Seal. Defend. Breathe.

Selling the System & Modeling the Benefits

by Stephanie Ball, marketing manager, Owens Corning

As seen on TV, or maybe not.  While remodelers and roofing contractors know all too well that the 60-minute transformations shown on home improvement shows often gloss over critical construction decisions, TV viewers often see only the prettier side of a renovation.  Perhaps this superficial focus on design details is why homeowners may overlook the functionality of building materials, especially the home’s roof.

         Failing to consider the performance attributes of roofing materials can lead to problems that linger long after the excitement of selecting shingles fades, potentially threatening the homeowner’s satisfaction and the contractor’s reputation.  However, reducing a sales presentation to a description of roofing components can practically guarantee that a homeowner’s eyes will glaze over.  Insights gleaned from members of the Owens Corning® Roofing Contractors Network indicate that focusing on a system described in just three words can help not only educate but engage homeowners in the roofing selection process.

         Positioning the home’s roof as a system designed by one manufacturer versus a product is a concept that resonates with homeowners.  A roof system consists of components that have been designed and engineered to work together and protect the home and the owner’s investment in the roof.  Three words aptly convey how the roof system functions and describe the Total Roof Protection System developed by Owens Corning: Seal. Defend. Breathe. 

         Separate components work together to help seal a home against water infiltration, defend against wind and nature’s elements, and allow the home to breathe through balanced intake and exhaust ventilation. 


         Synthetic underlayment installed below the shingles serves as a second level of defense to protect from damage and moisture infiltration.  The underlayment also serves as a critical component for attaining a Class A fire classification for a roof assembly under asphalt shingles.  An ice and water barrier guard protects against ice damming and water accumulation, sealing the vulnerable areas where ice and water can threaten to degrade the roof.


         Hip and ridge shingles fit over the roof’s contours to defend against wind.  These elements also protect roof peaks while contributing to the roof’s overall aesthetic.  Starter strip shingles ensure an effective seal along the eaves and rakes to help prevent shingle blow-offs.  Shingles are the fun part of the roof selection process, opening up design options via palettes, textures, color saturation gradations, and dimensional options.


         Ventilation helps the home breathe, which is a performance attribute that has gained attention as people spend more time at home.  A properly ventilated roof improves airflow throughout the home’s attic.  Ventilation defends against heat and moisture damage generated by daily activities within a home, such as showering, cooking, and even caring for houseplants.  Balanced air intake and exhaust vents control airflow and help to prevent mold growth, manage attic temperatures, and mitigate ice damming.

         What is the benefit of selling the roof as a system for contractors?  Differentiation is a key driver to consider.  Selling a roof system helps position the company as a credible, go-to expert in the market.  Because homeowners typically are not aware of how the parts of a roofing system function to protect their home and everything the see, the tendency can be to focus on the visible shingle.  The use of a model can help educate homeowners about the roof system and inform their decision.  Taking a cue from automotive manufacturers who have developed tools to walk customers through the vehicle purchasing process, Owens Corning developed the Build Your Roof ™ digital 3-D roof experience.  This interactive model takes customers through the roofing material portfolio, allowing them to understand the differences between materials and underscoring the Seal. Defend. Breathe. functions and having more control of their roofing project. 

         While it’s doubtful that any home renovation will ever be as easy and fast as seen on TV, including the right selling tools in a presentation can help customers appreciate the performance that supports their roofing investment.  Describing the functionality and engaging the homeowner in the roof building process can differentiate contractors and support credibility with homeowners. 

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