Editor's note: The following is the transcript of a live interview with Renee Ramey. You can read the interview below or listen to the podcast.
Intro: Have you ever had a question about your roof and didn't know who to turn to for answers? Are you interested in learning more about one of the most important aspects of your home? Not to fret, the Ask A Roofer podcast is here for all you home and building owners. Join us as we talk with industry experts, roofing contractors, business owners, and more about all things roofing. And remember, ask a roofer.
Megan Ellsworth: Hello, my name is Megan Ellsworth.
Lauren White: And I'm Lauren White.
Megan Ellsworth: And this is the AskARoofer podcast back again from AskARoofer.com. So excited to be chatting with Renee Ramey here. Hi, Renee. How are you doing?
Renee Ramey: Hello. Good morning, or afternoon.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah.
Renee Ramey: [inaudible 00:00:44].
Megan Ellsworth: [inaudible 00:00:44]. So glad to have you here. Let's just dive right in and have you introduce yourself and explain and introduce MRA as well.
Renee Ramey: All right. Well, my name is Renee Ramey. I am the Executive Director of the Metal Roofing Alliance. I've been in this role for around six years, but involved with the Metal Roofing Alliance as a member for the better part of about 20, 25 years. So, very familiar with MRA. MRA is a nonprofit trade association that is focused on educating and promoting metal roofing to homeowners. We exist to drive consumer awareness about metal roofing on all platforms available, and hopefully get homeowners to a point when they're ready to re-roof their home or install a roof on their new home that they consider metal, seek out metal and understand the benefits that it provides.
Lauren White: Can you expand on that and why should homeowners choose a metal roof?
Renee Ramey: Right. Well, metal, and this certainly applied to me when I was new to the industry as well, is you don't think of metal when you think of your roof. Most roofs, and most of us, are familiar with asphalt. Our main mission is to, one, get again metal into the consideration set for the homeowner, but it's also to dispel myths that are out there. I know my own father refers to metal roofs as tin roofs that are on barns or barn roofs, and that's so not the current industry or what we're about. And so, yeah, it's as much dispelling the myths around metal roofing as well as or in addition to opening up homeowners' eyes to the benefits. Those benefits, I could talk for hours to the benefits of metal roofing, but really on every level, whether it be performance and weather events, or the longevity and the ease of maintenance, the lowering of heating, cooling costs, you name it, metal roofing brings a benefit. And so, it's also making sure homeowners are considering those benefits when they're making their decision.
Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely. Just out of curiosity, how long does a metal roof last, if you just happen to know that off the top of your head? If not, okay.
Renee Ramey: We have a general response to that. No, truly a quality metal roof that's going on a home, if you're buying again from a quality manufacturer member, a quality product, and you're having it quality installed, you should get 40, 50 plus years easily out of that roof just with bare maintenance. Not a lot required typically.
Megan Ellsworth: Wow, okay. That's amazing. So that's almost, in some cases, double what a shingle can do.
Renee Ramey: Yeah, in fact, we typically say two to three times because even though an asphalt roof might say it has a warranty of 30 years, the reality is the proration and the performance aspects of an asphalt roof, it's probably not going to last the 30 years. It's probably going to be a lot less than that.
Megan Ellsworth: Very cool. What is the Residential Metal Roofing Buyer's Guide, and where can a homeowner find that information?
Renee Ramey: So we, in an effort again, to drive awareness and make the re-roofing process as easy as we can for a homeowner, discovered that at that time there weren't a lot of options or one location to get everything you need to consider in some detail as you're going through that process. The Buyer's Guide was developed as kind of a one-stop guide or tool for a homeowner as they're going through that process. We created it. It's not just about, okay, you're getting a new roof. It's about when do you know you need a new roof? What things should you consider when you're looking for a new roof as far as where you live regionally or things of that nature, through what options of roofing are out there. We have some comparison charts in the Buyer's Guide that explain the differences between metal and other roofing options straight through the actual roofing process itself.
