I wish you could hear the voice of the character I have inside my head. It’s that of a Scotsman. I’m not sure if it’s from a cartoon I watched as a kid or if it was one of Robin Williams’ alter egos. Either way, when something unsavory would happen to the Scotsman, his expletive of choice was “Ah shillelaghly!”
And with what we just learned on a current flip, I’m going to go with that phrase — I’m just going to spell it differently for the title. You’ll understand why in just a minute.
So what happened?
We bought a four bedroom, three bath project in Calhoun. As we were doing our normal walk-through inspection to design our rehab, we noticed something strange with the roof. The gutters on the back side of the house must have been sagging at some point. We know this because the previous owners had taken the gutter spikes out of the gutters, nailed them through the roof and then used wire to try to secure the gutters better. They then applied roofing tar to the gutter spikes to make sure the roof didn’t leak. You’ve gotta love ingenuity… right?
This was no big deal. To remedy the problem, we called our roofer to have him repair the area with some new shingles.
He came by the house and got a sample of the shingles to take to the supply house so he could match colors. When he got there, however, he discovered the supply house didn’t carry that shingle. That was because this particular shingle, Atlas Chalet, was faulty and had a class action lawsuit against it.
The Atlas Chalet shingle was one of those great ideas that just didn’t work. Atlas took a regular, three-tab shingle and baked on an additional layer of colored gravel. This gave Atlas Chalet the appearance of a more expensive architectural-style shingle, but with a cheaper price.
What Atlas didn’t know was that baking the shingles a second time caused them to fail to adhere properly when installed. Consequently, the shingles would begin cracking five to ten years into their advertised 25-year lifespan, thereby failing. I can understand why people were upset.
I’d never seen this type of shingle before. I thought we had an architectural roof on this project. I’ve been on working on roofs since I got out of high school, and these shingles fooled me. The reason I’d never seen them is Atlas Chalet shingles were used primarily in the Atlanta area. They were so concentrated there that the class action lawsuit for Georgia and the surrounding states is being tried by the Atlanta court system.
So there we were: my roofer couldn’t patch my roof because he couldn’t get shingles to match. And now that I knew what Atlas Chalet was, I couldn’t in good conscience sell a house with a faulty roof to a new family. What were we to do?
I knew we were going to have to change this roof, so I did what most people do; I called my insurance provider. My agent told me insurance wouldn’t pay for the roof because this was a faulty shingle situation, rather than damage due to weather. He did tell me I could try to get in on the class action lawsuit. But the suite really came to a head between 2013 and 2015. That means I’m behind the times. Even if I did get Atlas to pay for the roof, there’s no telling how long it could take. We decided to try it and see anyway.
Either way, what we thought was going to be a $500 patch job, just turned into a $5,000 out-of-pocket expense for a roof that we hadn’t budgeted for. And in the spirit of the Scotsman, and with my altered spelling, all I can say is, “Ah Chalet-lee!”
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.
Great article, Joey. Bummer about the expense, but you did the honorable thing. (as you always do)