Looking For Cheap Roofing Shingles? – Buyer Beware.
From Luis Vuitton handbags to Gucci watches, Rayban sunglasses, Iphones, and pharmaceutical drugs, not only do reputable contractors but homeowners also have to worry about and deal with Chinese knockoffs counterfeit roofing shingles.
Cheap Roof Shingles – To Good To Be True?
As hard as it is to believe, it’s true! For a couple of years, many Canadian and American roofing contractors were scratching their heads, wondering how the influx of Chinese roofing companies into our communities was able to price and install asphalt shingles and fibreglass shingles cheaply. Then it all came to fruition in June of 2015 with an article in the Canadian Contractor Magazine by Alec Caldwell exposing the Chinese shingle industry and who warns, “use them at your extreme peril”
Knockoff Renovation Materials
This is not a first for inferior knockoff building materials entering Canada from China. From 2001 – 2007, almost one million square meters of Toxic Chinese drywall came into and were installed in Canadian homes.
From toxic drywall to structural steel, windows, doors, hardware, and now shingles, construction materials coming from China be mostly inferior, with many not meeting our CSA regulations or approval. One would think, how is this happening, isn’t this illegal? But here’s the catch. A loophole in Canadian law says that only building materials used in new home construction must be CSA approved. There are no laws or regulations relating to the renovation of existing homes or buildings.
Although Chinese shingles are referred to as knockoffs, they are counterfeit as the Chinese manufacturers have also copied the North American packaging, complete with trademarks and construction standards approval stamps. When these Chinese shingles first came to light, I decided to do my investigation of how much they cost and their availability here in Canada. To my absolute surprise, I could buy these shingles online for as little as 2.25 Canadian with a minimum order of 1000 bundles, any color, packaged and wrapped in the North American manufacture of my choosing, such as IKO, GAF, CertainTeed, etc. I assumed these online purchases to be container loads, and as long as I had some outdoor storage in which to receive them, I could buy Chinese counterfeit shingles for about one-tenth the price I pay for quality North American products.
After some initial research and investigation, I began to watch and observe how companies using the knock off shingles, operate.
1. Sales are typically neighborhood door to door. Promoting to you that they are installing many new roofs in the area, including your neighbors and can thus afford through the volume of work, to install your new roof at a lower price than your local certified roofing contractor.
2. As shingle bundles are quite heavy, most contractors will have their Canadian suppliers deliver their customer’s orders to the job site. Counterfeit shingles are never delivered and always show up in the back of one or more trucks.
3. Payment terms for your roofing job are always in cash. Credit cards or cheques are not acceptable.
4. You won’t find these companies listed with WSIB, BBB, or CRA, and unlike Tops Roofing Company and other reputable roofing contractors, you won’t find any Google or customer reviews. As well, there will most often be no website, and any company address is usually fictitious. Their cellular telephone numbers and company names change almost as fast as the weather so trying to find them after your roof leaks or falls apart will be next to impossible.
What amazes me most is how prolific this underground Chinese counterfeit shingle roof replacement industry has become and the extraordinary levels to which many consumers are allowing themselves to be duped. The adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is, certainly applies here.
As with Tops Roofing Company and all other reputable roofing firms, informed consumers are always our best customers. I recall in 2016 conversing with a customer whether she had obtained a quote from the Chinese roofing company that was presently working across the street.
She replied, “yes, they knocked on my door several days ago and gave me a price to reroof our home”. She further commented to me, “my husband and I are business people, and aware of how many quality materials, WSIB, commercial insurance, and skilled labor costs are. When we add it up along with the costs of running a business, there was no way they could professionally install a quality roof for the price they had quoted. After much research, we have hired Tops Roofing Company as our number one choice for our new roofing project.”
Best Quality Roofing
Now, I realize every consumer likes to get the best quality at the best price possible, but the reality is, you cannot drive a Mercedes at a Hyundai price, so the moral of the story is, you do get what you pay for.
Tips to consider when hiring a roofing contractor.
- Are they BBB or otherwise accredited?
- Do they have a physical address?
- Did they provide you a proof of commercial liability insurance?
- Did they offer you a WSIB clearance?
- How long have they been in business?
- Are they verified on google business?
- Did they provide you with sufficient referrals that you can call?
- Have they been reviewed on sites such as Google, Home-Stars or other contractor or business referral agencies?
- Do they provide a satisfactory warranty on materials and labor and do they readily stand behind it?
- Are they recognized or certified by any manufacturer
- Are they licensed in your community
- Do they accept multiple types of payment options
- Do they have any Covid19 protocols in place