Who Would Buy A Metal Roof?

Black metal roof shingles on a white house in CT MA NH RI

Having spent my entire career in residential metal roofing, I often get asked about the homeowners who chose metal roofs for their homes. Whether they chose a vertical seam roof or perhaps a shake, shingle, or slate look metal roof, and whether that roof was aluminum, steel, or copper, I am often asked what drove them to step outside the box a bit to a metal roof.

Marketers tend to want to put consumers into boxes and say things like “Our customer is 43.6 years old, married, with two children (the oldest about to enter college), 2.8 cars, 1.2 dogs, and a guinea pig.”  However, when it comes to metal roofing customers, we find that there is no “average” or “typical” customer we can target. That’s because the things that drive them to choose metal tend to be more about their lifestyle and their mindset than about their socio-demographics.

The typical metal roof customer sees themselves as staying in their home until they are “carried out.” They may be young, they may be old, or they may be someplace in between, but the single most common factor is seeing themselves as being in their “forever home”.

My wife and I bought out current home in 1994. We made a choice then that we hated the process of changing homes and moving so we determined to buy a home that we could stay in for the long term and raise our family in.  We were 30 years old at the time. We found a modest home (which allowed us to afford it) in a nice neighborhood. The home had “great bones” for expansion and remodeling in the years ahead. Nearly 24 years later, it still is our “forever home”.

Over those years, we have done a lot of things to our home. We built a master bath, doubled our family room, added an in-ground pool, remodeling the exterior, replaced all the windows, improved drainage around the house, remodeled two bathroooms, painted, added wood and tile floors, and replaced all the exterior concrete. Right now, we’re in the middle of replacing our nearly 40-year-old kitchen. I’d be kidding you if I didn’t admit that, over the course of all of those projects, the thought that “this place is a money pit” hadn’t gone through my head … numerous times. Fact is, especially if they really do “carry us out” of this home, we will never see financial benefit from the projects, though they have added to our comfort and enjoyment.

As I reflect on all of the investments, changes, and upgrades we have made to our home, there are precious few that I don’t have some misgivings on. There are things I wish we wouldn’t have done and things I wish we would’ve done differently. But, there is one thing we have done that I haven’t mentioned yet that I can say I have never regretted. And that was the metal roof we installed in 1996 – 21 years ago. You see, that is an investment that is paying us back.

Most of the homes in our neighborhood were built in the time period from 1975 – 1985. Ours was built in 1978. When we replaced the roof in 1996, every other home in the neighborhood was also going to its second roof. Many of those projects consisted of a second layer of asphalt shingles. There were also a couple of wood shingle roofs and a couple of metal roofs in the neighborhood. Now, here we are 21 years later and, for the past few years, all of our neighbors have been installing their home’s third roof, which usually has entailed tearing off and disposing of the first two layers of roofing.

Except for us … and a couple of others who also have metal roofs.  Rather than spend money now on yet another roof, we have the money to spend on the kitchen we have always dreamed of. You see, metal roofs make great sense for folks who, like us, are in their “forever home.” We see financial benefit from permanently getting out of the re-roofing cycle. Especially when you consider the way that roofing prices and the labor for roof installation keep increasing year after year after year.

Metal roofs are also great for owners of “legacy homes” – homes that, in one fashion or another, will be passed down generationally. In those cases, a metal roof now is a great gift for the future generation. Statistics show, though, that Americans are staying in their homes longer these days. The previous expectation that a home would be sold every seven years no longer holds true. More and more of us are buying our “forever homes” and staying in them, improving and enhancing them when we can.

So, who buys metal roofs? It can be anyone and everyone. But, most often, it is someone who sees their home as a long-term lasting investment for the future.

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