So You Got a Bad Roofing Job: What Do You Do Next?

Putting a new roof on your home is a major investment, and the last thing you want to face after the roofers leave is the realization that they might have done a bad job.

At the same time, problems with new roofs don’t always appear right away and can take months or even years to make themselves known. No roof will last forever, but your brand-new roof certainly shouldn’t be exhibiting signs that point to poor installation soon after the job is done.

What should you look for when trying to figure out whether you got a bad roofing job? What recourse do you have if you find out you were the recipient of poor workmanship? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.

Signs of a Bad Roofing Job

How do you know if your roofing contractor did a bad job? What should you look out for? Here are some common signs that the company you hired cut corners, made mistakes, or otherwise didn’t deliver the finished product they promised.

Your Roof Doesn’t Have a Uniform Appearance and Looks Uneven

There’s a pretty good chance that you received a bad roofing job if your brand-new roof doesn’t have a uniform appearance or looks uneven. For example, your roof might look bumpy or wavy, or you might be able to see that some shingles are lifted up.

A Bad Roofing Job

There are a number of potential causes of this, but all of them most likely point to unprofessional and lazy workmanship. If the problem is only in one area, it’s possible that it is just the result of human error and not intentional corner-cutting or ineptness. When you call your roofing contractor, they should be willing to come out and remedy the issue. If they don’t take responsibility or don’t even answer your calls, you’re likely dealing with a completely unprofessional company.

Your Attic Isn’t Properly Ventilated

Your roof’s performance depends on a number of factors, one of which is the ventilation system.

If there isn’t proper ventilation, it means that trapped hot air can end up wearing away at your decking adhesive and deteriorating your shingles in the summer. Things aren’t much better in the winter when trapped cold air combines with the warm air from your home’s interior, creating condensation. This can lead to your sheathing swelling and creating a wavy look in your roof.

Roofing Contractor Working in an Attic

To ensure this doesn’t happen, it’s a good idea to talk to your roofing company about inspecting your attic and looking at your existing ventilation system.

Your Roof Starts Leaking Right Away

Perhaps the most obvious sign that you did not receive an adequate roofing job is that your roof starts leaking right away during the first rainstorm after the installation or repair.

Though this can be incredibly upsetting, considering you invested in a roof that should protect you from the elements, it isn’t as glaring of a sign as you might expect.

This is because it’s possible that one area wasn’t flashed properly or a few nails weren’t driven in correctly. Though it is incredibly frustrating to have a leak right away after your roof has been worked on, it’s possible that it stems from a simple human error that doesn’t necessarily imply that the entire roof was installed incorrectly.

A Leaking Roof

The most important occurrence that will indicate whether or not you were the victim of a bad roofing job is how the contractor reacts when you tell them about the leak. A reputable roofing company will come out right away to address the problem.

A shady roofer, on the other hand, might ignore your call or refuse to take responsibility for the leak. If this second scenario unfolds, it’s possible that there are other issues to address with your roof, as it’s clear they are not a professional or reputable company.

Unfortunately, the best option in this situation might be to find a better roofing company to come out and fix the problem. A little later in the article, we’ll talk about the other avenues of recourse available for dealing with a bad roofing job.

Any Rotten or Compromised Roof Decking Wasn’t Replaced

Any reputable roofing contractor will check the integrity of the roof decking when replacing a roof. Any boards that are rotten should be removed and replaced, as they are the wooden foundation of your whole system.

Roofing Contractor Checking Roof Decking

It’s always a good idea to talk to your roofing contractor about what will happen if they discover rotten or compromised decking when they tear off your old roof. This way, you can plan ahead for potential additional costs if it’s found that some decking will need to be replaced.

Sagging Rooflines

A brand-new roofline should be straight as an arrow. If you find that your roof is sagging after installation, it’s indicative of a problem.

A Sagging Roofline

Typically, sagging roofs result from problems with the roof decking or framing that should have been addressed during the roof replacement.

Color or Material Variation in Shingles

If you look at your roof after the installation process and some of the shingles appear to be different from the others– either in color or material– it likely means that your roofer switched products partway through the process.

Color Variation in Shingles

This should never occur and could even void your material warranty. A reputable roofer will come prepared with an adequate amount of the necessary material.

There Are Missing Or Damaged Shingles

When your roof is newly replaced, the last thing you want is to immediately see that there are missing or damaged shingles.

A Missing Roof Shingle

Unless there was a freak storm immediately after your new roof was installed, this is a sure sign that an improper installation job was done.

Old Flashing Was Reused

While you can technically reuse old flashing on a roof, experienced roofing contractors will simply replace the flashing.

Reusing an Old Flashing

This is because it’s nearly impossible that leaks won’t result from trying to reuse the same holes in old flashing, and it’s simply better practice to replace it.

Crucial Components Were Not Reinstalled

A number of different components go into making a roof functional– decking, underlayment, flashing, ice and water shields, roof vents, and so on.

Reinstalling Crucial Roof Components

If your roofing company leaves off a crucial roofing component during installation, it’s going to leave you with problems in the future.

What To Do When You Get a Bad Roofing Job

Now that you have a clear sense of some of the most prominent signs of a bad roofing job, you might be feeling a bit sick to your stomach, realizing that the work you just paid for is completely inadequate. What can you do about it? What recourse is available to you?

