Perception vs. Value…when to select a three coat metal roof system

Drexel Metals DMC175S - DMARM Member: Kupex Exteriors

This is Brilliance Red and is a three coat paint system and will provide color stability for the length of the warranty.  Without the clear coat the vivid red would change to a burnt orange.

Over the past 18 plus years in the metal roofing roofing industry I have pretty much  seen everything when it comes to specifications.  The reality is as an architect has to pick 3000 (on average)  products per project and we as manufacturers look to use “Spec Hooks” to make our products different from our competitors.  Therein lies the issue.  Spec Hooks can cost your owner more money for the same result.  Here’s an example;  your metal roofing resource comes in to your firm and promotes a metal roof system with a “three coat” or “increased gauge” stating better long term performance.  It would make sense…its roofing and thicker is probably better…40 mil rubber vs. 60 or 80 mil rubber provides a longer and more stable performance however added thickness to paint film doesn’t enhance performance unless it’s color or environment based.

Let me explain the anatomy of a paint system.  A standard paint system used in our industry is a two coat paint system consisting of a pretreatment, primer and topcoat.  The pretreatment preps the strip of aluminum or steel to accept the primer (0.2mils to 0.3 mils of primer) and then the PVDF topcoat (0.7mils to 0.8mils) is applied which is typically a Kynar 500 or Hylar 5000 for commercial projects.  The system is passed through the paint line once we are left with a baked-on 1.0mil DFT (Dry Film Thickness) to standup to the elements.  The paint system warranty  (typically 20 to 35 years depending on the manufacturer) is backed by the paint company and is passed through the Coater to the end-user (manufacturer) and covers color fade, chalk and delamination.

So if the standard paint system offers you this level of performance and warranty when should you spec a three coat?  If you plan on using a VIVID color like a bright red, bright yellow, bright blue, purples and oranges then you should add the additional protection of a clear coating on top of the topcoat.  This clear coat aids for long term performance of the vivid and unstable pigments that make up this vivid color which in the past we lead-based pigment (no longer being used).  If you choose a standard Bronze or Green, there is no need use a three coat as it will not improve the long term performance based on the warranty term. A three coat has to go through the paint line twice which adds cost and increases the scrap amount of the paint run and can add up to 40% to the total cost of your roof installed system.  It’s just not worth it for your owner and is not a “belt and suspender” approach but a sales tool to make you think that thicker is better. Another reason to use three coats would be to enhance environmental performance however you should consider that if you are installing a metal roofing in aggressive environments that you need to be more concerned with the core substrate of the products rather than it’s paint system.  Here’s a simple way to look at paint….paint doesn’t rust and just like on the interior it adds character and color and although its a coating its not a protective coating against red rust.  So…let’s make sure the product will perform in its intended environment first and then select your paint system.  Aluminum is the better substrate and choice for aggressive environments.  Increasing the gauge of the steel product, unless you are concerned about deflection (oil canning), doesn’t add any additional corrosion resistance.  Increasing the gauge from 24 gauge to 22 gauge can add up to 20% to the overall cost to the installed project.  Going with aluminum adds 30% compared to 24 gauge but is the better solution for aggressive environments.

The perception that thicker is better works well for underlayment and other types of roofing but is a tricky “Spec Hook” and adds very little value and a lot of costs for your owner.


Metal Roofing and Standing Seam Project Gallery by Drexel Metals


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Metal Roofs and Fire – Choose a Drexel Metals Metal Roof System!!!

Drexel Metal Roof Systems can be considered one of  the safest of roofs due to its class A fire rating and non-combustibility…

It's true...Pictures say a thousand words!

It’s true…Pictures say a thousand words! Metal Roofs perform better than any other roof system and will protect your investment!!!!

Drexel Metal Roofs are tested and listed with UL – Click the link below:

  • Class A rating is non-combustible, and so will withstand severe fire exposure without igniting.
  • Class B rating is given to roof structures that can withstand a moderate amount of fire exposure.
  • Class C rating is the lowest rating applied to roofing materials, and can only withstand a small amount of fire exposure, but enough to allow those inside to escape.
  • Metal isn’t combustible, metal roofing is fire-rated as Class A.

Watch this video of a shingle roof fire (metal roofs are safer):

Drexel Metals Roof System - Class A flame spread
Drexel Metals Roof System – Class A flame spread

Keep in mind, it’s impossible to create a fireproof structure, fire ratings system allows architects and builders to select materials that reduce the spread of fire, giving more time for your family to vacate and allowing more time for firefighters to arrive and fight it.  Drexel Metal roof systems are fire-rated as Class A, they represent the most fire protection offered in a roofing material.

