Need advice - are we SOL? - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#1 of 6 Old 05-19-2009, 06:08 PM - Thread Starter
amandaleigh37's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 1,697
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Sorry this is long but I really need some advice on how to handle this. I need to know if we are right or wrong here, and what if anything we can/should do.

We've lived in our house for 5 years. The roof is old. We know that. We absolutely can NOT afford to replace it right now, and we hope to be selling this place soon if we can't get our mortgage payment lowered.

Anyway, at Christmas we noticed a leak inside a closet. Then in the laundry room. Both of these places are at the back of the house, and were added on at some point. We had someone from a reputable construction company come give us an estimate. He got up on the roof with DH, and determined that the leak was from where the laundry room (first floor) roof met the side of the dormer for the second floor. He wrote up an estimate to replace that part of the roof, costing $1200.

My DH showed him on the second floor dormer where we had noticed water between the window panes. We didn't know if it was related to the roof or just the old windows. This guy said he did NOT think that's where the water was getting in. He seemed very sure that replacing the back addition roof would take care of it. I remember him sitting in our living room going over the estimate - and DH asked him - so what if we do this and we still have the leak? He said they have a 1 year guarantee and they would "take care of it". But he was very confident that wouldn't happen.

Well, about a month ago they did the work. We paid them. A couple of weeks ago we had our first big rain - and sure enough, still leaking just as badly in the same places. DH called the guy (he's the owner I think) and he said he would come look. He came the next day and went up there with DH. He added some more tar (?) and spent about 30 minutes doing something that he said should take care of it (this was still on the part that they replaced) - but to call him if it still leaked. Of course, it still did. DH called him & he was out of town. He sent over 2 employees to look at it.

DH wasn't home when they showed up. They went on the roof for about 20 minutes, then came to the door to tell me that when they went up on the second story dormer - it was "obvious" that THAT is where our water is coming in. I told him that the owner went up there when he first gave us the estimate and said it wasn't it. This guy talked in circles and basically said "well you just need a new roof". I said he needed to talk to DH and that we can not afford a new roof, all we wanted was to stop the leak for now.

DH called the owner again, who sounded nervous and said he wanted to come look at it himself. He asked DH if we wanted an estimate on replacing the whole roof. DH said NO we do not. He is still waiting to hear back from him today.

So - are we screwed??? We really couldn't afford the $1200 to begin with. We had a portion of our roof replaced that was FINE, because he misdiagnosed the leak. We have no money to do any other work on the roof. The dormer - where they are claiming the problem is now (and it must be, because it's right above where the leaks are)- is a very small area and I'm sure would take them very little time/materials to fix. I really don't care WHAT they do - but I think they need to do SOMETHING to stop the leak. What do you think?

DH called another company to come give us an estimate. I am thinking that if this guy blows us off & does not try to make this right - we should send him a certified letter letting him know that we are not pleased with the job and that we will be filing a complaint with the BBB. But then again - I've never been in this situation. Is this what happens if you hire someone and they were "wrong"? You just have to eat the cost of the unnecessary repairs? : I'm so frustrated.

Amanda , mama to my two boys: N (10/06) and : A (7/09)
amandaleigh37 is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 6 Old 05-19-2009, 09:17 PM
SleeplessMommy's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 4,964
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
You could try small claims court. I would suggest getting multiple opinions/quotes on the dormer fix.
SleeplessMommy is offline  
#3 of 6 Old 05-19-2009, 10:18 PM
umarider's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Somewhere with seasons
Posts: 201
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
If the first company doesn't make good on fixing the roof, I would definitely file a complaint w/ the BBB. You hired them for their (supposed) expertise, and were relying on it when you made your repair decision. Apparently, you made sure to question about the 2nd story dormer prior to the roof replacement, and this contractor told you that the 2nd story dormer wasn't the problem. IMO he needs to make things right, at least giving you the materials at cost and eating the labor costs to fix the dormer area.

In the future, get several estimates for any repair job. I know it can be a real hassle, but the extra opinions alone can make you much more secure about your final repair decision.

I hope things work out for you!
umarider is offline  
#4 of 6 Old 05-20-2009, 09:34 AM
ChristyMarie's Avatar
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Illinois
Posts: 2,210
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would get two other companies out for estimates. Send a certified letter to original stating you want a complete repair or a refund equal to the average of the estimates to repair. Then if needed, pursue through the BBB and any professional associations they may belong to. Small claims as a last resort.

The problem is that leaks are tricky. Where water comes out is not necessarily where water starts from. He might have honestly thought it was the addition as additions to existing structures just leak. Though I'm surprised he replaced the entire portion instead of the flashing at the connection point. Dormers are also a notorious place for leaks and can be very hard to fix because of all the valleys, angles, flashing, etc. And even if you get the dormer fixed, it could be coming in through the window frame. You just don't know. Since he has come out a couple times I would initially give him the benefit of the doubt that he really did think he was fixing the issue - at least to give him one more chance of making it right.

Good luck. Leaks are really hard to fix simply because it can be so hard to find the starting point.
ChristyMarie is offline  
#5 of 6 Old 05-21-2009, 01:24 AM
annekevdbroek's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Living in Obama Land
Posts: 3,168
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Sounds like my very bad experience with a roofer. He eventually fixed the problem but it took a year. A YEAR! We called every single time it rained. In our case one of the workers craked the seal on a skylight. I was home and saw it happen and the roofer INSISTED that it hadn't.

Anyhow - be a squeaky wheel and then use the BB/licensing board (if there is such a thing) and small claims court.

I agree that leaks are tricky, but that should have been said up front, not after the fact.
annekevdbroek is offline  
#6 of 6 Old 05-21-2009, 02:23 AM
Adsullata's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Springfield, OR
Posts: 180
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I would just add that in addition to the BBB and getting other estimates, be sure to check with your state's construction and/or contractor's board (or whatever agency or board contractor's are required to be licensed w/ in your state) BEFORE you hire someone. First, to make sure the contractor you're considering is licensed. Then, you can check to see if they've had complaints against them and how those were resolved. You can do this by phone, but if your state has this info online, that is much easier and less time consuming.

It is sooo worth doing this because there are a surprising number of contractors running around out there who are unlicensed and getting away with ripping people off repeatedly and you won't have any way of knowing if you don't check them out.

Last, if you cannot resolve your dispute with the roofer, you could also file a complaint with the state contractor board. The board will usually try to resolve it (arbitration, etc.) and then your complaint will be there to warn other prospective customers if it turns out the guy is a scheister.

Anna wife to Phil & sahm to Iris (5/08) "Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth." - Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 - 1945), radio address, October 26, 1939
Adsullata is offline  

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 16,670

31 members and 16,639 guests
AMG , anisaer , bananabee , Boodah'smama , Deborah , Dovenoir , emmy526 , hillymum , Iron Princess , K5Family , katelove , Katherine73 , kathymuggle , Lucee , manyhatsmom , Michele123 , moominmamma , OllyMolly , philomom , SammysLittleOne , scaramouche131 , Shmootzi , Skippy918 , sniffmommy , sren , StarsFall , worthy , zebra15
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.