Brand new roof leaked; roofer responsibility

Shingles replaced in 2011, bought house in 2012 with a “new roof”, had four massive damaging leaks in 2016/17. Very expensive repair to rotted wood pieces and roof installed with part metal, shingles and Ice and Water shield placed. Live in Utah so also had heat tape in the valleys. Eighteen months later so much water came through in three spots causing the paint to sag. When the roof was installed, the drip edge was cut to fit around gutters instead of removing them (in the quote to do so). Also found out that the heat tape was installed incorrectly and insufficient amount placed so ice dams built up possibly causing some of the water damage.

The roofer says he is not responsible for the ice dams but is willing to repair the roof and enhance what was done wrong but I now have three rooms torn up again and my wood floor needs to be refinished for the second time since 11/17. The warranty says they are responsible for the roof but how responsible is he for the damage to the inside of my house by the failure of his work in less than two years? Our insurance company is involved. We are now looking at another $8000 in heat tape to get properly installed.

Any advice? Very frustrated and angry

What did your contract call for? Do you have a written warranty? If so, does the written warranty specifically exclude damage from ice dams?

Not sure what heat tape is. I assume it is some type of conductive product that is designed to heat areas that tend to form ice. The only product I’ve seen worth installing, if you’re having severe ice dam issues, is a copper conductive grid system installed under the shingles. Rather expensive but it actually works.

I would add that our own warranty doesn’t cover ice dams. Our warranty also doesn’t cover damage under the roof. Those are pretty standard but there are of course exception. I cannot imagine anybody’s warranty would cover ice dams. Ice dams are usually a sign of either a very poor design and/or improper insulation. If I had a house prone to ice dams, I would install Grace Ice & Water Barrier on the entire house in lieu of standard underlayment. If it was really severe, I’d install the copper grid system under the shingles.

Shingles are water resistant, not waterproof. Regardless of how good the roofer installed the shingles, if you have standing water (ice dam) on the roof for any length of time, you will start to leak. It’s that simple. Shame on that roofer (perhaps) for not recognizing your issues and making the right recommendations when your roof was built. But who knows what transpired in those interactions. You, the Homeowner, may have not wanted to spend the money to do it right so they didn’t waste their time.

Good luck in fixing your problems.

If for some reason your house required 8000$ worth of heat tape there is something seriously wrong in the design. Located in pa here, we get a fair amount of snowfall and big daily fluctuations in temperature with daily melt and refreeze, perfect conditions for ice dams, and I have never seen heat tape used in a valley.

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Yes, the house does have serious design flaws but we bought it that way…sadly not our design. Supposedly the heat tape is $15 a foot and will have to be in a serpentine fashion in the valleys of the roof. Here in the snowy mountains of Utah we don’t get freeze thaw in the winter the heat tape keeps the dams from building up too large, especially on the north sides. I believe the price is too grand as well but we have a high roof line with six problem areas.

Thanks for your response!

“The snow will fall, the sun will shine, the lifts will run, and isn’t that enough?” -Warren Miller

"Dream big and dare to fail." - Dr. Norman Vaughan

At this point, before spending any money on “fixes”, I would bring in a roofing consultant to determine exactly what is wrong and how to permanently correct it.

If it was my house I would much rather invest 8000$ in the proper type of roofing system or properly insulating the problem area rather than on Heat tape.

Do you have any pictures of your home? Mpa has a good point. You could realize some energy saving as well. Some designs there is not much you can do as well.

Thank you to everyone’s responses. Yes, the roof design is poor and unfortunately we didn’t design nor built this house. The site is one pitch dropping down on to another pitch at 90 degrees then encountering another peak and pitch, meaning there is a Y shaped valley. There is no insulation issue as that was addressed when bought the house and renovated it. There is Ice and Water shield underlayment as well under both the shingles and the aluminum sheeting which is on all of the peaks and 6 feet up from all gutters.

We believe the leaks came in from under the flashing and poor roofing job 18 months ago. They are coming out to remove gutters and reseal the entire length of that area.

My question is…do roofers have insurance to cover costs for the interior that was destroyed by their inefficiency? At least our deductible? We tore out this wall 18 months ago when the roof was fixed after the first leaks were discovered. We had four the last time, which is less than the two we have now but still a pain. We also had the hardwood floors redone because they warped. Now I am living this dream again after the “experts” put a new roof on, not just shingles but replaced boards etc. They knew our problems, we were very clear.

Roofers should have General Liability and Workman’s Comp. Sadly, many do not which is a violation of State Law in many States. Given how shoddy it seems your roofer was, I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t have insurance.

If your roof design is that bad and you are only using the heat tape, I suspect you will have ongoing problems. Difficult to flash adequately if the ice dams are bad enough, especially if you have brick, stone or stucco/dryvit siding on your house. The right way to do it would be to remove the siding about 2 foot up the wall and install 20 to 24" metal flashing and possibly even run ice and water shield up the wall. It’s real simple fluid dynamics. If you have an ice dam and the water build up above it is 1 foot deep, unless the flashing is greater than 1 foot up the wall, the water will run in. Think about it. If you have a square container with a separator down the middle and a gap at the bottom, and pour water in one side, it will level out on the other side very shortly thereafter.

I’ve had alot of success run the ice shield one foot up the wall. Then a 2-3’ piece of ice shield over the step flashing and up the wall.