Though your Drexel Metal roof system carries a of Class A fire rating, your entire roof structure may receive a different rating. When a building’s roof is fire-rated, all the materials are taken into account–including whatever is underneath the metal roof. For example, if a metal roof is installed on top of something that is not Class A like wood shingles, the shingles will lower the roof’s fire rating because they are made of a combustible material. Therefore, though the metal roofing is rated as Class A, the entire roof structure may receive a Class C rating.  Please make sure your entire assembly carries a Class A fire rating…if you have any questions please do not hesitate to call Drexel Metals at 888 321 9630.

Click this helpful link to visit the US Forest Service’s “protecting residences from wildfires” article

Having a Drexel Metal roof systems with a Class A, your structure will have much more protection from fire, and so is suitable for even the most fire-prone of areas, such as dry climates with frequent wildfires!!!  For more information call Drexel Metals at 888-321-9630  or visit

Drexel Metals now offers S-5 ColorGard Snow Retention System for Metal Roofs

Drexel Metals now offers the complete S-5 ColorGard Snow Retention system in Stock at our Denver, Jessup and Ivyland locations!

Please contact your local Drexel Metals branch or visit us on our website

Drexel Metals meets with GPIC – Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy Efficient Buildings


Drexel Metals met today with the Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster (GPIC) for Energy Efficient Buildings regarding exploring the opportunity to work together to create awareness about the importance of creating and monitoring performance of the building envelope.  The GPIC (  received $129 million from the Federal Government’s Energy Regional Innovation Cluster (E-RIC) Initiative. The award included $122 million from the U.S. DOE to create an Energy Innovation Hub to develop innovative energy efficient building technologies, designs and systems.

For more information about GPIC

The goals of the GPIC are to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions of new and existing buildings, and to stimulate private investment and quality job creation.

The GPIC will focus on full spectrum retrofit of existing average size commercial and multi-family residential buildings.  The program goal is to transform the commercial building retrofit and new construction processes into a systems-delivery industry, and demonstrate building operational energy savings of 50% by 2013-2015 in a scalable, repeatable and cost effective manner across a broad building stock, while preserving workplace quality.

A comprehensive research, development and deployment program will be performed that simultaneously addresses the maturation of integrated design and system technologies, exploration of new business models and public policies that accelerate the technology adoption, and the creation of robust workforce development paths. Commercial building stock turns over slowly, and major overhauls are relatively rare. Major retrofit demonstrations are emerging, like the Empire State Building, but they are rare point solutions and achieve less than 40% energy improvement and are not generally scalable to the less than 100,000 square foot building stock.

Scalable 50% energy reduction retrofits – DOE’s building energy goal is to reduce the annual energy use of buildings by 80% in the year 2050.  New approaches to design/build/operate building system technologies, new business models,  public policies, and workforce development paths are required.  An interim goal of demonstrating 50% energy efficiency improvement was selected to stretch beyond applying conventional solutions which have been demonstrated in select retrofit examples in the ~30% efficiency improvement range.  This 50% energy efficiency goal requires that the technical, policy and workforce solutions sets are scalable to at least 50% of today’s commercial building stock.  This goal demands rethinking every technical approach and solution set as well as adopting new business value propositions, public policy positions and workforce development processes.

Drexel Metals Inc. is extremely excited about the opportunity to work with the GPIC to research and expand our energy efficient metal roofing assemblies and to work to expand our product portfolio by adding proven technologies to maximize building envelope performance.
For more information about Drexel Metals please visit our website or call 888.321.9630 x115

Drexel Metals Inc, Offers Information on Financial Incentives for Their Solar Roof System


Drexel Metals Inc, Offers Information on Financial Incentives for Their Solar Roof System
Ivyland, PA –September 28, 2011:  Drexel Metals Solar Roof System offers a complete design system in place to provide an integrated fully operational rooftop solar power system that is tied into the utility grid.  As part of this full system, Drexel Metals is working with their customers to obtain financial incentives to help offset some of the installation costs.

Drexel  Metals’ customers are learning about tax and utility incentives for the installation of the Solar Roof System  in their location through education based on the Database for Solar Incentives and Renewable Energy.   That  database was established in 1995 and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.  DSIRE is an ongoing project of the North Carolina State University Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.   Drexel  Metals is providing comprehensive information from this  database related to the most recent  federal, state and local tax incentives and policies that apply toward the installation of renewable energy systems such as Drexel Metals Solar Roof System.

