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Roof Hugger Celebrates 25th Anniversary In The Retrofit Metal Roofing Business

Odessa, FL - Roof Hugger Inc. celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2016, with its unique metal-over-metal sub-purlins having been used to reroof tens of millions of square feet of roofs worldwide.

Red McConnohie

In 1991, two developer/contactors and longtime friends, Red McConnohie and Dale Nelson, began a part-time business to manufacture and distribute structurally sound sub-purlins for installing a new metal roof directly over an existing metal roof. The idea came about because the senior gentleman, McConnohie, owned a lease building that needed its roof to be replaced. After a few design sketches using a factory-notch concept with some ingenuity, the original Hugger sub-purlin came alive.

McConnohie got his building reroofed and proposed to Nelson that they start a business together selling this innovative new product. So, they set off on a journey which has lasted 25 years, and now has covered over 70 million square feet of existing roofs nationally and abroad. The company is the well-known brand Roof Hugger Inc.

 Dale and Jan Nelson

The trek was not always that easy because the product is designed to fit over and around the major ribs of the existing panels. There are a staggering number of metal roofing profiles in use - hundreds, if not thousands. There are ribbed panels in a multitude of spacing and heights from 6” to 13”, there are corrugated panels with corrugations spaced from 2.25” to 4”plus and of course, there are standing seams. These also widely varied because of the vertical and trapezoidal seam configurations, rib-to-rib spacing and heights and with or without standoff clips.

Today, Roof Hugger has built a library full of manufacturer literature both from the old days and the more recent. They refer to this library countless times during a given year but even to this day, they are still seeing previously unknown panels from contractors or building owners needing to reroof an existing metal building.

roof-hugger-diagramNot only do the profiles and variations of existing metal roofs make this niche roof replacement market challenging at times, but because of the new stringent code requirements, there is panel testing to contend with as well. Every manufacturer today, producing metal roofing, has and will continue to have their systems tested for performance. The most utilized test standard is known in metal construction as the “Standard Test Method for Structural Performance of Sheet Metal Roof and Siding Systems by Uniform Static Air Pressure Difference” or ASTM E-1592. Without it, it is extremely difficult to engineer roofing products to meet specified building code requirements for given wind speeds. It is not widely understood but each metal roof’s testing can and does vary from its counterparts, although they frequently can look almost identical. This is due to seam design, clip design, metal thickness, design specifications and manufacturing limitations. Because of this, Roof Hugger began testing in 1996 and now has numerous metal roofs that have been tested over their sub-purlin systems. They have a Factory Mutual (FM) approval as well as several Florida Product Approved (FL#) assemblies.

As Roof Hugger celebrates its 25th year, the Hugger team located outside Tampa, Florida is excited to carry the “Hugger” brands on into the future. Red McConnohie passed in 2011 at the age of 87, and Roof Hugger is a big part of Red’s legacy, but Dale and Jan Nelson, now owners of Roof Hugger, continue to work relentlessly to make the Hugger stable of products better than any other metal-over-metal retrofit roof system available. Jan recently commented that they "are so fortunate to have met and grown to know the fabulous people in the metal construction industry via trade shows and organizational meetings." She went on to say, “We have gained an extended family that is surely the best gift of this journey and it puts a smile on my face daily.” Dale said, “I can’t believe it’s been 25 years. It’s been one heck of an enjoyable ride." Dale was recently elected Chairman of the Metal Construction Association (MCA), and he is no stranger to this kind of work. He has committed much of his life to volunteer work in both his private life as well as in business activities.

Roof Hugger now has four production locations: Florida, Indiana, Texas and Washington. Three of their sub-purlin profiles can ship within 2-3 days and others are made-to-order to ship within 10 to 15 days. Roof Hugger is specified by numerous levels of local, state and federal government agencies, especially the U.S. Military. A recent look at their shipments found that over 3 million square feet have been installed at over 70 domestic military facilities. They provide quotes in hours and a live voice always answers the phone. Prior to Red McConnohie’s passing, many lucky callers would hear him answer the phone with a loud “ROOF HUGGER – McCONNOHIE”, and callers today still get an equally enthusiastic greeting from the crew of Jan, Bill, DJ or Dale.

The Roof Hugger Team can be contacted at 800-771-1711, by email at or by visiting their extensive website at to find anything and everything that anyone ever wanted to know about metal-over-metal retrofit roof systems.

About Roof Hugger

roof hugger logoRoof Hugger notched sub-purlins enable replacement of new metal roof panels over an old metal roof. They can be used over screw-down or standing seam roof systems and can accommodate new standing seam or screw-down panels. Roof Huggers also maintain integrity of original design loadings; achieve "thermal break" air space between old and new roof sheets; allow for optional insulation; and are laboratory and load tested—with certified load charts. For more information on metal-over-metal retrofit re-roofing, contact Roof Hugger at 800-771-1711 or visit

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