Although HardiShake©, MaxiShake©, and Cemwood© were originally sold as lifetime roofing they now reveal their *alleged fatal flaw. In fact, your Hardi Shake roof may already be showing signs of failure: breaking, cracking, delamination, discoloration, or softening.
Layers of Trouble
In 1996, the marketing representative for HardiShake© trained a small handful of my colleagues to sell their product. As he explained it, the fiber cement shingles were made by rolling a wire mesh wheel through a mixture of sand, wood “cellulose” fibers, and cement. As the wheel turned, it picked up another layer of the mixture. When the collected layers reached 1/4″ thickness, they were stamped into shingles with either a “shake” or “slate” imprint. The shingles were laminated creating a moisture barrier.
Within a few years of installation, customers in Colleyville reported chips of shingles falling from their roof. I’ve recently inspected homes in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Arlington where the shingles are cracked in two. Another common complaint is that it is impossible to hang Christmas lights without damaging the roof further. You may have noticed that your roof has changed color, become “dirty”, or possibly has started to grow algae.
In the past, concrete shingles were made with asbestos fibers that served to increase their strength and durability. Due to serious health concerns caused by asbestos, manufacturers were forced to find an alternate way to simulate these benefits. The alternative became wood “cellulose” fibers. While wood fibers initially did a good job of adding strength and durability to concrete shingles, many soon revealed their alleged fatal flaw. When it rains, unprotected wood fibers attract and hold water. As the temperature changes, the fibers expand and contract separating the shingle back into thin brittle layers.
One of the important dynamics to look at when studying premature shingle failure is “capillary suction”. Moisture can get into and behind the shingles because they sit tightly on top of each other. Water appears to defy gravity when it is drawn backwards (wicking) into the overlapping above fiber cement shingle. The way to defeat capillary suction is to perfectly seal each shingle (yeah right!). Another method is to ventilate the space between each shingle by creating a gap. Unfortunately, shingles work best at shedding rain water when you eliminate the gaps! It seems to be a proverbial Catch 22.
Bigger In Texas
Our damp climate causes the shingles to fail at a much faster rate than in other parts of the country. Each change in season reveals further damage… eventually leading to extensive interior water damage in your home. Unfortunately, most insurance companies will hold you responsible for those costly repairs due to your faulty roof. They will rightly claim that your policy does not cover manufacture defects. It will cost you thousands & thousands of dollars to replace your roof… not to mention what it will cost to repair your water damaged interior.