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In desperate need of professional help

6512 Views 50 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  MJW
Hi, I am currently having a major dilemma and am hoping someone here can help give me some insight.
So this is how it starts, my husband and I had a company come out and give an estimate on getting a new shingle roof done. We ended up biting on the bait and signing a contract with this company with the thought that he was going to be here when this work would be started. The salesguy told us that the company he worked for did not use mexicans, he told us that when they did our roof that all the old shingles and felt would be removed down to the decking. And that the decking would be check for any bad spots and if any were found they would be changed. We knew one spot for sure was going to need to be changed, and we told him that and he said he would include a note stating that spot specifically to be changed. So we signed the contract on thursday or friday and on tuesday afternoon i had a knock at the door, which when i opened the door it was my contractor here to deliver some materials, and low and behold the guy was a mexican, so already i am suspicious of being decieved. So the next morning its raining so the crew does not get here until about 1:30, the supervisor of this crew dropped the guys off at my home and did not return for them until almost 8pm. In this time the guys took off all the old shingle and nails from the old felt on the font half of the roof, leaving the felt on and never looking under it, and just started rolling out the new felt on top the old and nailing it down. When I asked I was simply told that it was just to cover the roof in case it rained and that the wood would be checked the next day. So on Thursday they get here and the finish pulling the shingles off the back of the roof. In the meantime I called the guy who sold us the roof asking why was the old felt not being taken off like promised and he said oh we don't take the old felt off if it still looks good. By this time (after watching the workers every move) I see the guys bringing up packs of shingles to the rooftop with the one place still never having wood replaced, when trying to call the guy again he would not answer the phone so i called the main office, and they said someone would call me back. At this time they had already started nailing new shingles to the roof. With my husband not being able to be here(was sent offshore to work) I had two of our neighbors come look at the roof for me, while the workers were using the wood pieces from the trash trailer (they haul the trash away with) to replace the one area we knew needed to be changed. They climbed up on the roof and walked around and both said that there were some places that were soft enough to almost fall through. At this time I had gotten the workers to all stop all the work they were in the process of doing, and then my neighbor took some pictures. This one was of the place we knew needed to be changed and they were not doing it completely they were in the process of covering it back up with the new felt.

So the supervisor walks around with my neighbors and they are told by him that the roof is not soft, which was the 3rd time i heard him say that it was not bad. So the workers leave for the day, and the guy that sold the roof to us drives up while my neighbor and I are talking, which at this point I had just realized that in their fit of hurry they covered the place that my vent was for my gas hotwater heater with felt and had not reopened the vent so the gases would go out instead of staying in. When i realized this my neighbor fixed it for me. The salesguy gets to my house and starts yelling at my neighbor for telling his workers they were doing the work wrongly, as seen in this photo

As you can see the felt was put under the drippan and the corner is exposed as well as the wood being rotten. Both the salesman and his boss both say that the wood is not bad, and that the whole vent being covered and the old felt not being taken off is all just miscommunications. But I honestly think I was about to be jacked, they were well on their way to put shingles back on my roof asap until i stopped them. So on Friday morning I meet the big boss, who says also the wood is not bad on the roof, but with my insistance of wanting it all changed out before shingles are put down, goes with me to the lumberyard, I pay 1000.00 for the decking wood, and then he wants us to pay them another 2300.00 for the extra labor of laying the decking down. The rain stopped them today but my husband is not happy with any of this. We both think we were being lied to, decieved, nothing we have been told has been completely honest. This is what the one side of the roof that the wood was pulled off of today looked like.....

all the pieces I could see in the trash trailer looked like this or worst. How could they say this was acceptable? Our question for you professionals is this, how do we get our money we paid already back and break the contract, do we have good enough grounds for breaking our contract with these people? In case you need to know we are in Louisiana. I think we have good enough grounds because they have breeched the contract by not taking the old felt off like stated in our signed contract. What do you guys think?


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Yeah, you pretty much have been taken to the cleaners. It sounds like you live in the gulf area where most all the roofing is done by illegal labor. By the way, if one of them gets hurt, they are not covered by the contractor and you will be liable. Also, the work will not be warrantied by the insurance company either because again, work done by illegals is not warrantied.