So, what things should the installers be providing or doing? What questions should you ask? It's a very comprehensive guide for a homeowner going through that process, and you can find it on our website, MetalRoofing.com. It's off the homepage. We have a search button, type it in there, it'll pop up. We also distribute links to that particular webpage where it's hosted in most of our other outreach to homeowners. You can find it popping up consistently on our social media platforms and our newsletter, et cetera. The goal of ours is it's an un-gated, it's a free document. The goal of ours is to get that resource into a homeowner's hands just to help them through the process.
Lauren White: I love that it's free and un-gated so that anyone can access it, because I feel like that's one of the most frustrating things when you find information that you want and then you're like, "Oh, I have to pay for it," or "Here's all of my personal information." With the Buyer's Guide, is this information that applies to all homeowners all across the US or are there certain regions that people should be paying more attention to, like areas where there are hurricanes or wildfires, or is it kind of an all-encompassing?
Renee Ramey: Yeah, the Buyer's Guide as it stands right now is all-encompassing. But to your point about the regional dynamics of where a home might be located, there are definitely regional aspects that we walk a homeowner through throughout the guide. So again, back at the beginning, things you should consider when you're going to do a new roof, that's a regionally based section of the Buyer's Guide that talks about, okay, are you where wildfires exist? Or to your point, hurricanes, hail. Do you live in a region where you get a lot of snow and heavy ice loads and things of that nature? Or are you on the coast and you need to take into consideration marine aspects? And so while the guide covers all of the US and Canada from a re-roofing perspective, it definitely, as it's walking a homeowner through it, will have some regional considerations.
Megan Ellsworth: So you've recently launched new educational resources for homeowners. What are they, besides the Buyer's Guide, and what can a homeowner expect when they sign up for these resources?
Renee Ramey: We have a newsletter that's actually an ongoing, not so new per se, but certainly the content within that changes every month and is very consumer focused. So, providing great resources or educational pieces on metal roofing or roofing in general. Beyond that, some of the newer stuff we've offered up is we do have a newer version of our Resiliency Guide and a Sustainability Guide, both again un-gated, free off the MRA website. Those really walk homeowners through considerations in the roofing process as it relates to the sustainability aspect of a roof, both coming in and at the end of its life, as well as the resiliency side of things. So, how a roof falls into that and how metal roofing excels in that area.
In addition to that, we've got some new what we call nurturing campaigns that have been launched. When a homeowner comes to the MRA website and they are wanting to stay in connection with the industry and with MRA specifically, we do have some educational nurturing campaigns that don't overwhelm the homeowner all at once with all there is to share, but just kind of every week or every month gets them some additional information they should be considering when they get to that process.
Megan Ellsworth: That's nice, not bombarding them with all of the information at all at once.
Renee Ramey: Yeah. Yes.
Lauren White: All the benefits.
Renee Ramey: [inaudible 00:09:13] overwhelmed sometimes.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Lauren White: There's a lot to consider for sure. So with providing more education about metal in these little segmented pieces, are you noticing more interest in metal or more demand just as people are learning about the numerous benefits of it?
Renee Ramey: Yes, certainly. The answer's yes, and it's exciting. It's exciting to see. It's exciting to be a part of. When MRA came into existence back in 1998, the market share for metal roofing within the re-roof market was 3%. I'm happy to report that as of 2021, we had achieved a 17% market share. We're slowly inching up our market share within the residential arena, which to me means that people are starting to, homeowners specifically, are starting to understand the benefits of metal roofing, and they're starting to understand that it does come in more shapes, sizes and colors than the barn tin roof, as I alluded to earlier, that it can look like many other roofing materials out there. So yeah, the short answer is yes, we are starting to see some impact to the market.
Lauren White: That's great.
Megan Ellsworth: I love it. Another one-off question here, I'm just full of them today. You mentioned you have a Sustainability Guide. What are some of the benefits for the environment and sustainability when it comes to metal roofing? And I guess that's a really big deal for a lot of people these days, so do touch on that a little?
Renee Ramey: Yeah, I will, and I agree with it. It's heartwarming to see that as a society we're starting to pay a little bit better attention to what we're doing and leaving behind as far as the earth is concerned. From a sustainability perspective, metal roofing first and foremost is the recycle content. There's a high level of recycled content going into the metal roofing product itself. And then, couple that with the fact that metal roofing is 100% recyclable at the end of its life, so that means that the roof you put on and the roof you take off and replace, if metal, that that's having an impact. That's having an impact on the fact that we're not putting more into landfills, that we're able to reuse that material again, and again, and again. Necessarily, there's no end to that recyclability of that product, of that material. That's a big one for sure.
