Photograph of GAF shingles improperly applied on a domed roof Advice for Resolving Problems with Roofing Jobs
     


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How to resolve a disupte between roofing contractor and client:

This roofing job problem resolution article gives advice to homeowners who have had an unsatisfactory roof repair or "new roof" installation job on their home. We describe hiring a roof inspector, what information to collect, what to report, and what to do with that information in obtaining satisfaction.

Here we also give an example of a "bad" roofing contractor, discuss roofing contractor certification programs, and we give some simple tips on how to get a good roofing job. The photograph above shows a laminate-type roof shingle installed improperly on an irregular dome-shaped roof.

This amateur roofing job shown in the photo and the improper roof installation described at this page were not done by a GAF Master EliteTM nor any by any other certified roofing contractor. The roofer who put these shingles in place probably lacked proper training - something which some roof contractor certification programs are trying to address. But don't assume that every "certified" roofer is one you want to do business with. This article series discusses how to get the best roofing job.

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STEP 6: How to resolve roofing job problems, defects, disputes

Wind-damaged asphalt roof shingles (C) Daniel FriedmanWhen you need to repair your roof or replace roof coverings on a building, the previous sections of this article give advice to assist in choosing a roofing contractor - by Jessie Srader, [edits and additions by DJF]. Whatever your roofing repair or replacement needs, you need a qualified professional roofing contractor you can trust.

Disclaimer: Below I [-DF] offer roof contract dispute resolution advice that is OPINION based on my own work in the construction field over 30 years and my service as an arbitrator in construction disputes.

Readers facing costly damages or repairs due to problems with work done by any contractor should first seek advice from local experts and their attorney.

Following Roofing Contractor Steps 1-5, steps to resolve roofing contract or performance disputes should not be needed, but in real life, things do not always go perfectly as planned. What do we do now?

The re-roof job contractor dispute described below contains our recommendations. Use the Comment Form below to add your own suggestions for accurate, prompt, and fair resolution of roofing job disputes and problems.

Description of a "Bad" Roofing Contractor

Paying a high price for a new roof does not guarantee a good job. In this case the roof was a wood shingle job but it could have been any roofing material.

One of my clients called me, breathless on the telephone, very worried about her new roof. Here's how it went.

  • Client: "I need you to come down right away to inspect my new roof," she practically shouted. We had inspected the home months before, and among my findings was the need to replace a worn and leaky wood shingle roof over one of the sections of this large home.
  • DF: "What's wrong"?
  • Client: "I think the roofers have screwed up my new roof - they're just finishing it up today."
  • DF: "Why do you think there's a problem?"
  • Client: "Well first of all the contractor could not keep a crew on the job. This is the third group of workers to work on my roof, and none of them speaks English, and no one has been supervising them."
  • DF: "Sounds iffy, but someone might be trained and still not speak good English, what else?"
  • Client: "Well it was what the supervisor was shouting at them this morning when he came back to the job!"
  • DF: "What was he shouting?"
  • Client: "You IDIOTS! You COMPLETE IDIOTS! Not like THAT!!"
  • DF: "I'd better come take a look."

I drove to the site. The wood shingle roof was beautiful. Every shingle looked perfect, except for one thing: all of the shingle side joints were lined-up perfectly, straight up the roof. There was no shingle side offset. This roof would leak at the first rainstorm." I met with the roofing contractor at the job, without the client present, hoping to for some candor between us. The conversation with the roofing contractor went like this:

  • DF: "Gee, this roof is not installed properly at all - your crew lined up all of the side joints rather than providing 1 1/2 to 2" of offset of these joints between shingle courses. This roof is going to leak. Or did you install ice and water shield under all of the shingles?"
  • ROOFER: "This roof is installed EXACTLY according to industry specifications. There is NOTHING wrong with it."
  • DF: "What about the side lap offset"
  • ROOFER: "Side lap offset is NOT REQUIRED. That's bullshit" (Things were heating up.)
  • DF: "So you've read the manufacturer's specifications and the wood shingle specs from the industry's Red Cedar and Hand Split Shake Bureau?"
  • ROOFER: "Absolutely. These shingles are installed EXACTLY as the manufacturer says to put 'em on."

I walked over to a pile of wood shingle scraps and debris which the crew had swept up in the center of the client's courtyard. The crew were standing off in the shade watching with interest. Every bundle of wood shingles comes with a little piece of paper, usually identifying the manufacturer, the shingle source, and including a drawing of just how to put the shingles on the roof, including showing the required side-offset between shingle courses. We leaned down to the pile and pulled out one of these little pieces of paper that had the drawing intact and holding it we walked back to the roofing contractor.

  • DF: "What about this drawing? It was packaged with every bundle of shingles. See the sketch and the lines marking the required side-lap offset?"
  • ROOFER: "I'm outta here you jerk."

The high-paid roofing contractor and the crew got into their truck and left.

This was a $60,000. roofing job that actually had a NEGATIVE value since now, to put on a proper roof, the new roofer would first have to REMOVE all of the shingles that had just been applied, increasing the labor cost of the job.

How had my client chosen this particular contractor?

She did not call the better business bureau; she did not ask for references; she did not care about the price; she chose the roofing contractor who was immediately available so that she could "get it done and be finished with it"

 

Continue reading at ROOFING CONTRACTOR, FIND & CHOOSE or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

Or see BEST ROOFING PRACTICES

Or see CERTIFICATIONS for ROOFING CONTRACTORS

Suggested citation for this web page

RESOLVING ROOF JOB PROBLEMSat InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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