Roofing Nail Punctures Freon Line - Whose at Fault?


The material has nothing to do with it. The a/c lines were improperly installed. The fault lies with the a/c company who improperly installed the a/c lines.


This happened to me last year.

The crew knew where the puncture happened obviously… so we opened up the sheathing and had an a/c guy (small 1-man company) fix it for under $300. It was a simple fix from the roof top… just the freon that was costly. A buddy a/c guy of mine only charges $60.00 a pound for freon.

We footed the bill. Chalked it up to its a 1 in 500 situation. I would prefer a homeowner to tell 1 person they were 100% happy with us then telling 10 people we suck.

An upset homeowner will continue to find crap wrong once pandora’s box is open too. A 5-year warranty is a long time to be hated.


This has happened to us twice, i paid for it both times.


We have dealt with this problem several times in the past, twice with a/c lines and once with a water line. The roofer is absolutely not at fault. Any line run through an attic space is supposed to maintain clearance from the roof sheeting. Incidentally, this was upheld by a court in the waterline incident.



I realize this is an old post, just muddling through it- but these photos’s depict non vented soffits. Hence, no shingle warranty. If, if the soffit was replaced at time of roofing- it might have been obvious.
All our jobs sold are photo’d first. Any pre-exsting damage exposed (try to get the owner’s involved with the walk around and them in the photo never hurts. Up sell opportunity is addressed and soffit is an easy & profitable one and most folks want the upgrades- they just need to be asked/ informed of options. Every shingle manufacturer requires a vented attic… “Why buy a roof with no Warranty?” is the perfect pitch.

Oh, we’ve bought tires, fender paint, screens, gas grill (cheaper than buying the replacement glass cover), all while informing the owners of the mistake and paid from our pockets. Makes the whole process better from collecting to referrals to doing the right thing. We used to offer first 1-3 sheets decking replacement free- not we do it by the $3.50 sq. ft. and never a bark- people want it done right.[/quote]

Did you also realize that unvented soffits are completely off topic, and you are looking at a VERY small section of that house. Glad you have the vision to be able to see the rest of the house via one small pic.

Also, I present soffit vents EVERY time it’s needed, and warn of warranty loss. Not many customers seem to care. Especially ones who are already paying a high deductible out of pocket on a payment plan, and can barely afford that.


New to the forum. Was directed here by an email on the topic. This has happened to us a few times, despite being diligent about attic inspections. All three of them were hit where the lines were passing down through soffit areas that could not be seen easily. The scary part is that two were gas lines for fireplaces that had been run improperly. In both cases the gas lines were seen at the attic inspection and appeared to be installed a safe distance from the sheathing, attached to the side of the top cord of a truss. Down near the soffit, where insulation blocked further view, we found later that the installers had abondoned their clips and just left the line pushed flat against the decking. We noticed the smell of gas and called the gas company and fire department. I do not agree that we should be responsible for faulty installations of lazy previous contractors, especially a contractor licensed to handle something as dangerous as natural gas. Their licinsing requirements are much more strict than ours and they should take more care.
That being said, as a matter of good business, we have helped pay for repairs on two of these jobs. On the third, the customer was so mad at their gas fireplace company that to them their was no question of whose fault it was. Even though they knew it was unlikely that previous installer would pay, they did not feel it fair to try and pin it on us. We help pay for it because it is not worth losing the referrals from an otherwise perfect job over a few hundred bucks. But I have no problem starting by stating my overall position to the customer and see where it leads.


I guess i could have tried to make my roofer pay for the repair of my gas line and the sheetrock repair but i couldn’t see him having to pay for someone elses negligence especially when it was stated in his contract that he wasn’t responsible for this very thing.

If i only thought about what was best for myself i would have asked him to pay for it but instead i thought about it fairly and decided that there was no way the roofing company could have avoided it and i signed the contract that stated they could not be responsible for this very issue so i did what was right and paid for it myself and blamed the builder.


We have a pre job checklist, I created, we review and have signed by every single Customer we replace a roof for. It covers things such as driveway damage, freon/gas/electrical lines improperly placed, interior drywall cracks, etc… It also advises them other things to expect and be aware of during the roof construction such as some common sense safety rules.