A Roofing Company

In the best-case scenario, you will only have to go as far as the first item on our list here. If the company you hired is in any way reputable and your workmanship warranty hasn’t expired, they should help you remedy the problem that resulted from the poor installation.

If going straight to the source doesn’t result in the solution you’re looking for, you can take additional steps, including complaining to the state licensing board, filing a complaint with the BBB, and even filing a civil suit.

Go to the Source

When you’ve realized that you got a bad roofing job, you’ll first want to go right to the source. All reputable roofing contractors should offer a workmanship warranty that covers situations just like this one. The entire point of a workmanship warranty is to protect you and your roof from errors and mistakes that were made during the repair or replacement process.

A Signed Warranty

If leaks or other issues have resulted from an improper installation, this warranty should hopefully cover the cost of fixing the problem.

That being said, there can be a lot of variation in terms of the length of workmanship warranties. For example, some might only last for a handful of years, so if the problem doesn’t occur until the warranty has expired, you might have to pay out of pocket.

File a Complaint With Your State’s Licensing Board

Any reputable roofer will be licensed, bonded, and insured, so it’s important to ask about this before hiring a roofing company. If your roofer is refusing to honor their workmanship warranty, the next step will be to file a complaint with your state’s Board for Licensing Contractors so long as they were actually licensed.

NASCLA Licensing Information

If it is clear that the issue was actually caused by poor workmanship, a bond company will go after the contractor and take care of the necessary repair. A surety bond exists to ensure that the work a contractor says they will do actually gets done and that they stand behind their work. 

Your problem will still be taken care of even if the roofing company isn’t in business anymore. That being said, surety bonds do have a monetary limit. This means that the bond company will only be willing to shell out as much money as was detailed within their surety bond limit.

File a Complaint With the Better Business Bureau

Another option you have to make the situation right is to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. This organization is focused on helping homeowners settle disputes related to warranties, contracts, sales, billings, customer service, and refunds against all businesses.

If you search for the company on the Better Business Bureau website and find that the roofing company isn’t registered, you aren’t out of luck. You still have the option to file a complaint, which you can do through their complaint page.

Better Business Bureau File a Complaint

The timeline of filing a complaint with the BBB looks something like this:

  • Fill out the form online to file the complaint
  • The complaint will be processed by the BBB within two business days
  • The roofing company will have fourteen calendar days to respond from the date the complaint was filed
  • A follow-up letter will be sent to the roofing company if no response is received
  • You will be noticed by the BBB when they receive a response
  • You will be asked to respond
  • You’ll be notified if the business again fails to respond

According to the BBB, complaints are typically closed within about thirty calendar days after the date of the first complaint.

What is essentially happening during this process is that the BBB is acting as a mediator between you and the roofing company. It’s possible that you will be able to reach a resolution that you are happy with during the process.

On the other hand, you might find that the roofing company doesn’t respond to your complaint at all or that they don’t offer a suitable resolution. 

It’s worth noting that the Better Business Bureau doesn’t have any authority to force the roofing contractor to take any specific action, as they are simply a mediating third party. However, it’s possible that weaponizing bad press is the tool you need to receive the results you are looking for.

Civil Litigation

This probably isn’t what you want to hear, but the last resort when all other options fail is to take the roofer to civil court. Of course, we are just a roofing company, not lawyers, so we’re not giving you legal advice here. The reality is that civil litigation can be an expensive, time-consuming, lengthy, stressful, and frustrating process, so you’ll want to weigh the pros and cons before going this route.

Civil Litigation

If you believe the costs and headaches of suing the roofing company are worth it, you will want to consult an attorney to determine what makes sense. They might find that you have a strong case, and the court will likely rule in your favor, given the evidence you have. On the other hand, they might warn you that the cost of the process and the risk of losing make the process a risky proposition when compared to the amount of money you are looking to recoup from your losses.

How to Avoid a Bad Roofing Job

The best way to avoid a bad roofing job is to hire a reputable, experienced, knowledgeable, and trustworthy roofing company. At Colony Roofers, we pride ourselves on providing our customers with the highest quality roofs and workmanship for the most affordable prices. Beyond that, our world-class customer service is always available to answer any questions you might have and ensure that the process is seamless and stress-free for you.

Meeting a Colony Roofers Representative

If you’re looking to get a roofing job done right the first time in the Atlanta area, contact us today to request a free estimate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What's the first step when you get a bad roofing job?

The first step is to identify and document the specific issues. Take photos of the areas that concern you, write down the problems in detail, and date the information. These details will be crucial when discussing the issue with the contractor or, if necessary, with a legal advisor.

How should I approach the contractor about the poor roofing job?

Contact the contractor as soon as you discover the problem, clearly explaining your concerns. It's best to do this in writing (an email, for instance) for a record of the communication. If they're reputable, they should be willing to correct any installation errors or workmanship flaws covered by their warranty.

What if the contractor refuses to fix the issue?

If the contractor refuses to rectify the issue or denies responsibility, your next step could be to involve a third-party inspector. This professional can assess the situation and provide an impartial report. If your concerns are validated, you can use this report to further negotiate with the contractor, or even in legal proceedings.

Can I take legal action for a bad roofing job?

Yes, you can take legal action if a contractor refuses to remedy a poor roofing job, especially if it breaches the contract. Consult with a lawyer experienced in construction or home improvement disputes. Remember, legal action should typically be your last resort due to the time, cost, and stress involved. Try to resolve the issue amicably with the contractor first.