A tale of woe from a homeowner.....LONG read

Wanted to share my experience a bit and ask what you all thought.

Almost 4 weeks ago I signed a contract with a guy who claimed to be a fulltime contractor/carpenter/roofer. If you read some of my previous posts, I got 6 estimates and interviewed each contractor…out of the 6, I chose 3 and went and looked at their previous work and spoke with their clients…of course, as with any reference given, they were all good.

I ended up going with one guy…29 years old with 10 years roofing experience…seemed to be the most “into” what he does…had great explanations and seemed to have a great plan on what he was going to do to my house. Basically, i got the best vibe from my speaking with him and his lead mechanic.

Well, turns out that he (now) works fulltime for a large construction firm and does roofing contracting on the side (one of my questuions was “do you do this full time?” to which he said “Yes”). Which means he has been on my jobsite for a total of two days to work. No biggie, I guess, as long as the job is getting done.

Problem is, it is taking forever to get done.

This contractor has a 2 man crew who, admitedly, do some nice work but have what I consider a lax work ethic…10:30 am starts and gone by 4:30 or 5, with an hour long lunch and several breaks (I know roofing is a dirty, physically demanding job, and I couldnt do it…that said, these guys have “banker hours” …even BETTER that banker hours…in every repsect of the phrase.

They blew me off for a total 4-5 days due to whatever personal issue they came up with…they just never showed up…no phone calls, nothing…so a job that was quoted to be 1.5 to 2 weeks is now pushing almost 4.

But again, no biggie I guess as long as it gets done and getrs done RIGHT.

The roof itself looks great and seems to have been “right”, as far as an idiot h.o. like me can figure…they used ice and water shield a good foot or more up from the edge, and in the valleys and around my 3 skylights…woven valleys, real nice ridge vent, all new stack seals, etc. All Alcoa heavy duty dripedge, real nice stuff.

The contractor installed an Alco roof apron/gutter system that I admit looks nice but doesnt WORK right…my 45 foot long gutter in the front drains ONLY from the one end (the other end has no water coming from it at all) and the 20 foot back section slopes AWAY from the drain…resulting in backups and a 1/2" of water, about 15 feet of the gutter, in it all the time. Now he is talking about installing a “fascia apron”…bascially the same type of mount, but it nails/screws to the fascia. Ok with me as long as it looks good and more importantly WORKS right.

Second
The metalwork (Alcoa soffit/fascia) overall is very nice. But as with any job there are some (what I consider) issues that need attention…I had asked them to straighten up the “bird boxes” and that pretty much never got done…too late now to do anything about…they did cut my front fascia to straighten that up and admitedly that looks pretty great now versus before…so what remains are small things like seams that just dont look right or small dents here and there that i want massaged out if possible…

But you would think I was asking them to redo the job…apparantly they somehow feel that I think they are doing inferior work, when I have NEVER said that…in fact just the opposite, I have praised them over and over for their work…just pointing out some issues I would like addressed…

We (contractor and I) have three times now had pretty heated discussions about the timeframe and completion of this job…One just yesterday. They worked saturday and then didnt finish as planned (again) so they said they would be back on SUnday…Then sunday morning comes and I get a phone call saying they wouldnt be coming…the contractor stating “I deserve a day off”…that sent me through the roof!

It just seems like they dont get much done each trip out, when they show up. And when I bring up issues with the gutters or letal work, etc , they say it is because the house is crooked, or built wrong or whatever.

When it came time to wire up my skylights, he insisted on using a buried junction box in teh roof, under teh ridge vent…I resisted and was able to show the lead mechanic what I thought could be done and lo and behold, it worked out great with NO code-violating buried j box.

While I know and accept that NO job can be 100% perfect and that every house presents certain challenges, isnt it the contractor’s job to know WHAT product/process etc will work and what WON’T?

The contractor seems like a talented guy…He says he built his one-year old house hismelf, with no plans…I went and checked it out and it is a very nice house…

I also SOMEHOW had this work done without a building permit…the crew just showed up one day and started ripping shingles off prior to any permits being pulled, which I didnt know til the roof was half deconstructed…

I contacted my building inspector the first day who insured me that I have no legal concerns and that he will go after the contractor for taxes due (my city charges taxes for contractors working in it).

