Metal roofing makes former shingler happy, productive
Saint Louis Metalworks Co. sent Snips the accompanying project photo detailing a metal roof applied to a new physical education building at St. Charles County Community College.
The company, located in Florissant, Mo., began in 1997, according to president Kelly Luckett, and has doubled its sales each year, reaching $1.2 million this past year.
Saint Louis Metalworks forms all its sheet metal on hand-operated Tennsmith apron brakes, according to Luckett. "Until recently, we cut all of our metal on a Wilder 16 gage slitter. We are just getting used to our 'new' 1965 model Wysong 10 foot shear." The company has been busy working on several high profile projects in the area, including the one pictured here at the college, two Lowes Home Improvement stores, Home Depot, Target, Wal Mart, Southwest Bank, Drury Inn, and 25 to 30 local area schools.
Luckett has been a roofer since 1981, following his father in the trade. "It was all hot tar back then," he recalls, "then EPDM emerged and I did a lot of that, too. I did a lot of shingling back in the late '80s, and I turned to what we call 'hailstorm chasing.' I saw an ad in the paper where a hailstorm did a lot of damage that the local roofers couldn't handle, so we drove there to replace and repair a lot of the roofs. Then we heard about another one and went off to do that one, going as far as Denver for the work." But Luckett, who is married, had a young son and it was a difficult family life being away from home on the road all the time.
Vice president Mike Crowell is in charge of sales.
The switch to metal couldn't have come at a better time. "Working with metal is better," according to Luckett. "It's a step up for all of us. The work is cleaner, easier, and we spend half of our time in our shop doing the fabricating. In roofing, if it rains or snows you're out of work, but we can coordinate our fab time with bad weather days. The guys are all working much more regular hours."
Local 36 of the Sheet Metal Workers International (SMWIA) has been very helpful, according to Luckett. Generally devoted to hvac and metal ductwork, the union cooperated in allowing Luckett to seek skilled roofers for his business, also writing provisions in the contract that would apply more to the roofing business.
"The close relationship between roofing work and sheet metal work has helped to make this transition natural," said Luckett. "We understand what the roofing contractor is trying to accomplish, helping to eliminate gaps between the trades, and to smooth the wrinkles that often occur while achieving the finished product."
The college gymnasium took "the better part of a year," Luckett said, from planning in April, to running the panels in the shop in August, to installation ending in November. Needless to say, everyone is happy with the results.
Architect on this project was Louis R. Saur & Associates Inc., Clayton, Mo. Construction manager was S.M. Wilson & Co., St. Louis; structural engineer was EQE International, St. Louis; and civil engineer was Bax Engineering, St. Peters, Mo.
All rounded edges shown in the photos were cut by hand: standing seam panels, flush mount soffit panels, and fascia.