Local building expert writes 'Roofing Ripoff' book

  • Published in Local News

By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN

MEREDITH — Tim Carter decided to research the deficiencies of modern asphalt shingles when he noticed the roof on his home in Meredith was starting to fail just nine years into a life span that was supposed to last 30 years.

“Three years after I first noticed deterioration, the entire roof suffered a catastrophic failure over a harsh winter that left the shingles delaminating as the snow and ice melted,” he writes in a 92-page book, “Roofing Ripoff,” which suggests his experience is not unusual.

“My guess is you're one of the many homeowners that's dismayed, frustrated and furious because your asphalt shingle roof is falling apart,” he writes in the book, which looks into the history of the product and how its made.

He decided to use a “a virgin polymer synthetic slate” to replace his roofing material, but notes this isn't a choice for everyone.

“What you’ll discover if you decide to abandon asphalt shingles as I did is that just about every option is quite expensive,” he writes. “That’s a deal breaker for most people and it’s understandable.”

For those who use standard asphalt shingles, Carter offers advice on best practices.

The book is kind of a natural for Carter, who is in the advice business. The former contractor offers do-it-yourself tips to people in a nationally syndicated column and on his AsktheBuilder.com website.

In “Roofing Ripoff,” Carter describes reaching out to the asphalt industry with specific questions about manufacturing techniques and durability of modern shingles, but notes he didn't get specific answers in response. A call to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association for this story was not immediately returned.

He describes how a homeowner can know if a roof is in bad shape: “excessive loss of the colored ceramic granules, curling edges, cupping, cracking, brittleness and ugly black streaks or stains.”

Some roofs carry a 30-year warranty, but navigating warranty claims and getting companies to perform on such claims can be difficult. Also, since most homes have multiple owners before a roof begins to have problems, warranty claims are frequently never made.

Carter advises readers that shingles containing a material known as “SBS polymer” may be worth consideration as a product with enhanced capabilities.

He also advises that placement of copper stripping at the top of roofs appears to be helpful. A chemical reaction that starts when rain hits the copper allows the asphalt to remain flexible and retain ceramic granules. Asphalt shingles tend to curl when they loses flexibility. Copper also inhibits black algae formation, he said.

Carter is up-front that he has a financial interest in use of copper on roofs. In a section titled, “Full Disclosure,” he states he has partnered with a company to sell copper stripping.

“Remember, you can purchase copper from many other sources,” he said. “You don't need to buy it from me and that's not why I wrote this book. As with any purchase, just do your due diligence and make sure you're purchasing the best copper that will work.”

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