I essentially tell our Customers this when reviewing our pre job check list. If we’re negligent and cause damage, we cover it. If something happens during the course of construction that would have happened with any roofing crew doing the job, we aren’t responsible. We have to load materials onto their driveway and roof. We have to locate a dump trailer near their house. We have to get on the roof to do the work. There’s no avoiding those things unless they want to pay additional labor $ for hand carrying the material from the front of the driveway for example.

90% plus of Customer Satisfaction is about properly setting expectations.


very interesting tips.


Bottom line – the Freon piping was not installed properly if it was in-fact located that close to the roof deck. I would be curious to ask the homeowner: Was the repair contractor the same mechanical contractor that initially installed the damaged lines???—HMMM……

In my state, and due to laws regarding home inspection terminology, my company estimators and I usually conduct a visual, non-intrusive roof and attic observation. However, not all conditions, nor all utility systems are visible to one (or) multiples sets of eyes during the pre-construction bid phase.

Personally, I would calmly and immediately while avoiding confrontation take the high road to preserve my good name and business reputation. I would pay for the repair and I would consult with legal counsel regarding an Article addendum to my proposal/contract/agreement limiting my liability regarding existing systems inside the building envelope and outside of my control. Per my legal counsel (please consult with an attorney in your state) most often, *conditions that are latent are not the responsibility of the service provider unless damage is due to gross negligence. (*please talk to your attorney)

Paying for the repair is cheaper than the cost of litigation; whether small claims court or otherwise. In-addition, you can pay for the repair you cannot ever pay to have your business name/reputation restored. In business, AVOID being tried in the court of public opinion –it is a huge collective and way too complex and subjective with far too many opinions to ever benefit you.

In business; mistakes will happen—it is what we do and how we professionally handle it that is most important and advantageous.

Good luck!


Reading the recommendation really sparks a positive feeling for the team of your organization!! After all , we always look for the patient contractors, fair prices and time utilization with good wages segment and your products also seem diversified in their representation!!


We all know that no one wants to pay. The original A/C installer made a mistake and should technically be responsible but may not be around. The homeowner just wants it corrected and doesn’t want to pay, but their insurance company should be contacted as they may cover it. The roofer did nothing wrong , he was just doing his job properly, however to appease the home owner it would be nice to offer to pay for the deductable for the home owner. Also keep in mind that the roofer should have insurance as well and his insurance company should be contacted. Often the two insurance companies will contact each other and come to a resolution between themselves allieviating all the head aches and stress from the homeowner and the roofer.
Remember everyone, we are not here to fight and prove that we are right in our opinions BUT to be a HELP to each other. Good luck and God Bless.


In my case my insurance wouldn’t pay for it and the roofers insurance had a $5000.00 deductible which was too high since the work didn’t cost me that much. Whoever was negligent should pay and in my case that was the builder/plumber.


Its really awesome for the work you guys are committing actually… I find your contractor firm’s information really helpful for the future!!thanks!!


The original freon installation was improper so they are truly at fault but more than likely it will get pinned on you. Get ready for a fight if you pick up this battle.


Just happened yesterday on my job. No way to know or anticipate.

1 inch nail? I.5 in is the min. Come on.

AC wants to charge me 1,000 for this, 14 lbs freon, new dryer, and labor for two story. Ridiculous cost to have to absorb.

Going to find original installer.


HVAC tradesmen have to abide by the mechanical code. If a freon line is installed that close, a metal plate must be added to prevent a line puncture. Not the roofers fault at all. I went through the same thing a few years ago.


If I break something, I fix it. Nuff said.


If it was installed without the appropriate guards to prevent this, as is required by code, it is not your fault.


Yeah - there is probably not a happy ending here. Cost of chasing down an installer sucks as much as paying it. Attorney fees and time; not sure its worth it :frowning: sadly enough.
The bad press for not paying it is not good either.

We hit a water line this year; same deal, but not near as expensive and it was easier to pay for. I dont think it is so much a blame or fault thing, as it is just BS that has to be fixed… As the contractor, (as E so eloquently put) it was working fine when you got there.
I would definitely talk to ALL the subs involved and push them to be fair on spending my $$