• 2 Investigates: Blistered shingles on roofs around metro Atlanta


    ATLANTA - It's an unseen risk on hundreds of roofs all across metro Atlanta: shingles with blisters. The homeowner doesn't know about it, and it could get worse as the temperatures spike.

    A well-known roofing contractor called Channel 2 Consumer investigator Jim Strickland to warn viewers about a bargain shingle that is blistering. And they're made in Atlanta.

    Warren McGrew, of Academy Roofing, took Strickland to one of the worst roofs he's seen. It's on a home in Marietta.

    McGrew didn't install the shingles, but the homeowner called him to fix leaks. The roof is only 5 years-old.

    "This roof is totally covered in blisters. There's not one spot where you can't find blister after blister after blister," McGrew said.

    McGrew pointed out tiny holes, too. He believes more blisters will pop from the heat of summer.

    Homeowner Jeff Bauman submitted a warranty claim just under the 5-year-old deadline.

    "Honestly, I thought it would be a no-brainer," he told Strickland. "It was clearly a manufacturer's defect that would be covered."

    The manufacturer is Owens Corning. The company makes supreme 3-tab shingles in a factory on Fulton Industrial Boulevard. The company wouldn't let Strickland inside the factory or speak to him on camera.

    In an email, a spokesman said, "The warrant claim process with Jeff Bauman ... was followed properly. When customers have legitimate warranty claims, in those cases, Owens Corning honors its warranties."

    "It was surprising that Owens Corning would come back and deny it, because clearly they knew," Bauman said.

    McGrew said he warned Owens Corning after sampling 60 roofs shingled with supreme 3-tabs. He found 70 percent of them blistering.

    Some of those shingles were on Frank Schwitzer's Hiram home. The shingles are less than 5 years old. Schwitzer submitted a warranty claim.

    "They're just dragging their feet on it right now," he told Strickland.

    Owens Corning told Strickland Schwitzer's claim has been denied as well.

    "Owens Corning was paying for these, one after another after another and then when they shut it down, they shut it down," McGrew said.

    He added the shutdown came after he forwarded the company a long list of blistered roofs. The list contained 800 names. Of those 800, Owens Corning approved 300 claims. More than 500 got denied.

    "There's something wrong," McGrew said.

    An Owens Corning spokesman told Strickland the claims went down once the company started inspecting roofs in person, instead of relying on shingle samples.

    The company's plant in Atlanta also makes shingles for Florida. At sprawling retirement community The Villages, documents from the homeowners association show how Owens Corning had to deal with a rash of hundreds of blistering complaints with supreme shingles. That document was from 2010.

    Just two months ago on consumeraffaris.com, Strickland found a post from The Villages resident John F. Neyenhouse. He stated an Owens Corning inspector spent five minutes on his roof and announced it was fine. He added his warranty claim was denied.

    A man representing the Florida homeowners told Strickland an Owens Corning official blamed the damage on a manufacturing problem 10 years ago.

    The Owens Corning representative who spoke with Strickland said if the damage gets worse, any homeowner who was previously denied can file new claims.

    Still, he added that no problem has ever been identified at the Atlanta plant, and just because a shingle is blistered to the point it has holes, it doesn't mean the shingle needs to be replaced. 

    “I just want them to stand behind their warranty.  That's all," said Schwitzer.

    McGrew, who was a long time Platinum Preferred contractor with Owens Corning, resigned. He said the company's actions are reprehensible and beyond understanding.

    "I told them, I will not be part of a company like this," he said. 

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