doesn’t come in the house.”
I then asked,”Would you be open to a recommendation? We could install you a metal roof and, if you don’t remedy you insulation or ventilation problem, it could still leak. However, we could remove the shingles, remove the sheeting from over the foyer area along with the fiberglass insulation in it. We will fill the foyer ceiling with SPF (spray polyurethane foam), install sheeting back on, install ice and water shield to entire foyer area, along with 2 rows of ice and water shield to the bottom eaves, and install shingles to the house. This would cost over $6000 less. He decided to go this route.
With completed this project in the middle of July, and Mr Z immediately noticed a result on my final visit. He noticed the air conditioner ran less and the foyer room was cooler. The roof in the foyer that created 2 valleys was very inefficient, and had sufficient heat loss. And the following winter he had sufficiently reduced the ice on the eave. Success!
I learned a very valuable lesson on that project. There is no cure all roof for everyone. Mr Z could have spent $22000 on a “cool” metal roof and still had an issue. He would have not been happy with me. But by probing customers about why they are looking at a new roof (Mr Z’s was only 6 years old when I replaced it) I can help them pick the right roof for their needs. Here are a few other questions i ask:
1. How old are you or the homeowner? This helps to determine what system works best for you. If you are 40-60 years, you might not want to be doing another roof project when you are 65 or 75. A very common phrase I hear from middle aged customers: “This is the last roof I want to put on here.” However, if you are 75, (Ill tread lightly here!) maybe a shingle roof will last long enough for you.
2. What king of history do you have with snow accumulation or ice build up on your roof? Tell me about the problems.
3. What system do you like the look of? Ive noticed men are very utilitarian and want something that will function and last a long time. Women, on the other hand, want it to look good. I had one couple that the husband wanted metal panels and the wife said indignantly, “I don’t want my house looking like a Pizza Hut!” In this case I might recommend a metal shingle like Decra. Visually looks like a shingle, but is made of steel.
4. What is your budget? Sometimes this makes the decision for the customer. But remember that the roof protects everything else underneath it, not to mention your most valuable asset: your house. Since the is one of the most expensive home projects, it makes sense to do it right the first time.
5. What are your plans with the house in the future? It matters if you plan on moving in a few years. Its important to some people if the house has been in the family for generations or has historical value. Or it could be a house you’re going to rent or flip. These factors all have bearing on what system best fits your needs.
Hopefully this information helps you on your next project. For more information and other blog posts, visit me on my website www.roofsbyempire.com
Make it a great day!