When replacing or repairing the roof on your home, the most critical part of the project is choosing which roofing contractor to hire. Which materials, understanding the warranties, the process used, are all great things to know and understand before hiring, but by far the most important is WHO is working on your home.
If you’ve never dealt with a bad contractor before, then you may not know what can happen. Unfortunately, however, most homeowner’s who have had even just 1 or 2 projects completed by contractors probably have some stories to tell. Stories that aren’t great.
Even if the project seems to go off without a hitch, here’s some of the things that can happen if your contractor isn’t top-notch…
Roof Leaks Outside Warranty Coverage
It’s common practice for roofing contractors to offer anywhere from a 2-15 year workmanship warranty with a new roof. Obviously, the longer the warranty, the higher the chance of getting someone back to your home (free of charge) if there’s a problem.
However, did you know that some of your roof may not be covered by either the workmanship or the manufacturer warranty?
For example, wall flashings and chimney flashings are the most common area that we see leaking. After all, if something is going to leak it’s going to be at a seam where water runs, not out in the middle of the roof somewhere. If your contractor doesn’t say in writing that he is going to replace all the wall flashings, he’s not going to.
This means that he will reuse your old flashing, which may already be leaking into walls where it won’t show up on the inside of the home. The worst part is, if you do find a leak in the future that’s due to the flashing, it won’t be covered by any warranty. The contractor won’t cover it because it wasn’t part of the workmanship (since he reused it). This means you’ll be paying out of pocket for a problem that should have been solved when the roof was redone in the first place.
That brings me to the next problem that may show up…
Unable To Contact When There’s a Problem
As we’ve discussed earlier, a roofing contractor is on his best behavior before you hire him and give him money. After that, you’re committed and he knows that, so customer service may suffer slightly during the job.
After the job, however, is an entirely different story. At this point you’ve lost all leverage because you’ve paid in full and in the contractor’s mind – The job is done and over with.
If you have a leak in the future you may be surprised to find it’s extremely difficult to get ahold of them and have them send someone out to diagnose the leak. They know they’ll be working for free so your leaking home will be their lowest priority, even though it’s an urgent matter!
Then if you do get a representative to come out, you’ll likely experience the blame game where the contractor will try to avoid doing any work for free, and look for ways to charge you or pass the blame to another source (such as the manufacturer, the old flashings that were reused, etc). The last thing you’ll see is them willing to pay for the interior damage caused by the leak, which technically is probably their fault anyway.
How To Protect Yourself From Future Problems
One of the most reliable ways to protect yourself from this sort of treatment in the future is to cover all your bases and do your due diligence during the hiring process.
Read as many customer reviews as you can about the company, noting the ones where there was warranty work or where a homeowner had a problem – how was it handled?
Be sure to read our guides on avoiding hidden costs and how to compare roofing bids. These will help you see if anything was left out in their bid and if you could get surprised in the future.
Ask the contractor what their workmanship warranty covers. Is it limited? Does it cover any leak that happens? What are the loopholes?
To make it easy for our clients, we offer a 100% Lifetime No-Leak Guarantee with our new roof installs. If there’s a leak, we’ll fix it (and pay for the damage it caused). If there’s a problem with the shingle, we’ll do the leg work to get it fixed by the manufacturer. We are focused on building relationships with our clients, not just having a transaction.