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Friday, March 9, 2012

Insurance company and Roofer Rip Off Homeowner with Cheap Settlement and Bad Workmanship

Below is a conversation I had online with a stranger in a pickle. The roof, which didn't leak before, now leaks that it has been changed. The roofer says that the insurance did not pay to replace the chimney flashings so he isn't responsible. He has a leg to stand on but I don't know how strong it is. For the sake of customer relations he should fix it but I don't think he knows how.
 
Dear Jon Wright:

I've been searching for information on the web this afternoon and tonight and came across your The Roof Forum site.

After reading along for some time, I think you may be the person I've been looking for to answer some questions.  I hope you don't mind my inquiry and can offer some assistance.

I'm just a regular person, living in my home, had storm damage and replaced my roof, and now my roof leaks.  The storm damage didn't make the roof leak - we replaced in along with many of our neighbors when the roofing companies emerged from the bushes and pointed out that last year's storm had damaged our roof.  We were told we WOULD have water leaks in the future, if we didn't replace our roof.  So, what right-minded homeowner wouldn't proceed and call their insurance company to get the ball rolling?  We took the leap of faith.

Since that fateful day last Spring, I've learned more about roof shingles and architectural shingles and now, flashing and chimneys than any 50-year old grandma REALLY wants to know. My previous idea of a roof was the thing that kept the elements out of the inside of your home! And still, I really know nothing at all...

Some basic facts:
My brand new 2-story house is 6 years old now, 5-1/2 at time of roof replacement.
Composition roof - entire roof replaced with architectural shingles.
Chimney is located alongside a valley, approx. 4 feet above roof end

Claim initiated April 2011
Roof replaced June 2011
1st leak  October, 2011 (1st major Fall storm).  Roofing contractor came out and caulked the roof, repaired interior water damage to wall.
2nd leak January, 2012:  Roofing contractor returned, determined the leak was at the chimney flashing. Evidently the other 'repair' had not identified the actual leak?
Feb 2012:  Leak band aided to review responsibility and promised to return when it rained again to see if leak resolved.
Mar 2012:  Advised leak is at the flashing, wasn't replaced at re-roof as part of claim, therefore not their problem.
                    Called insurance company.  Advised not part of original claim because pictures didn't show any flashing damage.  Advised it is roofing contractor's problem.

My quandary. my interior wall below the chimney in the master bedroom has water damage (the water cascades down the wall when it rains hard), and another leak has appeared in the family room - the drywall has a bubble when it rains  (probably along a joist from the fireplace, I am told).  I simply want my roof to stop leaking and to repair all the existing damage, and hopefully, prevent any further leakage and subsequent water damage.

And, I want to understand why this is neither the responsibility of the roofing company I hired, nor the insurance company I paid the deductible for already?  Rather, in both their opinions, oops - sorry, it's my problem!

Questions: 
1.  Since the roof never leaked in the 5 years prior to the replacement of the roof shingles sans flashing replacement - is the leak a result of the roof repair?  Poor planning/workmanship? Or was it just dumb luck it hadn't been a problem before the roof replacement?

2.   Is it general practice when re-roofing a home to replace the flashing or shore it up?

Jon, I am not a roofer.  I had no idea there were different types of roof shingles before last year, let alone all the information I need to absorb in order to intelligently converse or make comments about what is happening now (with the leak, responsibility, further action, etc.).

Any advise you can offer will be extremely appreciated.

Best regards,
Name redacted.

Hello Name Redacted,

First, do you mind if I copy our conversation and use it as a forum entry? This is a great concern of mine that I bring up with insurance companies all the time. I will delete names if you wish.

Second, I am not an attorney and this is not legal but only practical advice.

There is a program called Xactimate that the insurance companies have been using for years. It is the preeminent insurance adjusting program and roofers have been able to use it for the last several years. We are told what to charge and what we can charge for. A line item exists for "chimney flashing" but some insurance companies, i.e.: State Farm and Allstate, say the flashing must be damaged. The roofing manufacturers and the building codes state that they must be in like new condition. Sometimes we get paid for reflashing the chimney and other times they give us the labor but not the material. Deep in the pricing the cost of reflashing a chimney can be broken out into labor and material.