This stuff is pretty standard practice because people don't want to pay a few more dollars to hire a legitimate crew. I don't think you have any reason to continue to work with these guys as long as you are confident that they are indeed legals and that the work is shoddy. Take plenty of pictures and document everything. You shouldn't have to worry about a suit because anyone running illegals won't dare take you to court.

Might not hurt to get a waiver signed if you do decide to go this route. The wood should have been replaced and for a much better price than he's giving you. These kind of guys are just there to line their pockets.
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Yes we live far downsouth in Louisiana. As of this morning I called the guy whom I believe is the owner and told him not to send his people back over here that he needs to meet with my husband when he gets home from work. I had my brother come up on the roof with me this morning and they were leaving the old felt on under their new layer, but we realized there was a third layer on the roof from the previous roof change. I asked the guy for their permit number and he said he called the city permit office and said that b.c. we are out of the city limits we didn't need one which is a lie b.c. i found this info on the website..PENALTY FOR CONSTRUCTION WITHOUT A PERMIT – TRIPLE BASIC FEE
ACT 1146 of the 2003 Legislature; requires the “Registration” of all home
improvements contractors, subcontractors, renovators, and remodelers who
bid and perform construction work valued at $7,500.00 and above.
We paid them half of the total they were charging which was 8,000.00 plus i paid another 1000.00 for the wood to change the roof. I think they knew about the bad wood and didn't want to have to change it so thats why they were leaving the old felt on and when i caught them they had already reshingled almost half of the backside of my house already. So that is all wasted materials, because it all has to come off. Our main question I guess now is how much of our money should we be entitled to get back? I think after all the bs the have pulled we should get all our money back...minus labor for them taking the shingles off which totals to one days work.(for 2 guys) I have enclosed pictures of the new wood on one side they have replaced.... take a look at this...

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I bet this happens often. Don't hire someone out of the yellow pages..........Get references, and someone local.

Can your building inspector help you? Do you have a licensing department where you live? Complain to the BBB. Any way that you do it, get them off your property and don't pay them for anything they haven't done (according to contract).

People here are quick to call Contractors hacks.....this is a situation that is easily labeled as hacks. Let me guess, it was nice clean cut guy who sold to you, right? And then an entirely different crew showed up, right.
Plenty of them around here, but it's probably worse in the south. Alot of people want to talk the talk, but very few can handle the business and walk the walk also. These jobs are labeled as "not jobs Americans are willing to do". I think that is BS. The real quote should be "jobs Americans are unwilling to do for very little money, like illegals do now"

These types of companies are ruining the business and as you can see, ruining alot of people's homes along the way if they are not properly trained.
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You are sooo right! Yes very clean cut guy, who had certificates from the local BBB saying they were an A+ company in customer service. He also showed us their insurance papers saying it covered the workers in the event that they were hurt while on our roof....but after we signed the contract all his lies started flowing. I called him out on all of them and the only answer I can get from either of them is "it was a miscommunication" even about the gas water heater vent being covered up with felt paper. I plan on Monday morning to get in touch with our permit office, get our building inspector involved and get some consultation with an attorney.
Photo, it is easy to be confused by the terminology in this business and anything you read here should be considered only as a gesture of guidance. First off, let's understand the difference in "Registered" and "Licensed". Registered implies a contractor has notified a state, county, parrish or other govt entity of their tax information. Most state or municipalities require registration so that they may collect taxes from the Registered business entity. Registered has nothing to do with a contractors skill level. Licensed means a contractor has passed a series of tests (trade knowledge, business law, etc.) and has proven work experience to show that he is capable and worthy of becoming a licensed contractor based upon the criteria required by the state. Secondly, and not knowing what website you are refering to, I do not think the article you cited has a thing to do about permitting, it is referencing "Registration". Permitting is done at the local govt entity. If in fact you are not within city limits you should check with your parrish to see if the job should be permitted. Lastly, I believe I am correct in saying that, in the State of Louisiana a contractor does not have to be licensed if the contract price is less than $25,000.00. Please verify this because I think the legislature has altered this requirement over the past few years because of the hurricanes. All that being said changes nothing about your situation, you have a "HACK" for a contractor by anybody's standard. You should send him certified mail informing him to cease his work. Should it become necessary to make a financial settlement with him keep in mind some of the work he has done will have to be redone (ie; tear off). Hopefully this has provided some understanding. Best of luck.
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This is the website I found that information on. But as I stated I will call the permit office to make sure they needed one....
Well I'm her husband that got sent to work early and couldn't be there for all of this fun she is having.
We have made up our mind that these people are not coming back to do any more work on our home.What we would like to know is:
1. do we have a good enough reason to break the contract with them?We have in writing on the contract to remove old felt and lay new,along with all the other wrong doings they have done.
2. If so how much of the money should we get back or ask to get back?We gave $4000 up front and the other $4000 when the job is done and we are completly satisfied (which aint going to happen).

