Is there a reputable roofer anymore?

criticalmass048October 30, 2011

Our friend is selling her house, and three years ago, had a new roof put on. She couldn't find any documentation proving it was recently done, so tried contacting the roofer to get a copy. They were out of business.

On a lark, we tried calling our roofer. We had a roof put on 7 years ago by a company claiming to have been in business for three generations since 1912. It came with a 10 year warranty. Funny thing is, our roofer went out of business as well. There is now a "new" roofing company with the same address and phone number. They insist they are not affiliated with the old roofer, rendering our 10-year warranty worthless.

That was three months ago.

Of course, don't you know, during yesterday's freak snowstorm, the bedroom closet started leaking. Now I'm on a mission to find a reputable, honest roofer in the Philadelphia area.

I've checked some online reviews of a few of the "big names" in the area -- the ones you see all the time on the roads -- and while they're not all bad, there are too many bad reviews for my liking.

What can one do anymore? I'm open to suggestions. I understand advertising isn't allowed on this site, but I'd be willing to listen to either a referral (here or in email) or else point me to a place I can see a list of good roofers.

Thanks a lot!

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I have local 'go to' friends and neighbors and when I'm needing something done, I ask them to recommend someone. Do you know anyone who has lived in the area all their life and seems to know everyone?

2 of my favorite 'go to' neighbors are retired school teachers and have lived in their home for 30 years. I also trust the 2 men who built my home and would feel comfortable getting referrals from them too.

I wish you luck.


    Bookmark   October 31, 2011 at 10:45AM
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It's hard. The downturn in the economy preceded by the housing bubble/burst has sent a lot of roofers under. In my area, the roofer I've been working with is swamped... b/c there are only half as many roofers today as a few years ago.

Other than word-of-mouth (which was part of your intent in this post) using all those review sites (yelp, angies, etc) and doing your due diligence (checking bbb, state licensing, etc) it's still a big gamble until (if) our economy recovers again.

If you post again, put your location in your subject line. That might catch someone's eyes better who is in your area and willing to help.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2011 at 1:59PM
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criticalmass, I sent you an email a few days ago.

    Bookmark   November 4, 2011 at 8:21PM
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Seven or eights ago, we had a new roof put on by "trustworthy" roofing company. We have no problems. However, a neighbor asked about references and I mentioned "trustworthy." When I called the man answered, hello. I ask if this is Joe Blow with trustworthy. Yeh, my secretary is off having a baby. Who is this?

    Bookmark   November 5, 2011 at 5:00PM
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serious, old-school talent, clean up after themselves, have seen them be equally willing to work in Wrightstown (high-end) and Morrisville (not so high-end) and treat both homeowners with respect.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 1:27PM
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Yes!! I am near Philadelphia and just love Havertown Roofing. I found them through Angie's List. So far they have done repairs and gutter cleaning, not an entire roof. I just got an estimate from them for $9500 for the roof -- small house and garage. They are an honest family business. No -- I am not related and am just a customer.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2012 at 12:34PM
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There have never been a lot of them.

Goof luck finding one.

Ask neighbors and friends who they have used.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2012 at 6:42PM
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If your roof fails, it's important to understand what the warranty was/is. The *installation* may be guaranteed by the roofer, but the *materials* may be guaranteed by the manufacturer. If it leaks too soon, it's either due to poor installation (you're screwed if the installer is gone), or failing materials, which the manufacturer should replace. Just something to consider.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2012 at 2:18PM
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"failing materials, which the manufacturer should replace."

Most of the manufacturer's material warranties will just net you bundles of shingles.

You are left to get them installed.

A small part of the actual cost of a new roof.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 11:20AM
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I would use our contractor and his two-man crew again for roof work in a heartbeat. In fact, if we/when we move, I have to figure out how to get him to move with us. :) He did the whole house, and at a price that could not be beat. When we subsequently had a leak around a small piece of flashing that had pulled loose and happened to be under a window (hence, drips running down the window), he simply came back, immediately, no questions asked, and fixed it. If anything, his main roof guy is even more compulsively perfectionist than he is.