Overall, like I said, the job is turning out very nice…the metalwork is very nice although not “pristine and perfect” like the contractor keeps repeating like a mantra, but I know that NOTHING is perfect…but after seeing how he has handled some of the things on my job, I have to wonder if I goofed in my picking him… and hom constantly blaming my house for issues is REALLY getting old…he knew what my house looked like before the first tear off, and he saw what the structure looked like after wards and after the soffit/facia tearoff…yet he never took me aside and said “Look, we have run into this issue and now we have to decide how to handle it”…he acted like all was well…

And now after the fact he is blaming the house for stuff like gutters that dont drain right…and giving me excuses as to why, over one week from the first time he said “we will be done tomorrow” we are STILL not done. The latest holdup is that he didnt have all the supplies for the gutters/downspouts he needed…

We also found that I have water leaking from two fo my soffits due to runoff from teh roof…he has planned to make soem water diverters and also do some caulking to stop that.

Would it be out of line for me to hold back my final money ($4k) for several days to make sure that when they are done they are REALLY done (I am most worried about the gutters working right and the two leaks)?

I have already paid him the first two payments and an additional $340 towards extra time he says his crew spent correcting house issues plus $60 for materials I specified after the contract…I have been (I think) very patient and trustful til now…

Its just that I have started adding up all these little things that “dont seem right” and now am worried I hired someone I shouldnt have, even if the work is nice so far…What if they took shortcuts that I dont know about?

After almost 4 weeks now I just want my house back , completed, and my yard back (which looks like a constrcution zone) so my family and I can move on with our summer already…

Thanks for letting me vent a bit…

If you are completely unsatisfied with the results of the gutter, especially, I would contact that products manufacturer for a recommendation of another contractor to hire to correct the work.

Hold back that dollar amount for re-doing the gutter pitch. I don’t know if the link you showed me a while back for Alcoa was the exact product or something similar, but contact the nearest supplier of that product for contact names of someone who installs that on a regular basis.

Water getting into the soffits already?

That needs to be checked out by someone to verify why.

We usually take op a 4’ x 8’ area of space where the home owner tells us it will not be in their way and keep the rest of the premises spotless on an hourly and daily basis.

I can understand a delay for ordering special, non-stock supplies for the special guttering system, since they may not be readily available, unless by special order.

Hire a home inspector to check everything out, but make sure it is someone with a good roofing background.

Even if you contact one that has some experience, offer him $ 20.00 to refer you to a more roofing related experienced inspector. ASHI and NACHI certified have more credentials, at least of the organizations I know of.

$ 4,000.00 is too much of a hold back, unless that is what the actual cost of fixing the guttering system comes out to, which I doubt.

Ed

Hi Ed…

Thanks for your reply…

The gutteruing system isnt really anything special…

The gutters and downspouts were here weeks ago…laying in my backyard…the gutters were made from a truck that rolled up in front of my place.

The parts missing are just straps to secure the gutters to the building and a few elbows as far as I can tell.

The gutters just lock down into the roof apron (as he calls it).

Yes, the previous link for “roof apron” at the Alcoa site is exactly what I have.

I called Alcoa and they said it is fine for the gutter to be pushed up BEHIND the locking channel of the roof apron but not dropped below it…Right now, they have the high side jammed up as far as it will go. So they are contemplating installing another style gutter attachment system on that part of the building…actually, they may have already done it, if they showed up today at my home.

Remeber from my earlier posts that this is teh guy who wants cash…I have no problem with paying cash since I am getting signed (including a witnes) reciepts.

The contract says that I pay when the job is complete.

And the way I figure, the job aint complete until there are no leaks, the gutters flow properly, etc.

Thanks for the feedback as far as getting it inspected…I had been thinking that but thought it migh tbe too over the top…

I feel like there has been enough stress between myself and the contractor at this point…wouldnt saying “hey, I want to have this inspected first” kind of push it all over the edge?

Hi,

I would not give him cash. No matter how many reciepts he signed.

He has no insurance on your recidence or his workers. He has no business checking account to cash the checks in. That is why he needs cash. The chance of the IRS finding out about his signed reciepts is very slim. It is more likely that they will find out about larger checks.

Sounds like you made a bad choice.

Once you give him that money, you will never see him again. So get everything fixed before you give him that money.

1 Like

sorry , wayyy too long for me to read. keep it simple.

