The Feb. 23 column on a fire retardant treatment for wood shake and shingle roofs has prompted a letter from north of the border.
Gerry Feaver, marketing director of American Wood Treaters Inc., 33610 E. Broadway Ave., Mission, British Columbia, is heated up (pun intended) about the claims of the Newport Beach-based Coast Roof Savers. Some excerpts from Feaver's letter:
"Mor-Gard (actually Coast Roof Savers; Mor-Gard is the trade name of the chemical fire retardant) claims that their costs of 60 cents per square foot are about one-quarter the cost of a new roof. The fact is, that a new roof of Class C fire-retardant shakes can be supplied at an installed price of about $1.45 a square foot.
"On the average home, a new Class C roof can be installed for about $3,625, as opposed to spraying an old roof for about $1,725. Spraying a 20-year-old roof will leave you with an old roof with bad treatment."
He adds that "Standard 52, which they (Coast Roof Savers) claims to have passed, is a very minor test compared to what Underwriters Laboratories requires to give a wood roofing product a Class B or C rating. We produce both Class B and C fire retardant shakes and shingles and have to pass UL test 790 which requires that decks of shakes and shingles supplied by us are flame tested under wind conditions on a continuing basis after being weathered for periods of 1, 3, 5 and 10 years."
Peter G. Van Schultze of Coast Roof Savers, 4341 Birch St., Newport Beach, believes attitudes like this cost consumers untold amounts of money.
"I have personally witnessed here in Newport Beach millions of dollars wasted by premature roof replacements," he writes. "The next source of waste is the mandate by the local fire departments that all wooden roofs be pre-treated by pressure with various flame retardants of questionable value and life."
He believes that wooden roofs, like other parts of a house, require maintenance. He considers his treatment part of the maintenance process.