For the record these people are ranked A+ with the better business beaur for over three years.
Thanks for any help or advise on this in advance.
photo, this is what I would do to attempt a settlement. Have a new roofer give you an estimate of what it will take to complete the job. Have him give you another estimate for what he would charge for the work completed satisfactorily by your first contractor. Settle with the first contractor for the amount the second contractor gave you for the work completed to your satisfaction. If this does not work, tell the first contractor you are willing to have two more contractors provide similar estimates and you will settle for the average. Also, you might ask the second roofer if his warranty will cover work done by the first contractor. If he won't, he needs to rework what ever he needs to so that he can warranty the entire work.
rwa,thanks for your help and input on this matter.

(i'm the husband)The only way to fix it to satisfactory would be to take up everything the first contractor has done.This is the only way to pull up the old felt that they felted over and started putting shingles on top of (wast of materals).Only thing I see worth paying them for is taking off the old shingles, wich we will now have to pay someone else to take off the new shingles and new felt that they put down to be able to get to the old felt that they should have done in the first place.Even the few places that they did change sheath will need to be redone as you can see in the pictures.I should be charging them for the waste off sheath that they used.She had went and bought another $1000 worth of the sheath to redo the roof out of pocket and they want to charge her another $2300 for the labor of installing it.

I'm not a happy camper here and hope they will work with me so we dont have to go to court,I just want my roof done right by someone else.This is a lesson learned.
I will be home from Offshore on Tuesday to sit down and have a talk with the owner,We're just trying to get our ducks in a row before meeting with him.
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I think the going rate for roof deck is about $45-50 dollars for a 4x8 sheet. That's labor and material so if she purchased $1000 and they wanted $2300 you should have about 66 sheets of decking, about 2100sf. I can verify the decking cost tomorrow and let you know. My price list (Xactimate), allows for $35.00 per square for tear of on a single story, 1 layer. BTW, I just checked my price sheet for decking, labor and material is $1.63 per sf or $52.00 per 4x8 sheet. Hope this info helps. I think you are justified in paying roofer 1 for less than the tear off of the roof.
Thanks again rwa.

Our prices must be pretty close because my wife did say she bought 70 sheets of decking for $999.Seems like you and I are on the same page here,maybe we can get a couple more opinions before I meet with the guy on Tuesday.
There is a poster on this site, Ed the Roofer. Hopefully he will respond, I've seen numerous post from him and his opinion should be of great value.

Ed, if you're out there, can you offer an opinion?
RWA, Xactimate is great, but remember it is area specific. TX prices are usually much lower than any other state. $35 for tear off.........We were getting that since 1995. Prices have doubled since then, unless the company uses illegals. Then they can be at $50/square off and on.
Checking my Baton Rouge prices, I come up with $45.00 a square for take off. Once again remember, that is for a single story structure, one layer.
There is a poster on this site, Ed the Roofer. Hopefully he will respond, I've seen numerous post from him and his opinion should be of great value.

Ed, if you're out there, can you offer an opinion?

I've read a few post on this forum and have a couple people I would lik to respond on this,Ed being one of them.I was going to PM them the post to see if they would respond,but no one excepts PMs.:huh:
You must have clicked a different function than the PM, because you clicked the "Add A Friend" function, but this is the first i have been online since you originally posted yesterday.

