For those who complain about quality of comp shingles:

© 1999 Dodson Publications, Inc. Page 1 August 5, 2003 11:48 AM
Originally published in Western Roofing, July/August 1992.

Grading Systems

Classifying Asphalt Shingles May be the Solution the Industry is
Looking For

by Marc Dodson, editor

Many Contractors I talked to lately about asphalt shingles have pretty set
opinions about quality and longevity of the product. This concern has
resulted in two years of study by the Western States Roofing Contractors
Association (WSRCA), task forces, questionnaires, meetings with the
Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA), and two WSRCA
seminars, the most recent at the WSRCA convention in Reno (see related
articles in this issue). We have also been following the developing story
through regular articles (which I’m sure you’ve all committed to memory…
there will be a test later). The contractor’s theme is always the same,
“We want a better product.”
What most contractors don’t seem to realize is that they are not the
only market for asphalt shingles for many manufacturers. There is also
the Do-It Yourself market, which is huge by any standard. I’m sure you’ve
all seen the ads for shingles in everything from the local hardware store
to K-Mart to Home Depot. If you’ve studied the ads or store displays, you
will note that the stores are not advertising product quality, they’re
advertising the lowest price. Maybe this is where your competition bought
his material to beat you on price for that job. It’s a huge market, and it’s
also incentive for a manufacturer to turn out the lowest priced product
possible… and this market will not go away. Welcome to the real-world.
So how does the contractor explain to the uneducated homeowner
with the latest Home Depot ad in his hand that, “Yes, the ad does say
three-tab shingles, but my three-tab shingles are better.” The answer t o
this dilemma may be in a point made at the WSRCA Reno seminar by Joe
Jones of the ARMA task force assigned to study the issue. He suggested an
industry grading standard for shingles, such as Class A, B, and C (see
“Asphalt Shingle Seminar” elsewhere in this issue). I would suggest that
they use Class I, II and III, since Class A, B, and C are currently being used
in relation to fire-retardant classifications and confusion is bound t o
© 1999 Dodson Publications, Inc. Page 2 August 5, 2003 11:48 AM
result. Try to explain to a homeowner that you are going to apply a Class
B shingle which in turn will give him a Class A roof.
This is not a new idea. Many people, including myself, have
suggested the idea to industry leaders since this issue was first raised.
This grading system, if implemented properly, should solve the problem
for everybody. For the contractor, it would allow him to say to the
homeowner, “Yes, I know the price of shingles at the local hardware store,
but those are clearly marked Class III (or even Class IV) shingles. What
I’m suggesting we put on your house is a Class I shingle.” It also creates a
nice upgrade path of selling for the contractor. Maybe the customer likes
the Class II shingle, but for $X more he can upgrade to a Class I. This
would also let the architect specify a set standard for a roof and bids f o r
various manufacturers products would allow the contractors to compare
apples to apples instead of apples to oranges.
It would also allow the manufacturers to produce a
bottom-of-the-line product for the mass market and still produce a
premium product for the more discriminating buyer and quality conscious
roofing contractor. It would help eliminate customer complaints, as the
consumer would know exactly what they are getting and paying for up
front, since the product would be clearly marked on the package. I would
hope that it would also be permanently marked on the back of each shingle,
for later identification.
Could such an industry-set standard be implemented and enforced?
If handled properly and all parties cooperate, yes. The motion picture
industry has their own self-imposed rating system and many other
professions, such as medical and legal, have their own self-governing
bodies. An industry based standard would have to be more preferable than
a government-imposed standard, regulated with the speed and customer
orientation of the Postal Service and cost efficiency of the military. •••

Perhaps then, we need a class I, a class II, and a class III home inspector. The prices will then reflect the quality of the home inspector, and the home inspection.

I realize the quality of a CMI home inspector, but we continually get shut-out of business by low-balling, basic writing home inspectors and their say-nothing, pretty picture-only reports.

Who decides on the class?

Wow, never saw a thread get hijacked so fast!:shock:


there are some interesting points made in that article…thanks Kenton…

Kenton, your funny.

I always thought that there was a difference in brands of roofing. Most good manufacturers are now losing business to low-cost companies. Now, ones like GAF and Tamko are sqeezing shingles down to nothing just to compete for sales. Roofers today could care less about the quality or brand of shingles, just so it is cheap. Warranties are down to just a few years on the shingles, and one year on installations.

How many home owners get a hold of a wrapper from a package of shingles? Never.

This is like the drywall fiasco. Pay for what you get, and get what you pay for.

Just like home inspections. And, don’t call me Shirley.

In North Texas every comp roof last 10 years (more or less). Hail storms replace them all. Insurance companies distribute the cost with expensive policies with huge 2% deductibles. Many roofs that are replaced with insurance claims have years of reasonable life left. Roofers know how to play the claims and deductible game. The art of selling is to file the claim a few months before the listing then advertise the roof as new (certain restrictions apply).

Interestingly, a composition roof with a few hail impacts qualifies for replacement when a metal roof with dings is considered cosmetic. However, metal gutters with small dents are usually covered.

The glut of foreclosures without insurance will be interesting.

I guess my point is that the poor quality of the comp shingles we see so often is not due to production mistakes, it’s a business response to a demand.

In developing the roof courses that have not yet become available I talked to a lot of manufacturer’s representatives, and although before I started my research I thought the roofing industry was kind of sleazy, many of the people I met were very upfront about their explanations of why things are why they are. Just like this article is.

We all tend to think of people in the industries in which we see failures… like the insurance industries for wind and hail, and those manufacturing roofing products, as sleazy… and there are sleazy companies out there, but my experience in talking to those representing leaders in those industries, was really good. I was surprised. I developed a lot of respect for people in those industries when I had none before.
It’s not as simple as you think it is. As I thought it was.

Some people do not understand the difference between shopping for the best value vs. the cheapest price. Companies give the people what they want.

I look forward to the roof course, Kenton. Thanks.

I agree, but many times it is not because of price, but the lack of knowledge knowing the difference. In my opinion, it is every professionals job to educate the client. It is easy to sell quality as long as their is value. Proof is that many of the cheapest home inspectors are barely making it.

Educate the client


Similar standards apply to automotive tires.
I see no problem with the application of an A, B C etc… rating applied to similar roofing materials.

Classes are already in place Kenton.
The year of warranty.
No ten or 15 years shingles in Quebec period!!
20, 25, 30 and 35 if I am not mistaken.
Now 50 year reclaimed plastic slate.
Teach the home owner. What utter-nonsense.
The venting, Gable, eave, baffles, Maximum, low profile, etc.
Roof styles, you know the drill.
Lastly insulation and flashing underlay, non perforated tar paper.
So again the roofing manufactures put a spin on there shoddy products.
Teach the home owner.
Not the dam em-proficient roofers.
WOW sad!!
Turn the home owner into a shingle tile tradesman.:roll:

With possible exception of trying to identify them once they are installed on a roof.:smiley:

Its not hard to mark by color code of impression stamp on each tab.
Simple ways to mark quality.
Not the point.
They are already classified by grade or quality.!! Years of Warranty of life IF INSTALLED BY*** MANUFACTURES RECOMMENDATION OF INSTALLATIONS***.
The devil is in the detail!!!:twisted:
Bloody smoke and mirrors.:twisted: