Products and Tools

Malarkey Roofing

Malarkey's Northwest-XL line of shingles come with a 40-year warranty and are built to survive winds up to 80 mph. The Highlander-CS series hase a 30-year warranty and is rated for winds up to 70 mph. Both come with 3M™ Scotchgard™ Algae Resistance, with a 20-year warranty.

Malarkey shingles also have a patented feature called the Zone, which doubles the nailing area (¾ in. to 1½ in.) on the single, thus reducing the change of leaks. "If you are looking for leak resistant shingles, this is probably the best design in shingle construction today from the laminated shingle group." Roofing Store.

GAF-Elk Roofing

Malarkey is a great leak resistant, low cost shingle, but it doesn't measure up to the toughness of GAF-Elk's Timberline roofing. We use this line of architectural shingles on steeper slope roofs (8/12 and steeper). The grit is much stronger, which reduces scuffing when walking on the shingles. They also have a great tar strip that ensure that the shingle will stick down solidly and stay that way.

The nailing zone for these shingles doesn't seem as good at "The Zone" on the Malarkey shingles, but in steeper slope applications the risk of leaks is less anyway. They are also a bit more expensive than Malarkey, but the tougher grit means that the shingle will probably survive longer. By my estimate and comments from other roofers, the 30-year Timberline shingle probably has a comparable lifetime to the 40-year Malarkey shingle.

LP Lap Siding

Hardi Plank has dominated the siding industry for a number of years now and is generally recognized as the industry standard. However, Hardi is beginning to show a number of problems:

  • it is heavy and more time consuming to install
  • it is soft and easily breaks or dents (I'm amazed by how easy it is to pull a piece of Hardi off the wall, there is a great video on the LP web site)
  • it will eat through nails and fall off the wall (unless stainless nails are used)
  • it can absorb and hold a lot of moisture, which makes it soft and crumbly and can damage the wall (unless it is painted well, installers often use ½" strips to space the Hardi away from the wall, which takes more time to install).

After the LP scare (the failure of LP siding), LP Building Products reformulated their line of siding, now called SmartSide. I prefer SmartSide for many reasons:

  • it is lighter than Hardi (less work to install and less weight on your house)
  • it is easier to work with (doesn't easily break)
  • it has a more natural wood grain
  • it is much stronger and dent resistant (I can't pull it off the wall without tools)
  • it comes in longer pieces, which means fewer seams

The material cost is comparable, but labor is usually cheaper for LP SmartSide. Overall, the only benefits I can think of for Hardi is that it won't rot and won't burn. So even after it falls off your walls it will still be in great shape and you can nail the same piece back up again, assuming it doesn't crumble in the process ;). LP Building Products also has an extensive line of siding products, trim boards, soffit - everything you need. Hardi has attempted the same thing, but I don't think anything but their lap siding has caught on, and the other products seem like a joke to me.

More product reviews to come, check back soon