I read it and it seems that you got a CONtractor to do the job, lol, and now you have to cover your azz by getting a PRO to look at the job, and get any work that you are not satisfied with straightened out before you pay anymore…cause you will not see this guy after he has the cash… I feel that anyone who shows up with no PERMIT is trying to avoid any ties to legal stuff like INSURANCE, INSPECTIONS, PAST PROBLEMS ! These are some reasons that guys avoid when they tell the H.O. to get the permits… Also the hours these guys work, I work alone most of the time and I am at the job from 7:30 - 7:30 if the owner does not mind, which they rarely do (like you ,they just want the job done)and the job site is kept in an orderly manner and this is how I manage to get more work…Also I have to say that I rarely tell the H.O. that their house is all &$*&ed up…I do what it takes to make the new stuff look good, A PRO can hide alot with some Vinyl and Aluminum…or a HACK can make the &^^ed parts look like they are under a magnifying glass…lol. so get someone who knows what they are looking at to come and take a look before you give up the CASH…lol…sorry for your bad experience in advance…

Sorry for the length of my original post (I DID warn of that in the message header :wink: )

Had some more dealings with him yesterday…he and his crew came by to finish up and get their tolld (as they were starting anotehr job today)…I found out that the rdige vent on my porch roof has some issues, so added that to the list of other relatively minor issues. They got the gutter flowing just right, though they dropped the one end of it out of the channel…I conferred with the Alcoa tech guy and he said that needs attention…I figure it can be sealed up just fine and will be happy with it once it is. The other stuff is cosmetic, though it may require him to replace some dripedge and some metail work.

He “finished” the job yesterday and asked to be paid…this time, and that a check would be fine…Long story short, I drafted a holdback agreement listing (a holdback was HIS idea) all the issues and specifying that the items had to be corrected to my satisfaction within 15 days or I keep the $1,000 holdback.

He wasnt necessarily happy but he signed it.

I wish this had turned out better. I really did like this guy in the beginning…I think he really is probably an Ok guy…the work they did, seems to me, pretty good…hey, lots of people try to dodge taxes, alimony issues, etc…that is really none of my business…While I dont condone it, its none of my business. I have seen people with seemingly legitimate business checking accounts get arrested for tampering with the numbers etc…so that is no guarantee either.

In the end, I just want a good roof and metalwork that will last, and all issues taken care of.

I have already resigned to the fact that I may have a hard time getting him to take care of warranty issues going forward due to the issues we have had…but them that is a crap shoot with ANY contractor I think.

So, in 15 days I either am made 100% happy or I keep $1,000 so I can have someone else finish these details…either way I am OK I guess.

Just wish it hadnt turned out this way. :cry:

I agree with lefty. Like i said before i would not have gone with the guy asking for cash. Now you have really no proof he did the work. A hand written note that he signed will not stand up in court. I have seen it before. If you held back 1000 you still may never see him again. So basically your warranty for labor is not going to be there. 1000 dollars may not cover the damages that he made on the home.

I am not going to beat you down for your decision, except for one point.

The guys who at least “Try” harder to do everything above boar, including accepting checks which go into a business account and supply the Workmans Compensation and General Liability Certificates and do pay their taxes, at least hold themselves to a higher ethical level.

That may or may not project on their quality of work, but at least reflects better on their character.

I think you held back a reasonable amount which was fair to both parties.

Also, I see so many gutters that have NO Gutter Apron Drip Edge Flashing installed at all, so you are not unique, in the fact that just a short section misses the apron clip bracket.

An apron extension can be slid behind the clip relatively easy.

Good Luck,

Ed

Look, I realize there are a lot of “what ifs”.

I have seen people get screwed by “reputable companies” too…so there are no guarantees.

The cash thing doesnt bother me in the least really. He didnt force me into it…he asked if it was possible to pay some or all of the bill in cash. He didnt coerce me into it…or offer a discount for doing it that way…He just asked if it was possible.

I have written receipts clearly saying what the money given was for, signed by him, me and a witness…every bit as solid as a signed check, per my legal eagle buddies…all a check does is show where the money was put after he recieved it. I also have a copy of his drivers license with signature, to confirm the signature.

Cant have much more proof than that. :slight_smile:

People these days think that checks are some sort of protection…I work for a financial company and trust me they are NOT.

So not worried there…but yes, the warranty is an issue…but again, like any other business or contractor, no guarantee that any of them will be around 1, 3, 5 or 10 years down the road…so…

I am more worried about the bad blood affecting the warranty than anything.

[quote=“ed the roofer”]I am not going to beat you down for your decision, except for one point.

The guys who at least “Try” harder to do everything above boar, including accepting checks which go into a business account and supply the Workmans Compensation and General Liability Certificates and do pay their taxes, at least hold themselves to a higher ethical level.

That may or may not project on their quality of work, but at least reflects better on their character.

I think you held back a reasonable amount which was fair to both parties.

Also, I see so many gutters that have NO Gutter Apron Drip Edge Flashing installed at all, so you are not unique, in the fact that just a short section misses the apron clip bracket.

An apron extension can be slid behind the clip relatively easy.

