Would You Even Bother Inspecting New Roof If This Happened...

Updated on April 28, 2014
A.J. asks from Norristown, PA
14 answers

I had a somewhat unpleasant experience with roofers who just gave us a new roof. Granted, I took cheapest quote due to being turned down for home loan so we were paying out of pocket. $$$$$!! HOWEVER, his quote was not THAT much cheaper than some. He was within a few hundred bucks of a few, but I felt more like he would be trust-worthy than them at the time. He also said he could do it sooner, and we had a leak. He was licensed and insured and had good references and I had a good feeling about him. Wrongly.

Anyway, after some minor glitches like him (actually 2 guys in team) not replacing shingles on sides of dormer windows and acting like "I should have known that wasn't included" and then using black shingles-which I did NOT request-we never had the conversation that I recall and I forgot to specify with him after seeing so many roofers etc (BELIEVE ME I KNOW THAT I SHOULD HAVE PICKED THE COLOR-I actually did pick light gray from a different roofer, but then didn't use him because his quote was sky high...). When I noticed black shingles he of course insisted I "SPECIFICALLY PICKED" black in a conversation. Which I most certainly did not because the attic is already way too hot in summer. But I can't prove I did not ask for black, it's my word against his and it was too late for them to rip them off and start again....Our contract reads "stock color", not "client picked black", and if he had matched original lt. gray color, I would not be able to notice side dormers!!!! SO I don't know why they used black other than to save money if they had them on hand already or whatever. I didn't notice the black until they were half-way done with roof when I saw it from a distance because roof is so high-MY MISTAKE..and a few other issues....I came around to accepting the black since it will probably be better in winter.

But. I know he wasn't that "happy with me" since I kept questioning him about stuff. He made a few comments like, "Well I underquoted you as it is, this roof was harder than I thought and taking us much longer than planned" (not my fault!!) and "You said price was a factor which is why I did not do the dormer sides" (I never said not to do anything, I asked for quote for whole roof).

ANYWAY, things just sort of got sour. I tried to remain cordial, but I know he was offended to be questioned and started feeling "underpaid". My roof is super high and I can't climb up to study it.

I've already paid him in full. What's done is done on color, but I'm wondering if I should pay to have it inspected right away in case they did anything sloppily. I don't want to wait and discover a leak in a year when it would be impossible to link it to them.

My gut says they did a perfectly fine, sealed job (albeit wrong color). The side dormers weren't leaking, they're just not "new like the rest" which is totally annoying...BUt for the rest they laid tar paper underneath which previous roof lacked. They did use high quality shingles. They do have a reputation to uphold in a small community, and they ARE roofers by trade. But part of me wonders if they would do a bad job out of spite...probably not right?...I really don't want to make a bad discovery and take on a whole new project trying to make amends so I'm tempted to just stay on the ground and hope for the best...

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the scolding Julie. They did several roofs on my street which he pointed out to me. All of which are gray. And our old roof was gray. While I admit, I SHOULD have confirmed "not black" with him -GOT IT!!! Lesson Learned!!- I would have assumed "stock" was gray to match the ones already on roof. Especially since they left them on side dormers and now they don't match.

Julie, thanks for checking back in to add that I also should have known better for my age. I am very ashamed (not really actually but maybe I'm supposed to be?) that even though I am so old and wise, it was my first roof repair on my first house. I have admitted being one hundred percent responsible for not initiating the roof color conversation. God knows a roofer, who puts roofs on houses for a full-time living, should not be expected to ask a client about roof color. Actually most of the roofers did bring samples and did ask, but this one got by me-MY FAULT and I do regret my stupidity. Again, I deserve what happened completely, so thanks for the second reality check. But I think you missed the part of my post where I accept the black shingles (only used to illustrate the conflicted nature of job between myself and roofer) and asked only if others would have an inspection done. Thank you for the reassurance beneath the lecture about how everyone you know knows how to buy roofs, that it's probably fine. I am reassured.

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B.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Honestly? As long as these were reputable roofers (which it sounds like they were), I would use the money that you would have been spent on an inspection and have the dormers done. (maybe that was the couple of hundred dollar difference between the two bids?)

It sounds like there was a communication breakdown and they delivered what was in the contract. Chalk this up as a lesson learned.

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D..

answers from Miami on

A., I'm sorry you've gotten plastered about your age and your mistake on the color. You readily took the responsibility about the color.

Here's my opinion and I hope you will take it seriously. You NEED to get the roof inspected. This guy was not professional at all. The dormers thing is really serious. Not including the dormers? WHAT?

I had my roof replaced. There was a problem with the installation that my husband could see, and he made the guys come back and fix it. We are lucky that there has been no ice damming in the winters since (I was really worried about that.) Part of the deal was that the roofers were supposed to take the tops off of our gutters and clean out the gutters. They didn't. I could TELL that they didn't. They kept telling me that they did and they did NOT come back and do it.

When I got a call from a man in an adjoining neighborhood asking for a reference, I wouldn't give a positive one. The man LOST that contract because of his mistakes with me.

Now, his contract did have color. I was there when the roofers arrived and I saw the shingles, so I wouldn't have had that problem. But the rest? Honestly, just the fact that he didn't do dormers with you brings HUGE warning bells.

Just because you have a small community and and they are roofers by trade does NOT mean they did a good job. You NEED to get an inspection done and make sure. You have a warranty. You can tell the guy that either he fixes it or you will go to the Better Business Bureau about it and to small claims court.

Knowledge is power. You can't do anything about the color, as you know, but you CAN and SHOULD make sure your roof is correctly installed. I would get someone else to come do your dormers. It is ridiculous to have dormers that are another color.

Don't be a shrinking violet here. Your house is the most expensive asset you will ever own. Get it done right.

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J.T.

answers from New York on

Why are people debating the roof color?? You admit it was a mistake or misunderstanding and are not trying to get money back. I get you were giving background and if I understand right, they left some roof grey and did the rest black? I find that bizarre on their part too. But having done some remodel and new window work and all, it takes experience to realize there are so many details and even with a higher priced contractor things can go wrong. It sucks. It's why many people don't want to do remodels etc. So don't beat yourself up more. Regarding your actual question, depends in how much an inspection is... I doubt he'd purposely do a bad job. He has a reputation etc and while he likely got tempted you likely are not the first customer he had a disagreement with. He's a professional and likely did his job. But if an inspection is say $500 or less, I'd do it just in case and for peace of mind. $1k I'd have to think more. Over that I'd probably risk it and not inspect it. Good luck with it.

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J.S.

answers from Richland on

You signed a contract that said stock color so you picked stock color. Not sure why you think that is their fault. I have never heard of anyone getting a roof and not looking at samples, picking a specific color, hell most people drive around looking at their other work which also allows you to see each color on a roof.

They put on a roof, there isn't much to inspect. Unless they did something obvious like an exposed nail time is all that will tell if they did a good job. Next time read and understand your contract before you sign it.

Per your what happened, why on earth would you think stock meant anything but whatever we feel like putting on your roof? Stock-what is in stock. Did you even ask, is our neighbor's house the stock color? We have a kind of grey on our roof, it is one of ten shades of grey from just that one manufacturer. There were six shades of black! Sorry but I know you are around my age, you should know better. Now you are grasping at reasons to drag them back in.

Fact is there isn't much you can do to a roof other than put it on right. It is obvious if it isn't. You saw the paper go on, then the shingles, it is fine.

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S.B.

answers from Dallas on

It does get confusing to deal with multiple contracts and multiple bids. For the next time you attempt such a project make a list of key factors that are important to you and use it as a check list in comparing bids and reviewing your contracts. I used to take notes on a legal pad and tape the contractors card to the page and put that with the estimate. It is hard to keep them all apart. My neighbor was just having her one year inspection on her new home and opted to get an independent appraisal. They uncovered several things on the roof that the homebuilder finally agreed to rectify after the roofer (the subcontractor) refused to fix. What kind of guarantee did you get on the materials and labor on the roof? What would it cost to get an independent appraisal? That might determine whether I would get a different opinion.

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M.D.

answers from Washington DC on

I guess there are a few things here. You signed a contract, and I get that you take responsibility for the color, but what about the dormers? You didn't make sure the contract was what you had discussed in it being the FULL roof? Maybe it's in the small print??

I can only tell you my experience with something similar and how it was handled for us. When we built our home, we contracted to have the full basement finished (by the builder). Apparently the builder countered saying they would only do the main rec room, not the bedroom or bathroom. Well...I was walking in it one day and saw what was going on. Long story short, the bedroom was completed, but not the bathroom. They also did not install our hanging lights over our island, they put those in later. And shutters! They didn't give us shutters...or thicker molding around our windows...the shutters were also put in at their expense. The builder did NOT want me setting up in the model home front yard saying the issues I had, so the fixed them. It was their reputation on the line. The fixed MOST everything and I referred two friends to buy their homes as well.

You need to read the contract and then fight if you want it fixed. As far as the color, while you have accepted it, I think you are going to have to keep it - stock is what they have on hand and it may have been black. If the contract says the full roof, get them to come do the dormers. Just read it through completely to make sure they do what you paid them to do.

