Contractor Confusion

Hi all- I’d appreciate an honest answer to this one. We shopped around for a contractor to put a slight pitch to a flat roof we have at the front of our house. We did this to PREVENT possible leaks. The roof is about 20 years old and we’ve never had a leak. However, it’s a weird design and we don’t want to get into trouble if we try to sell the house. We had a number of different estimates and went for a mid-level (in price) contractor that my husband really got a “good feeling” from. We signed a contract and work began a few weeks later.

The sub (actual installer) came to prep the roof and left plywood exposed. There was a call for rain so he created a tent-like tarp over the wood and tied it off–kinda like you would tie off a garbage bag. Well-long story short…the rain weighed down the tarp and we ended up with a 2-foot waterfall in our living room. No drywall came down but it did damage the drywall (brown stains) and a light fixture (and molding). After A LOT of back and forth with the contractor (them not returning calls and accusing us of overeacting) and A LOT of backpedaling by the contractor, we finally got them to draw up a new contract to include fixing the repair and correcting some of the problems that were happening with the roof (even more ponding than before and a “moat like effect” happening–basically they were putting on a new roof that was worse than our old one). The new contract states that they’ll correct the roof and do the repairs to the ceiling but that they “are accepting no responsibility or liability for the damage.” HUH!!! I didn’t have a water stain or leak on my ceiling PRIOR to their crappy job! Then the guy said that for all he knows, the stain could’ve been there for a long time! This is even after they came by (at my insistence–10 phone calls) on the day of the leak and saw the wet, blistering ceiling! They refuse to cross out that statement. We’ve refused to sign the new contract and are seriously considering getting another roofer to fix the roof (it’s halfway done right now) and another drywall guy (not their guy) to do the repair and suing them for our downpayment and the difference (if any) in cost. What do you all think? Am I in the right or are all roofers like this?

Hmmm…I guess I should make it clear that I’m not looking for legal advice or anything like that. I’m just a bit frustrated and expect this contractor to act professionally. I have to admit, there have been some angry words between us. Even if I wanted to sign the new contract at this point, I wouldn’t because of all the bad blood. I guess I just need to know whether it’s a normal part of a contract to impliedly assume responsibility for a repair (by agreeing to fix it) but then not assume any responsibility (by saying you won’t) Or, am I just crazy (mad!) at this point?

Sheesh, once again I feel like I should be apologizing for something I did’nt do. :frowning:

Do you have any pictures of the roof you could post so we could really let em have it?

:stuck_out_tongue: Nah…not your fault (I hope!). I DO have pictures of the exposed plywood with water all over it and a messed up brown and blistered ceiling. However, if I do have to go to court with these guys (which I REALLY DON’T WANT TO DO–but, then again, I don’t want to be taken for a ride either…), I’d hate to have them find these pics on this site.

Needless to say, the patched up roof we have now is sealed (with some sort of rubber type waterproofing) and water (from rain again last night) pooled in the “bowed” (slightly) middle of each piece of plywood. There is little moat between the space where the plywood stops and the edge of the facia. I know that doesn’t help much…

Bad deal. Sorry to hear it. I would cut ties with the roofer. While litigation is an option, it may not be worth the time or money to pursue it… in other words, find out what it costs to fix the damage inside from somebody else and then make a decision.

I’m thinking you’re right. However, we’ve paid 50% down already. If we have another roofer come and fix what the first guy did + install a new roof, we’ll be out a lot more money. Should we just have this guy finish the roof and we can deal with the interior portion? I hate to give up and “let them win.” But I’m thinking the only way to get our down payment back + the difference in costs (new roof - tearing up bad roof) will be through litigation. After all, I doubt these guys will hand over our 50%, let alone the difference.

i misunderstood you. I was under the impression the roof was finished and now the interior was the problem. This is easy. Let them finish the roof. Be really nice to them. Get your interior estimate from someone in the meantime, and withhold the money from the final check and let the burden of litigation fall on their shoulders. Try to dig up an old picture that may show the ceiling to help your case. Did you take pictures of the waterfall in progress? A bit much to ask when in a crisis, but maybe youre not the panicking type.

First of all, I really appreciate this help! It’s certainly allowing me to calm down and think of this situation reasonably. One more issue – they won’t finish the roof unless we sign the new contract (which states that they assume no liability for the leaky ceiling). If we sign the new contract with that clause, we may not have a chance to seek out another contractor to repair.

Maybe I should just eat crow, apologize for being loud and frustrated (!) and hope they just do both? Do you think I could trust the work they do after all this? (yes, i know you guys don’t know anything about this contractor but i have to believe that they’d do an ok job --they’re using the hydrostop system on a flat roof – it’s just the bowing and ponding that bothers me!)

Oh yeah, I forgot. They’re now saying that WE won’t let them finish the roof because we won’t sign the contract (letting them deny liability for the interior damage). We feel like they’re putting us in a position to leave the roof unfinished (and release them from liability for the interior damage) or go the “another roofer” route.

I wouldn’t sign that new contract. No way. No how. Theyre already in breach of the first contract and saying they won’t finish without a new contract is not very ethical to say the least, I’d go as far as to say they’re trying to strong-arm you. Did you check their licensing? Do you have a copy of their Liability Insurance policy? I would wake up tomorrow morning and go right to court if I were in your shoes. If I were in HIS shoes, I would’ve finished and HOPED you’d pay me. If you didnt pay me, I would never even try to take you to court. This guy is a real jerk. Be careful with him.

