Updated: Nov 23, 2022
As a metal roofing manufacturer, our company interacts with contractors and installers every day. As a consumer direct supplier we also interact with a high number of homeowners who are looking for an installer for their metal roofing project. A correctly installed metal roof will look beautiful and give you a lifetime of performance with minimal maintenance. Inversely, a poor install may look acceptable to the untrained eye but will almost certainly leave you dealing with a long line of leaks and costly repairs. Through the years I've seen many people's dream roof turn in to a nightmare because they didn't properly choose their contractor or installer. This is why choosing the right metal roofing contractor is one of the most important steps in the process of purchasing a new metal roof. It's common knowledge that you should check to see if your installer is licensed, bonded and insured, most people will even take the time to check a few references. As a manufacturer, here are a few insider tips I would recommend following as you go through the selection process.
1. Ask your contractor if they are Factory Certified.
While there is certainly "more than one way" to install a roof, there are some standard practices that should be followed no matter what to ensure a long lasting metal roofing system. Some metal roofing manufacturers provide training to installers and contractors to provide insight on best installation practices for their particular products. At True Metal Supply we also provide regular Installer Training Courses. When an installer or contractor completes this course we give them a Factory Certification that shows they have successfully completed the training. It is ultimately up to the installer on whether or not they follow factory recommendations but it's a good sign that your installer cares about doing things the right way if they took the time to go through the certification course.
2. Ask your supplier for their recommendations.
If you're dealing with a reputable material supplier they likely have a network of qualified installers that regularly purchase their product. It can oftentimes be helpful to ask your supplier for their recommendation on a quality installer.
(Side note: You should seek out a material supplier and educate yourself on the product first. This ensures you will get the best price on the material, and be informed throughout the entire process.)
A common scenario is that your supplier will give you two or three recommendations and leave you to do your own decision making between them. A reputable supplier will stop recommending a contractor if they receive reports of poor installation or bad business practices, however, these incidents are not always reported back to the supplier which is why it is crucial that you thoroughly vet these recommendations on your own, and not simply choose the lowest labor price.
3. Educate yourself on the product and ask your installer questions.
Some people feel like they're going to give a bad impression or come off as a know it all if they start quizzing their installer. Of course it never pays to be rude, but you have a right to know how your roof is going to be installed. After all, you are the one paying for it and a good installer will gladly take the time to reassure you of their quality of work. A good metal roofing supplier will take the time to educate you on types of material, necessary parts and components, and best installation practices. If you take the time to educate yourself you are far more likely to see red flags with your installer before anyone starts tearing your roof off.
4. Ask your contractor if they will be outsourcing to a subcontractor.
Some companies may hire out the work of installing your roof to another roofing crew. This is called "subcontracting". There is nothing necessarily wrong with your installer using a subcontractor but it means that they don't plan to be the one actually doing the work. If this is the case, it will be important that you are able to see the quality of work from the crew that will be on your roof. Is the subcontractor as qualified as the contractor you're talking to? Will your contractor be on site at all? If not, will a project manager be on-site? Have they received factory training? Ask your contractor for pictures and references from previous jobs using their subcontractor. A quality contractor will be happy to show you a history of satisfied customers.
In conclusion, use common sense and trust your gut when you're interviewing potential installers. If someone seems qualified for the job but you don't feel completely comfortable with it, don't hire them! There are plenty of qualified contractors out there and you shouldn't feel uncomfortable with the work being done or the person doing it. Your roof protects one of your greatest investments, your home. Take the time to go through the process the right way.