Beyond that, there's a lot of benefit to how it performs in weather events. From a sustainability perspective, and this touches over onto the resiliency as well, but you're not going through as many roofs. The roof protects the home, and so you're not losing... When you get a leak in your roof, you're not replacing all your furniture and drywall. It's just again, back to that it's kind of a link to that recyclable piece. Part of sustainability as well, from our perspective is the fact that it helps lower heating and cooling costs. That's a lower drag on our power grids, if you will, and what we're drawing power from. Those are probably the bigger ones. Solar is a great add-on to metal roofing. Again, I could spend a lot of time going down that rabbit hole, but there's a lot of reasons for that. It's a very well thought out product when it comes to energy and savings that way as well.
Megan Ellsworth: Wow, I didn't even think about that with energy, and heat and cooling. That's such a good point. Also, I've heard that the metal is 100% recyclable and infinitely recyclable, but every time someone says it again, I'm like, "That is just so awesome. We should all have metal roofs."
Renee Ramey: We should all have metal, yeah. So between the fact you're replacing it fewer times, and when you do replace it you're earth-friendly I guess from that perspective, yeah it makes you feel good about yourself.
Lauren White: Yeah. I think that's a huge distinction in the industry too, is just the recyclability of it and all the other benefits that you listed. We've probably asked a few of these already, but are there any other frequently asked questions about metal roofing that you commonly get from homeowners?
Renee Ramey: Yeah, they're kind of all over the board. As the point person for homeowner questions through email and whatnot, we do see a lot... and the questions ebb and flow depending on what's going on, but a lot of the questions are related to the longevity maintenance. I think it's hard for people to wrap their head around the fact that in most situations, all you got to do is take a hose to your metal roof and it's clean. Even at that, it only needs to be done once or twice a year, depending on where you're located. It's just hard for consumers to grasp that. I get a lot of questions around the styles available. I think it's again going back to what I said earlier, people envision metal roofing as that standing seam or ribbed panel up on a roof, similar to what they might have seen historically in an agricultural setting or a commercial setting.
But we're more than that. We've got tiles that look just like barrel clay tile. We've got shakes that look astoundingly similar, if not mistaken for wood shakes. We've got slate. I think there's a lot of questions around, Well, does it really look like that? When you get up close, can you really tell versus far away? And am I going to notice?" It's a lot of aesthetic related stuff as well. We're starting to see more questions come around about the sustainability and the resiliency side, which again, I think is a great sign because that means people are stopping and thinking about the impact that roof has as well.
Megan Ellsworth: Absolutely. That's great.
Lauren White: Follow up about the styles. I forgot about this until now. For people living in HOAs who might have strict guidelines about what style of roof, what the look should be like so that it fits in with all the other houses, how does metal fit into that, or does it?
Renee Ramey: HOAs are an ongoing challenge, and I can actually say this from experience now because I've been dealing with a roof replacement at a home that I own within an HOA recently, and it's just a lack of awareness, a lack of knowledge and education about metal roofing, because if an HOA is aware of what metal roofing can look like and the different styles, and shapes, and colors and how it performs, it'd kind of be a no-brainer. It should a 100% be written into every HOA that, yes, metal roofing is an option, if not the only option for your home depending on where you're located. Unfortunately, we're not there yet with HOAs. Again, speaking from my own experience, it's just a lack of understanding. It's those myths I mentioned earlier where it only comes in five colors. I sat through a meeting with my own HOA manager where she said, "Well, we could consider metal roofing. I believe it comes in 12 colors now," and you're just like, oh my gosh, it's an infinite number of colors. It can be any color it needs to be, and sometimes it can be three or four colors.
So, it's just dispelling those myths, and it's a little bit of a slower moving process with HOAs we're finding, and I think it's also regionally based from what I can tell, because in the areas such as Florida, take Florida as an example, their HOAs are having to do their work. They're having to replace roofs within their communities all the time. They're a little bit more in the know as a rule than say an HOA maybe in the Pacific Northwest, or somewhere where you're not really replacing your roof very often. And so, yeah regionally based has a big impact on that. But metal roofing, literally I myself, who've been in the industry for over 25 years, can walk by a roof... At one point, again down where I live, I had to stop and ask a homeowner if that was a metal roof because it looked like it might be, but I couldn't really tell, and it was a shake roof.