Your response (the in HIS shoes part) is exactly what we expected them to do but it’s turned into this mess instead. But, you have me thinking…maybe we cross off EVERYTHING on the new contract that has to do with the repair (from the work to the denying liability part) and compel them to finish the roof (to include the new changes that they’re going to have to do). How would I get a copy of their liability insurance policy? They ARE licensed.

Absolutely do not sign a new contract. You have the original contract and the roofing contractor should honor that contract. Photo document the damage to your ceiling, and the roof in its current condition. Photo documentation is very important in court cases, plus you will be able to document any additional damage while the roofer in question continues to not honor the contract. Next, I would contact an attorney since the contractor has not fulfilled his contractual obligation, and it being negligent in leaving the roof in a nonwatertight condition. Have your attorney contact the roofing contractor, and go from there. It may cost you some money up front, but I would try and recoup the attorney fees as part of any settlement.

Did they pull a permit? Maybe the city will give you a copy of the policy, they always copy mine when I pull permits. Maybe he’s bluffing and hoping to strong-arm you into signing all your rights away. Don’t do it. Stand your ground and be strong. Report him to whatever agency licenses him. Report him to the BBB. Harrass his insurer. Make his life a living hell!

I highly doubt they pulled a permit…then again, I could check the public records. Thanks again for your help. I’ll keep you guys informed as to what happens. If it’s up to me, they’re going to finish the roof job, one way or another. :?

in addition to what has already been said, i would also check with the local licensing board. in rhode island they just increased the fines for non-licensed contractor work to 5000 for the first offense! i have been in a position like this earlier this year, needless to say, i bought a new widescreen tv for my customers! in the event that this contractor does finish the work inside and out it would be money well spent to have the work inspected by a building inspector or home inspector. sometimes when contractors have to work for “the bubble” they become spiteful.
i think every contractor on this board has heard this story before. i would follow all the advice that has already been given.

Hi all-

Just an update into our roof disaster.
Contacted our attorney (good guy) and he’s reviewing our notes, photos, contract, proposal. He thinks we just need to get another reputable company to finish the job (both roof and interior) and we’ll get the difference. He’s pretty unimpressed with their poor showing so far.

Contacted another contractor (based on recs from friends and neighbors with same roof). He’s coming out on Saturday. It’s supposed to rain big time here this week, though. So, headed out to Home Depot to pick up some tarping. We plan to cover our “half-roof” with a tarp (surface to surface) and then construct a tent like tarp over that. Does that sound reasonable? Anyone else with some rookie suggestions for covering our roof?

We’ll worry about the interior when the roof is secure. Thanks again for your help!!!

im curious as to how big this roof is?and what your bad roofer was installing on it?

well hello murphs mom,
i often frown on tryin to change flat roof structures into slopes.
it sounds like a good idea, but as you have found, it can be a very bad one. it takes an extremly talented person to make it work.
i think you said that the last (flat) roof lasted 20 yrs, and maybe should get another 20 yr ( flat) roof.
the thing that stands out to me is your corse of action to find a new roofer, and this is somethin that i stress so much here, “based on recs from friends and neighbors with same roof”.
if everyone followed that rule there wouldnt be so much shody work.

good luck.

get us the info of your structure and your area and well let ya know what ya need to, or dont need to put on it.


pain in the butt but three heavy duty on my home now.

20 x 40, held down with 1 x 3 strapping and in other places “8 x 1 1/4” wood screws with fender washers through the eyelets.

so far so good, also screwed over the eve area and under the soffit area, it will be replaced so okay to fire screws into it.

Was told by a number of roofers and the TSC store that the blue ones leak, I have one on one end over the garage so far it is fine.


Hi all-

We originally thought about getting slope to the roof because that’s what a few of our neighbors had done. They have the exact same house with the exact same roof. Guido, I’m not sure of the size…I would estimate 10’ x 7’ (maybe…). It’s a small roof that one can only access from doors from a bedroom in the house. It is the roof for the foyer…that’s about it.

I received a horrid email from the president of the company today that is full of half-truths and lies. He’s accusing me of breaching the contract because I won’t let him work on the roof anymore. Well, the reason we won’t let him work on the roof is because the installer said that he couldn’t make the specs of the 1st contract work. There is bowing in the plywood and, although it’s covered by hydrostop, there is still pooling in the bowing. Anyway, he’s threatening to put a lien on the property because WE breached the contract! I think that the fact that he put the effort into creating a 2nd proposed contract (that was very different from the specs of the 1st contract) shows that he knows they were screwing up the first contract. There is no way I’m having them come back out, slap a few pieces of paper over the half-roof we have now and letting them call it a day.
I’m waiting to hear back from our attorney now.

As far as the new roofer goes, he’s coming out on Saturday. My husband is spending the day tarping up our half-roof in preparation for rain tonight and tomorrow. We’re pretty sure that the new roofer is going to tell us to pull everything up and start over. Maybe he’ll agree that pitch is not needed.

Thanks for any advice you guys have!! :slight_smile: