Just how bad is this water damage a roofing contractor caused to my house? And what should I do about it?
posted by BlueJae to home & garden (4 answers total)
When hired to replaced my hail-damaged (but note: NOT LEAKING) roof, the contractor replaced all of the shingles but failed to replace 4 of the 6 vents on my roof.
The shingles and all of the vents were significantly damaged by the storm. My home insurance company had agreed to pay me to replace 4 vents (claiming the damage to the other 2 was cosmetic and would not affect function). The work order I'd signed with the roofing company said that they would replace those 4 that the insurance company had approved and also anything else on the roof that turned out to be more damaged than the initial insurance inspection had revealed. Verbally I was told by the business manager that all six of the vents would be replaced, and that they would argue with the insurance company to try to get payment for the other two (which pretty clearly also needed to go).
Instead, the roofers replaced two vents, pulled the rest of the hail-damaged vents off, painted them, and put them back under the new shingles. I noticed this problem immediately upon looking at the newly "finished" roof and asked the business manager about it the same day the roof was done, and he said, and I quote, "When the crew got up there they looked at your vents and decided they were not really in bad shape. And we need to save ourselves money wherever we can in a business like this. Anyway you're better off with old vents like yours -- they don't make them like they used to."
As you might imagine I was less than satisfied with his response. But since the rest of the roof looked all right, I didn't feel like getting into a huge fight over it. My husband and I decided that we would tell the insurance company the vents had not been replaced, either replace the remaining vents ourselves hire someone else to replace them, and take the cost for replacing the non-replaced vents out of the amount we still owed the contractor.
Then, a couple of weeks later, before we had done anything about the vents, it rained, hard.
And my brand new roof leaked, HARD. Cups of water cascading over my kitchen cabinets and onto my stove. Water staining across several feet of my kitchen ceiling. Water raining down from my bathroom fan and pooling on the floor.
I will not tell you the whole sordid saga of me calling this company again and again for weeks, and having them come out again and again (late every time, sometimes by several hours, once without a ladder or a flashlight or a tarp) and putter around with caulk, and say that the problem had been fixed, only for me to discover that it had not, in fact, been fixed, the very next time it rained. Suffice to say that the problem was eventually traced to not just one but two leaks -- coming from the flashing around two of the non-replaced vents.
The vents, I repeat, had NOT been leaking, at all, after the initial hail storm damage. In fact the roof has never leaked at all in the five years we have owned this home -- and we did of course check carefully for leaks after the hail storm. The leaks only started after the contractor touched my roof.
So now the contractor has finally fully replaced one of the newly-leaking old vents, and replaced key parts of the other. After our latest heavy rain this week, I think the roof leak is finally fixed.
But I'm left with this water damage to the ceiling in my bathroom and my kitchen.
The damage in my bathroom was significant enough that my bathroom fan rusted and started sinking through the drywall. We finally just took it down, and now have a gaping hole where the fan once was, with crumbling drywall around it.
The damage to my kitchen that I can see does not look as bad. There are watermarks along about 8 feet of soffit and 10 feet of ceiling that abuts the soffit, and a few small dimpled cracks elsewhere in the ceiling a few feet away from the main stains. Of course, I cannot see what's hidden by the (solid wood) cabinets that I discovered water flowing over. But in the damaged ceiling parts I can see, the drywall at least still feels pretty solid -- not crumbly or warped despite the staining.
The contractor has said that he will "make it right" by painting over the visible damage in the kitchen with stainblock white paint and installing a new fan (which I had already bought, so he's not even paying for that) in the bathroom, and spackling / painting around it, possibly replacing some of the drywall immediately around the hole (but not the whole ceiling).
I told him I was even more concerned about non-visible damage -- to the back side of the drywall, to the tops of my cabinets, to my fiberglass attic insulation, etc. My attic is unfinished and the insulation likely received a fair soaking given how far the water had to travel from the source of the leaks to come out where it did in the kitchen. I'm worried about potential mold problems, and think that perhaps the insulation may need to be replaced.
The roof leaked visibly during every heavy rain for a month -- three major storms, including one (Hurricane Isaac's remnants) that lasted most of Labor Day weekend. The holes the leaks were coming from were small but we have recently gotten A LOT of rain.
The roofer claims the leaks had not been going on long enough to do significant damage or cause a mold problem. I don't believe him, because he's already proven himself to be a corner-cutter, and he has no financial incentive to be honest with me. Who is right?
(YANMHandyperson. I do, of course, plan to spend the next week getting estimates from actual construction contractors who are NOT this tool who broke my pretty house, but given my luck with contractors recently I thought I would try the green for general advice, too.)