Every contractor has competition. So does every manufacturer and
every installer. The best we can do is to try to keep the bidding
as fair as possible. When you are trying to sell a metal-over-metal
retrofit, and you are competing against a coating contractor,
keeping things fair can be a bit more challenging.
You will be more expensive, which is a given. The good news is
you will not be a lot more expensive. We typically hear a price
difference of about 30 to 40 percent. That's not exactly pocket
change, but remember that you are providing a superior product with
a significantly longer roof service life.
Coatings, done properly, require a tremendous amount of surface
preparation: capping fasteners, taping seams and an even and
consistent sprayedon application of the product on all surfaces.
That's not easily done.
Use this information to remind your client of some important
• An improperly applied coating will actually significantly
decrease the life of the old roof. Moisture trapped between the
coating and the old metal panels can destroy the integrity of the
panel in less than a year.
• Coatings do nothing to improve the design load capacity of the
old roof. In fact, they may hide major defects or significantly
change water flow, potentially leading to a roof collapse.
• Coatings cannot bring the old building to the current building
code requirements, which in some cases mean the corners of the roof
may be under current requirements by 300 to 400 percent. The old
building code considered roof loads to be uniform across the entire
roof. Plus, they further allowed wind loads to be reduced by 33
percent since they were not constant loads. The new, more stringent
code does not allow this reduction, and it evaluates the roof by
corner, edge and field zones, which is a much more real-world
• A new metal roof will meet the current stringent building
• It may provide reductions in insurance rates.
• It can improve the energy efficiency of the building.
• Old screw-down roofs are easily upgraded to standing seam
systems with no exposed fasteners that have long-term weather
• Finally, and most importantly, a new metal roof will last more
than 50 years, which is truly a great value for very little more
Use the strengths that metal roofing brings to the equation to
level the playing field between yourself and your spray-on roof
Dale Nelson is president of Lutz, Fla.-based
Roof Hugger, a leader in the metal-over-metal retrofit roof
category. Nelson also serves on the Metal Construction Association
board of directors. To learn more, visit www.roofhugger.com.