I agree that it is much less expensive to have slate quarried in China and pay workers VERY much less than what we, Americans, would pay slate quarriers. American transaction costs are far more expensive.
For the record, the “strip of felt” you mention is not a “strip of felt.” It is an ethylene polymer that is the very same product that is used to wrap telephone lines and keep them protected from moisture and UV degradation.
There has been a lot of hesitation and negative emotional responses with this product since it came onto the market. I’ll admit, I was one of the hesitant ones. My first thought was, “WTF? No way this will work!” But…
GAF Truslate is a definitive “system” roof that relies on a lot of parts and the correct installtion of those parts. The slate itself is used as a skin and provides only part of the waterproofing.
Based on our practical experiences, I think Truslate is a pretty good roof system. It has a fairly steep learning curve, demands that installers actually pay attention and learn how to install it corrrectly and is the only roof that I know of that you start at the top and work your way down and off the roof. I know…weird.
Is it my favorite slate roof? No. Personally, I would rather install a real 3.0" head lap slate roof everytime. Why? That’s what I grew up doing and what I am most used to doing. But, the world kept turning, cars replaced horses and we got indoor plumbing, too.
With that said, I can tell you that we have never, EVER, had a Truslate roof leak due to our installation or due to problems with the Truslate product or system.
Calling it “total garbage” is unfair, in my opinion. It may not be your cup of tea but the product, based on our experiences, does work as advertised. For re-roofing houses for homeowners that want a slate roof, it definitely has a place in the market.
From the viewpoint of “what can it do for me?”, we can make a LOT more money installing Truslate than we could if we were just offering and installting an ordinary 30 year comp roof. We are confident that the system works and our portfolio of “high-end” roof installations increases thus separating us from the competition.
Just food for thought.