For $20 to $21 K: he did four roofs, including the main steeply pitched roof; roof on a decent-sized addition, also with a steep pitch; roof on a small addition; roof on a large sunroom (~30 feet long); all gutters; all downspouts; new (copper) flashing of course; and installation of a couple of new skylights. Plus clean up of course. Plus the fact that there was an old, rotted roof under the roof we'd all initially thought was the only one needing replacement. So they removed that one, too, without charging extra.

Years ago, I got an estimate from DeFrehn, probably because their trucks were all over the area, and I found it reassuring to see them in front of the many historic houses in town, including ones in the historic district. I went with Histand Bros. instead. I don't recall why. At the time, Histand didn't even advertise; all they had was a phone book listing. It had been all by word of mouth. The work we needed done was on a slate mansard roof that had 19th century slates in different colors and shapes. There may have been other work; it's been a while so I don't remember exactly. I can say that we never had another problem with the slate roof.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2012 at 12:34PM
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Had a leak around chimney that no one could fix and the roof in that area rotted. Hired a roofing co. to replace whole roof with new shingles hoping this would stop leak. ROTTED area was replaced. Chimney still leaked into room below. They put plastic around chimney and the leak stopped. So we assume that the chimney is the problem. Not really the only problem, now it was leaking down to the overhang. They found that a worker had installed the ridge vents backwards letting rain go in open end. Fixed that and still had a leak. They came out and told me it was the skylights that were leaking and that was not part of the roof. they want to charge me over a thousand bucks to seal the skylights. I thought the reason to install new roofing was to stop all leaks. should the skylights been sealed when roofing was down? Personally i think there pulling a straws.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2012 at 12:52PM
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Jarie67--we've been told that usually, when there's a leak near the chimney, it's often the CHIMNEY, not the roof as many people suppose. If that happens again, the FIRST thing to do is have your chimney sealed--it's an inexpensive job (cost us about $500) and may fix the problem.

As to roofers? Even getting a good recommendation for one is no insurance YOU'RE going to get a good job. We had the roof replaced on our suburban house about 10 years back, by a good, reputable company, and were more than satisfied with the job. When we bought the house in the country, the roof needed replacing, so we called the same outfit. What a huge mistake. The crew he had then couldn't speak English, the boss couldn't speak their language (and in any case, was rarely on site). So communication was difficult. The crew (at least they asked) wanted to go behind our garage to use the bathroom!!! YUCK--we told them NO in no uncertain terms. The job was terrible--not up to the standard we expected from this company that was old, established and had--at one time--had a good reputation. We had to have them come back 4-5 times to fix and refix things that were wrong. The the amount of nails and other trash I picked up around the house when they were done!!!

All I can say is good luck! It is a challenge these days, finding someone who is reputable and takes pride in their work.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 7:38AM
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"the FIRST thing to do is have your chimney sealed"

And then depending on the porosity of the bricks and freezing weather you can destroy the chimney with freeze-thaw cycles.

Correctly made bricks do not allow water to pass in any significant amount.

The first thing to check is the flashing on the chimney.

many new instals do not use counter flashing, but try to use tar to 'glue' the flashing to the bricks.
The use of anything except copper flashing against masonry is also a cheap move.

Aluminum flashing will be destroyed in short order by contact with masonry (the Portland cement in the mortar is the actual culprit).

Galvanized steel will lose its zinc coating and then start to rust (often on the back side against the masonry).

Copper at least has a decent chance.

If you see flashing attached to the masonry and no counter flashing set into grooves in the mortar joints, the job is wrong.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2012 at 9:47AM
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We recently bought a foreclosure. Before we closed, Fannie Mae brought a roofer in to make minor repairs. We too found that he used our yard as a bathroom. He left behind not only a pile of s***, but the paper towel that he used to wipe with! What a great housewarming gift.

And don't even get me started with the roofing team that did my previous roofing job!! I had NEVER sworn at a service provider before, but after going through the joke of BBB "mediation" and arguing back and forth, I'd had it. Over 10 years later and it still makes my blood pressure rocket.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2012 at 1:01PM
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