Roofing Veteran and Industry Insider Turns Whistleblower
In the early 2000s, changes began to happen with the manufacturing process of asphalt shingles. At first the change was slow, and nobody really seemed to notice. As time went on, things began changing at an ever-increasing pace until we finally arrived at where we are today. A simple Google search for “roof class action lawsuit” and you’ll find pages and pages of information on the topic.
Right now, tens of millions of homeowners are at great risk of having a premature roof failure and the subsequent property damage resulting from leaks, which can take years before showing up inside the home—many have already paid the price. One class action settlement alone included roughly 6 million property owners. Unfortunately, most of the payouts received are minimal, and in many cases hardly enough to clean out the gutters.
It’s difficult to detect a prematurely failing roof without actually climbing up onto the roof. Here’s an article I wrote for Roofing Contractor magazine on the topic back in 2008 "Inspect to Protect Against Defects" .
It’s now become all too common to find that roofs are shedding the protective granule coating and sealant strips (which glue the shingles together) are failing in as little as just 7 or 8 years. This is happening because the roof shingles are drying out prematurely. The key danger signs are those ugly black streaks and stains appearing on northern and western roof slopes. I’ll explain more on this later.
Who am I to make such a claim?
As I said, I’ve been a roofing contractor for over 30 years and have always been proud to say that I’m a roofer. It’s hard, honest work. My brother and I sat on the national advisory council for a major US roofing manufacturer, and helped design one of the first certified contractor programs still in existence today.
I wrote a popular monthly column called "A View From The Top," written for Roofing Contractor Magazine, advocating positive change for the industry. Click here to view my articles
I also co-founded Roofers' Success International, the nation’s leading contractor university.
I don’t say these things to impress you, but rather to impress upon you the gravity of what I’m saying.
Changes in the manufacturing process...
The asphalt that’s used in roofs is a waste byproduct of the oil refining process. In the early 2000s, engineers discovered a new oil refining process that would yield more gasoline and less waste byproduct (asphalt.) This caused roofing shingles to roughly triple in price in just a few short years.
During this time, it appears that many roofing manufacturers began using less asphalt and more inexpensive crushed limestone fillers. These fillers cost just a fraction of what asphalt does, so it’s pretty easy to arrive at the conclusion that this was done simply to increase profits. As a matter of fact, today’s roofing shingles weigh roughly one-third less than they did when I became a roofer in 1985. I don’t care how you spin the marketing, less waterproofing asphalt simply means less waterproofing protection and a much shorter service life.
Why your roof has those ugly black streaks and stains...
The overuse of cheap limestone fillers by many manufacturers are what has dramatically increased occurrences of the phenomenon commonly known as “roof mold.” It’s actually not a mold, but rather an airborne blue-green algae called Gloeocapsa Magma. Regardless, the result is the same: ugly black streaks and stains commonly seen on north and west-facing roof slopes in nearly 80% of the United States.
Why tens of millions of roofs are prematurely failing...
It’s really very simple. Petrochemical oil within the asphalt allows roof shingles to remain flexible, which is essential for facilitating daily expansion and contraction. Nothing moves more on a home than a roof. Less asphalt and more cheap limestone fillers means that a high percentage of today's roof shingles are drying out and failing prematurely. Many manufacturers are now offering products that come with a “limited lifetime warranty” (read the fine print). Most of these products are roughly one-third lighter than products offered in the 90’s that came with a 30-year warranty.
Inspect to protect...
Every homeowner should have their roof inspected annually to catch problems before they arise. Your home’s roof is the first line of defense against mother nature’s wrath. When homeowners place blind faith in their roof and neglect it completely until the first sign of a leak appears on the ceiling, they could already be facing much larger problems—unwanted structural issues, mold growth, or damaged insulation, for starters. Spare yourself a headache down the road by having your roof inspected annually.
The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), and all construction experts suggest inspecting your roof twice each year. Once in the fall and then again in the spring.
Million of homeowners are fighting back…
There have been numerous class action lawsuits brought against major US shingle manufacturers in recent years. If you read these lawsuits, or speak with the attorneys who were involved, as I have, the evidence seems pretty clear. Unfortunately, the payouts are very low. As I said earlier, many didn’t even receive enough money to clean out the gutters.
Here’s what the lawsuits are claiming...
These lawsuits allege everything from manufacturers wrongly denying warranty claims, even though they allegedly knew about the problems which cause their products to prematurely fail...