Good Luck,

Ed[/quote]

Thanks Ed…

i apreciate yours and all the feedback here…

Looking back, yes thuis guy has some possible ethical issues…but that is hindsight.

I try to be reasonable, and things were going reasonably until things started adding up that I didnty like…teh lack of permits, the cash thing, the lax control over his crew…looking back, there were signs…but any one of those, taken out of context and taken alone could mean NOTHING, too.

I am stiill holding out that I will be happy long term with the work they did…it does look quite good overall…I am trying to keep some optimism here that his personal problems clouded his judgement…his previous clients LOVED him…maybe the last year has just been especially hard on him…I dunno.

Or maybe I am just trying to make myself feel better, hoping I didnt screw up royally hiring this guy. LOL

I guess only time will tell.

Thanks all for listening…will post any pertinant updates in case anyone wants to keep up with this soap opera… :wink:

Ed, thanks for the advice about the apron extention! Hopefully that is the plan.

It is not a soap opera, and you did more due diligence than most do.

The end result is what matters mostly, when after a while, you can forgive and forget the minor inconveniences.

I posted a link to the gutter apron extension product on the other DIY forum you were at also, but in someone else’s different thread topic, but all it really is, is a strip of the same color trim coil that gets tacked in place, behind the existing apron material, but inside the gutter trough.

Ed

two things about your gutter system bother me.
The Alcoa roof apron is a drip edge type of metal extrusion that is usually installed over the ice and water shield, and then stripped in with 6 inch VICOR
which is also a Grace product. The the gutter is installed, with the hangers locking into the front of the gutter and then being attached to the rafters thru the roof sheathing, under the roof shingles…
every one with me so far?

the starter course is installed, usually cutting a first ply inbetween the hangers, eliminating ahump over the bracket. Then the shingles are installed.

So…two points

  1. How did they adjust the gutters without removing it from the apron and removing the hangers?

  2. when did Alcoa ™ start delivering their
    .032 gutters in a site delivery truck. If my old memory serves me well, alcoa does not warranty
    their gutter system over 33 ft long without an expansion joint, and only when using Alcoa barhanger, or combination hangers, or roof apron hangers. the point being that the entire alcoa gutter system is a floating system, not some jury-rigged, lift it out of the apron sort of project
    and secure it with pop-rivets kind of cluster_F&#k.

As far as their timing…I wouldn’t be surprised if this guy might already be on some other job at 6:00, and after he leaves your job at 4…goes to another until dark-thirty. 7 days a week.

good roofers are hard to find…more difficult is to find good roofers with greater business sense.
add the heat, the rain, the hail storms, old age,
futchy suppliers, personal crisis, etc, and welcome to our world.

One thing that I have learned is, my customers appreciate that morning call that “we’re getting rained out” …or “we’ll be late today”…it gives them some time to have a real life, and not be waiting around for the contractors to show up, and deftinitely gives them something to tell their neighbors who comment on the “banker’s hours” roofers that they must have hired.

If your roof never leaked, and your yard was kept
spotless, you would never have a complaint.
Consider the behind the scenes efforts that we make to complete your job, dump runs, supplier visits,
permit application efforts, etc. If you had an emergency, he would have been there…you must know that. Your casual relationship that helped you to
make the decision to hire him is your real answers to your questions. he wasn’t some flip-flop wearing hawaiian shirted, tanned god roofing executive…
he was the slob that did your job. Show the working roofer in here a little respect and don’t bash us for not being like the other guy that wanted double the price…we’re the guys in the field. Our prices show that.

We ain’t necessarily the prettiest guys at the party,
but we know our jobs, and are your most important
service provider between mother nature and your precious home and family.

thanx for allowing me to rant

David

Just curious as to where you happen to live?

Bammbamm, Southwest PA

Baycompany, I talked to Alcoa and they seemd to think that the gutters were OK aside from the dropping down below the apron issue…

They installed the gutters after the roof was on…lifted the front shngle and starter (I assume) and nailed own the brackets. The job looks good in that regard…

I am not sure if your rant there was aimed at me or just a rant in general, but let me say this…had they kept my yard neat (they didnt…the place was a warzone for almost 4 weeks and now that they are gone, STILL tons of nails, aluminum and gutter trimming and CIGARRETTE BUTTs everywhere in my grass and concrete areas) and had they called me in advance to let me know when they wouldnt show up (they didnt aside from one time out of 6) I would have been less stressed out and less likely to go into super-critical mode.

As far as these guys working earlier and then showing up? Doubtful.

