06 October, 2009

The Roof or will Horrors never end

Well I have been putting this off because it is such a painful subject to me but I guess I need to tell the tale of woe that is my roof job! When we bought the house we knew it needed a roof...no surprise there. I have never bought a house that didn't need a roof or a heating system for that matter. Fortunately for us but unfortunately for the State of NC the first summer was one of the worst droughts on record. We were trying to sell our house in Charlotte and the money from that was to go for the new roof. Flash forward a year and a half and we finally sell the house at half price, so no extra roof money! I know there are a lot of people out there going through this. I had owned my other house for 15 years. I wasn't trying to flip it. I just wanted to move to a smaller city with less taxes, crime, traffic, etc. etc. I put it on the market at $100,000 less than the house next door had sold for a month earlier and 3 days later the news about the sub prime loan market broke. We are lucky we got rid of it even if I did have to come out of pocket to pay the realtor. By this time my husband had patched what he could and we had saved a bit so we hired a roofer(that we knew and had worked for others in our area) He asked for a $1000.00 deposit for supplies and we paid him. Never saw him or our money again. His father called us about a week later looking for him so apparently he ran out on his family as well. I'm guessing when he comes down from whatever he is on he'll show backup at his home...I hope we never see him again! Now we had to find another roofer. This time we hired one of our best friend's contractor. He had finished out his basement and done a nice job. He came out and gave us an estimate, wrote up a very professional proposal and "seemed" really competent. Things are not always as they seem. The job was laid out in three main parts. Part one was reinforcing and rotten wood repair, part two the actual roof shingling and flashing and part three was the back porch roof which is a standing seam metal roof. A total of 70% was to be paid in advance, the next to be paid after the main roof was completed and we were satisfied with the work and then the last payment when the job was completed and we were satisfied. The total cost $19,000.00.(We had to borrow this money at a terrible interest rate)We paid for the first part of the job which was to reinforce the roof with" troughing", eave and rafter tail replacement, shingles, flashing and the labor. About three weeks later when he and his son finally showed up they got to work. They finished the reinforcing, not in record time but it seemed okay and then they started on the rotten boards in the eaves and rafter tails. Well this is where things started to go bad. We have 3 inch thick end rafters. He showed up with 2 inch thick boards and stood in the driveway and told me and my husband that you couldn't get three inch thick boards anymore.(We had paid for 3 inch lumber on the invoice) At this point in time there was a large storm front headed towards us and we both had to go to work. My husband told him that the 2 inch was not acceptable but when we got home they had already put it up. My husband came home with a quote from Lowe's showing the exact price for 3 inch lumber in about 6 different kinds of wood! Our contractor assured us that it would have to be milled just for us and by the time it came we would have water running down our walls(He had been on our job over 1 month by this time) We told him that he had shorted us about $1000.00 by buying thinner wood! The relationship was strained.
His son mostly talked on his cell phone. So much so that I had to ask him not to pace in our front yard while he talked because he was wearing a path in our grass.(Apparently he had a house he was flipping and things were not going well) The eave and rafter tail replacement was proceeding but they seemed to be skipping some that needed to be done. I pointed this out on many
occasions and was assured that they would be gotten to. Quite a few of the cuts were very sloppy and two of the corners were not cut in properly. All this lead to much arguing and I was extremely stressed by now. The contractor now tells me that the job has turned out to be bigger than he thought and if he was going to be able to get it done he needed to hire some more roofers. I reply that I told him in the beginning that overruns were his concern and that he wasn't going to get anymore than the original quote, he had agreed to this. So the next day the crew of Spanish speaking roofers arrive. Our contractor and the head of the Mexican crew have a long discussion in the front yard. There is much pointing and some raised voices. My contractor then tells me that the roofing crew wants $1000.00 more than they had quoted him because my roof is too high. I informed my contractor that that is not at all what they said( I understand enough Spanish to get by) but they did want $1000.00 extra to cover the carpentry work on the eaves and rafter tails because that was not part of the shingle job. I also pointed out that I had already paid for the rafter tail and eave work he simple had not finished it himself. The relationship becomes more strained.
The contractor comes to me, hat in hand, and tells me that cost overruns have just been too much and he needs an advance on the last 30% to get the roof finished. What do I do! I have half a roof, a crazy crew throwing hunks of my house into my garden, did I mention that they fell through the roof not once but twice into my stair well, I have to get these people finished and off my roof. So I agree to give him some more money. I know I am an idiot. The main roof got shingled and I have to admit that the Mexican crew did a fairly good job other than falling through the ceiling, but accidents happen(sometimes twice) and we breathed a sigh of relief...now to the flashing. Our contractor disappears...we call him...he calls back...we call him...he calls back. This goes on for about 2 weeks meanwhile we have no flashing and THREE chimneys. He and his son finally show up and do some flashing across the front porch. It looks fine. We had ordered a black baked on finish flashing to match the grey shingles. About a week later they show up again to work on the flashing and I notice that it looks different...not sure why. The contractor asks me for the remainder of the money to get the material for the metal roof for the back porch. I explain to him that he has not finished the eave repair, he has not finished the flashing, he has not replaced the 2 inch wood, he has not fixed the two corners his son cut too short, he has not repaired the two holes in our ceiling were the roofers fell through and the last payment is not due until the entire job is finished. At this point in time we only owe him about 2000.00 more on the whole job(and he actually owes us back 1000.00 for the under size wood so we actually only owe 1000 more on the 19,000 dollar total) so the material for the metal roof has already been paid for.The total cost on the original proposal for the back porch roof was 5200.00 we only owe 1000.00 more...you do the math. He leaves angry and does no more work that day.
He finally shows back up about a week later and I notice that they are spray painting plain metal black in our back yard...so
much for our baked on finish flashing! My husband comes home and I tell him about the spray paint. He goes up on the roof to confirm this and finds some really bad flashing. We have to make a decision at this point. My husband and I decide that they have spent our money and not bought our supplies, there is no metal roofing and we would have to pay them another 2 grand to even get the back porch roof started and what are the chances that we would even get the material we paid for. We fire the contractor. The next day the company that sent the Mexican roofing crew calls us to say that the contractor told them we didn't pay him so they should collect their money from us. Fortunately I keep really good records and it didn't take much to show them that we had paid but the nerve of this guy!
Believe it or not there are many things I have left out, they ran out of lumber and had to use some my husband had bought for another project, had to borrow my husbands ladders, tools, saw horses, etc. They had no nail magnet...what kind of roofers have no nail magnet! They broke things..flowers pots for example and instead of telling me they tried to stick it back together like I wouldn't notice. They drug the dumpster down our driveway with their pickup and created a huge hole. Believe me I could go on for days but the bottom line is they took us for atleast 3500.00 dollars. We do have a main roof that does not leak although I don't give it more than 5 or 6 years...they cut too many corners. My husband will do the back porch roof himself(we found out the total for supplies will run us about 800.00) and it will be done right. He just couldn't do the main roof by himself or he would have done it. He has been fixing the eaves and rafter tails that they skipped so we will recover but it was one bad experience. If you are in the Charlotte/Lancaster area and you want to know the name of this contractor please email me and I will be happy to not recommend him.