Metal roofing, once seen as an upscale product, or a rural one, is moving into the mainstream. According to McGraw Hill Construction Analytics and the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), the most recent data on the residential roofing market show metal's share at 9.2%, with metal at 10% of the replacement roofing market, now about 80% of total residential roofing. That 10% compares with a market share in the low single digits a decade ago. “Part of it is that there are more manufacturers focusing on the residential market,” says MRA executive director Tom Black. The group, headquartered in Seattle, offers consumer-to-contractor matching on its website.

MORE PLAERS, MORE PRODUCT There are also more contractors installing metal roofing. Bob Kulp, owner of Kulp's of Statford, in central Wisconsin, says that 10 years ago his was the only roofing company showing metal roofing at local home shows. Today there would be a half-dozen such companies, he says. “We now see a lot of home improvement people, who were siding or window people, all of a sudden become metal roofers,” says Matt Musgrove, president of Advanced Metal Roofing, a North Carolina company that started out installing standing seam metal roofing in 1994 and, like Kulp's firm — where standing seam is the company's “workhorse” — has found itself well-positioned to take advantage of growing consumer awareness. Consumers today typically know that metal roofing is out there — Kulp says that the local Menards carries metal shingles for DIYers — and those who do their research are familiar with profiles, coating choices, and the idea that buying a metal roof means not having to buy another roof again. “When we started off,” Musgrove says, “we'd have to explain to people why [the product] was more expensive. Today they pretty much know.”

MARGINS, INSTALLATION, QUALITY The advantage for companies such as Schmidt Siding & Window Co., in Mankato, Minn., is that they can cross-sell metal roofing to past window or siding customers. Company owner Dale Brenke, whose firm has carried steel roofing for seven years, says that during the last two or three years he has noticed the product “starting to get traction.” Increasingly volatile U.S. weather — such as the 30-by-80-mile hailstorm that blew through Central Minnesota a year and a half ago, or the storm series that recently dropped 24 inches of rain on the Carolina coast in a 72-hour period — has caused some homeowners to see metal as worth the extra expense. And more companies are selling it now, especially stone-coated steel. “Now a consumer who is a little more savvy can get three or four quotes,” Kulp says.