About Sal Catanese Sr.

Sal Catanese Sr. is president of Underlayment Specialties Plus, Harleysville, Pa.

Does a Low Price Mean Good Value or Bad Quality?

Why can’t roofing industry professionals understand that old technology and outdated products that have outlived their usefulness are no longer really considered competition but are a target for replacement? Higher-performing and technically advanced products replace outdated and underperforming products all the time. They don’t try to compete with them on price. That doesn’t always seem to be the case in the roofing industry.

The bar has to be set higher—not lower—when dealing with all types of products in the roofing industry; I tend to notice this disconnect when it comes to woven synthetic underlayments because of my line of business. However, test standards and inspection compliance should reflect the quality of all products in the industry. Today’s consumer is not demanding lower-performing products at lower prices with the intention that the materials on their house or business will not last and will not endure the weather and heat from the sun.

In addition, the roofing industry’s practice of selling the customer a 40- to 50-year or lifetime-warrantied roof with an underlayment that is warrantied for five or 10 years should be discontinued because this concept is not in the best interest of the customer. This is especially true when those products are used in a way that is in conflict with the restrictions placed on price-oriented imported products. Buyers, including roofing contractors, builders, distributors and homeowners, need to read the data and instruction materials to fully understand what they are buying.

Cheaper is not better! Better is better! There is no getting around it. If suppliers and manufacturers are going to employ salesmen and women, they ought to be able to sell the products in their charge and be able to give the buyer reasons why they should buy their product. For example, do you really think the consumer who is buying the higher-end asphalt shingle product wants a lower-end synthetic underlayment? You’re supposed to be replacing poor-quality products, not competing with them.

Using poor-quality cheap products is yesterday’s thinking. You’re not serving the public’s needs with that thought process. Quality and proven performance levels are being demanded in today’s marketplace, and price has nothing to do with it.

Why can’t the roofing industry understand this and stop this race to the bottom?