Frequently asked questions and answers about roofing jobs, roof job problems & about how to resolve a disupte between roofing contractor and client:
This roofing job problem resolution article series 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.
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These questions & answers about resolving disputes with roofing contractors were posted originally at ROOFING CONTRACTOR, FIND & CHOOSE or otherwise at RESOLVING ROOF JOB PROBLEMS - the topic home page.
On 2017-02-09 00:31:29.356411 by (mod) - Cindy posts an opinion on choosing GAFCindy Tesler said:
On 2016-10-28 19:51:25.207009 by (mod)Re-posting without link
On 2016-05-16 23:53:08.591931 by (mod)Sarah Smith said:
On 2016-03-11 03:27:40.809300 by (mod)Re-posting without disallowed advertising link:
On 2017-02-21 23:36:19.962126 by (mod) - California rains, leaky roof, contractor foul-ups cause major leak damage
Global warming means weather pattern shifts such as California has experienced this year, with more severe weather to come.
But I can't quite make sense out of what you were told by the contractor.
To me a "collapsing roof" would mean that the structure is failing - rafters rotted, broken, disconnected. That's very serious as not only is the home exposed to severe water damage in a future storm but occupants could be injured by the falling roof structure.
So first let's get straight on identifying the problem. I suspect from the price you're quoted for a re-roof $12,500. is for tearing off old shingles (or whatever covers your roof), putting down a new underlayment, and a new layer of shingles with necessary flashings.
If the contractor finds that the roof decking (plywood typically) is damaged and needs replacement those costs are normally extra, as unless there is good access from the attic side the contractor can't see the decking until she does the tear-off.
I agree with doing the roof now - that $4500. is a rather big, non-warranted patch job to pay for just one winter.
The damage you describe sounds as if it occurred because the roof was left un-protected and partly or all torn-off when more rain came.
A warning sign is your remark that "he's been working periodically..." that's an invitation for disaster unless
the roofer leaves the roof well protected at the end of each work day
When I contract for repairs I am so worried about half-baked work that I insist that once the contractor starts he stays on the job until it's completed.
Priorities of action: with only one call to warn your existing roofer that he's in deep and expensive trouble and to give him one chance to show up (tomorrow) to start straightening out this fiasco you will probably have to
1. Find another roofer who will make an emergency, temporary dry-in seal-covering of your roof to stop further damage. That might be tarps held in place by furring strips or something equivalent
2. Remove wet upholstered furniture and carpets from the home - you're asking for an expensive mold contamination issue
3. Remove fallen debris and ALL drywall and insulation that got wet
4 Dry out the house.
These are damage control steps to prevent losses from being still greater.
Contact your insurance company to let them know what's going on and to see if they have advice or contractor recommendations. Most likely these leaks are not covered by your insurance, and from your description of the roofing contractor I suspect she has no insurance - though that's worth asking.
After protecting your home and health then when the house is dry and safe you an consider asking for help from an attorney expert in construction issues - not a course of action I like to follow unless absolutely necessary.
On 2017-02-21 22:26:03.064951 by diane moorei live in northern ca where we are having lots of rain this year. i had a contractor look at my roof and he told me that my roof was collapsing, that i needed a new roof soon. he said he could patch it enough to last the winter for $4500 but than i would have to pay for a new roof after the rain for $12500 or do the new roof now for $12500. we decided to do it now and save $4500. he said if after the roof was removed if it got caught in the rain that it was no problem covering it and sealing it until it stops, well hes been working periodicaly for about 3 weeks. So far my couch got wet my new carpet got soaked in the living room and hall and all my ceilings are stained from leaks. My kitchen ceiling caved in, he doesn't show up until noon if at all. I'm still sitting here with no roof and no roof in sight my living room and kitchen are all tore apart trying to dry them and still no ceiling in kitchen and i already payed him half the money.
On 2017-02-19 18:12:19.824204 by (mod)Dan
On 2017-02-19 03:15:50.522023 by Dan TumbryHad roof replaced in the fall and first spring storm the skylight literally blew off and landed on roof. It did not break and no screws were found. My question, I believe the roofer had to unscrew the skylight to put on the new skylight flashing. As a result, failed to reattach. Is this a correct assumption?