It looked so realistic and authentically wood shake from the ground that I had no idea, and I somewhat know what to look for and how to find them. So it's amazing how the different styles that are out there now, and the technology within the metal roofing industry allows us to mimic anything. It's impressive.
Lauren White: Wow, that's amazing.
Megan Ellsworth: That's so cool.
Lauren White: Wow.
Megan Ellsworth: It's nice that you have the ability to worry about curb appeal with metal, and you have the options to do whatever you want. That's great.
Renee Ramey: Yeah. Well, and I think there's also, and now I'm really going to go down a rabbit hole, but one of the other myths is metal comes in a color. Well, when we're trying to mimic shake, or shingles, or whatever, it is possible for a metal roof to have two, three colors on it to help give it that depth and that authentic look or aesthetic of a wood shingle, or with the stone coated products that are out there, they very nicely mimic asphalt. It's the ability within our industry to do more than one color and to have stone coating, and things of that nature that people just aren't aware of.
Megan Ellsworth: Yeah, I hope that there's an HOA listening to this episode.
Renee Ramey: I do too.
Megan Ellsworth: [inaudible 00:19:33].
Renee Ramey: I wish they all were.
Megan Ellsworth: ... Kicking themselves. So last question, what do you think is the future of metal?
Renee Ramey: I think it's bright, and I say that obviously I will admit I'm a little biased, but going back to our conversations around sustainability and resiliency and things of that nature, I think metal is just a no-brainer, right? It performs better in weather events. It's more durable. It lasts longer. It's environmentally friendly. It's really hard to find an area where metal doesn't outperform other roofing options. I think if we continue to do our job right, which is my intent, we will continue to drive that awareness out to the homeowner market about all these different benefits that come with metal roofing, which again, you just hope once people truly understand it and wrap their head around the benefits that it comes with, are going to want to put a metal roof on their home. So, future's bright.
Lauren White: Definitely. Follow up, what's the future of MRA look like?
Renee Ramey: Well, hopefully good. Our future as far as plans, it's being in a marketing driven association and trying to do consumer outreach. Our bigger challenge isn't the message. It's how to get the message out. And so, I think as social media begins to become a bigger focus, and everybody's online with a computer, digital area is fast growing, even amongst the older generations, I feel like we're changing up our focus and our outreach to accommodate the changing dynamics of communication in general. I think from that perspective MRA's future is bright. We've got some really talented people that are really adept at figuring out how to get our messages in front of the audience. Then from a messaging perspective and from a longevity perspective, we're 17%, which is great. That leaves a lot of percentage points within that residential market to go after. At the pace we've been going, we're doing very well towards our goal of outpacing at some point maybe asphalt roofing, who knows? Yeah, I think MRA's future is bright and we've got a lot of work to do.
Megan Ellsworth: Yes.
Lauren White: Can people find MRA on social media platforms?
Renee Ramey: Absolutely. We actually are on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter. And then we recently launched a TikTok channel.
Lauren White: All right.
Renee Ramey: I will encourage everyone to go out and find us on TikTok as well. So yeah, we're out there. Everything drives all our efforts in that arena, drive people hopefully back to the website. The website for us is a living, breathing thing. We're constantly adding and changing, and adapting it to be easy to use and have as much information as we can get out there.
Lauren White: Wonderful.
Megan Ellsworth: Yay. Love it. Yes, everyone, go follow TikTok. I'm going to go follow it. I love TikTok. Well, thank you so much, Renee. This has been such a fun conversation. Thank you for being here.
Renee Ramey: Oh, thank you guys very much for having me. We value our partnership with you guys. Continue to do what you're doing.
Megan Ellsworth: Yay, likewise.
Lauren White: Thank you.
Megan Ellsworth: I hope everyone out there goes and gets a metal roof for your house or for your building. Now you know where to go for all the information that you need. This has been the Ask A Roofer podcast. Thanks for listening.
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