All I know is what I was told…the contractor himself said these guys were working ONLY on my job at the time…they showed up at 10 or 10:30 and seemed pretty fresh the days I saw them and left by 4:30 or 5…since they were running behind by a full week due to missed days, they should have spent EXTRA time at my job and not LESS (imho).

The contractor himself claims to be working fulltime for another major construction firm and visited my job 2 days TOTAL.

I was a contractor in anotehr indurtsy for 10 years and my clients expected me to be where I said I would be and to do what I said I would do, when I said I would do it. If not, I got fired. (Happened JUST ONCE for me to learn).

I am not in any way shape or form slamming roofers or the trade or anything. in fact, the opposite…I am coming here for advice…would I do that if I thought all roofers were “slobs” ?

I agree that roofing is a dirty, hard job that takes skill to do it right. I would never attempt it myself. I like staying dry. LOL I have the utmost respect for the true craftsman here.

But there are those in the contracting world who either have sloppy business or work (or both) practices or are just plain shysters. And that is unfortunate for you folks who are true craftsman and businessmen…because bad news travels fast.

But hey…what do I know…I am just the idiot paying to get the work done. :roll:

[quote=“baycompany”]
2. when did Alcoa ™ start delivering their
.032 gutters in a site delivery truck. If my old memory serves me well, alcoa does not warranty
their gutter system over 33 ft long without an expansion joint, and only when using Alcoa barhanger, or combination hangers, or roof apron hangers. [/quote]

Hi

As a followup, your comments made me worry a bit so I called Alcoa…

They do have the “seamless gutter coil” as the tech called it, in the .032…Plus the color matches the rest of the metal perfectly (pebblestone clay)…

I am waiting to hear back as far as any warranty issues and length, but I would think that using the gutter apron system takes care of the expansion issue??

we need pictures!!!

Well, made some more calls…I do NOT have Alcoa seamless gutters though Alcoa DOES make the stock for them.

WHat I have is “Mateo” seamless gutters with Alcoa end caps. Reading the contract carefully, I can see where he said ‘Alcoa soffit /fascia’ and in another sentence "“heavy gauge .032 gutters”…so though he did say “Alcoa metal” the contract only specifies “.o32”…

Anyways, I finally uploaded some pictures…

Roof Construction
http://s349.photobucket.com/albums/q391/shadango_bucket/?action=view&current=72878d92.pbw

Details and defects
http://s349.photobucket.com/albums/q391/shadango_bucket/?action=view&current=0ab2be40.pbw

Where to start Mr. Shadango…

The Racked shingle’s, The gun nailed ridgevent, Lack of Ice shield in the valley’s or skylight, Improper/Lack of steptins at small wall under valley, Venting slot not cut on both sides, Insulation blocking the air intake, There needs to be 1/4" gap between the skylight steptins and the shingle, The shingle’s on the horizontal line aren’t just regular crooked, but spaghetti crooked.

Plus the defects you found. I’m rather curious as to what the brick counter flashing looks like. Could you post a pic?

I wonder why they didn’t wrap the Ice shield If they replaced the gutter and metal.

[quote=“RooferR”]Where to start Mr. Shadango…

The Racked shingle’s, The gun nailed ridgevent, Lack of Ice shield in the valley’s or skylight, Improper/Lack of steptins at small wall under valley, Venting slot not cut on both sides, Insulation blocking the air intake, There needs to be 1/4" gap between the skylight steptins and the shingle, The shingle’s on the horizontal line aren’t just regular crooked, but spaghetti crooked.

Plus the defects you found. I’m rather curious as to what the brick counter flashing looks like. Could you post a pic?

I wonder why they didn’t wrap the Ice shield If they replaced the gutter and metal.[/quote]

Thanks for your feedback…just a couple notes (I dont want this guy taking heat for stuff that isnt his fault)

They did use ice/water shield in the valleys…maybe the pics just dont show it well…(sorry)…if I am right assuming what you mean by the small walls under the valley, there are step flashings in the section in front of the diverters…but not above them, if that makes sense…they put a piece of metal over them…the insulation blocking the air intake at the ridge is due to my cathedral celings…basically the contractor who did that to the house (before I owned it) did this…no way to correct that wouldn’t get very costly and a major rebuild…I know its not right…but the house has been like this for 23 years and the decking etc seemed OK, so I figured I would have to live with it…the venting slot you refer to…AGain, probably my poor picture taking at fault…there was already a slot cut all the way across the roof for the vent…they had enlarged that section so that the wiring for the skylights could be fished through (although I questioned why they needed to do that…sure didnt seem necessary to me)…

Could you clarify what you mean about the skylight steptins?

I will snap a picture of the brick counterflashing…

Thanks for your feedback…