On 2017-02-08 23:01:59.396827 by (mod)Lisa,
On 2017-02-08 22:38:59.838461 by LisaMy 85 year old mom had her house reroofed. The ridge vents are not centered. One ridge vent is only cut out on one side. The other ridge vent is not cut out at all. Roof tacks are in the gutter. My brother has collected at least 3 bags of tacks on the ground. A nail is exposed, not under the tab. what should we do? The owner of the roofing company says everything is done correctly.
On 2017-01-25 23:31:18.210246 by Josephrecent new roof installation has caused ripples and cracks in ceilings and walls on a newly painted interior house.
On 2017-01-19 15:48:57.272549 by Bibi A1. Can the kickout diverter flashing be destroyed by wind or rain and how can you tell that this has happened?
On 2016-12-12 03:15:11.482758 by Angela EWe hired a roofing company back in June, we jumped through hoops for them to come out and actually put our roof on. We paid them half up front as they requested. They finally came out at the end of July and finished our roof on Sept. 1 / 2 - or so we thought. Turns out, the drip edge was not finished and they never finished putting on the rain diverters. I called them a few times to complain about the materials left in our driveway and a ladder left behind in our backyard. I was told someone would come back out - he finally showed up in Oct (after another phone call from me). He proceeded to look at my roof, take the materials left in my driveway, left the ladder. He informed me he would call me back in a week. Well.. it's December.
On 2016-10-26 02:38:47.071398 by Rick S
Hello, I purchased a home in Kent WA, closed escrow 12/15. prior to the close the home was inspected and the one thing that was called out was that it had a bad roof - the seller agreed to have the roof replaced but he was just going to do a lay-over.
I contacted my agent and asked if I could contact the contractor to see if he was open to doing a complete tear-off and I would pay for that. the contractor gave me a quote to do the tear-off and I agreed, just wanted it done right.
After being in the house for a few months, talking to neighbors - I found out that the contractor just tore off about the last foot and continued to do a lay-over. in may 2016 I had the roof inspected (603.00)to find out that's exactly what he did. the roofing inspector's report said this was the worst reroof job that he has seen on 30 years.
I hired an attorney to go after him, it's been over 8 months and 3500.00 out of pocket for attorney fees and it looks like I'm going to spend a lot more to get a judgement to go after his bond and I'll still be out either the roof or attorney fees. this guy's moral clock is way off and there is nothing protecting me the consumer. this was a bonded, insured contractor and either way you look at it, it sucks!
On 2016-08-26 13:31:55.770625 by Kathie
Oh my goodness! We are having an experience similar to what you described above. The roofing contractor installed our skylights without proper support and we only discovered it because he broke our sheet rock and we had to replace it. In addition, instead of re framing for the new skylights, he forced the new skylights over a larger curb than he should have.
When we discovered the problem he wanted us to get a final inspection anyway. He said the country wouldn't care if the job wasn't done right. His office help actually hung up on us when we refused to get the inspection until the job was done.
Then when he came back to correct the skylight installation, he decided that he didn't know how to make the repairs. Just like your story above, he walked off the job and told us we needed to re frame the holes ourselves and then call him when we were ready. Now we have three open skylight holes in our roof, the new roofing has been torn off around those holes and we are in a mess.
We also poked our head through the skylight holes and looked at the exposed nailing in the areas where he tore off the roof. It is not nailed according to industry standards. There are nails outside the nailing strips, some are set too deep into the shingles, the spacing is not consistent, etc.
We have no idea what to do. The job has been a nightmare of bad scheduling, broken promises and deception. We paid for our own materials and yet the contractor took all the leftover materials when he left the job.
There were quite a few materials left and we got no credit for them. If he had bid the job and included the materials, they would be his to take but the big box store we contracted with ordered all the materials and we paid for them ourselves. We have damage to our home as well. The roofers cut some of our house trim to make it easier for them and left exposed wood, tore off a piece of our crown molding and then screwed it into the sheeting and roofed over that so we can't get the molding off to correct the problem.
The molding is unbelievably crooked and the flashing is not right. We have gaps in other flashing areas as well. And last but not least, we have areas where the shingles are not laying down. The contractor told us the roof would settle down but the roof has been down for about a week and a half in 90 degree heat and there are still problem areas. We are senior citizens and are just sick about what has happened.