...to defective products prone to premature blistering, tearing, cracking, delamination, granule loss, degradation, and loss of adhesion at the seal strip between adjacent shingles.
Many of the defects listed in these lawsuits claim that they result from air and water infiltration which damages the building components of the structures on which they were installed, and damages the property within those structures.
Here’s how many manufacturers are continuing to get away with it...
From what I am told, by settling these lawsuits the manufacturers claim “no wrongdoing” on their part, allowing them to continue using the same business practices. It’s the property owners who are left out in the cold.
Here’s what other reputable roofing contractors are saying...
I’m not the only roofing veteran who understands what’s really going on here. I’m personal friends with the owners of many of the largest residential roofing companies in the United States. They’re not happy either because they realize the brunt of the blame for roofs failing prematurely has fallen squarely on the contractor’s shoulders... whether they’re of high quality or not. Most homeowners place the blame on the contractor for using cheap products, smear their good reputation, and alert friends and family to simply stay away.
Here’s what my brother Todd and I decided to do about it...
The events explained above are what led us to sell our roofing business after 25 years and begin the process of developing a solution. The result is Roof Maxx, the world’s first sustainable roofing solution.
Here’s how American Farmers helped make this happen...
By partnering with The Ohio Soybean Council (and funding from American Farmers) we’ve collaborated with global leaders in bio-tech research, academia, and commercial development to create Roof Maxx, an all-natural spray treatment.
• Roof Maxx’s revolutionary formulation was developed by Battelle, the world’s largest private research and development laboratory.
• The Ohio State University completed a 23 page study on Roof Maxx and are doing a full techno-economic analysis study to be released in 2019.
• The Ohio State University summarized that:
A Roof Maxx treatment restores the performance of old roof shingles closer to those of new roof shingles.
Thanks to the dedication of many amazing people and years of field and laboratory testing, we’ve been able to bring to market an inexpensive, all-natural treatment that can extend the life of most asphalt shingle roofs. This includes roofs which traditionally required replacement. Be sure and read The Ohio State University’s study.
Roof Maxx’s nationwide network of authorized dealers are saving millions of square feet of roofing that was otherwise destined for landfills.
If you own a property with asphalt roof shingles, I strongly suggest having it inspected annually. If you want an unbiased opinion, contact a home inspector.
Moisture is the most formidable enemy your house faces. If water gets in, your house will die young. Keep it out and your home can be immortal.
CEO Roof Maxx Technologies, LLC
P.S. I think it’s important to note that not all roofing manufacturers are trying to take advantage of the consumer. There are quality manufacturers who run their businesses with sound ethics. My brother and I just felt compelled to find a sustainable and honest solution to the situation that resulted from those manufacturers who are operating with questionable behavior.
Syndicated Columnist, Founder of AskTheBuilder.com and Author of Roofing Ripoff Speaks Out
Tim Carter is a master carpenter, master plumber, master roof cutter and has done just about everything you can imagine. He’s the real deal. Ask the Builder started as a syndicated newspaper column in October, 1993, a few months after Tim was named one of the Big 50 Remodelers by Remodeling Magazine. The Ask the Builder column still appears each week in about sixty newspapers nationwide. Tim’s AskTheBuilder.com is the oldest and most quoted first-person home improvement site on the internet.
Learn more at RoofingRipoff.com
Carter, T. “Roofing Ripoff.” Retrieved on September 9, 2018 from https://roofingripoff.com
Ask the Builder I Why Roof Shingles Can Fail Prematurely
It’s normal for shingles to lose the colored ceramic granules. However, it’s not normal for it to happen when the shingle’s only halfway through its expected lifespan.
— TIM CARTER, ASK THE BUILDER
Carter, T. “Why roof shingles can fail prematurely.” Ask The Builder. The Washington Post. Retrieved
on September 9, 2018 from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/where-we-live/wp/2015/01/27/
Ten Years After Installation, My 25-Year Roof Is Failing
The homeowner who was assured that his or her new roof would last 25 or 30 years is not going to be happy when deterioration is evident or leaks develop only five, seven, or 10 years later. A rarity? Not at all.
— JIM CORY, Senior Contributing Editor to Professional Remodeler
Cory, J. “Ten Years After Installation, My 25-Year Roof Is Failing.” Professional Remodeler. Retrieved on September 9, 2018 from https://www.proremodeler.com/blog/ten-years-after-installation-my-25-year-roof-failing.