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ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR
AMERICAN CEMWOOD ROOFING
BEST ROOFING PRACTICES
BUILT UP ROOFS
CATHEDRAL CEILING VENTILATION
CERTIFICATIONS for ROOFING CONTRACTORS
CHIMNEY FLASHING Mistakes & Leaks
COLD WEATHER ROOF TROUBLE
DECKS, ROOFTOP CONSTRUCTION
EPDM, RUBBER, PVC ROOFING
EXTRACTIVE BLEEDING on SHINGLES
FIRE RETARDANT PLYWOOD
FLASHING on BUILDINGS
FLAT ROOF MOISTURE & CONDENSATION
Green House or Solarium Roof Leaks
HEAT TAPES & CABLES on Roofs for Ice Dams
ROOF ICE DAM LEAKS
MASONITE WOODRUF FIBERBOARD ROOFING
NOISE CONTROL for ROOFS
PLASTIC ROOFING TYPES
PVC, EPDM, RUBBER ROOFING
ROOF ARCHITECTURAL STYLES - PHOTO GUIDE
ROOF CLEANING RECOMMENDATIONS
ROOF COLOR RECOMMENDATIONS
ROOF INSPECTION SAFETY & LIMITS
ROOF LEAK DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
ROOF NOISE TRANSMISSION
ROOF REPLACEMENT SNAFUs
ROOFING FELT UNDERLAYMENT REQUIREMENTS
ROOFING MATERIALS, Age, Types
SADDLE CONSTRUCTION at CHIMNEYS
SNOW GUARDS & SNOW BRAKES
STANDARDS for ROOFING
STRESS SKIN INSULATED PANELS
TEST LABS - ROOF SHINGLE
TREES & SHRUBS, TRIM OFF BUILDING
TRUSSES, Floor & Roof
UNDERLAYMENT REQUIREMENTS on ROOFS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WALK-ON ROOF SURFACES
WARRANTIES for ROOF SHINGLES
WORKMANSHIP & ROOF DAMAGE
Cemwood roofing failures & warranty information: this website provides information about American Cemwood fiber cement roofing shingles, shakes, and roof failures, including roofing claims information for Permatek, Permatek II, Royal, Cemwood, and Cascade shakes, and Pacific Slate and Trieste tiles or roof "shingles" and includes advice for home inspectors, home buyers, and homeowners where these roofing products are used.
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Several hardboard-based and fiber cement based roofing products have not performed as well as originally anticipated, experienced early failure, and were the subject of roof warranty claims.
Masonite Woodruff, Cemwood, Hardishake/Hardislate, CalShake and Fire Free are examples of product names that have suffered these problems.
Our page top photo and photo at left of an American Cemwood roof was provided courtesy of Canadian home inspector Hugh Cairns .
The roof shown in these two photos by Mr. Cairns was installed in Kelowna, BC in 1991.
As stated in Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction (printed text) and online
Early generations of fiber-cement roofing products using
asbestos fibers were used successfully in the United States
for over 50 years. Articles discussing these products, including cement-asbestos roofing shingles, corrugated roofing, and related products are found
Newer formulations of fiber cement roofing tiles introduced in the 1980s and 1990s used wood fibers instead of asbestos and were marketed widely in the western United States as a fire-resistant alternative to wood shakes. Made from a mixture of Portland cement and wood fibers, they weighed 400 to 600 pounds per square and were designed to imitate slates or wood shakes.
They promised excellent resistance to insects, fungus, fire, and weathering and carried warranties ranging from 25 to 50 years. Within five years of installation, however, many of the fiber-cement shakes began to deteriorate. Problems included surface crazing, cracking, delamination, and softening and resulted in a number of lawsuits against key manufacturers and several companies abandoning the product.
The problems and failiures in wood fiber cement roofing products were generally linked to high water absorption, which created an alkaline solution that was corrosive to the wood fibers. Some fiber cement roofing products have fared better than others. In general, fiber cement roof products that are steam-cured in an autoclave will have lower water absorption, but they tend to be more brittle.
Comparing Asbestos Cement Roof Shingles to American Cemwood Shingles
Our photo (left) is of asbestos cement roofing shingles, a product that can usually be easily distinguished from American Cemwood roofing shakes and other members of that product family. We provide further Cemwood roofing identification information below.
For information about fiber cement roofing inspection, diagnosis, repair, and repalcement, see ASBESTOS & FIBER CEMENT ROOFING.
American Cemwood Roofing Claims Contact Information
The following information was provided by the American Cemwood Claims Administrator. Independent Claims Administrator for American Cemwood Roofing Litigation Settlement, P.O. Box 162, Lancaster, CA 93584. Contact the Cemwood Administrator at 1-800-708-3266.
Quoting from original source (that includes product photos): http://www.cemwoodclaims.com/identify.html
How to Identify American Cemwood Roofing Shakes, Permatek Shakes, and related products:
First, if you were involved with the reroofing of your home, you may have your own Cemwood/Permatek records. Such records may include a warranty, contract for installing the product, or proof of payment.
A second way to determine if you have Cemwood or Permatek shakes is to carefully examine the product on your roof. Cemwood and Permatek shakes are formed of a composite of Portland cement and wood fibers. They are a textured product and replicate the look of traditional wood shake.
