Quality fasteners ensure many benefits
Installing a new metal roof on a residential home, business or commercial building? Got a job for a post-frame or pre-engineered steel building for an equestrian, agricultural, farm animal or product storage facility? How about a garage for a RV, boat or farm equipment?
The fasteners you choose are just as important as that decision you made to reap the benefits of building with metal. A quality fastener ensures benefits like energy efficiency, lowering homeowner’s insurance and the long life associated with metal construction.
Matching the correct fastener to your job becomes vital to the success of your business. Here is our top 10 list of what to look for when buying metal roof fasteners:
1. Determining the correct fastener depends greatly on your application. Be sure you’re buying exactly what you need: metal-to-wood or metal-to-metal installation. With light- or heavy-gauge steel, be sure to pick the correct drill point. Use a
#3 drill point up to 0.21 inches and a #5 drill point up to 0.5 inches combined material thickness. If your material is aluminum, then be sure to use a stainless steel fastener. Knowing your application helps narrow your choices from the start.
2. Washer sizes vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The larger the diameter of the washer, the more area it covers and the better seal you will achieve. Be sure you’re checking this detail on your fasteners. Oversized washers give you superior sealing qualities.
3. Hi-Lo threads become important for metal-to-wood applications because of their firm grip. There are a variety of thread styles and points to choose from for different applications. Hi-Lo provides faster installation and superior grip in softer woods like plywood. Using a type 17 point Hi-Lo thread will make a cleaner hole, eliminate ragged edges and help fastener penetration. In addition, it will eliminate unsightly small curls of steel giving you a better overall appearance.
4. Protect against corrosion and red rust by using mechanical galvanized fasteners as opposed to electroplated. A more uniform color coating can be achieved on the thicker, mechanical galvanized fastener and it uses more zinc which offers more corrosion protection. Look for the fasteners which are specified with 1-mil mechanical zinc for better performance. In some aluminum roofing fastening applications, using stainless steel instead of carbon steel is more desirable. Again this point goes back to the number one thing on our list: know your application.
5. Variety and choice matter. Look for fastener companies that give you size and product options. Some jobs require a longer length of fastener. When fastening over insulation be sure the threads of the fastener extend properly into the framing of the building. If you’re re-roofing over an existing shingle roof or involved in a steel retrofit system application, choosing a fastener that will reach is vital to the job.
6. Stainless steel or zinc aluminum cap screws can be good alternatives to plain carbon steel. These types of fasteners usually include a manufacturers warranty against red rust. Cap type fasteners protect the part of the screw that is exposed to the weather and the stainless steel or zinc won’t corrode over time.
7. Product breakage in the field wastes time and money on your jobs; be sure to avoid this frustration by looking for a fastener with a strong V-neck head to provide superior installation strength. A slightly thicker shank just under the head of the screw results in fewer break-offs. Make sure your fasteners are strong enough for the job.
8. Do you have a specific roof color you’re trying to coordinate with a fastener? Getting the color spoton is important to the finished appearance. Beyond a smart color match be sure that the color won’t fade over time. Look for long-lasting applications and a large selection of in-stock colors that will coordinate with your roof.
9. Do you need your colored fasteners yesterday? Look for quick-ship options and strong inventories in the color-ways you need. Use a fastener supplier that paints and color matches their own screws to achieve better quality, better appearance and superior performance in the field.
10. Use fasteners that come from a company with longevity; one that has been around and won’t cut corners in their manufacturing processes. Can you talk to the company or field reps to get advice when you’re in a pinch? Seek out the specialists who know their stuff and the field reps who can visit your job site and provide advice and recommendations; their expertise will be invaluable to your business. Not every fastener is right for every application. Be sure you ask questions and make the right choice.
Tim Martin is the regional sales manager for Pa., N.J., Del., Md. and northern Va., and Cindi Kimmel is the marketing manager for Levi’s Building Components, Leola, Pa. To learn more, visit www.levisbuildingcomponents.com.