RWA is very correct in how to approach this situation.

Stop all work and send a Certified Letter with Return Receipt Requested.

Start taking all notes and times and dates and whom you speak with for documentation.

Get proposals from other contractors that have been established and use local experienced roofers for their crew, which may be hard, since your area was deluged with transient workers looking to cash in on the extent of existing damages needing repairs made.

You may or may not have to go to small claims court, but you also may be able to just get the contractor to back off.

Whatever price it costs for the new contractor to finish the work, Not Including the additional costs of the decking repairs, which would have been an extra fee from the original contractor also, you allow them to keep the difference in what it will cost you.

You may have to go to court to get a portion of your funds paid already to get reimbursed back to you, but if they you and they do not come to an agreeable amount, then court is the resolution process, where everyone will lose because of the time and aggravation it will take.

Bottom line is, you do not want them to continue the performance of this contract.

They "May" be entitled, not only to the cost difference calculated after you get other proposals, but also "Possibly" an amount for lost profit. I, personally would not allow that argument to have any merit, due to the shoddy workmanship, but they may feel it is deserved.

If no resolution is forthcoming, then I would contact every consumer protection agency and the TV and Radio News Media outlets who do consumer rip-off reports and see if they would be interested in your story.

Even if they are not, use the fact that you will be contacting all of those entities to get public exposure to point out there poor contracting abilities, which may make them sing a different tune as far as being ameniable to a resolution that you can live with.

Remember, neither party will be 100% happy with the resolution agreement, but it still will have closure and add to a lesson learned.

Get references and check with those customers for your next contractor choice.

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Thank you Ed,I will have my wife send the letter to them in the morning.

Do we have a right to keep all the material left at our home to have something to show for the $4000 tied up in the mess and to help with the expenses of installing the new roof (we cant leave our roof like it is now)? My wife will be calling around tomorrow to get a retail price on the materials that are there unused and I am willing to deduct that price from the $4000 we have spent on this already.
77 total packs of shingles
2 whirlies
6 rolls of felt not opened and 3 or 4 with some used out of them,30#
18 strips of the drip pan
1 box of round plasticap 200 ct nails
I'm not a roofer & never had to work out a problems as described
So I can't really add much to what Ed has stated
I would say that you should "secure" the materials that are still there
Possible they may decide to come back & take everything
Now the picture gets muddier.

Legally, materials that are already affixed to your home can not be removed.

Since you seem intent on not allowing them to finish the job, due to incorrect performance and procedures, they may feel that the unused shingles belong to them, as well as the plywood delivered.

But, you have paid them 50% of the contract sum upfront, which May or May Not be a fair evaluation for the materials and the labor supplied thus far.

The cloudier the picture gets, the less chance for both parties to be on the same page as far as coming to a mutual agreement.

You and your contractor are both in a quandary right now and some very earnest discussions need to take place as soon as possible to come to a resolution.

At this point, what if it rains and creates any internal damages?

Who is at fault? The contractor for not covering up the roof or completing the job, or yourselves, for not allowing them to proceed, even though you have valid reasons to have shut them down until it gets resolved.

How detailed was the contract, IN WRITING, not the verbal comments made? Does any of the general conditions address a situation like this? If so, what is the written and prescribed method of recourse?

Unfortunately, you are in a difficult situation, which needs immediate attention and resolution.

If the contractor could convince you that a different crew with supervision could proceed and complete the work required, would that be acceptable to you? You have to think of that possibility beforehand.

Also, relating to the price for the wood replacement to be charged.....

What amount did the contract state as the price per sheet or per square foot or if it were to be done at a Time Plus Materials Cost Basis?

The amount in the contract takes precedent over any amount bandied about by any other party, including posters on this or other forums or well intentioned neighbors.

My presumption, is that the contract details, not only including the specifications for the actual job materials and methods were not spelled out, but also conditional clauses, which should be fair to both parties, which describe how unexpected situations will be dealt with and concluded to an agreed upon resolution, which should have been in the original contract.

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