As far as having it inspected - sure. If it makes you feel more at ease, go for it. I don't think it is too expensive, and if it gives you peace of mind for such a large purchase, I'd say it's worth the money.

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L.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Yes, I would hire an inspector AND I would pay for an Angie's List membership so they can handle your complaint about not including the dormers. I haven't had my roof replaced, but I would imagine that if you are contracting to have the entire roof replaced, it should be assumed that the dormers are part of the roof. That is like asking to have your car repainted, but they don't paint the side view mirrors because you didn't specifically state that.

If you are going to live in this house for at least another few years, you will sleep better at night if you have the roof work inspected. It sucks that you will have to shell out more money though. Good luck!

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P.R.

answers from Cleveland on

I'm not sure about the inspector but have you reread the contract to see how it reads in terms of coverage? I don't remember our roof contract stating sq footage or anything. Dormers with roof shingles should be included! I like the analogy the person made about side view mirrors on your car. And I consider him pretty lame to not point out - your dormers will be grey and your roof black - that's what you want? Such an obvious thing to point out to you... I wouldn't know what stock color meant. I'd assume the stock grey they had to match the dormers he wasn't doing that only he knew he wasnt' doing... If he did the dormers and made them black too it'd be more understandable on his part. But 2 different colors? So look at the contract. Maybe you can get him to do the dormers at cost...

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C.D.

answers from Atlanta on

Did the roofers have a permit? In a lot of counties they have to get a permit and then the job gets inspected by the county. Check your local government/building inspections department about this. He was suppose to do the Whole roof and dormers are part of the roof, so he cheated you. I don't think you'll be able to get him to finish the job. Nevertheless, call your local government and see if someone has any answers or advice.

An inspector will be expensive.

Sorry to hear this happened and that people cheat people.

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J.C.

answers from Anchorage on

Stock to me would be whatever the basic cheapest color is, which is usually black, the contract you signed said they would use stock color, so if you wanted something specific that was up for your to request before signing the contract (and I see you already understand your responsibility in that). I am assuming he thought you wanted stock due to cost). As for them doing the side dormers (I am assuming over windows) I have no idea if that would usually be included, did he asks about them specifically during the consult (about if they leaked?). I am sure they did their best even with the disagreements, but if it gives you piece of mind then get the inspections done.

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J.G.

answers from Chicago on

Get an inspection. It's a small amount of money to know if there is a problem.

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

If you are not comfortable with the job, pay for another inspection. If it will set your mind at ease.

Like others have said, you signed a contract. Next time read the contract thoroughly before you sign it.

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K.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

If there are roof shingles on your dormers, then that's considered "roof". Your roofer rubs me the wrong way. A *true* professional would have said "Now please understand that your roof will be black, which is our stock color, but your dormers will still be gray since we're not doing those. Are you sure you're ok with this? Is this what you want?" WHO in their right mind would assume this would be ok with ANY homeowner and just go ahead and do that work? Yeah, you didn't read the contract thoroughly and that is on you, like you've stated. But even then, I'd be pissed and I'd feel as though I'd been tricked somehow.

We've done several remodels and have gotten a number of bids for roofing work over the years. In EVERY SINGLE ONE, the roofer showed us a booklet of shingle color choices. EVERY SINGLE ONE, without being asked.

If they thought it was alright to cut corners by not doing the dormers, where else might they have cut corners to make up the $$ they lost on 'underquoting' you. Get an inspector.

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C.O.

answers from Washington DC on

A.,

We just shelled out $35K for siding for our home. We were NOT happy with the results and demanded that the maker of the product come out and inspect. We were right, it was NOT installed properly. They are fixing it. It's frustrating.

With that being said - you want to pay someone else to come inspect the roof? Okay. Do it. Unless you are expecting to sue him for a bad job - you're stuck. If they have a good reputation, do you think they would risk tarnishing that reputation because he undercut himself to win the bid? I don't think so. However, if you have doubts, fork over the money for the inspection.

YOU SIGNED A CONTRACT....You didn't read the contract before you signed it. On that - you have no one to blame but yourself. If you live in an HOA - if they don't accept black shingles, then you have a HUGE problem. But again - you're stuck because YOU SIGNED THE CONTRACT for stock...and did NOT specify color.

You are stuck with the color unless you pay someone else to do the job again...you can't go back and fight that. Doesn't matter what he did for the neighbors, only matters what YOU SIGNED "stock" and didn't bother to ask NOR did you bother to state what color...NEVER ASSUME on a contract...get it ALL in writing...make sure you have a list of expectations and notes on what you expect to be done...

Good luck!!!

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