Chuck Arista, the last Elk territory manager before the hostile, um, merger by, er, between GAF and Elk, gave me the news. For those old enough to remember when Elk (Elcor) introduced the Prestique II, GAF's big announcement should harken those days. GAF started a war today by making all of its shingle, sans the 25 year Royal Sovereign Thee tab, lifetime products. That means 50 years with the last 2% never going away, thus lifetime.
GAF had already killed the Sentinel because it wasn't willing to compete with Owens Corning for how thin a shingle could be made. Elk had made that decision back in the 80's and I think we tore off the last Elk 25 year Sunseal in Irving a few weeks ago. It had six hail storms on it and it was still heavier than the Owens Corning 20 year three tab, a product that so thin nobody could find it anymore.
The reason I hark the Prestique II birth is that rather than increase dollar sales by getting more people to move up from the three tab to the new light weight laminate shingle, the new roofing product caused people to downgrade from the 30 year laminate, the Prestique 30 year, to the 25 year version. But the damage had been done.
This marked the beginning of an explosion in different types of roofing. GAF made a new Timberline, going through name changes every few months until they got back to the original Timberline name and adding the number 25 for it's warranty. Those names were Woodline, Woodline Plus, some other name that lasted a few weeks, and ultimately Timberline.
The manufacturers were playing leap frog with their warranties. The 25 year became 30, the 30 became 40, and then Elk tried to bring balance to the universe by creating the Prestique Plus 40 year, that became a 50 year when the leap frogging ceremony began.
Always the gamer, Atlas always just added five more years than everybody else.
Back at the supply house, where Chuck hangs out now having quit Elk for the job of outside sales for the Roofing Supply Group, or RSG as everything in roofing has an acronym, they'll have the old wrappers and sample boards for months to come and we'll get the inevitable irate phone calls from customers saying "the wrapper says 30 year and you said it was lifetime." We warned them in advance but I guess it'll be part of that 80% they forget after the presentation. They'll be suspicious anyway until they get the warranty. Here it is if you want to see for yourself: NEW BIG FAT WARRANTY.
So rather than buy 40 year or Lifetime or AmorShield II Lifetime Class IV roofing, all people will buy is the Timberline 30, er, lifetime.
I just took a break to read the news and saw that the 40 year is "while supplies last." The heavy duty is now the Timberline Ultra HD and the Timberline 30 is Timberline Lifetime, the name the old Timberline Ultra had before it became the Timberline Lifetime, the name the 30 year has now. And if you think that is a mouthful, for the last couple of years the 30 year product was called the GAF ELK Timberline Prestique High Definition 30 year. Gasp for air. The extra ink on the packages alone made the product seem heavier and caused the price to go up.
I will miss the Armorhield II Timberline Prestique seems to have exited the building. It doesn't even qualify for the "while supplies last" tombstone. The original ArmorShield (I) was only in business for a few months before it was changed. (I was wrong, They still make the ArmorShield II)
The System Plus warranty will become 50 years on materials and labor. Period. 100%. Period. The Golden Pledge will be the same as the System Plus with a 20 year leak protection that we Master Elite roofers are honored with the privilege to offer.
Still the hostile, er, merger, was one of the few great moves I've ever seen in the roofing industry. The better and bigger behemoth merged all over the pretty Elk roofing. I always hated it when a customer said "but I want one that looks like that." Then the sell went Elk. Now GAF wears an Elk skin but is the biggest baddest roofing manufacturer out there, except in the Class IV tournaments. GAF has only one product at this time but soon it will have more, or so I've been told.
Now if I were the Big Kahuna at GAF, I would have sprung this on the enemy in April when national sales go up, not now when roofing jobs are at their year low point. That way CertainTeed, Tamko, and Owens Corning would not have been able to make an adequate response until harvest season was over. I know what Atlas is going to do. They are going to come out with lifetime plus 5 years on all their products. They always leap the frog last. But the paper is as worthless as a Greek Drachma, Spanish peseta, or an Irish pound.
By the way, an Irish pound is a fifth.
Jon Alan Wright
Jon Wright Roofing, Siding, and Windows
1915 Peters Rd., Suite 310
Irving, TX 75061
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