The financial incentives can potentially include grant programs, bond programs, loan programs, tax credits, tax deductions, leasing programs, and bond programs.  The database also provides information on the latest building energy codes in local jurisdictions.   In addition, information on utility incentive programs is described in the state and county of interest.  These incentives can be in the form of rebates, net metering,  and  Renewable Energy Credits (REC).  RECs are used as an incentive to their customers as a way  for the utility to meet their Renewables Portfolio Standards that require electricity suppliers to obtain a minimum percentage of their energy using renewable energy by a certain date.

Drexel Metals is also fully knowledgeable about the  Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit. This is a 30% federal tax credit for qualified residential energy property (including Drexel Metals Solar Roof System) placed in service after January 2006.  Federal legislation has extended the deadline for this tax credit to December 31, 2016 and has removed the maximum credit amount for eligible technologies.

The Drexel Metals Solar Roof System is installed in a quick connect manner complete with the necessary amount of photovoltaic modules, inverters, cables, wiring, combiner boxes, disconnect switches and other accessories.   Once installed, the solar power system provides electricity to the building, and in some cases any excess electricity can be returned to the utility through the grid connection.  Drexel Metals uses UL listed thin film photovoltaic products and related equipment.  The system components are also listed by the California Energy Commission as Eligible Renewable Equipment.  The thin-film photovoltaic system  comes with a 25-year power output warranty.

Drexel Metals Inc, is ready to provide you with more information on their Solar Roof system and the financial incentives that may be available in your location.

Drexel Metals Inc. is a leading supplier of equipment, materials and technical support for the regional manufacturing of metal roofing. Drexel Metals Roof Systems supply contractors and distributors with the equipment and materials to fabricate metal roofing.
204 Railroad Drive, Ivyland, PA 18974   (888) 321-9630,

Drexel Metals donates Metal Roof System for the UMASS Solar Decathlon Home! Home is currently featured on the National Mall!

Drexel Metals Inc. donated all of the materials for the students at UMASS to install a cool energy efficient metal roof system on their Solar Decathlon home. The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is an award-winning program that challenges collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. The winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency.

The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002; the competition has since occurred biennially in 2005, 2007, and 2009. The next event will take place at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C., Sept. 23–Oct. 2, 2011. Open to the public free of charge, visitors can tour the houses, gather ideas to use in their own homes, and learn how energy-saving features can help them save money today.


The Solar Decathlon:

  • Educates student participants and the public about the many cost-saving opportunities presented by clean-energy products
  • Demonstrates to the public the opportunities presented by cost-effective houses that combine energy-efficient construction and appliances with renewable energy systems that are available today
  • Provides participating students with unique training that prepares them to enter our nation’s clean-energy workforce.

Team Massachusetts designed the New England-inspired 4D Home for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon 2011. This solar-powered prototype is an affordable, ultra-efficient house that can adapt to a family’s changing needs. The team hopes the 4D Home will serve as a precedent for home builders and designers creating sustainable homes in New England.

Design Philosophy

Team Massachusetts is concerned about the negative consequences of using nonrenewable energy sources for the built environment. Yet using renewable energy for buildings is successful only when baseline energy consumption is minimized through passive strategies. The 4D Home integrates efficient technology and passive strategies without compromising simplicity.


4D Home demonstrates how dynamic interior spaces can make compact living viable for a small family. Features include:

  • An exterior composed of fiber cement board and wood-clad windows
  • Asymmetrical timber trellises that provide seasonal shading and a covered transition to the interior
  • A two-bedroom layout that is easily reconfigured by two sliding partition walls
  • Furniture, decor, and housewares designed and fabricated by student team members.


Team Massachusetts has integrated efficient and easy-to-use technologies into 4D Home. These include:

  • A 28-panel photovoltaic array of monocrystalline silicon cells that are 19.1% efficient
  • Hybrid solar thermal panels mounted behind the photovoltaic modules for efficient heat transfer to the domestic hot water system
  • Blown fiberglass and closed-cell polyurethane spray foam insulation for air tightness
  • A refrigerator that uses less electricity per year than a 60-W lightbulb.
  • A Drexel Metals Cool Metal Roof System complete with above deck venting!

Click here for a photo gallery!!!

For more information about Drexel Metals and the technologies used on this project please visit our website or call 888.321.9630!