Nevertheless it is the roofing contractor's obligation to provide a roof "system" that doesn't leak even though the insurance company only wants to pay for a partial roof system. As both sides are pointing the finger at each other I would hold both culpable, especially the roofer.

Most of the mushroom roofers sprout from the ground and not from behind the bushes, although I love your analogy, and promise to save your deductible. This is insurance fraud unless the deductible was covered by items not replaced, like a portable building, or paid by the homeowner. The roofer committed fraud when he sent a bill for more than he charged you but you might get caught in the trap.

flashings and metal edge because those items were not hail damaged. I showed the adjuster that the roof had two ply felt, as required by code and that code required that the felt be installed underneath the metal edging on the rakes and over the metal edge on eaves. That required that the edging be changed. The adjuster said she didn't care about the code. When I showed them that the roofing was installed on a 4" reduced exposure, using 20% more material, the adjuster asked me to show her a specification for that.

Having incensed me totally, I told the adjuster that the conversation was over, that I would not be talked to like an idiot, and that a lawsuit would probably follow. They've been trying to get me to write an explanation ever since.

Meanwhile, back at your roof, if I were you I'd use social media like Angie's List, the BBB, Google, and whatever you can find to make their lives miserable, unless you sue them, until the roof is fixed. If you use someone to repair the roof, you'll need to have photos of the whole process taken. The roofer had to tear out the old roofing and reinstall even if he integrated it with the old flashing. No leak before, leak now, it's a warranty issue.

The leak falls squarely on the roofer but the insurance companies need to be forced to stop breaking antitrust laws by price fixing too.

I hope this helps. Sorry for the lack of cohesion but I was interrupted at least eight times and had two appointments show up while trying to respond.

Jon

 
Wow!  You really gave me a lot to digest!  Thanks so VERY, VERY much.

Go right ahead and use our conversation.  I benefited greatly by your blogs and that was what prompted me to write to you.  Pay it forward.  If our conversation helps another, GREAT!

I'm attaching pictures of what I'm dealing with.  I climbed up there (yes, at 56, I still climb up on my roof.)  The lower section is over the master bedroom.  Not so frightening as the 2-story level.  It was windy today, so I minded my P's and Q's.  It keeps blowing my chairs off the porch, so I can imagine what unfettered wind would do to 120# at 30 feet up...

The roofing contractor used silicone to seal up the holes.  I'm concerned about this stuff lasting.  It doesn't do much in the gutters - fixing my leaks, so I can't imagine it lasts all that long on the hot surface of my roof.  I will call him back to repair his repair, and to address the leaks AGAIN.

I've asked my insurance company to provide me with the photos that SHOW the flashing was in pristine condition after the hail storm.  That, too, I plan to send back to the roofing contractor.  Unfortunately for him, I'm not easily put off.  I've worked customer service for many years.  My job has been to RESOLVE customer complaints and deal with my management - even though they are consistently reminding me we are below the bottom line on a project.  Well, if we do it right the first time...

So, again, thank you.  You've enlightened me still further, and I'm confident which path to take.  Just had to 'learn' more about what we were talking about.  As they say, "jack of all trades, but master at none."

Best regards,
Name Redacted

 
Sent: Tue, March 6, 2012 4:17:21 PM
Subject: Re: Roofing question - due to a leak
Wow!  You really gave me a lot to digest!  Thanks so VERY, VERY much.

Go right ahead and use our conversation.  I benefited greatly by your blogs and that was what prompted me to write to you.  Pay it forward.  If our conversation helps another, GREAT!

I'm attaching pictures of what I'm dealing with.  I climbed up there (yes, at 56, I still climb up on my roof.)  The lower section is over the master bedroom.  Not so frightening as the 2-story level.  It was windy today, so I minded my P's and Q's.  It keeps blowing my chairs off the porch, so I can imagine what unfettered wind would do to 120# at 30 feet up...

