Leaking ceiling

skrepkaNovember 18, 2011

Hello everybody. I need some advice please.

We have an old house (was build in 50's). Moved here 3 years ago and got a new roof when we moved.

During the hurricane Irene back in August we got a leak in our living room ceiling, right under the second floor dormer.

I called company that did the roof (it's under life time warranty) and they came out to take a look. Said that roof is perfectly fine and they thought the leak was coming from somewhere around the dormer. There were some areas where the old siding on the dormer near the roof was sort of torn off or bend and there were also spots where siding was not flush to the roof as it was for 3 years.

I asked the roof company if they would take a look at it and fix it and they said that the job is too small for them and that I need to fine a small contractor (handyman type) and have it done.

We then called our homeowner's insurance, they came out to take a look, assessed the damage and estimated that it would cost $1,500 to fix. That included fixing and painting ceiling in the living room and fixing the siding (according to insurance we just need to have old siding taken off and reattached properly). Insurance wrote us a check (less our deductible) and that was that.

I found a small contractor to do the job. He did a very minor thing for me before so I called him to came to take a look and give me an estimate. He came over and this was the result - he estimated $850 for the following (I copied this from the email he send me with his estimate)

1. To remove old siding on dormer and replace with new Vinyl siding

(best match possible to what is on the side of the house)

2. Water test multiple areas of the house to find all entry points of


3. Seal any and all entry points

4. Remove damaged sheetrock and insulation on the ceiling

5. Inspect and clean ceiling joists

6. Patch sheetrock

7. Spackle (3 coats) Tape and Paint

He then came over with his helper and they did the work. Items 1, 4, 5, 6, and 7 I can tell were done as it is all visual. I did not monitor them while they were working and cannot say for sure if 2 and 3 were done at all.

Not a month later we got a new leak in the ceiling in the same spot and now there is also a small crack on the adjoining wall (the leak is about 1.5 feet from the outer front wall of the house. The crack is right above the big picture window in the living room.

We tried calling this contractor back and he wasn't returning out calls. Today I finally got a hold of him and surprise surprise he's in another state with sick mother and has no idea when he'll be back.

Meanwhile he said that I wanted a quick fix and that's what I got and that I now need to have huge project done to take everything apart to find the leak. When I asked him if he sealed everything under the new siding he said everything there looked fine and that he couldn't see any leaks and that because we have multiple layers of siding up there on the dormer he just replaced to top siding with new one. The conversation ended by him basically hanging up on me.

He never told me before that there was another siding under the top layer, thought it doesn't surprise me as the house is old and so far we found multiple layers of a lot of things (3 layers of carper on stairs, two layers of tile on bathroom floor, 2-4 layers of wallpaper in various rooms, and two layers of siding on one part of the front of the house). So multiple layers of siding on the dormer is not out of the question.

What do I do now? I realize that I need to call a new contractor. But what does he need to do? Do I have them take the whole front of my house apart? Do they need to just use some sort of water proof sealant around the dormer?

We are absolutely stretched with money. To fix this we will actually need to dip into money put away for kids college. How do I do this with minimal costs and not get taken for a ride again?

And also, what should I do, if anything, with the first contractor? Or do I just choke it up to lesson learned?

Thank you all in advance.

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The roofer screwed up, He needs to fix it.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 7:50PM
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Any suggestion on how to get him to actually show up and fix it? Right now he's avoiding my calls, hangs up on me, and claims to be in a different state with his sick mother.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 8:58PM
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"homeowner's insurance...estimated that it would cost $1,500 to fix. Insurance wrote us a check..."

"I found a small contractor to do the job...(for) $850..."

"Any suggestion on how to get him to actually show up and fix it?"

How about paying for the damages your claim paid out to you, as a loss from the insurance policy? The $1,500 is what you should have paid for the repairs. Then you could complain about something.

You got what you paid for.

Why not call up your insurance and file another claim? Show them the receipts for the work performed under the last claim and see how they take it. Maybe they'll follow up on that screwball contractor with a sick mother out of state.

Between him and his helper, less materials and supplies they scammed at least a HUNDRED DOLLARS EACH of you, you poor helpless victim.

Or maybe they'll raise your rates... or cancel your policy.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:58PM
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