Metal roofing makes inroads

Metal roofing makes inroads – Commodities

Whether your tastes run toward Jack-in-the-Box or Outback Steakhouse, the odds are getting better that you’ll be dining under a metal roof.

Architects and builders are increasingly using metal roofing in commercial and institutional buildings, and some inroads are even being made on the residential front, according to representatives from Berridge Manufacturing Co., San Antonio, Texas.

Speaking at a recent continuing education seminar held in Cleveland and sponsored by the American Institute of Architects, Berridge Manufacturing corporate architect Ian Gordon and regional sales representative Jim Biezki noted that metal roofing’s market share has climbed considerably in the past 10 years.

Galvanized steel and aluminum roofs have always had a presence in the warehouse and industrial building sector, but low maintenance and long wear life advantages are combining with an increasingly broad color selection to give the material greater appeal in applications for restaurants, shopping centers, schools and churches.

Berridge Manufacturing uses galvanized steel coils (and to a lesser extent, galvanized aluminum) to make roofing panels and shapes to meet architectural specifications. The company offers more than 30 colors and several textures from which architects can choose, and has also designed custom colors for multiple-location customers such as Burger King and Loews.

According to Gordon, just 10 years ago metal roofing’s overall market share across all building segments was determined to be 10 percent. But a survey conducted last year showed that architects are now specifying metal roofing for some 40 percent of the buildings they design in the commercial and industrial sectors.

While metal roofing can cost a little more upfront compared to asphalt shingles and some other types of roofing, building owners and contractors are seeing a payoff in the form of lower maintenance costs (no flashing; no sumps to move standing water as with flat roofs) and longer life.

In addition to selling materials, Berridge also sells cutting systems used by contractors such as Tom Geist of The Geist Co., Cleveland.

The Geist Co.’s Paul Gorman gave a demonstration showing a Berridge system at work cutting panels to the length and curvature required.

Geist says the procedure typically generates very little scrap at the work site, as it is designed to use coils in the exact width needed.

He said that the recyclability of the roofing material is not necessarily what customers ask about when they choose metal roofing, but indicated that some customers have begun to make such inquiries, especially when trying to work within a “green building” framework.

Geist acknowledged that the waiting scrap market offers a much better sustainability outcome for a metal roof compared to a load of tear-off shingles or EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber roofing, which is more likely to head for a landfill.

Information gathered by the NAHB Research Center in the 1990s showed a sample composition of residential construction scrap consisting of just 2 percent metals and 6 percent roofing scrap (most commonly asphalt shingles).

Should metal roofing be able to carve out part of the residential market, it could increase that metals portion slightly, even with efficient roofing techniques.

At the demolition end of the life cycle, a study by Metro Portland found as imilar 2 percent metals segment in residential demolition debris, meaning metal roofing could increase this percentage in the future as well.

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