What Recourse Do I Have For A Bad Roofing Job?

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

When you hire someone to do a roofing job for you, you hope it will turn out well. Unfortunately, you cannot always count on things going so smoothly. Over time, many homeowners have been dissatisfied with their roofing job and left wondering what to do. So, what exactly could they do in these situations?

If you are stuck with a bad roofing job, look into the original contract. There may be a warranty covering repairs and adjustments if you are not happy with how the roof turned out. If there was a clause in the broken contract, you could take the situation to court. This will ensure they have to fix or pay to repair your roof, as long as you win the court case.

Otherwise, you should have an honest conversation with the contractor responsible for the lousy roofing job. If you explain your position and why you are disappointed with the quality of their work, they should be willing to help rectify it. That is if the contractor in question values their customer’s satisfaction. Follow along and see exactly what options you have for recourse for a bad roofing job.

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Talk To The Roofer

When your roofer leaves you with a shabby roof, you need to discuss it with them. Roofers rely on word of mouth, customer satisfaction, and repeat business. Because of that, many roofers are willing to do whatever they can to satisfy their clients. If you explain why you are dissatisfied with the roofing job and how the results differ from what you expected, they should be reasonable. Of course, try to be polite and patient with them while still being assertive about what you need.

There could have been a gap in communication between you and the roofer. If that is the case, explain what your initial understanding was to highlight how the end result doesn’t reflect it. Many reputable roofing professionals will want to do what they can to fix the situation. However, it is not always as easy as talking to the roofer, and further action may be needed.

Cite The Initial Agreement

Does your contract specify anything about a warranty, damage, or unsatisfactory results? Chances are that some sort of a warranty was involved in your initial agreement. The warranty for a roofing job often covers damages and possible structural problems. If your roofing professional seems unwilling to rectify the situation when you talk to them, cite the initial agreement.

That is if the contract specifies anything about a warranty. If so, politely remind them that the agreement that both of you agreed to entitles you to have your roof fixed.

Important Note

This is why it’s so important to read the fine print of your contracts that you sign. Even though companies will tell you it’s just ‘logistics’ or that it’s not a big deal, the fine print will sometimes say that they do not offer warranties for certain services. That, or they’ll exclude some situations. So always be sure to read through the fine print on anything you sign.

Draft A Formal Complaint

If your conversation with the roofing professional yielded no results or you have no warranty coverage, draft a complaint. Your best bet is to put your complaint in writing. That way, if you need to take things further into litigation, you will have a literal paper trail to point to.

Before you put your complaint into an email or on paper, take photos of the poorly done roofing job. If you attach pictures of the state of your roof alongside your written complaint, it will resonate that much more.

The purpose of drafting a written complaint is to articulate your dissatisfaction with the roofer’s work quality. If your written complaint goes unacknowledged or the roofer will not help you, contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB). The BBB fields complaints about businesses directly from customers. A representative from the BBB can often point you towards your options for resolving the dispute.

Consider Litigation

The BBB may recommend litigation. Lawyering up may seem extreme, but it may be necessary if the roofer is unwilling to help you. Roofing costs between $1.99 per sq. ft. and $5.50 per sq. ft., so a roofing job, good or bad, is quite expensive.

Legal action is not an overreaction, considering the high cost of roofing. On average, residential homes have a 1,700 sq. ft. roof. At $1.99 per sq. ft., that would cost you $3,383 on the extremely low end. Often times, getting a lawyer involved will lead the roofer to submit and do the right thing. However, considering that lawyers usually cost between $100 and $400 an hour, litigation is expensive.

Depending on the lawyer, they may also take a percentage of up to 33% or more of fee agreements. In other words, if your roofer is forced to pay up by a judge, your lawyer will be getting a lot of that money.

Cost To Take It To Court

For something as simple as a roofing contractor dispute, your lawyer probably won’t work more than 10 hours. Those 10 hours could still cost you $1,000-$4,000. Ultimately, if you only spent just over $3,000 on your roof, litigation may not be worth it. The cost of legal fees combined with the agreement fees your lawyer takes is only worth it if your roofing job cost well over $5,000.

The last thing that roofing professionals want is their reputation tarnished due to litigation from dissatisfied clients. Your written complaint and photographic evidence will help you immensely when you lawyer up if the roofer fights it.

With that said, it’s important to remember that legal action should be the last resort. A conversation or written complaint will lead a roofer to fix their inadequate work in a perfect world.

How To Identify A Bad Roofing Job

If you are not a roofing professional yourself, it can be hard to identify a shabby roofing job. Here are a few key things to keep an eye out for to know if your roofing job was a quality one.

1. Uneven Roofing

Does your roof look even all the way across? Walk out to the street in front of your house. Take a look at the roof, and if it is clearly uneven, you got stuck with a bad roofing job.

However, it’s essential to compare the roof to the house. For instance, if your house is on a slope, the roof should slope with it. The roof will not be level. However, it should be entirely even with the structure of your house.

2. Inspect The Drip Edge Flashing

The drip edge flashing helps “steer” the water towards the gutter. When the drip edge flashing is off-kilter, misplaced, or missing entirely, it makes your roof look bad. It can also lead to problems like mold in your gutters or on the roof shingles themselves.

If the drip edge flashing is missing, then it’s almost guaranteed other parts of the inner workings of your roof may be missing too. At this point, it would be good to get a second opinion and have someone else look at the roof as well. Take pictures while you’re at it; you may need them!

3. Look For Exposed Or Missing Nails

If there are clearly visible exposed nails, that is a bad thing. Exposed nails mean that they are not fully embedded in the surface that they were nailed into, i.e., the shingles.

That leaves the shingles insecure. If nails are missing entirely, that leaves your shingles susceptible to water, wind, and any possible damage.

4. Check To See If The Shingles Match

Do you have a mix-matched tapestry of shingles on your roof? Not only does that look bad, but it reduces the function of the shingles present on your roof. Often, bad roofing jobs involve the use of old shingles. While it is not entirely bad to use old shingles with new roofing, it looks terrible when they are mixed with new shingles.

Not only that, but depending on how old the shingles are, they may not be as water-resistant or durable as the new shingles. Luckily, that can be easily identified by simply looking at your roof. Take a picture to track which shingles weren’t replaced so that you can check a second time to ensure they were fixed.

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What To Remember

If your roofer leaves you dissatisfied with the quality of their work, you have several options for recourse. Be sure to take photos to document the poor roofing job. After that, begin an honest conversation with your roofing contractor. They probably won’t like to hear that you aren’t happy with your roofing, but they need to know. If your roofer does not want to help you, refer to the contract.

If your contract does not include a warranty, form a written complaint. Send the written complaint to the roofer. The roofer may still be unwilling to fix the roof or refund you. In that case, get in touch with the Better Business Bureau. The BBB will, at the very least, give you advice on how to proceed. Finally, the last option is getting a lawyer involved.

Hopefully, it does not need to come to litigation for your bad roofing job to be rectified. Take a look at your new roofing and decide whether or not you are satisfied with it.

Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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