Updated: Sep 17, 2022
In early 2021, Balcones Roofing & Remodeling decided to embark on a different path; a path that would be more difficult and we knew this going into it. Offering a newer, impact-resistant roofing product definitely goes against the grain in many ways.
The standard here in Central Texas is to have your roof replaced with an asphaltic architectural shingle. As we've covered in previous blog posts, a substandard product for Texas hail season. We had to pivot, otherwise, we had nothing special to offer or set us apart from the pack. By sticking to the standard, we weren't solving the problem.
As a problem solver, our goal is to provide the proper long-term solution to the problem - not a temporary fix to get you by or something that just won't hold up when the problem arises again. That defeats the purpose. While Austin appears to dodged the major hail event this year, Hutto wasn't so fortunate. Luckily, many of the roofs in the area were older 3-tab shingles and were close to needing replaced anyways so the hailstorm helped many homeowners receive new roofs through insurance.
While it works out for many, others aren't so lucky and the roofs they just replaced in the last couple of years got destroyed again. This is an unfortunate but highlights the overarching problem in the roofing industry. The cycle of severe hailstorms, insurance claims and roof replacements is the elephant in the room most roofing contractors ignore completely.
Because the problem is the game. Replacing roofs following a major hailstorm is BIG MONEY so why would a roofing contractor offer you superior Class 4 impact resistant products, or, more specifically, products like F-Wave? Because it affects their bottom dollar over the course of time.
Roofing contractors want to replace your roof as many times as possible. They have very little interest in actually solving the problem. I'm part of a national Facebook group for roofing contractors & companies. Recently, a roofing company up in Dallas posted about their very first F-Wave installation with photos and while many of their fellow roofers were intrigued about the product, even more were criticizing them for "taking roofs off the market" and claiming that they're "putting themselves out of business if they keep that up."
Later, when I thought it would be a great idea to screenshot some of these comments, the post had already been deleted. This mindset that of most roofing companies with commission-based salesmen and high overhead. I know this because I worked for one for nearly 8 years. Why solve the problem if the temporary solution gets you paid, over and over again....
That is the roofing sales industry in a nutshell when it comes to severe hail and insurance claims. It's low-key predatory behavior and perpetuates the problem. This exactly is why we made F-Wave our featured shingle and so far, we are thrilled to have made that decision.
So, back to F-Wave...
We've installed far-more F-Wave Revia than any other roofing contractor or company in the Greater Austin Metro and we've done so very quickly. While it definitely comes with some challenges, we've managed to grow our brand with it and thrill our clients. We like it a lot. It's our thing.
The biggest concern we receive about the F-Wave Revia is its longevity. Since the product itself is still relatively young, many question how long it will truly last; given our conditions here in Central Texas. The tech behind many thermoplastic synthetic products have been around for quite some time. F-Wave has placed a 50-year warranty on their products coupled with an industry leading 5-year hail warranty. Pretty ballsy. In our climate, even if the roof lasts 30-35 years, that's a big win for most homeowners. Most roofs won't last through one hailstorm.
Realistically, asphalt shingles life expectancy here is in between 15-20 depending on the quality of the shingle and that's if you somehow avoid every single hailstorm every single year for 15-20 years. The F-Wave Revia gives you a fighting chance against hail up to 2" which is in between the size of a golf ball and a tennis ball. That's pretty substantial and would destroy the best standard architectural shingle, regardless of how new it is. Hail of that size would even give the best impact-resistant asphalt shingle a run for its money.
Cons for the F-Wave Revia:
Cost: Expect to pay anywhere between $875-$975 a square, depending on the type of roof you have: pitch, size, design, & additional factors like waste, multi-layer underlayment removal, how much custom 24-gauge metal is needed at valleys, perimeter, etc... This is more than double a nice standard architectural shingle & integrated roofing system. This is the biggest hurdle we come across on a weekly basis.
F-Wave's Hand-Split Wood Shake & their unreleased Slate shingle is and will be on the higher end of the scale. Our F-Wave installs include full tear-off and come with upgraded underlayment, ice & water shield, custom 24-gauge valley metal and drip-edges, chimney flashing, lifetime pipe boots, attic ventilation upgrades & more. This is a fortified system that we offer and do not offer the product in any other way. This is not a roofing system you want to skimp around the edges and we install per F-Wave's manufacture requirements and recommendations.
