Our Review of the Shingle Reviewers
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"Shingle Reviews and the Ratings Provided by Consumer Reports"
Shingle Review Preface
I know I should be consulting with all kinds of legal experts before writing this article. But whether they said do or don't we likely would have written this anyway.
Why? We are roofers that are actually very proud of our trade and industry. We work hard to maintain credibility in an industry plagued with problems, and when something is so far out there that it borders on misleading, especially from age old trusted sources... well, we just gotta say something. You gotta stand for something in this life they say.
Now, to preface, it isn't that we have uncovered some dramatic conspiracy to commit, or even lies, but we are concerned about the perception or understanding some would have when reading various information in our media specific to shingle reviews or ratings.
Enough of that and on to what this is about. This is about presenting true roofing reviews, more specifically in this instance, shingle reviews that are clear and do not leave the potential consumer thinking something that is in fact incorrect.
We started this chain of articles on our blog specific to Shingle Reviews and Ratings and Consumer Reports articles on April 5, 2012:
After which, we received feedback and considered and re-considered topics such as, "how do they actually come to the ratings and reviews of these roofing shingles?"
It is questions like this that had us dig a little deeper, which eventually prompted us to review the reviewer of the shingles.
To the point.
Our Review of Consumer Reports Shingle Reviews
First. Visit Consumer Reports at www.consumerreports.org. Pay your annual fee to access the information contained on their website - which makes me wonder why we don't charge a fee for the reviews on our blog L.O.L. You then (after receiving your password and username data by email) click on "roofing", which brings you to a page titled in the URL "Top Roofing Reviews | Best Roofing - Consumer Reports" and then click the sub heading "Overview".
At the left of the page, about half way down it says something along these lines...
"What's behind our roofing Ratings? Experts at our National Testing and Research Center tested 26 models in roofing to see which ones perform best."
Then click on "Ratings" and another page comes up and in the URL is titled "Roofing Ratings".
Notice, at the same location as with the last page (left side, mid way down) you find a description of how Consumer Reports states they derive or come up with their ratings...
"Roofing Ratings. This chart includes ratings for similar and tested models. What's behind our Ratings?
Experts at our National Testing and Research Center test hundreds of models in this category to see which ones perform best. Our tests are based not only on government and industry standards but also on standards our specialists think should apply. We look for: Performance. Reliability. Safety issues."
Listed on this page are the following shingles with ratings they say are derived at by methods of testing for performance, reliability, safety, and have sub headings for price, over-all score, weight, strength, wind, weathering, and impact. The also have sub headings for best buy, recommend, excellent, very good, good, fair, and poor. The shingles listed are as follows (in order of overall performance);
Owens Corning Berkshire Collection
CertainTeed Grand Manor
IKO Crowne Slate
CertainTeed Presidential Shake
Owens Corning Oakridge
CertainTeed Landmark Premium
GAF-Elk Timberline Prestique Lifetime
Tamko Heritage 30
Tamko Heritage Vintage
GAF-Elk Timberline Natural Shadow
Owens Corning Duration
Malarkey 273 Legacy
Owens Corning Duration Premium
Atlas StormMaster Slate
GAF-Elk Royal Sovereign
Malarkey 204 Dura-Seal
CertainTeed XT 25
IKO Gentry Ultra AR
Tamko Elite Glass-Seal
Owens Corning Supreme
Our summary is this, if I were a consumer looking at this list of 26 shingle types, compiled in an order of overall rating with optional other rating preferences such as wind, impact, price, etc. I would assume, unless I read very closely, that Consumers Reports did in fact test hundreds of different kinds of shingles and came up with this list being the best, in order from best to worst with variances of specific category. Or at minimum I would be confused because on one page they state that hundreds are tested, on another they state more than twenty-five (which we didn't cover here), and on at least one other page they state that twenty-six models were tested and rated.
Now, as we commented on our last article specific to this topic, we are comfortable with the idea that Consumer Reports likely does scientifically test the shingles (in blind faith I suppose), but nonetheless, it seems sound. But what is of concern are two primary issues.
Number One Concern. Were 25, 26, or hundreds of shingle types tested to come to this list? If hundreds, why not publish that list? If 25 or 26, then perhaps make that very clear as there are many shingles out there that rate very well in our installers opinion that are not included on the list. And remember, we install.
Number Two Concern. We believe an appropriate or more accurate method of testing would be to combine the two methods. The scientific method that Consumer Reports likely uses (which will likely be a future article) and reviews by real roofing installers (yes like us) that install a variety of shingles in various geographical areas. Our last article on this subject dug in to the reasons this is at least as important, some of which are things like geography, specific types of roofs the shingles are being installed on, etc.
Wikipedia reports the following with respect to Consumer Reports:
"Consumer Reports is an American magazine published monthly by Consumers Union since 1936. It publishes reviews and comparisons of consumer products and services based on reporting and results from its in-house testing laboratory. It also publishes cleaning and general buying guides. It has approximately 7.3 million subscribers and an annual testing budget of approximately US$21 million. The annual Consumer Reports new car issue, released every April, is typically the magazine's best-selling issue and is thought to influence millions of automobile purchases."
Now, if Consumer Reports does in fact have only 21 million to test the plethora of consumer items in a wide array of categories.... do they really test hundreds of different shingles, or is this perhaps a misprint and perhaps they only test 26 models of shingles? If if they do in fact only have 21 million to test all the different kinds of products, how much of that 21 million did they use to test the hundreds or twenty six models of shingles? Assuming it was at least 1/42 or their testing budget that went towards the hundreds or 26 models of shingles tested (an assumption I know), then they would have used about a half a million to test hundreds or 26 models of shingles with all the scientific laboratory methods they describe. Which would likely be closer to about 100k considering all the different products they test.
If all that is in fact true, then wouldn't it make some sense to take roofing companies (yes like GRS) that install millions of square feet a year in roofing products and simply interview their staff to balance out their recommendations? Just a thought. And yes, we know, they run consumer questionnaires. And a final thought, hopefully their legal budget is less than the 21 million they use for testing LOL.
For More Information
Our blog has a number of shingle review articles. Use the search box at the top right. It will display roofing reviews on our blog, articles linked to our blog, and articles on the internet.
Visit the following sections of our main roofing website;
Residential Roofing - A Review of Residential Roofing Materials
How to Shingle a Roof - A Roof Replacement Guide
Roofing Shingles - Choosing Shingle Material Types (Asphalt, Metal, Tile, etc)
Roofing Shingles - How to Choose an Asphalt Shingle
How to Choose a Roofing Contractor
Click here for an online quotation request form
Until Next Time,
Your Roofing Team at GRS
About General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS)
General Roofing Systems Canada (GRS) is a Comprehensive Roofing Contractor - Roof Repair and Replacements Serving Western Canada. Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lloydminster, Saskatoon, Regina, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Canmore, Cranbrook, Kelowna, Vancouver, Whistler, and points between.
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