We actually contracted the job through one of the local "big box" stores but they aren't being very proactive. They told us they have worked with the contractor for 8 years and have never had a problem. If that is true, there are some very bad roofing jobs out there that unsuspecting people are living with. They tell us that they can't get another contractor out here because state licensing regulations prevent that.
What are we supposed to do? We are waiting to hear from the big box store but they seem very nonchalant. They are now looking for skylights that will fit the existing framing but the contractor ripped out all the supports so those will still have to be replaced by someone. There are other problems as well. This has just been a nightmare for us with no end in sight.
Thanks for hosting this site. It is great and so helpful and necessary. We had no idea how badly things could go. Wish we had found your site before we hire the contractor!
On 2016-08-09 23:25:54.513556 by (mod)D Lara:
On 2016-08-09 20:41:20.856729 by D LaraAfter 3D Roofing Company replaced my roof, a few days later it rained my kitchen ceiling was leaking tons of water my ceiling was swelling I have a cathetral ceiling the water was ruining down my wall, now my wall might have mold 😂 It's been about a month and no call no show:( they took my sky light off and put a board to cover the hole:( omg don't know Wht to do
On 2016-05-12 00:38:07.571751 by RICH WEIRafter charley I had my roof replaced with GAF timberline. turns out GAF made a lot of love singles and, I got them I have been 6mo trying to resolve this with GAF while my roof is leaking they get no stars
On 2016-04-07 19:07:43.130200 by (mod)Glends
On 2016-04-07 10:10:20.520737 by GlendsThere is a section where the garage roof and the porch roof join that was initially leaking. I asked for the rain and ice shield to be used in that location. When the roofers replaced the roof, the same area still leaks like it did before. The roofer insists I need gutters to stop the leaking on the roof area above the leak. This roof had never had gutters and didn't leak for 16 years. What do I do besides call the roofer back, which I have done several times?
On 2015-10-26 14:47:01.539278 by Bonnie RussellA so call contractor is putting timberline shingles on my roof. Before he can finish the job,it's leaking and messing up my ceilings. By the way it's been 3 weeks now and he still haven't finish. It's a mobile home. What should I do?
On 2015-08-03 by (mod)
Anon and other readers, Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, or for recently posted questions and answers see
The roofer told me to contact my homeowners insurance company and file a claim but did nothing to fix the problems. Other roofers don't want to get involved. What now?
On or about September 2009 I had a new roof installed on my house in Queens, NY. The house had 3-4 layers of old roofs. I contracted J&B Home Improvements to install a brand new roof, which they did for the sum of $16,000.00. and was paid in full at the termination of the job.
However, the first big rain storm, March 2010 I had water falls coming down the interior walls of my house. I have water stains and ceiling stains and mold from this first episode of rain inside the house.
I called Mr. Jeff Bershad, J&B Home Improvements but he would not come to see the damage and only told me to file a homeowners insurance claim. I have tried many times to contact Mr. Bershad as we have had so much rain this season and the interior of my house continue to get water damage. He disregarded all my contacts.
I finally hired a new contractor to install flashing/step flashing on my new roof, which cost me $400.00 and come to find out due to Mr. Bershad not installing flashing on the roofs that transition from the back and front porch to the main house, he basically left an open gap or black band all around the house that looked very unsightly and unfinished.
He also did not install ice and water shields or drip edge as reported from the new contractor who I had to hire to stop the rainfalls.
The new contractor did install black flashing on the roof to prevent further water damage/waterfalls. However, at this point I am left with an incomplete/unfinished roof, with maybe more faulty issues.
I have filed a complaint with Consumer Affairs and that is in the works. However, I have had other contractors come to assess the roof and I have been told that the best thing to do is request that the new faulty roof be removed and start anew, due to the fact that the flashing, ice and water shield, drip edge all needed to be installed prior to the shingling was put down. Many of the new contractors have stated they do not want to take on this job/headache and have passed on the job. Between a rock and a rotten roof job,
Help! What can, should I do? Thank you for your attention. [Name witheld]
You did the right thing to start: you called the original contractor to tell him you had serious problems. In my OPINION it is a very poor contractor and actually a foolish one who won't return to the job site when the customer has a complaint. Refusing to even look at the work misses an opportunity to please the client, learn about mistakes, and protect or even improve one's reputation. Everyone makes mistakes. It's what we do about them that distinguishes the amateurs (or worse) from responsible professionals.
