PINE SHAKE HEADACHE
The purpose of this document is to provide you with some important information about your rooftop, and to avoid having to tell the same story to thousands of people when they call us for the background. We have been overwhelmed with requests for information and advice since the media started covering this issue, and since we're just homeowners like you with our own jobs, family and other commitments, we hope that you will understand our limitations.
The lid has just recently been removed from "Pandora's Box", and homeowners everywhere in Alberta are discovering the rot that lurks beneath their shakes! It will affect 20-40,000 homeowners!
Do you have untreated pine shakes on your rooftop? It's up to you to find out, we can not do that for you. If you do have pine, and your rooftop is between two to four years old, you will probably have noticed some darker areas and some split shakes. If you roof is six years old or more, you will be facing a complete replacement of the shakes within the next two years!
What has caused the rot? Indications are that it is not a "unique, airborne fungus", but instead a normal situation: a non-durable wood without any treatment cannot be prevented from rotting when exposed to the elements.
What can you do about it? It seems to be typical that, following an inspection by a roofing company, you will be given a choice of replacing just the damaged shakes; replacing damaged shakes and spraying the rooftop with a "fungus killing" spray; or replacing the whole roof with something else. We do not recommend a band-aid solution. Most reputable roofers will tell you that they cannot do a proper job of repair to a shake roof by removing and replacing only select shakes. That disturbs the nails in the good shakes, and the nail holes from the old ones will lead to leaking! Indications are that the fungus is being attracted to the roof rot as a moist/warm place to grow. Killing the fungus will not stop the rot!
Who is to blame for this? We have evidence that the Government of Alberta approved the use of untreated pine shakes on rooftops in the late 1980s - despite warnings from the experts in the housing industry, and without performing adequate testing. In their attempt to stimulate the Alberta forestry industry, we, the taxpayers, lost approximately one quarter billion dollars through their investment in and final sale of Millar Western in April of 1997.
What are we doing about it? We have formed a non-profit "consumer action group" to collect information and to facilitate the banding together of homeowners who wish to seek compensation from the government. To that end, we have attached a petition for you to use in your neighbourhood. [Already, thousands of people have signed our petition]. We have a research team of volunteers working to obtain all possible documentation on this issue. We have created (and regularly update) a web site, and ask that you look there for the latest info:
There is a wealth of information there to view, and you can print off copies of this petition on site. Also, we have retained a law firm with offices in Edmonton and Calgary; and as of June 10th, we have sent a registered letter to Premier Klein. Although we anticipate entering into negotiations with the Alberta government, we are prepared to take them to court.
What can you do? Don't panic! If you don't have access to the Internet, find a relative, friend or neighbour who does, or go to your local library! Become informed on the issue, sign our petition, and make sure all your neighbours have the chance to join us. Contact your MLA, and lobby your local media to provide coverage to this widespread issue.
PLEASE - do your part, look over the web site, we cannot possibly talk to everyone! Register by email from the site if you are not circulating a petition or have not signed one. If you represent a homeowners' association or condominium group, and require additional support, fax the particulars to us, and we'll be glad to talk to you. There is strength in numbers!
Province wide fax hotlines: (403) 419-2550 and (403) 458-0453