Bridger Steel brings rustic look to new homes

By Kim Thielman-Ibes

It was perhaps not so much divine providence but rather a lifelong background in ranching along with a bit of serendipitous timing that made Dennis Johnson, owner of Bridger Steel, move from being a northwest cowboy to a Montana metal man. And his luck did not stop there. 


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Johnson opened Bridger Steel, a manufacturer of quality metal roofing and siding products, in 1996. His custom shop come along just in time to help make the dreams of homebuilders wishing to have that exterior careworn rustic weathered look (and one that’s built to handle the tough Montana winters) come true. Dennis initially built his own equipment to press and design his metal roofing and siding products, this is where is ranching background really paid off. Today, he uses all computerized equipment and has two stores, one in Bozeman and Billings, over 30 employees and an incredible array of products. While the quality and utility of his products remain the same, their use has evolved from mere utilitarian to that of adding an architectural feature to a home.  

“The rusty roof is what’s so popular today,” says Dennis, “Though, nowadays, I’m not so surprised by how naturally attractive it looks in bathrooms, showers and kitchens. It’s quite a change from the normal drywall painted systems and really compliments the tremendous use of wood and wood accents.” Bridger Steel’s customers include many notable architects and high-end builders in the Bozeman and Big Sky area. The rustic, aged metal corrugated and patina products that they custom manufacture are their most popular, though they can manufacture metals in a variety of colors, textures and finishes. Bridger Steel is one of the few companies that actually specialize in these unique finishes and one of the few in the nation that sell direct to their customers. 

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Bridger Steel is a one-stop-shop. They manufacture everything in-house and they have their own trucking company for shipping and custom deliveries. Their quick turnaround on products along with their homespun, unflagging attention to quality and service have endeared them to their many and growing clients. As a bonus, besides the 25 plus-year warranties that accompany their products, a good portion of their manufactured metal is an excellent green building product made with 20-50% recycled material.

Mike Schlauch, co-owner SBC Incorporated, a fine homebuilder in Bozeman, Montana uses Bridger Steel products for much of their roofing and siding commercial work and their cold-rolled steel products to give their work a more rustic look. “I think for us,” says Mike, “they are a versatile company and their ease of access with our crew is invaluable.” Bridger Steel’s philosophy of service and quality is as unrelenting as the quality of their products. 

“I feel our service is just getting better with time,” says Dennis, “Pleasing the customer and providing a quality product, something they want and will enjoy forever, it’s a good investment for them and a good investment for us.”

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