First, an answer to the most common question asked by Californians about a steel roof system: No, it isn't significantly noisier than any other roof when it rains.
That's the word from Darwin Alfstad, general manager of Met-Tile Inc., P.O. Box 4268, Ontario. His firm manufactures a roll-formed metal roof system that has the contours of a clay mission tile roof--without the breakage factor and with a tenth of the weight.
"Floridians and Texans ask about hail and wind damage resistance, but Californians seem to be more concerned about the old 'Tin Roof Blues' sound," he said.
Met-Tile has obtained its first major California new roof contract at Upland Hills Estates, a 412-unit attached Upland country club development by Culver City-based Prestige Homes Inc.
An earlier condominium project on the same golf course had problems with broken roof tiles and windows from errant golf balls. Upland Hills Estates features Lexan windows as well as the unbreakable roof.
Met-Tile, available in three-foot-wide panels up to 20 feet long, weighs about 100 pounds per square (100 square feet), while a tile roof weighs about 1,000 pounds a square, Alfstad said. The cost of the product varies, but he estimated that it would run about $250 a square--including installation--for a reroofing job, or $7,500 for a typical house.
Roll-formed roofing systems have been around since 1949, Alfstad said, but today's rust-proofing technology produces a much more durable roof than the older ones. Met-Tile is made from 26-gauge G90 hot-dipped galvanized steel sheets, he said.
Six colors--slate gray, mission tile red, brown, blue, off white and red--are applied with a modified silicon polyester paint that has a 20-year limited warranty.
I examined a Met-Tile roof system installed on a Northridge house that came into this world about 20 years ago with a wood-shake roof.
A brown Met-Tile roof was installed after the shake roof was removed--a procedure that Alfstad heartily recommends. If you have a composition roof, there is no need to remove the old roof, he said.
"A shake roof can be removed in a day and once off, the owners can examine the rafters for dry rot and termites," he said.
The roof was installed about a year ago and the owners are very pleased with its performance. The panels and trim elements are screwed rather than nailed down--a not-so-minor point in an area that experiences heavy winds from time to time.
Met-Tile has a Los Angeles Building & Safety Department research report number 24621 and is recognized by the National Research Board of the Council of American Building Officials, NRB Report No. 287, with Class A, B and C ratings for new construction and a Class B rating for reroofing applications, according to Alfstad.
Financing is the mother's milk of home improvement and the cash cows (to mix a metaphor) will be on hand beginning Thursday at the Home Restoration and Remodeling Show at the North Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center.
Leading financial institutions will have representatives at the show, which runs through May 3, to answer questions on the wide variety of home improvement loans available. Financing a home improvement used to be a simple matter of second trust deeds or second mortgages, but the widespread use of home equity loans has made the field complicated.
In addition, representatives of the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development will be available to explain low-interest home improvement loans.
More than 300 home improvement displays will be open 4-10 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-8 p.m. May 3. Tickets are $3.75 for adults, $2.50 for seniors and children 6-12. Children under 6 are admitted free.