The Cemwood shakes at left appear to ahve been coated/painted in an attempt to prolong roof life.
Watch out: when inspecting a Cemwood any other roof, be careful about walking on cemwood roofs or any other roof surface that is fragile, as you are likely to damage the roof and may convert a roof of uncertain future life to a need for an immediate re-roof job. Stay off of roofs that are fragile, wet, slippery, moss covered, steep, or have any other safety concern that leaves you uncertain about your abiltiy to make a safe on-roof inspection.
Cemwood shakes are tapered. They are 22 inches in length and come in random widths of 12, 7 and 5 inches.
Cemwood roofing shakes were sold in two colors: driftwood (light grey) and umber (dark brown).
On the top side of Cemwood shakes, above the exposure line, the letters "AC" are sometimes imprinted on each shake. [So you'd need to remove some of the roofing to see this marking.]
Permatek fiber cement roofing shakes were sold in a number of colors: mocha (medium brown), driftwood (light gray), umber (dark brown), greyflash (dark grey) and tanflash (tan).
The word "PERMATEK" is sometimes imprinted on the back side of each shake.
List of Fiberboard & Fiber Cement Roof Shingle Warranty Claims Companies & Websites
George Podrug provided Masonite Woodruf™ roofing information for home inspectors in 1999.
Defective Hardboard Siding (similar products): see the detailed article series on hardboard siding beginning at SIDING HARDBOARD
Continue reading at FIBER-WOOD & FIBERBOARD ROOFING or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.
Suggested citation for this web page
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
(Aug 27, 2012) Irene Lehmann said:
What is the settlement regarding these roofing tiles
(Oct 9, 2012) firstname.lastname@example.org said:
Has anyone any information on any settlements in Canada?
(Dec 28, 2012) Jenny Ruoff said:
We just recently purchased a home that has a Cemwood shake roof. A couple of days ago we noticed a leak in one of the ceilings. Our 50-year roof all of a sudden is breaking down, and I am finding out that Cemwood shakes have been breaking down for a while now. Is there any way to get compensated for this? I have read there were class action lawsuits, but the phone # & website in the suit is not working.
Thank you for your help.
(Feb 11, 2013) Ron 2/9/13 said:
Yes, we have experienced the same roof failure with excessive water absorption and fungus growing on roof tiles including discoloration and brittleness.
(Mar 6, 2013) Judy said:
We have had problems with our roof too, and I too can not get in touch to find out about the class action suit. Does anyone have a number or address that can be used for info?
(Mar 26, 2014) Dennis Lanes said:
We have a failed roof made with Cal - Shake SFM - 4943 shakes. Are we eligible to participate in the claim?
(Apr 18, 2014) Patricia Gross, email@example.com said:
The information packet & claim form we got for Cemwood Roofing said claims must be submitted by Feb. 7, 2015. We mailed our claim on Jan. 5, 2013, with USPS tracking. With no word in a year, we finally wrote an inquiry letter on April 2, 2014. We just received a reply stating the settlement closed on May 19, 2011 and that our claim was received after the closing date. Since we did file prior to the date given in the claim form instructions, what is our recourse?
You may need to consult an attorney who has expertise in construction law, but first it seems appropriate to contact the company providing documentation of when and how your claim was submitted.
Question: Class-Action claims deadline for FireFree roofs: 15 January 2007
(June 7, 2014) Jeff Fisher said:
Is the lawsuit for FireFree+ shakes still open? I just foundout about it last week during some roof repairs. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeff, In considering Fire Free roofing shakes failure complaints, a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge awarded an $18.6-million class-action settlement in June 2001 to homeowners of FireFree roofs manufactured and installed from December 1993 to November 1997.
Homeowners with failing FireFree roofs covered in the suit had until Jan. 15, 2007, to file claims. So no sorry, you're too late.
Question: sealant or paint for use on Permatek roofs with flaking coating
(July 14, 2014) Beth said:
Is there a sealant or paint that can be applied to a Permatek roof. We live in a desert area in southern Colorado-low humidity and little snow/rainfall but the coating is flaking off.
I understand that there was a touch-up paint used on sawn edges of Cemwood Permatek roofs but that the product has not proven durable. One would think that if a restorative or protective coating had ever proven successful on Permatek roofs it would have been widely publicized and used on these failing roofs. I have not been able,to find such products nor reports of their use.
A separate company and product, Permatex is sold as a coating for tile and metal roofs, an acrylic sealer. I found no data on its use on Permatek roofing.
Question: filing a claim with American Cemwood®
I just found out yesterday that my roof is cemwood. It was put on by a remodeling company that did a room addition 14 yrs. ago. They are now out of business. I have been having broken tiles in hoards. I thot it was from painters, window washers or termite tenting but it isn't. They just brake spontaneously. Is there still a lawsuit going on with the manufacturer or is it too late? I can't believe I was totally in the dark about this. No one told me til a third roofer came out yesterday to survey the damage.
Amy, Cemwood Roofing said claims must be submitted by Feb. 7, 2015. The contact links for American Cemwood are in the article just above.
Watch out: if the roof was damaged by foot traffic or another external cause I'm doubtful that any manufacturer is going to consider that a failure covered by warranty.
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