Maximizing the Metal: Why all Metal is Not Created Equal Part III

Pole Barn Guru Blog

Yesterday I shared a portion of Sharon Thatcher’s article on how painted steel panels need to be handled with care. The article also touches on the differences in paint, and which ones are the longest lasting. Here is Part III. The final segment of Sharon’s story, as can be read in the September 2016 issue of Rural Builder magazine.

MORE ON WARRANTIES

The longevity of metal panels is a selling point but also can create an issue when warranties are involved. “You have these warranties for a long time, so do your due diligence,” said Dan Knight.

Knight recommends that builders have their suppliers walk them through the claims process. “If someone says ‘I have a 40-year warranty,’ understand what that means, and understand the remedy.”

What is covered for 40 years and what isn’t?

“Maybe the best thing to do is to say [to your supplier]: walk through the claims process with me. If I have this product for 10 years and I have a claim in 10 years, what happens? Whoever they’re buying it from should be able to tell them how it works.”

Also make sure you keep your receipts. Your bill of receipt will contain important coil numbers, batch numbers and paint code numbers. Assuming you are working with a legitimate company, all that information will help track down vital information about the coil’s production process and warranty details. Paint codes will tell you the type of paint and the years it is expected to last.

A note of warning: while there is a lot of good foreign steel there is also a fair share of cheap and poorly-made foreign steel. Getting satisfaction on a warranty from thousands of miles away, and across multinational lines, can get tricky.

Then there are the instances where a company is not legitimate. The guys at Steel Dynamics have seen it all. “What we find with off-shore steel in particular, they might mimic our warranty. It may be all misspelled, but they’ll copy it, except for the remedy. That’s important. The warranty may say ‘this warranty is only for the cost of the paint.’ So you just paid $12,000 for metal and the paint cost is $800. Or it may say ‘this warranty is not valid within a thousand meters of water, man-made or otherwise; or not in areas of high humidity; or all claims are settled in Chinese court.’ So you have to really understand these things. And compare that to other warranties.”

Switzer has even seen bogus companies passing out Bethlehem Steel warranties and Bethlehem steel hasn’t been in business since 2002.

The victim is ultimately the building owner, but of course everyone along the supply chain are victims as well, from the roll former who purchased that problem steel, to the builder who bought the finished panel and installed it.

Understand the claims process and your level of risk exposure.

“It’s one thing to sell a building to someone with a 40-year warranty, but it’s another thing to have that person come back and discover there’s nothing behind that warranty. And you live in the same town and go to the same church. It’s going to be hard to tell him, ‘well, I can’t really fix this.’”

Unfortunately, the consequences may come when you least expect it. “Even a marginal product will last 10 years pretty much anywhere in the country. So what’s going to happen in 10 years, faster in the south, there’s going to be a day of reckoning, where the offshore stuff people buy, the red is going to turn pink, the green is going to turn white or yellow.”

Bottom line: “Just understand there is a lot of exposure to this. To replace or repaint a roof is considerably more expensive than the cost of the metal.”

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