Hire an independent professional roof inspector: At this point you may best be served by hiring an independent and well qualified inspector (perhaps a senior home inspector with roofing background) to inspect the job, review your work invoices and payments, interview you and take a case history, and then write a well organized, photo-documented roof report that is unambiguous and compelling in its clarity.
Where there are specific errors in the roofing job that violate proper roofing practices the report should cite authoritative references such as the roof shingle manufacturer's instructions or roofing details from ARMA (Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers' Association) or NRCA (National Roofing Contractors' Association).
Watch out: There are some construction contractors in every field may have vehement opinions expressed with great confidence, but they may be poorly informed, haven't read the instructions on the package, or sometimes just dead wrong.
Other roofing contractors may be well qualified to tell you what errors or omissions they find in your roof job, but most are not English majors and not inclined to write adequate roof inspection reports. Similarly, many engineers, construction consultants, and home inspectors may be willing to inspect and report as I described, but may lack adequate experience and qualifications specifically for roofing.
A home inspector or a home inspector working with an expert roofer, and one who can cite authoritative sources may be sufficient if s/he works with detail and care and is articulate in writing.
Obtain estimates for repair of the building interior and contents damage due to roof leaks. The work needed now is more than just a roof that doesn't leak. Water damage to the building and its contents need to be evaluated and addressed. If you really had water running down the building walls then wall cavities that have been wet will need to be opened, cleaned, and reinsulated.
Watch out: leaving water in modern building walls and ceilings for more than 48 hours creates a high risk of potentially very costly mold contamination and mold cleanup work would then be needed. Also, your insurance company may take issue with a damage claim if you did not take reasonable steps to protect the home and contents when you observed the leak problem. Leaving things wet for days would be an example of a big mistake.
Contact the original contractor again and give him/her a copy of the report and damage estimates along with your letter asking for satisfaction.
If the roofing contractor still won't respond properly or adequately, your recourse is with either a construction attorney and suit (and perhaps a final settlement), or with a construction arbitration hearing. The American Arbitration Association provides construction arbitrators in most cities in the U.S.
Contact your insurance company because you have had water damate and interior losses. At the very least, for purposes of a claim you will need a statement about what insurance is covering and what is omitted.
I have been meaning to get back to you with an update. Things seem to be going OK, I think. ( I have a mission/direction) Here is what I did since the last I spoke with you. As soon as I read your last email. I quickly fired off letters/complaint forms to: Consumer Affairs, GAF, BBB, Attorney General office, my homeowners Ins.co. and became a member to Angie's List. I then interviewed 5 different roof contractors and got professional advice and estimates referred from Angie's list.
While I had all these letters/complaints in the works with no assurance or relying on a good outcome, I had to proceed with the next step, which was to get a new roof as best I can relying on the wisdom, knowledge and compassion from these new contractors and knowledge and wisdom of my past experience.
Anyway, during this time, slowly but surely things got even worst, I noticed shingles, hip caps, nails flying off my roof during windy and stormy days, so the statement made by previous contractors regarding other faulty issues with the roof and their reluctance to take on the headache of a roof were probably valid, ( I had a feeling these contractors had seen or experienced this kind of crappy roof work before). I sent those loose shingles and hip caps to GAF for investigation.
As of this date what I can say: is that
Again thanks . A.S.
(Sept 9, 2014) Shelly said:
Our roofer covered over a roof vent and over the winter the drywall on the ceiling of the garage fell down (from water build up). The garage is unheated and is uninsullated. The roofer says the covered vent would not cause the condensation build up. Is this true?
I can't see your building so don't know quite what's what. In general, closing roof exit or intake vents can increase moisture accumulation in the roof cavity.
But a lot of moisture accumulation in a roof over an unheated garage would be odd - unless warm moist air enters that roof space from over the heated portion of the building. That makes me agree - in part - with your roofer.
Why not ask an experienced home inspector to take a look to tell you not only the condition of the roof venting but the moisture sources involved. Finding out where the moisture came from and where else it's making trouble are the first key steps to take.
(Nov 7, 2014) Douglas Elinson said:
I just had a small $350 job replacing shingles done on an area of my roof I cannot see. I am unable to get up on the roof myself. I asked the crew if they would take before and after pictures but they just shrugged. Is it appropriate to ask the contractor to take pictures to show the job is complete before paying? And what is the best way to handle any blowback? Or should i just take i as a lesson learned? Like i said it's a $350 job.