Only one distributor in the Austin area is exclusively stocking most F-Wave styles & colors. We are thrilled to say we were influential in making this happen due to our demand and enthusiasm for the product. All other distributors in town must order it. Depending on where the order is placed, fuel charges and related stocking fees will get passed to the homeowner. We avoid those charges with our distributor.
Installation: Our main gripe (if you want to call it that) is that an F-Wave installation is much slower than a standard shingle install. While it installs like a shingle, the additional metal work and more methodical nailing rythym makes for a longer day/s.
Most installs are taking about two days whereas a standard shingle install would require only one. While it can be exhausting, we see it as a better roofing installation. Nails heads have to be 100% flat and in specified areas of the shingle, approved sealants need to be used, 24-gauge metal forming, and cutting is a very arduous task. This also affects how the product is priced.
Packaging: A bundle of standard asphalt architectural shingles is a 1/3 of a square (100sqft). A bundle of F-Wave Revia is only 1/6 of a square. That's double the bundles per square needed for the same square footage.
A bundle of F-Wave Revia lighter and much easier to handle but the shear amount of packaged shingles on the roof takes up time moving, unwrapping, etc... The recommended delivery method is a ground drop which means the product is delivered to the driveway and not on the roof which requires more manpower and time to get the product loaded onto the roof.
Product: Not every roof is the same, obviously. I say this because there are some roofs with headwalls with adjoining hips, odd flashings and so on. A F-Wave Revia shingle is not a flexible due to its thickness so if you run into an area where, say, a hip shingle adjoins a slope with the field shingle, they must overlap. Where those shingles meet, the field shingle will look lifted and it simply will not lat down 100% because the product is stressed. We've found a way to mitigate this issue with scoring the product slightly to create some flexibility. These areas can become noticeable or somewhat unsightly because the rest of the roof looks so sleek and beautiful.
Unqualified Contractors: This is a problem. F-Wave does not have training or certification programs for roofing contractors who want to install their products. I find this to be concerning and we've already had to replace a brand new F-Wave roof so poorly installed by another contractor, it failed during a severe weather event. That contractor lied to their client (now our client), stating thye were a "Certified F-Wave Installer", and had installed "multiple F-Wave roofs". Those two statements couldn't be further from the truth and the homeowner paid the price.
Not only did this roofing contractor, who will remain nameless, openly lie about their experience and qualifications, they lost money on the job due to their inability to price the job properly. We later found out that they did not even fulfill their contractual obligation to fully tear-off the old roof. I fear that problems like this will become more common as this product gains in popularity. F-Wave only keeps up with installations through warranties registered by the contractor.
In the future, I feel it is vital for F-Wave to create a training and certification program for contractors who want to invest in learning how to install the product properly and register warranties. This way homeowners know that contractor knows what they're doing and can price the project accordingly.
My advice is to steer clear of any roofing contractors stating they are "certified". If they have installs, ask for the product style/color installed, address of installation and warranty number. That way, if there is any question, you can call F-Wave to verify the install.
Pros for the F-Wave Revia
Beauty: Let's start here because it's the easiest. The F-Wave Revia is GORGEOUS, regardless of which style and color you choose. The curb appeal is unmatched and the shingle really enhances the look of any home without overpowering the rest of home. The color pallet in these product lines are simply stunning.
The color of the shingle plays with light, depending on the time of day and really emerges during the golden hours. Hands down, the best-looking synthetic shingle on the market. Coupled with your choice of valley and drip-edge color, the right combination can make your roof unique to any other in the country.
Protection: Being that the F-Wave Revia is the only roofing product to offer a warranty against hail, I'd like to think that means something. I've beat this shingle with 3" river rocks and have even tried to set it on fire to no avail. F-Wave likes to pull out the ol' ice cannon as a party trick. Pretty remarkable stuff.
I've tried this with both standard and impact-resistant asphaltic architectural shingles and both failed while the Revia had slight abrasions and minor dimples. In no way was the shingle even close to being compromised to the point of needing replacement in comparison to the asphaltic products.
