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January 30, 2008


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Obviously go with #3 first as that will hopefully get the issue resolved with no additional cost to you. If that doesn't work try option #2. By then you probably won't want to use option #1 since you'll be so frustrated with the roofer not backing up his work, so why pay him more?

I would ask around at work, relatives, friends and get a referral of someone they've used in the past and trust. Or for any prospective roofer to fix roofer #1's mess, get a list of former clients you can call as a reference.

When we had our roof done this summer, one company gave us a list of houses where they had done work. To me that said he put enough faith in his work that he wanted to show it off, so we ended up going with his company.

Leaky roofs are tricking though, since one fix might just make the water flow to another faulty spot on the roof.

I'm about your age (a bit younger), and about to buy my first house, so I might find myself in this situation in a couple of years.

Relevant information you left out would include how you found this guy. Did you pick him out of the yellow pages, or was he recommended by friends or relatives who were happy with work he did? If I were you, this would go a long way towards deciding whether I would let him keep working on my roof or select another contractor.

Personally, I would go with a combination of #2 and #3, agreed upon in advance. I would discuss the situation with the roofer, offer to give them one more chance to fix the roof on the condition that if it does not work out this time, that your money (at least that which was charged as labor) will be refunded in a timely manner so that you can pay someone else to take care of it.

I always go with word of mouth "advertising" and try to get as many opinions as possible when it comes to contractors. Once I find one that's good, if I really like them and feel that they've not only treated me well but also that they charge fairly and work quickly, I ask THEM for references for other specialists since they often work together when building houses and that sort of thing. For example, I love my plumber, so I used the heating guy he recommended, and when I get around to doing some carpentry this summer...I'll be calling him back to ask who I should go with there as well.

Good luck!

Man, let me tell you, I feel your pain. My story is a very long one, so I'll try to shorten it. We had a roof leak shortly after moving into our house almost 6 years ago, I was 24 at the time. We ended up having 2 roofing companies work on our leak. The first company was a nightmare. The first time they came out to the house, they showed up about 2 hours late and spent about 15 minutes working on the house and said everything was fixed. Well, I went up and inspected their work that I paid $600 for (which consisted of doing nothing but putting roofing tar in some areas where the guy thought water was penetrating). I thought, well they know what they're doing and now it's fixed so I'm happy. Luckily we had the drywall removed where the leak was coming in since it was so saturated so we could easily tell when it rained that more water was coming in. Well, soon afterwards it rained and lo-and-behold, water is coming into the house. I call up the same company again and they come out and throw more roofing tar in the penetration areas on the roof (water was coming in where the roof met the sidewall of our house). This time, I went on the roof with a hose to test it out, and you guessed it, water came pouring in. At this point I was disgusted with the quality of the work and didn't want the company to come out anymore. I placed several phone calls and got in arguments with the company's owner about refunding my money. I ended up filing a complaint with my credit card company to dispute the charge and ended up getting most of the money back. I hired another roofer and explained the problems i had with the previous roofer and stressed that I wanted the job done right. Well, the second roofer custom-created flashing to install in the problem areas and did a much more professional job for roughly the same price. I re-tested the area and no water was coming in.

So I guess my suggestion is since the guy has only been out once, call the company again and explain the problem that the roof is leaking in the same spot that was supposed to be repaired. A good company should come out again at no cost to repair the leak. Roof leaks can be difficult to pin-point, so it's understandable that they didn't get it the first time. I would suggest trying to get an understanding of how the roofer is fixing the roof so you can learn. I knew absolutely nothing about roofing before my incident, but now I have a much better understanding of potential problem areas in a roof and how leaks should be fixed in certain areas.

Good luck and I hope you get this issue resolved.

I don't understand. If "he provides a 6 month warranty on the work" then he should have no problem with coming out and fixing it, right?

I had a similar situtation. Unfortunately roof leaks are just a pain. We had the same contractor come out several times for the same problem, and he only charged us for the first visit. After each repeat visit his fix worked temporarily. Finally he determined that he would not be able to fix it permanently and he refunded us 100%. We then replaced our entire roof. That certainly fixed the problem!

Since you are planning on keeping the house for a five more years I would fix the roof. You should be able to recoup your costs when you decide to sell in a few years when the housing market has turned around. If you are comfortable working with your first contractor I would get him to fix your entire roof at a reduced cost equal to what you paid him. That way you don't need to go through the hassle of getting a refund, but your not paying for it twice. Maybe even do some homework as to how much it should cost, so that when he quotes you a price you know he isn't increasing it just to cover the reduction.

I work in the Residential Water Intrusion industry we deal with your problem on a regular basis. I don't know what the roofer did to 'fix' the problem but if it is a problem in a valley it is in an area where two pieces of wood meet. This is a common problem, especially in tract homes and newer homes. If the home is newer (less than 2 years) contact the builder's warranty department; even though the house is out of warranty if you can show causation they may fix it. This will be easier if you have documentation concerning the problem from when the house is under warranty.
If you have a chimney the leak could be caused by that and not the actual valley. Make sure the chimney to roof transition is properly flashed. Flashing is a basically a rubber piece of tap made by Grace see Also make sure he is flashing the area where the leak is. has some information on how to flash properly including videos.