The roofing contractor used silicone to seal up the holes.  I'm concerned about this stuff lasting.  It doesn't do much in the gutters - fixing my leaks, so I can't imagine it lasts all that long on the hot surface of my roof.  I will call him back to repair his repair, and to address the leaks AGAIN.

I've asked my insurance company to provide me with the photos that SHOW the flashing was in pristine condition after the hail storm.  That, too, I plan to send back to the roofing contractor.  Unfortunately for him, I'm not easily put off.  I've worked customer service for many years.  My job has been to RESOLVE customer complaints and deal with my management - even though they are consistently reminding me we are below the bottom line on a project.  Well, if we do it right the first time...

So, again, thank you.  You've enlightened me still further, and I'm confident which path to take.  Just had to 'learn' more about what we were talking about.  As they say, "jack of all trades, but master at none."
 Best regards,
Name Redacted 


Jon's response:

Can you take some pictures from a distance? I see what looks like new sheetmetal in one picture.
When a chimney is at an angle like yours the roofer does not use step flashing. There needs to be pans on top the roofing where the water runs away and under the shingles where it runs into it. Plus you have a valley running into it.
Caulking and tar is a temporary fix, if that, and makes further repairs more difficult.
The siding needs to be removed and new flashing installed. The intransigence of both the roofer and insurance have left you in a pickle. The roofer could have gotten the labor but should have stated prior to the job that a lack of reflashing could result in a leak. He probably didn't state such a caveat.
What city do you live in? Was a permit and follow up city inspection required?
Was the roofer certified?
I hope those aren't Atlas shingles.

Reader response:
 
Additional pics attached.  No new sheetmetal.  Just the original stuff that the builder installed 6 years ago now.

We live in Little Elm, TX but not the "city of" - we are unincorporated Denton County.  I don't believe a permit or inspection was required.

GAF architectural shingles.

BedRock Contracting in Grapevine.  Certified?  They tout 10 years experience and are accredited by the BBB.  Sadly, they were a 'friend of a friend,' and we did them a 'favor' taking them over someone else we had chosen.


So, if I understand you correctly, you are saying the rear pan flashing needs to be removed (where the leak is at both corners).  Or, does ALL the flashing AROUND the chimney need to be replaced?

Name Redacted

Jon's response:

Name Redacted,


These are not GAF shingles. Period.  I think they are Atlas Pinnacle.
The bottom of the chimney is improperly done. No step flashing ( pieces of flashing) should be there. There needs to be a solid piece on top of the shingles as the water is running away.  I can't tell on the back side but the flashing needs to be a solid piece on each side that goes under the shingle.
Caulk is a less than temporary fix otherwise roofing would be caulk.
Seems the whole chimney needs redoing.
There is no Bedrock certified by GAF in Texas.

Jon

Reader response:

Thank you for your insightful information.

I will take it from here, and I can't thank you enough for all the assistance (and support) you've given me.
Angels unawares...

Bless you,
 Name Redacted

 

Jon Alan Wright
Jon Wright Roofing, Siding, and Windows
1915 Peters Rd., Suite 310
Irving, TX 75061
972.251.1818 Office
214.718.3748 Cell
972.554.8090 Fax
    Follow jwrightroofing on Twitter

5 comments:

nat said...

Her gutters are crap, too. Should have been installed behind the metal edge. A competent roofer would have corrected that with new metal edge.
btw, those shingles look like Tamko.

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Michael said...

Since you guys are also siding gurus...have you ever had to deal with melted vinyl siding (or maybe blistered (insert siding choice here) from reflections of energy efficient windows (low-e). It's becoming a big problem...just curious.

jason kear said...

Hello Michael, Yes...this is called thermal distortion and is a result of the efficiency of neighboring "low e" windows. This is very frustrating because everyone seems to have a loophole to remove themselves from culpability...not the manufacturers fault, not the GC's or installers fault...to correct problem, a screen/filter must be placed on the offending neigbor's window.
Jason-Summit Building & Roofing