The subject of shingles, and shingle brands and types, come up many times on a daily basis at AVENUE ROAD ROOFING®.
Surprisingly; most people who receive a roofing estimate involving shingle replacement, don’t research the brand and type of shingles, or their respective warranty terms; as they might be prone to do when shopping for a car as an example.
After all, they are just shingles, right? They all look very similar? But the fact is, nothing can be further from the truth. All shingles are not created equal; unfortunately.
The first thing that consumers should understand is that all shingle manufacturers are not perfect. It may be surprising to note that all roofers are not either (referring to ourselves).
At one time or another, all major manufacturers of such products have had some type of issues concerning a manufacturing defect. This happens in most industries; why would shingles be any different.
What is different in our experience; is how willing some manufacturers are to honour their product warranties. What is also different between manufacturers is how much of a hassle one must go through to initiate and resolve a product claim.
For over forty-five years, we have dealt with and installed just about every major shingle product on the market.
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Our decision to switch to the Certainteed™ shingle brand over twenty years ago, was not an easy one at the time. The Canadian distributor of Certainteed™ shingles at that time was smaller and had delivery challenges. The product was purchased in U.S. dollars, and therefore more expensive than their traditional Canadian counter-parts, and they were fibreglass shingles, as opposed to the organic asphalt shingles that were the mainstay in the market place for many decades prior.
Fibreglass shingles were said to be inferior and unfit for colder Canadian climates; claimed some of the competitor manufacturers. Ironically; all such competitors changed their shingle product lines to fibreglass based products shortly thereafter.
Our decision at the time to convert to the Certainteed™ shingle brand was largely based on the frustration our clients and we had faced in trying to process claims for premature product failures that were being blamed on the roofer in many instances. It had cost our company considerably to take care of such clients.
Our research prompted us to learn that consistently, Certainteed™ shingles ranked highly in Consumer Reports™. Over twenty-five years later, we can point to projects that have stood up well beyond their contemporary counterparts of that time period.
As one of, if not the first company to offer the Certainteed™ line of shingle products in the GTA; we now see many competitors having adopted the brand in their product offering. Likely for the same reasons we had for exploring a better product choice for our clients.
Also noteworthy was the fact that Certainteed® was the first manufacturer in our knowledge that established a credentialed roofer training program. Years later other manufacturers followed suit.
The basis of the Certainteed™ Contractor Program, and still to this day; focuses on educating the professional roofing contractor on several initiatives.
One of the main initiatives was to teach evaluating the roof as a system. This required Incorporating such items as understanding, identifying, and specifying correct ventilation, underlayment choices, and proper methodology of product and flashing installation.
To be a credentialed Certainteed contractor requires that key staff and installers are required to complete testing, and successfully pass testing which must be renewed on an annual basis.
AVENUE ROAD ROOFING® is proud to be among the first in Canada, and among a handful literally, in Ontario, that holds the highest credential of being a Certainteed™ Select Shingle Master Installation company.
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Dealing with a credentialed contractor has value for the consumer. The value comes in the form of warranty and peace of mind. Peace of mind, because the consumer would learn that the contractor firm had to go through rigorous financial scrutiny to establish that they are financially sound (not going to disappear in the market) and that they had to undergo installation inspections and independent client surveys to determine a long history of client satisfaction.
Certainteed ™, had focused its business model on supporting and promoting to the professional roofing contractor community as opposed to the big box, or large lumber chain distributors. Where other shingle products may cost less, peace of mind comes to the professional roofer organization and ultimately our clients; in that, they actually receive a dependable product warranty.
Holding a Select Master Shingle™ Installer credential allows companies such as ours, to provide a Five Star™ Warranty plan to our clients; which involves designing the roof to manufacturer specifications, and utilizing their products specifically. The result is that Certainteed™ even supersedes our own labour warranty for a prescribed number of years, including the products themselves; on a non-prorated basis.
The lengths of such warranties are commensurate with the particular grades and styles of shingles that the client can select from. This represents tremendous value particularly over time, as such warranties are transferrable, and even include tear-off and disposal costs.
Such warranties are purchased by the contractor and registered with Certainteed™, by the Select Shingle Master company; whom are the only contractors able to offer such to the public.
Consumers should read the fine print on shingle manufacturer warranties. As an example; one manufacturer had updated wording to reflect a seemingly similar coverage, but the study of the details revealed that unless the roof actually leaked; appearance issues were not covered.
In the manufacturing world; whether the commodity is cars or widgets or shingles; there is always one-upmanship game being played. Today; many shingle manufacturers have increased their warranty offering, we believe; as a direct result of Certainteed™ having led by example in the market place.
It is important to note that there are other shingle product brands such as Malarkey™ and Owens Corning™, and others that also produce very fine roofing products. The purpose of this discussion is not to promote one particular manufacturer’s agenda; but rather to reflect why we as roofing contractors, and you, as the consumer should evaluate quality over price.
This leads back to discussing the credentialed roofing contractor programs initiated by Certainteed™. One component involved training and testing, and re-testing annually, to establish uniform industry installation standards, and for their strategic alignment with valid contractor partners.
The other training agenda involved educating contractors on how to remain in business by calculating the correct price for services and accounting for their real costs of doing business.
Sadly to this day; there remain categories of roofer organizations that do not charge the correct price to be modestly profitable or to remain in business for the future benefit of their clients and themselves.
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As roofing is not typically a joyous purchase for homeowners; it is understandable that some may gravitate to the lowest priced competitor, because they cannot, or refuse to see, the peril of their decision.
The old saying ” if you think my price is expensive; wait until you have to re-do the mistakes of the cheaper job, or fix the resulting damage….”, is in fact playing out every day, and in every trade.
Certainteed™ invested considerably in an organization called Certified Contractor’s Network™, based out of Philadelphia, whose founder Richard Kaller; trained professional roofers how to calculate their operational cost correctly and charge the correct amount to be financially stable for the benefit of being able to honour their warranties and to cover the costs of improved service and training requirements in their businesses.
These early lessons learned helped scores or professional roofing contractors throughout Canada and the U.S. remain solvent and flourishing to this day. As the saying goes:” a rising tide, raises all ships”.
Another innovation of Certainteed®, all those years ago, was the introduction of premium fibreglass laminate, and “luxury” designer shingles. Where the Canadian marked was used to three-tab, asphalt shingles and Duroid shingles for decades, the introduction of such products ushered in a new era of design options for the consumer, as well as a superior quality product option.
So-called “luxury” shingles such as the Carriage House™, Grand Manor™, Landmark TL™, and others; provided tri-laminate construction, and provided appearances which were reminiscent of cedar and slate depending on the product choice; and colour blends that resulted in a greatly enhanced appearance for many homes.
The value of such shingle products allowed homeowners that were faced with expensive cedar or slate replacements, with an affordable by direct comparison option; that could supply decades of useable lifespan, at a more affordable price point for all.
A dwelling with a plain-looking or solid brick facade could dramatically enhance the appearance, and increase the vibrancy, by introducing these new colour blends. As a result, many manufacturers followed suit in the market place.
Certainteed™ is owned by one of the oldest building materials manufacturers in the world; Saint -Gobain™, whose origin is in France. The company is reported to date back to 350 years. In addition to shingles, Certainteed™ produces materials such as insulation, siding products, and various other building envelope product offerings.
To learn more about roofing products, installation, roofing warranties, and more, contact: www.avenueroadroofing.com