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Sharkskin Testimonials

shark_housetopSharkskin Ultra in the Wilderness As the solo architect and builder of a timber-frame home on the Continental Divide in Montana--miles from pavement and utility power--I have had to solve numerous challenging construction problems. I knew that transporting 37-foot-long purlins up my 3800', 12%-grade, boulder-strewn driveway was going to be trouble, so I logged and milled all of my own timber.

Moving 300 to 700-pound posts and beams into place without even a tractor required the design and erection of a 52'-foot, hand-winch-operated gin pole and boom. Covering my cherry-stained, tongue-and-groove Douglas fir roof deck a year before being able to complete the insulation-and-steel build-up meant finding an underlayment that could withstand 12 months of southern exposure at 6000' elevation, with 13 cumulative feet of snow, a temperature range of -25 to +95 degrees, and average storm wind speeds of 25-35 mph and gusts to 55. I applied 30# roofing felt to cover my progress as I worked, but within two months the stuff had expanded, contracted, and edge-curled through so many cycles the slightest rain yielded a dozen interior waterfalls. I found a locally-sold synthetic product that advertised up to 6-months-exposure longevity, and considered applying it twice if needed, but the product's recommended use of plastic-capped roofing nails was going to necessitate extensive forstner-bit work along the underside of my insulation-frame rafters.

I then found Sharkskin Ultra on the internet, and after discussing my application with Mark Strait of Kirsch Building Products, promptly ordered five rolls. Not only was Sharkskin easy for one man to handle, cut, and secure with standard roofing nails, but by the time I was ready to install my steel-skinned insulation frame, 18 months had passed! There were no elongated nail holes, no curled edges, and except for a very slight fading of the blue Sharkskin logo and a sprinkling of pine needles, the underlayment looked brand new. The true test came at the 18-month mark when my property got 17" of heavy, wet snow on one spring day, and it took three more days of 50-degree weather for it to finally melt and run off: NOT EVEN A DROP OF WATER FORMED ON THE UNDERSIDE OF MY T&G DECKING--on a 2:12 slope!

I have few people to thank, other than my wife, for their "help" on this project. One is Andreas Stihl, who made it possible for a man working alone to quickly turn a tree into a useful product. Another is Mark Strait, whose Sharkskin Ultra roof underlayment protected a hand-crafted timber-frame home from the extremes of northern Rocky Mountain weather for a year and a well as any "final" roof covering could have done. After this experience, I cannot overemphasize the confidence I have in the performance of Sharkskin Ultra when used as intended: as "merely" a roof underlayment.

-- Michael Russell, June 2007