Lightweight fiber cement shakes have been a good alternative for homeowners who want a fire-retardant roof with the appearance of shakes.
The cost of fire-retardant-treated wood shakes is high and their life expectancy is short and some of the alternatives are either too heavy, unattractive or too expensive, according to Ulrich W. Zollikofer, president of Duratrend Industries Inc., 2870 W. Highland Ave., Fontana.
For example, the cost of the fire-resistant lightweight shakes on the market is often $35 more per square (100 square feet) more than treated wood shakes, he added.
After three years of development work, Duratrend has just introduced three Class B-rated lightweight roofing materials: Shakes, European flat tiles and dark gray slates.
They're called, respectively, TrendShake, TrendClay and TrendSlate. The cost for all three is about $230 a square installed on roofs where the shakes have to be removed and $210 on roofs where the materials can be applied over the existing roof.
He estimated that a typical treated wood-shake roof would cost about $250 per square installed.
"If the house has a heavy shake roof, we recommend removing the roof," Zollikofer said. "If it has a composition or wood-shingle roof, we can apply any of the three Duratrend products right over the existing roof without the need for reinforcement."
The 41-year-old Zollikofer, a West Los Angeles resident who was born in Switzerland, said that development of the flat tile roof stemmed from a comment in this column about four years ago, suggesting that the time was right for an alternative to the mission or barrel-tile common in the Southland.
Zollikofer, together with a group of European investors, bought the dormant Cal-Shake Inc., an Irwindale firm, in 1981. He began working on the concept of Duratrend products in 1983. The newer firm's vice president and general manager is Karl W. Jakel, in charge of engineering and production at Cal-Shake until 1984.
TrendShake products come with a limited 20-year product warranty, Zollikofer said, adding that the products are installed by independent roofing contractors. Names of approved contractors are available upon request from the factory.