CertainTeed Corp. has reached a preliminary agreement to settle a class action lawsuit filed by homeowners who argued that that a type of organic asphalt shingle manufactured by the company failed prematurely and didn't perform as well as the shingles should have, the litigants said Monday, Jan. 4.

In the settlement, announced jointly by CertainTeed and the homeowners' lawyers, CertainTeed continues to deny the allegations and maintains that the "vast majority" of the singles are defect-free and will last beyond the warranty period. It said it agreed to the settlement to avoid the expense and other negative aspects of protracted litigation.

As part of the settlement, CertainTeed has agreed to provide extra compensation beyond the company's warranty terms for homeowners who are part of the class and who file claims. The settlement is not for a lump sum; instead, individuals who are part of the class and who file a claim will be paid an amount based on a formula.

Neither CertainTeed nor the plaintiffs have presented any estimate for how much the settlement will cost CertainTeed.

The settlement agreement covers only organic shingles, which the company made from July 1, 1987 through 2005, and then discontinued manufacturing and selling several years ago. The shingles in the agreement were sold with the brand names Hallmark Shangle, Independence Shangle, Horizon Shangle, Custom Sealdon, Custom Sealdon 30, Sealdon 20, Sealdon 25, Hearthstead, Solid Slab, Master Slab, Custom Saf-T-Lok/Saf-T-Lok, and the Custom Lok 25.

The settlement does not include CertainTeed's fiberglass shingles Centennial Slate or Landmark. Nor does the settlement include the fiberglass formulations of Horizon, Independence, Hallmark, and Hearthstead shingles.

More information about the settlement and class members' rights will follow in the first quarter of 2010, according to the joint announcement, which did not say how the information would be distributed.

Teresa Burney is a senior editor for BUILDER and BIG BUILDER magazines.