Let’s talk about distributors!

At Fontana Paper Mills, we have created solid and long lasting relationships with our distributors during the company’s 30 years of manufacturing. Distributors are an important piece of the relationship between manufacturers and roofers. In talking to our faithful roofers, we have noticed that many can’t explain why they choose a product outside of having used it before and that it meets the minimum product specification. This got us thinking that we need to be more intentional about education for our roofers, so they can offer the best product for the application.

So how do you choose a product?

  • Do you choose based on price?
  • How about quality?
  • The minimum specification?
  • Or do you just choose what the distribution companies have in the yard?

Here is a list of simple questions that Fontana Paper Mills has come up with to help you be better prepared for the homeowner, as well as having a better knowledge base of your products at the distributor.

1. Who makes the underlayment?

Knowing the original manufacture will give you a better perspective on the quality of the product. Today, many products are privately labeled from a separate manufacturer, so it is imperative that you learn who actually makes the product and compare its quality to other products that manufacturer makes. If their entire product line has not lived up to standards, then it is a good sign that the private labeled product you are considering to be the same.

2. Does the manufacture support the roofer?

The manufacture needs to have the roofers back and be someone that can be trusted to fix a problem. Using a product from an easily accessible manufacture means you can call them at any time and have all questions answered.

3. Does the manufacturer of the underlayment offer a warranty?

Warranties provide reassurance to you and the client. The warranty is a sales tool that allows you to provide higher quality up-sell. However, you need to read the warranties in full prior to offering them to a client. We often hear about 20yr, 30yr, and Life Time warranties but what does this actually mean? Every warranty is written differently and has parameters you must follow when products are installed. Be ahead of the game and read the fine print on these warranties so your client is properly informed on what is covered.

4. Where was it made?

First, locally made products ensure that they haven’t been overly exposed to UV as well as damaging weather before they are installed on the roof. Second, there is less potential road or freight damage caused in transit to the distributor. Long distance freight can put enclosed containers through excessive heat and cool cycles which could affect the overall performance of a product.

5. Is the product 3rd party listed and tested?

Do your research! Here are some links to 3rd party testing companies that you can look up the products you are currently using. ASTM is the standard; however it is a self-prescribing standard that requires no follow-up on product quality. Third party testing requires the product to be tested on a scheduled basis to test for quality.

6. Do you understand the products specifications?

Are those specs for the product you are using accurate? Know your products in all areas.

Example: We often see a 30# underlayment specified as ASTM D226. The problem is this is only part of the actual spec.

ASTM D226 can represent both 30# or 15# which can greatly misrepresent the product. For proper 30#, the spec should be stated as “ASTM D226 Type II”, whereas 15# is “ASTM D226 Type I”.

This information should be found on the product wrapper and on the company’s web page. If the product you are using does not have the full listing, you may be getting something that does not meet your expectations.

All in all, it’s important to understand what you are buying and why you are buying that product. Fontana Paper Mills underlayment gives you all of the above and most importantly, we support our roofers. Don’t be afraid to ask the distributor for the products you want if they don’t have it in stock or aren’t currently carry it. Connect with us to learn more or find a distributor near you!