Brian's Colorado Springs & Pikes Peak Region Web Log (Blog)

T Lock Roofing Shingles - What's The Story?

September 25th, 2013 7:55 PM by Brian Wess

What are T-Lock Roof Shingles and Why Should You Care?

Over the last 6 years or so there has been a lot of issues coming up about T-Lock roof shingles, especially with regards to home owners insurance, and everyone seems to be afraid to discuss the issues about them...sooo I've collected information from several different sources including roofers, insurance companies and personal experience to help clarify some things.

First...this is what a T-lock shingle looks like


T-lock Roof Shingles were originally developed around 1930 and there are several theories how they earned their moniker including, the thunderstorm shingle for being able to withstand the high winds and rain that occur during storms...especially in the Colorado Region....or because they are shaped like a T and interlock with each other. I favor the latter explanation, but it's not really important to the discussion.

At the time they were developed T-locks were considered a state of the art roofing shingle because, at that time, T-locks were a heavier asphalt shingle that could withstand high winds. Unfortunately, as asphalt prices increased over the years, fillers were added and the shingles became thinner, more brittle and less capable of living up to their reputation than the older T-locks with much higher asphalt content.

T-locks were widely used from New Mexico, Colorado and into Wyoming and other areas where high winds were a problem, but are less prominent in other areas of the United States.
However, when architectural shingles came into being, the use of t-locks lessened greatly to the point that it was no longer cost effective to manufacture them. A company named Tamko was the last manufacturer in the Colorado Area to offer them and they quit manufacture of T-locks in 2004-2005.

What Do You Need To Do If Your Roof Is T-Lock?

The answer to this is pretty simple...because T-Locks are no longer made, if they become damaged, a roof with T-Lock shingles cannot be repaired and would need to be replaced.

This has, of course, caused many concerns with regard to home owners insurance. Home inspectors for insurance underwriters have been instructed to report the presence of T-Lock shingles as a major insurance hazard. Many companies have cancelled or denied coverage if this type of shingle exists on a roof. Additionally, the few insurance companies that continue to cover this style roof have done a variety of things with regard to higher premiums, depreciating the value of T-lock shingles to lessen replacement payouts and deductible riders for the roof that have included things like making the deductible for a roof replacement 10% of the home value...in other words you will be paying for the roof replacement yourself.

If You Are Looking To Buy A Home
The best advice is to AVOID any home that has a T-lock roof. If you just MUST have THAT house because there's no other house that will possibly do...then you should instruct your Realtor write it into your contract offer that the current owner is responsible for replacing the T-lock roof with a new roof, permitted and inspected by the regional building department, prior to closing. Be aware however, that most sellers don't have the 'spare' $5,000 or more it would take to replace the roof on their own and, even if there is a 'roof certification' by a roof contractor, there are very few insurance companies that will provide homeowners insurance for a T-lock roof...and if they do you will pay much more.

If You Own a Home with a T-lock Shingle Roof
I HIGHLY recommend that you have an experienced, qualified, LOCAL roofing professional take a look at it. If there is any damage, you may well be able to qualify for a new roof replacement because they can't be repaired. If you try to sell your home in the future with a T-lock roof you will find that your pool of buyers will be VERY limited since getting the property insured will be nearly impossible for any potential buyers.
Posted in:General
Posted by Brian Wess on September 25th, 2013 7:55 PM


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Posted by Paul Davis on August 18th, 2019 1:30 AM
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Brian L. A. Wess

Infinite Horizons Realty

2910 N. Powers Blvd, #174
Colorado Springs, CO 80922