CertainTeed is a well-known manufacturer of shingles and other roofing products, and did not appear to suffer any prior adverse reputation beyond potential complications brought on by wind and weather, and in some cases a bungled installation by an independent contractor.
However, a bad batch of shingles manufactured sometime in the 1990's appears to be coming back to haunt the company, and it has left a large collection of well-meaning homeowners caught between a rock and a rainstorm.
One homeowner blogged back in 2005 that his roof was only eight years old when it started to fail. They had built their home new, and ensured the roof was properly ventilated, and to their knowledge it was properly installed. There did not appear to be any weather issues that may have contributed to the failure, and three independent inspectors came up with the same answer: shingle failure.
The homeowner attempted to contact CertainTeed and applied for compensation based on the product's 25-year warranty, filled out the required paperwork and even sent in samples of the failed shingle, as required. Weeks later an answer came back: the company was prepared to do nothing to help them.
It's one thing to deal with a roof failing before its time—imagine the frustration if you are trying to sell your house in the midst of that failure. This is what happened to a Wisconsin resident who blogged in 2004 that his roof was failing after only seven years. He had a buyer lined up for his house, but he wouldn't be in a position to close until he got the roof situation resolved.
Another homeowner blogged that it took him seven months to settle a claim with CertainTeed.
By and large, bloggers have varying opinions on the CertainTeed product. Some suggest that it's a good company, but they had a bad run of shingles, and therein lay the problem. Others suggest that CertainTeed shingles are crap, and they will never buy them again. One contractor said that he took care to make sure the shingles were installed correctly, and that vents in the roof and at the eves were all correct. And yet, a roof that was 10 years old looked three times that.
Some found customer service slow, but thorough in the end. Others felt that the company was a pain in the end. One industry insider suggested that the initial denial of a settlement or re-imbursement is often considered protocol by some companies, given the expectation that once denied, a homeowner will simply give up and go away. However, persistent claimants will usually receive something. The old adage of the squeaky wheel getting the grease, applies here.
Ultimately, the problem with a roof is that it's something most of us can't do ourselves. We either don't have the skill, or the strength, or the guts to work up so high.
And for most, a roofing job is a multi-thousand dollar expense that you need to budget for. Hence the temptation to subscribe to the suggested warranty. There's a certain piece of mind that comes with buying a 25-year or 30-year shingle, and if you just read the literature, you could easily be left with that impression.
However, most people know that a roof usually won't last that long with todays' shingles. Depending upon the climate and individual weather factors, a roof might be expected to last 16 to 18 years. That's not exactly 25 or 30 years, but most professionals would agree that 16-18 is realistic, barring any high-wind or significant atmospheric event, or a botched installation job.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWSNot only is a roof that begins to fail three, four or even 10 years after installation (and way too early on all counts) serve as a far cry and a laughable departure from that stated 25 or 320-year warranty—in some cases homeowners faced with fixing, or replacing their roofing sooner than expected may not have completely paid for the current one. Therefore, replacing a roof well before its time may be far more than simply an inconvenience. It could be the source of financial hardship.
There is a general perception that roofs are not lasting nearly as long as they once did decades ago, which begs one to wonder if the overall quality of roofing product is not what it once was, in an effort to cut costs and boost profits.
That remains to be seen. However, in the CertainTeed case, a bad batch of shingles should not be borne by a consumer believing they were acquiring a quality product.
If your CertainTeed roof is failing well before its time, and fixing or replacing it will cause you undue financial hardship, make sure you pursue every option at your disposal, in an effort to make it right.