(Dec 5, 2014) Kevin said:
Will water damage an unfinished roof?
Typically not if the roof is allowed to dry thoroughly before installing roof covering.
Provided the rain occurs before "dry in" - so other building components aren't damaged by water, this is not a rare event in construction.
Prolonged wetting might in my OPINION damage plywood sheathing, causing it to delaminate.
Roofing over wet materials such as felt or decking that have not dried can damage the roofing material and might void a warranty. And of course if it rains before a roof is complete and steps were not taken to protect the building interior the damage there could be significant.
(Jan 10, 2015) Anonymous said:
I just had my roof installed and there are so many ripples and bumps. It looks horrible. The contractor said eventually they will flatten. The shingles were delivered on jan. 2 and were laying up on the peek of the house for 7 days before being installed. We had a few nites in the teens this week so that must have affected the shape of the shingles. Will they flatten?
It's indeed the case that in cold weather it can take a long time for shingles to seal down - one needs sunlight and higher temperatures.
You want to determine if the ripples are due to poor workmanship, improper nailing, nailing over an uneven substrate, or simply shingle tabs that are slightly lifted or "up" from not sealing.
Ask your roofer if he agrees that if the shingles are not sealed flat on the roof by the end of may he''ll re-roof.
3 August 2015 Anonymous said:
my roofing company that I signed an intent with is telling me that I need to use them for the whole replacement cost (including interior) job. I have my own contractor for the interior. I don't want to use them and I should not have to when it comes to other items than the roof.
This sounds worrisome to me too. If the roofing company is a roofer, what "interior" work could we be discussing here? If the company is a general contractor who covers all building surfaces, yes they might be appropriate for interior work. I'm unclear what you're asking about.
But I would be VERY wary about a pushy company if I felt manipulated or forced in any way. If you're not happy during the honeymoon the time later is likely to be far worse.
(Apr 27, 2015)
Mrs. Jones said:
I have asked family and friends to refer me to “their” roofing contractors and have collected several contact names. I’m doing my online research, but wanted to find out: is it that important to hire one who is licensed, insured and bonded? All three? I have found one roofer, who has done a lot of roofing jobs, I’ve called his past clients (who are all satisfied with his work), I have even visited a couple of his in-process roofing jobs, and it looks like he is very thorough and diligent. But, I can’t find him or his business info online. No registration. I can’t find anything on him/his business.
I’ve asked him directly about it and he said he is a sub-contractor for a big company and that they “handle” all of the necessary credentials. I’ve called several of his past clients and they had nothing but superlatives on him and they never had any problems with him. One even said she had a small leak, but that was due to a severe storm which knocked-down her chimney and he came up and fixed it – no problem.
My questions is: should I hire him? He seems like an alright guy – and knows his stuff about roofing systems. But I don’t know who this “big company” he works for – he will not disclose this. And that’s when a red flag appears. My gut tells me to go with him, but my brain says – steer clear!
[Re-posting without disallowed advertising link included by Mrs. Jones]
I don't think I can sort this question out either. Important are your conversations with the roofer's prior clients. The roofer may be competent, honest, reliable, but operating "off the grid" without license, permit, insurance. All of which can be fine until something goes wrong - like a worker falling off of a roof. Check with your local better business bureau and local building department about the existence of any complaints, legal actions, and about the local requirements for licensing of contractors in your area.
(May 22, 2015) Mrs. Jones said:
I have consulted with a few more people and after reading your reply, I had decided to go with another, but fully credentialed local roofing company. Just as you suggested, I found them on BBB, checked for complaints, pending lawsuits and online reviews. I even visited our local building department to see if they heard or dealt with this company – all is good.
Nice going. Let us know if specific questions come up and we'll do our best.
(Aug 24, 2011) Anonymous said:
I will be glad to comment. This was an excellent article. This gives me the tools to be able to understand and ask important questions to potential roofing contractors. I sincerely appreciate the person or persons responsible for this article.
Thanks so much, Anon, for the very nice remarks. We are work hard to make our information as accurate, complete, useful, and unbiased as possible, and to that end we very much welcome critique, questions, or content suggestions for our web articles. Working together and exchanging information makes us better informed than any individual can be working alone.
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