Shoddy shingles on Harpswell Town Office to be replaced

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HARPSWELL — The Town Office is getting a new roof. Again.

It needs a new one because the old roof’s shingles were a “dismal failure,” in the words of Code Enforcement Officer Bill Wells.

When the town installed the roof in 2003 as part of the new Town Office project, officials selected a type of organic shingle manufactured by IKO Industries of Calgary, Alberta.

The organic shingle was supposed to be a kind of “catch-all,” environmentally friendly roofing solution, Wells said.

But it quickly became apparent that it was not.

“The shingles are deteriorated, and even from the ground it’s easy for the untrained eye to notice they’re in foul shape,” Wells said in an interview Monday, Nov. 16.

Moss grows in some of the cracks between shingles, and many shingles are curling and tattered.

Harpswell is not alone in its grievances. In 2009, disgruntled consumers filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in a federal court in Illinois. That lawsuit continues today.

There is also a class-action suit against the company in Canada, according to Halunen Law, the law firm handling the Illinois case.

Wells said Monday that the town did not decide to join a lawsuit, but rather kept “good records” of the deterioration and reached out directly to the company.

According to Wells, representatives from IKO came out to the office and walked the roof. “They agreed we deserved a reimbursement of some kind,” he said.

IKO has agreed to give the town a $2,500 rebate toward the purchase of new materials, according to Wells. Hammond Lumber, the local distributor, has also agreed to pay the town a $1,000 “courtesy credit,” he added.

With the credits, the town is spending about $8,400 on new materials.

“IKO has really been forthcoming in admitting they had a crappy product,” Wells said. “They’re making good.”

The town issued a request for proposals for a contractor to install the new shingles this fall, and received two responses for the Nov. 12 Board of Selectmen meeting.

APR Inc. offered to perform the labor at a cost of $14,280, while the competing bidder, Long Cove Builders, offered $25,875.

The selectmen went with APR.

Construction on the new roof is set to be completed no later than Dec. 15, according to the RFP.

The new shingles will be made of “normal fiberglass,” Wells said Monday. “Not organic.”

Walter Wuthmann can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or Follow Walter on Twitter: @wwuthmann.

Patches of shingles on the roof of the Harpswell Town Office are deteriorating prematurely, according to Code Enforcement Officer Bill Wells.

Brunswick/Harpswell reporter for The Forecaster. Bowdoin College grad, San Francisco Bay Area native. Follow for municipal, school, community, and environmental news from the Midcoast.