Don’t be afraid to get the opinion from another roofer, most will give you a free inspection. To higher a new roofer find your local builders association and higher a member, to be member you have to meet certain warranty standards and other standards. Ask for references if they won’t give them don’t higher them. Next Check the Better Business Bureau for the roofer. Once you get the new opinion get your old roofer to come out and have him tell you what he will do. If they two roofers match up use your warranty if they don’t get your money back. If your first roofer is a builders association member get all his information and tell him you are filing a dispute with the association, most likely he will want to cut a deal at that point. If not write a letter, with photos, and send it.

As an estimator for a Maint. company I would like to make the following comment's. A reputable contractor will tell the customer up front what repairs are needed and what the cost should be. However in some situation's it is impossible to troubleshoot a problem without some dismanteling. Most customers will not allow this to happen. The only recourse a contractor has is to bid the work to cover any hidden issues. While most customers want a firm bid, there are times when time and material bid's make more sense. A reputable contractor will provide detailed information for refrences.

I'm not trying to hijack this thread, but I have a similar problem with more $'s involved.

I've lived in my house for 9 years and tried to sell 2 years ago, had several showings, but never sold. Now I'm faced with major repairs (windows, roof, siding, soffit, fascia and gutters). I've found a reputable contractor that will do it all for 26k. My struggle is I know I will need more space in the future (5 years or so), which is why I'm reluctant to make the repairs. I don't think you can "band-aid" these repairs. Would you make the repairs?

In the spirit of living below your means, I'm 34 and will have the house paid off in 7-8 years. What to do, what to do???

I've had similar issues with our roof that we had put on in November. I would recommend that you let the roofer try to come out and fix his mistakes one more time, and then file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Until that time we had been getting horrible customer service from them, but the complaint went right to the president of the company who has since done everything we've asked to get it resolved.

The complaint process was pretty painless - just an online form to fill out and then just waiting to hear from the business. If they care about their BBB record, they'll respond to your complaint.

Firstly, I would definitely appeal to his sense of fair play in fixing it correctly at his expense. You may want to mention that you're seriously considering putting an entirely new roof on in a few years (even if that's not exactly accurate)so he believes he's got a good chance of that future work.

Secondly, most states regulate roofers (and electricians, plumbers, general contractors, etc.) through the department of professional regulations. If the roofer doesn't cooperate, that is the place to turn to because they have the authority to discipline, fine, or, in extreme cases, revoke their license number.

How old is the roof? If the roof is in need or replacement his repair may have fixed that problem and the leak could be from another spot. If one problem appears there could be more. Valleys and other protrustions are the most come leak areas. If they are looking worn out then go with the new roof.The cost will recoup itself in resale. That said don't go with the cheapest price or the most expensive price. Ask around (people in neighbourhood, friend,coworkers,etc.)and find some references and get prices from those companies. If you don't get the right roofer/company there could be more problems than you started with.Many people go with the lowest price
and regret it later. Some advice on a roofer would be...
1) How long has he been in business
2) How busy is he? If a company can give you a price and come and do the job the next day be wary because companies that are not busy are not busy for a reason.
3) Don't pay anything up front. A company should be able to cover the cost of materials till completion.
4) Don't waste the time on them giving you references
nobody is ever going to refer you to an unhappy client.

This advice is coming from someone in the industry.There are guys that do great jobs but many who don't.Do your homework and it should work out.

I recently had a roof leak, and had it repaired for 450.00
The roof appears to be holding up as there has been a couple of rain storms since then. The major problem I had was getting roofers to show up. I called 3 roofers initially, one company came out and quoted me 1200.00. That sounded outrageous so I made an appointment with the other 2. The second roofer stood me up twice, once I left early from work to meet him. He never showed, I called him and left him a voicemail. He apologized and rescheduled only to stand me up again, I never called him back. Third one was a charm, he came out within 48 hours , and made the repair a couple of days later. I would try to get your roofer back to repair the problem and maybe pay him a little more but not the full amount, as sometimes leaks can be hard to locate. Just get it in writing the second time that he guarantees the leak to be repaired. If your roof is not fixed the second go round, demand a refund.

Always, Always, Always used a licensed contractor with insurance and references. Its worth the 30 min to save thousands of dollars.

I used to be an estimator for a roofing contractor (now for a general contractor). When I saw a job that the owner wanted patched I would always get on the roof and look for any damage or baked roofing materials. Flat roofs can wear out in as little as 10 years (foam, peel&stick) to 30-40 years (tar&gravel,edpm). Sloped roofs can be tricky to patch because the damaged roofing could be anywhere above the actual leak. My experience shows that flat roofs without damage should get a new roof, sloped roofs without damage should get a new section edge to edge, ridge to fascia. Roofing is a specialty trade, and they pay the liability insurance to prove it.

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