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Underlay for Metal Roofs

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 I monitor all calls because of telemarketers. If your # does not show on caller I.D., you will have to leave a message.


The Underlay Story

The execs at a major shingle manufacturer felt they needed to increase sales somehow. Memos were sent to all departments in search of ideas.

Some months went by and a fellow in marketing wanted to present an idea. A couple, really.

He met with the execs one day and said “Let’s sell felt. The only people in the market are Bird and JM.”

The execs all spoke up and said their entire market share there was new construction! “Only builders buy the felt to keep their projects dry until the roofers come and install the shingles. The roofers are often installing our shingles without felt. And it can’t be used on a re roof. What the heck do we want to sell felt for? The only felt we need is the 12” rag for our shingles. There will never be a need or market for us there. It could open us up to some new liability! And it isn‘t used under tin! Follansbee will void their warranty if they find felt under tin. We can‘t sell it there. There isn’t a roof in the world that requires felt…. How are you planning on selling THAT?” Get out of here with that hair-brained scheme!”

“Please! Just give me a minute and you’ll see the logic! Please!”

“You have 10 minutes.”

“Here’s the deal. Our 15 year shingles regularly last 17-22 years minimum. And our 5 year warranty never needs to be honored, right?”

Nods, and “yeses” from the execs. ‘So?”

“ We will need to market ourselves as a leader to be envied. Let’s offer a ’7 year’ warranty ’if’ installers use our felt under our shingles! It’s a win-win. The shingles will go the term with or without the felt, but we can open up a whole new market and give glossy brochures to dealers to hand to installers and it only costs us pennies. The installers will do our marketing for us! We’ll always be able to ‘prove’ installation error if any warranty issues ever occur anyway. We can’t lose….It‘s a win-win and we get a larger market share all around.”

“Research is showing that anybody less than 50 year old gets caught up in the hype that glossy brochures, TV ads, and radio ads spout. Any glossy ads we print will be taken as gospel. And it’s real easy to brainwash people if we were to do TV ads. Ignorant people soak them up like sponges! Older people tend to take ads with a grain of salt and figure that if it‘s worth being on TV, it‘ll be announced during the news as a news item. They seem to know the difference.”

“The established and older roofers will never fall for that line.., but we could give it a try for a limited period of time. It’s your job on the line though!”

“No problem Boss. We’ve been looking hard into this and we believe some hard pressed companies will use the ploy to increase their sales. And the newcomers to the roofing industry won’t know any better anyway. We won’t tool up for this, we’ll order from other makers and have our names stamped on the rolls. If this takes off, we’ll see about tooling up to make it ourselves, maybe. Who knows for sure. I do believe we can even make a market for it in the metal roofing side of things. Bill, Bob, myself a couple of others are looking into now.”

“Joe and a small team are working on their own time to see if they can come up with some form of sticky felt. They heard a rumor that a company is working on a product that can be used on eaves to help with ice-dam issues. If it’s as good as rumor has it, even jacklegs will be able to do roofs with too many leaks further helping us avoid nay warranty issues. If it has merit, we we can come up with a marketing gimmick for it too.”

“Just think ‘underlay’ and we’ll market the term and use it all the time until people start forgetting the roof itself and the underlay becomes the priority. Like I mentioned before, there is plenty up sell potential here and no liability beyond the pennies on the dollar we’re already liable for anyway. How can we lose?”

“OK, we’ll also have legal look into all facets before anything goes public! One slip and you’re fired!”

“Remember, this will have nothing to do with roof performance, it’s all about marketing! The New buzzword will be ‘Underlay!’ We will be working on selling an underlay for other standard systems like EPDM, TPO, and the like. It’ll be a harder sell, but if they’ll buy the one idea, I believe that in time we can sell them the other.”


The economy is on everybody's mind. Because of this, many are remodeling and/or repairing as opposed to replacing. I'm finding that part of this attitude leads to accepting ridiculously low bids. DON'T fall into this trap! If the bid is that low, there are some serious shortcuts being taken. These 'repairs' will come back to haunt homeowners and the 2nd. time around, the repair cost will be ridiculously high! I know. I'm the guy that often comes back for the second go-around.

I do feel like the person getting ready to spend thousands should have a very, very good idea of what's involved. Even if I don't get hired, I honestly hope they learned enough from me and my site to NOT hire a Jack-Leg that will cost them much more at a later date. That, to me, is much more important than a sale. Sorry if that attitude offends anybody, but that's ME.

  The influx of immigrant workers has created a market of repairs on roofs as young as 2 years old. Most of the roofs I repair nowadays are less than 12 years old. The migrants are here to do the work, get paid, and go back South of the Border. That's where I come in. I'm still here and I can usually fix the problems some of them create.  It saddens me to see the poor quality our industry turns out today. A few of them are craftsmen, but the majority aren't. They're just unskilled hard workers. And it's because nobody has bothered to train them.

 I would hire a 'legal' alien if he spoke perfect English and had proper documentation. Some of the people from other countries seem to be much harder workers than some of our 'native' citizens. Go figure. Point is, I won't learn Spanish or Italian so I can hire somebody to work in America.

  A clientele mindset I have trouble penetrating is their definition of a 'Good' roofer.
  To them, A good roofer is one that will come back to fix their (The roofer's) mistakes in a timely fashion, as often as it takes. This is called "Call-Backs".
The whole premise I strive for and succeed in accomplishing is '0' leaks in the first place! So I don't have call-backs to show how well I can take care of 'my mistakes'. A company is only as good as the person working on the roof. I am the worker and the owner. 

 It seems that the current 'recession' is bringing out an influx of jackleg roofers. I'm seeing more and more new jobs that are disasters and needing replacement because they aren't even repairable. Clients! Due Diligence please. Check into your roofer and his references!


I don't install 3-tab 20 or 25 year shingles. I only bid and install dimensional shingles lately. All of them are getting flimsier and more fragile in my opinion.  And nowadays, the manufacturers are stressing the importance of underlayment. To me, it seems as if they have no confidence in their own roof material. Older organic shingles were often installed over sheathing boards and they lasted their projected lifetime. Go figure.


If I had my druthers, I'd only do slate roofs. Steep slate roofs! Steep ones have even less reliance on underlay.

Tinner666 is my Online Handle!

I post on various forums online and even have a website under the name. You can find many helpful posts by me just by Googling.

My Wordpress site, for instance:  Tinner666’s Blog

The Richmond Slate Roofer


A recent site comment. "Hi Albert, Just dropping you a note to say I love your site. Very informative and you convey trust and professionalism through out your site. I found you on Carl Browns new message board "

Thank you very much. I'm as down to earth as is possible and appreciate the comment.




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