New roofing can be one of the most expensive projects that homeowners face. As with most residential roofing systems, there is a direct relationship between quality and true cost, and in the case of roofing, "quality" usually translates as longevity. With a roof, it rarely makes sense to bargain-basement shop by choosing a roofing material based on price, when spending a little more may give you a roof that lasts for as long as you own the house. A cheap roof is no bargain if it needs to be replaced every 8 years as with most asphalt roofing options. With roofing materials, there is nothing more expensive than Cheap.
There may be some surprises as you consider the expected longevity of these common residential roofing materials.
For the sake of comparison; Our comparisons averaged national costs based on a 2,000 square foot house with a standard roof, installed by professionals. Also, we compared expected life spans of different roofing materials based on Montana and Wyoming Insurance Reports. Some residential roofing systems have warranties that are not worth the paper they are printed on as manufactures are not held accountable, and some are heavily prorated.
Steel Roofing Panels
Up to 30% energy savings, Improves resale value
Typical warranty includes workmanship and is transferrable
Average life span of typical metal roofing is 50 - 70 years
Roof repairs and replacements of metal roofing are rare, fade and chalk resistant, can be repainted if needed
Up to 30% energy savings, improves value at re-sale
May include workmanship and is transferrable
Average lifespan of Stone Coated Metal Roofing is 50 plus years
Repairs and maintenance are minimal, replacement is rare, can be resurfaced if needed
Typical 50 Year Shingle
Frequent replacement cost of asphalt roof shingles is every 7 - 15 years
Warranties are heavily pro-rated with many limitations
Asphalt Roof Shingles will need replacement and repairs, Re-caulking and sealing are needed, usually yearly
Price Varies as Tile can be specialty roof in MT - WY
Very little wind resistance, tiles will slide
Repair and Maintenance regularly, some replacement of tiles
Frequent Upkeep and Repairs
Shortest standard warranty in the industry
Frequent repairs and maintenance, susceptible to rot, mold, and leaking
Metal roofing systems cost more to install than most asphalt roofing options, but have many advantages for home owners. For this Comparison Chart we consider Standing Seam/mechanical Lock, and Stone Coated Steel Shingles. Home Owners should expect roofing prices to range from $6 to $15 per square foot for these 3 metal roofing materials. Metal roofing installation on the average size home we used for comparison above would cost around $18,350 in total. In comparison, the price of asphalt roofing options or shingles is much cheaper at $2 to $5.25 per square foot or $10,872 for your basic installation cost.
As common as asphalt roofing materials are, documented product failures involving asphalt shingles cracking and blistering long before their warranties expire (in most cases within a few short years from installation), are just as common, and we are starting to see more and more litigation stemming from this issue.
Let’s take a look at it now…
The technical explanation, the one used in court rooms, suggest that asphalt shingle blisters are a manufacturing defect that, in most cases, is visible from the day an installer cuts the plastic wrap the shingles are bundled in. This fact is what got me started following asphalt shingle roof failure claims, litigation, and class actions that name premature failure due to shingle blistering as the cause. There are some huge cases going on as I publish this…
Back to Premature Failure of Asphalt Roofing Shingles
"... customers complain of premature cracking and blistering, sometimes in as little as one year after installation."
Let me tell you a little about these defects that often resemble hail damage.
As Billings Metal Roofing has disclosed before, Asphalt shingle manufactures started getting away from the tried and true method of manufacturing used for years-- many layers of matting and asphalt with granules protecting the top -- and started using fillers to add to the asphalt and fibers instead of matting in an effort to cut down on production cost, make the product cheaper, and please their share holders.
These little defects that we are concerned with come about by adding fillers to the different grades of asphalt used in production. They are usually referred to as trapped or solvent gas bubbles. The defects as seen on your roof are referred to as blisters.
We first started noticing these blisters after the Billings tornado of 2010. We did a lot of inspections for our clients and their friends that year and although they had strong winds there was no significant hail in many areas of town. Yet upon inspection it looked like these roofs were hammered with hail.(The picture above is a Timberline roof. We noticed those defects as we were leaving).Wouldn’t you know it, most insurance adjusters thought it was too, and replaced the roofs due to a catastrophic weather event. $4 billion in insurance claims were paid to residential property owners and the manufactures got a pass; they were not held accountable. Yet…
(statefarm.com/_pdf/roofing-composition-shingle.pdf) was the first to really shed some light on this issue and start to blame, or focus the blame on the Manufactures. The manufactures blamed it on the installers or the roofing contractors and voided all warranty claims. Then they blamed it on your home or your local building code because, they implied your attic was not properly ventilated or your local building code didn’t figure ventilation right causing excessive attic heat.