F-Wave has passed BOTH the 2" steel ball and 2" ice ball tests. In order for a shingle to become a Class 4 impact-resistant product it must only pass one. The F-Wave Revia also has a Class A fire rating meaning hot embers from a nearby forest fire will not ignite the shingle and it exceeds 130mph wind ratings. I call all this a win.
Warranties: Not to beat a dead horse because I just alluded to the 5-year hail warranty which is industry-leading, but the F-Wave Revia is also accompanied by a 50-year Weather Force transferable warranty. Be sure that your contractor knows F-Wave's installation requirements and recommendations prior installation so that your warranty is intact and submitted. We offer a 10-year workmanship on our F-Wave installation and clearly define those parameters in our contracts.
Peace of Mind: While asphalt shingle manufacturers dance around what their "impact-resistant" architectural shingles can withstand, most of their warranties don't mention it at all. F-Wave goes above and beyond to clearly state what you should expect from this product. We, as an experience roofing contractor can speak confidently about the F-Wave Revia, its warranty and how it compares to other products.
Installation: With us, you are getting the best of everything, corner to corner, eave to ridge, the best products on the market as well as the best installation practices when it comes to the F-Wave Revia. No expense is spared in ensuring that your roof is not just the best roof on the street or in your neighborhood, but in town and beyond.
Yes, it is slower to install but meticulous is good in this industry. Details matter and having a dedicated crew who's performed all of our F-Wave installations since day one as well as a project manager who knows the product and installation make for a flawless install, every single time. We also utilize The Catch-All, a home and lawn protection system that is set up prior to tear off to protect your home's siding, garage doors, windows, shrubbery and more. This is a vital component to our installations going smoothly.
Packaging: For what it's worth, the F-Wave Revia's packaging is white, black and neon green! It stands out compared to other roof installations. It gets the attention of neighbors. Lighter bundles are easier to walk the roof with, and installation instructions are clear as day on the back of the bundle with installation photos.
Insurance Deductions: Yep! Upgrading your roof to a Class 4 impact-resistant roofing product makes your roof eligible for discounts on your home insurance. It's a simple form that just needs to be filled out by the roofing contractor and submitted by the homeowner. Discounts may vary depending on the carrier and type of policy on the home.
Qualified Contractors: Besides us, there may be other roofing contractors in the Greater Austin Area who install F-Wave from time to time. It is up to the homeowner to do their due diligence in ensuring that contractors have a lot of experience and knowledge regarding this product's installation, warranties, and requirements. I can't speak for other companies and how they install this product. I can only speak from my experience. F-Wave will often recommend us for installations.
Value: Value is a tricky term. The term itself is subjective and in many ways, unmeasurable. Same goes for ROI. We do believe that the F-Wave Revia is the best value in today's roofing market for high hail zones. Overall, for what you're getting out of this product in protection, longevity, and beauty, it truly is the best option for combatting hail while offering a great warranty and the looks to back up the price.
If the F-Wave Revia saves your roof from just two or three hailstorms, that, within itself has saved you two, or three more deductibles and two or three more roof installations and the frustration of having to perpetuate that cycle.
Depending on the home, that difference in upgrade cost is made up in those savings. The best position you can be in is to have your current roof covered by insurance due to hail and just paying to upgrade. The cost of this upgrade over a standard architectural shingle can increase your home's value as well in a market like Austin's.
Conclusion: With all of this said, we firmly believe that the F-Wave Revia is the way to go in Central Texas, and yes, sometimes over the coveted standing seam metal roof. Heck, go with both a spice things up! With the climbing material and labor costs and the rise of insurance premiums and home values, the time to stop throwing money away in deductibles is now and invest in a roofing system that truly gives you a fighting chance at combating hail.
As always if you have any questions regarding F-Wave, installations, insurance, or anything roofing related, really... don't hesitate to reach out. We do have a YouTube page as well as information on our website about the F-Wave Revia. Our blog post are simply to provide as
Much information as possible for homeowners To make the best decision for their home. All the photos provided in this blog post are from a few of our installs in the Greater Austin Metro.
Until next time,