bad roofing job, do I have any recourse?

donandjaneApril 28, 2014

we bought our house here in Michigan in 2010, and the year before in 2009, the roof was completely stripped off, new sheathing and shingles put on. we started having problems early on, in 2011, a strong wind caught one corner and lifted and peeled back a large section of shingles. I had a friend who does roofing look at it, and he said it looked like the original roofers had too much pressure on their air nail guns, and blew the nail heads too deep into the shingles or right through in some.

We thought about calling the insurance company, but decided to approach the original installer, who lives in the neighborhood and owns his own small home remodeling company. he said since we weren't the original owners, and he only warranties his work for one year, he'd have to charge us 400 for the repair. he blamed it on the strong wind that day, so we went ahead and paid him and let him repair it.

Then, two years later, last year in 2013, another large section broke loose, on the same side of the gable, but the opposite corner, at the top from the ridge, and started to slide and pivot in a counter-clockwise direction, causing the shingles in the middle section to buckle and stop the rotation. We called him again, he temporarily put the section in place, and again, tried to deflect blame this time saying it might be defective batches of shingles from the manufacturer, he'd check and get back to us. A week later, he said he's not sure what happened, I said could it be your guys had improper air pressure on their nail guns? he said I don't know, but I'll strip off and replace that side with new shingles at no charge. Well it was end of October, and getting cold, so I hoped everything was ok this time, and didn't get back up there to check as winter hit hard.

Now, with spring about here, we had a strong wind again a few weeks ago, and I saw a couple shingles flapping, got up there and could see half of that side of the gable had darker color shingles, which were sealed down, and the other half were all lighter color and not sealed down! Again, we got him over there, and told him about it, he wouldn't answer when I asked repeatedly why is the one side darker and the other lighter? He finally admitted that his guys sorted through the shingles after the tear off, and put the good ones back up there, they 'mixed and matched' them with the good ones! And as his 'fix' he offered to seal the lighter colored old ones, with tubes of sealant!

I had a reputable roofing company come over for an inspection/estimate, and he pointed more problems, exposed nail heads, 'short shingling', crooked rows of shingles, etc. and said 'this guys not a roofer'. So I have to replace the whole roof now, and wondering what is my recourse against the original roofer?

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I'd say that you have zero recourse. You didn't pay him anything.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 3:55PM
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I second greg_2010's motion.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:16PM
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What a pain. I hope the previous owner of the house didn't use "new shingles" as a big selling point.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:29PM
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The next roofer you hire should offer a warranty of more than one year. Would you buy shingles that only carried a 1 year warranty?

That being said, the crappy roofed actually honored the warranty well beyond the limitations offered in the contract. He may be a really lousy roofer, but at least he's honest about his bad work.

To put things in perspective, I've heard from Michigan natives that a large house can be bought for just a few thousand dollars in many places around the great state. The shock to many of these new homeowners must come at the time when they need to spend some money on maintenance. The cost of a new paint job or a new roof can easily exceed the total value of the property. It is likely the reason that a roofer would automatically go to the cheapest bid possible, because they assume that every client just wants it that way. What would motivate the previous owners, who planned to immediately sell the house, to do it any differently?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:44AM
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If the nail is where it should be on the shingle, it is near impossible for the gun to drive it all the way through, so it was a situation of high air-pressure but especially really poor nailing. That is a result of people with not much time running a gun trying to work fast.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 3:15PM
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"The next roofer you hire should offer a warranty of more than one year. Would you buy shingles that only carried a 1 year warranty?"

I had some small roofing work done last year (replacing some shingles that were improperly nailed), and I called probably a dozen places. I don't think anyone offers anything but a 1 year warranty.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 11:55AM
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One year warranty sounds about standard for a repair job.

For a new roof, meaning total replacement of the roof covering, we've often negotiated warranties of 15 or even 20 years. Flat roofs have a shorter warranty, as do commercial buildings. For a residential roof with significant pitch, if you buy a 50 year rated roofing product, there's a contractor willing to offer a 20 year warranty on the installation.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2014 at 6:01PM
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