But, remember "blister rash” can be found on new asphalt roofing materials that have never been rained-on, snowed on, hailed on, the sun shined on – they are shingles right out of the factory-wrapped bundle.
Experts have started to place the underlying cause on moisture content or volatile solvent gas content of the material upon which the shingle is built (in the factory), if a felt or resin-filled fiberglass substrate is inadequately moisture-resistant and is wet at the time of manufacture or if there were inadequately cured resins or binders that then might 'outgas' during manufacture those are the most likely sources of blistering.
Then, manufactures blamed roofing installers or roofing contractors, testifying that they should have noticed they were installing a defective product. Which they should have, but the product is usually delivered to the job site pre-bundled by the manufactures and installed by disinterested third parties or laborers. Most laborers will start slapping down shingles with no regard to whether they are red, white, blue, or an old Uniroyal tire that doesn’t perform well either. In the end, it is the home owner that ends up with a roofing product designed to fail; rapidly!
Now is a good time to read the Malarkey Warranty and consider what the “accelerated deterioration” and “service life” exclusions mean to you as a consumer. Also, be aware that often a pre-existing condition is seen as "new" or "just occurred" when in truth it was always there but simply was not noticed previously.
As more and more manufactures needed to deflect this problem back onto the installer or roofing contractor the “urban lore” of attic temperatures being the cause was born. As class action suits played out experts cited trapped moisture and heat as the original cause of blister rash. That it is in effect caused in the manufacturing process well before any asphalt shingle is installed on properties like your home. So again, as manufactures needed to deflect, this “urban lore” was born.
We now know that blistered shingles are evident in new product right out of the bundle, not just on installed roofs. Furthermore blisters on installed asphalt shingle roofs that we have personally inspected have not once, been found in patterns that correlated to attic moisture exit points (roof sheathing butt joints, or roof penetrations for example) nor to sun exposure of individual roof slopes, nor even to the detailed thermal stress patterns in individual shingles.
We have seen blistered shingles from individual bundles installed in patterns consistent with how the shingles were pulled and nailed from the bundles during the installation process - in some cases leaving a blistered shingle immediately next to a smooth un-blistered shingle, forming the argument against -- "it’s the installers fault".
The most scientific study of asphalt shingle blistering to date, 2020, is credited to Cash & Kan. Cash & Kan found that shingle blisters are a manufacturing defect traced to either moisture in the shingle substrate (damp felt or damp fiberglass mat) and/or inadequately cured resin in the shingle base during manufacture.
All that being said, I think it is important to say, yes, the manufacturer’s effort to keep their share holders happy and produce a product that is consistently cheaper in production cost is the root of this problem.
As Atlas has been run out of business, CertianTeed is being held accountable in the court of law, having over 38 cases in litigation. IKO, GAF TimberLine , and most of the other heavy hitters in the asphalt shingle world are sweating a little and trying to cover their back sides. Usually these efforts come to light by inspection of the warranties and asking how one exclusion affects other exclusions. How service life is really calculated and how the pro-rations affect the value of the warranty. Furthermore, it is our opinion that a savvy home owner should do everything possible to free themselves from a product that is designed to fail; a product that basically holds no warranty of value, and will become a continued expense for the life of their home.
If you got involved with any of these shingle manufactures, know that you are not alone and that Billings Metal Roofing will do anything in our power to help you get involved in the settlement process. Your deserve compensation; asphalt shingle manufacturers knowingly produced and distributed a product designed to fail on your home long before the so called life of the warranty.
Pending Cases in US Courts
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Mr Hilger has been in the construction, remodeling industry for several decades. Here, he uses his expertise and knowledge about building products and pricing to compare roofing materials designed for residential roofing systems. His knowledge is comprehensive throughout the industry, from premium metal roofing products to the cheapest of the cheap builders grade roofing materials. His knowledge has contributed not only to the remodeling industry but also to real estate and property insurance here in Montana and Wyoming. .
January 1, 2020