Metal roof expert speaks to town planners

by Cole Dittmer
Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Although the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board was scheduled to discuss text amendments for Johnnie Mercer’s Pier and the driveway construction code, the absence of three board members and a potential conflict of interest on both items for the newly appointed Hank Miller III caused the continuation of the agenda until Tuesday, Feb. 12. 

However, the board proceeded with a presentation by Chuck Howard, a structural engineer with more than 30 years of experience with the metal roof industry. Spurred by the town’s ongoing discussion about regulating the use of metal roofs by residents and minimizing glare problems, the planning department asked Howard to share his knowledge of the material and the best way to regulate it. 

Howard said he had read the report submitted by Wrightsville Beach resident Neal Briggi regarding his issue with the glare off his neighbor’s metal roof and that, while Briggi’s issue of glare and heat reflecting onto his home was valid, the problem was not a common one. 

“I would think you could allow metal roofs in 90 percent of the beach, but there may be some isolated cases where it would not be a good idea,” Howard said. 

In his experience, Howard said the best way the town could cut down on the amount of glare and heat reflected off a metal roof is to only allow non-gloss painted metal roofs. Neutral colors like grey, white and tan would be the best at reflecting the least amount of glare and heat, he said. Metal roofing color options can be identified by ASTM International (formerly the American Society of Testing and Materials) ratings, and Howard said that would be an easy way the town could limit what residents can use. 

Planning and parks director Tony Wilson said he would be fine with stipulating that any metal roof used had to be coated in a non-gloss paint but limiting to roof selection to certain colors would be too much of a restriction. 

The board agreed to continue the discussion at its March meeting due to the lack of planning board members in attendance and to allow the planning department to review the ASTM ratings and colors. 


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