Welcome to our blog. This page is important because many people in the roofing business have absolutely no business being in the roofing business. The huge amount of negative customer reviews on the Internet is mind boggling. You need to stay away from these folks (aka Cowboy Roofers*) and know how to get the best roofing job for the best price possible. This blog will help you do that with fun, informative, and educational factoids about all aspects of roofs and roofing.
*Cowboy Roofers are the folks you should avoid hiring because they put their interests above yours and are marginally to moderately skilled at best. Cowboy roofers give a bad name to the roofing trade and worse yet they give a bad name to the large number of quality-oriented roofing contractors out there. Check out our Hall of Shame for examples of what happens when cowboy roofers get on your roof.
If you have a question that you would like SuperRoofer Joe Sardotz to answer in his blog or FAQs, please complete the Ask SuperRoofer form. Visit Joe's Contact page if you would like Joe to provide roof consulting and inspection services for you.
These photos showcase two examples of the blatant, egregious, prevaricating rip-off tactics that are used daily by predator contractors everywhere.
The first home is owned by a 76-year-old retired Marine Master Sergeant. He had a knock on the door and the visitors were the worst of the worst. Using high-pressure sales tactics, a two-person team, and a rehearsed routine/schtick (kind of like vaudeville in the 1920’s), they bid this job at $36,000. Other (legitimate) bids came in between $10,000-$14,000.
These "contractors" are known to canvas cities all over the state. They sub everything out.
There are several "spinoff" companies started by folks who used to work for this company. One of these offshoot grifters employed the exact same tactics on the owner of the second home, an 81-year-old widow. she received a bid of $34,000. A legitimate roofer bid it at $15,700.
These techniques are often successfully applied to older homeowners. Very few eighty-years-olds are comfortable climbing ladders up to a roof, and poor workmanship isn’t always easily visible from the ground. Door-to-door scammers often show up after heavy storms.
NEVER HIRE ANY CONTRACTOR WHO KNOCKS ON YOUR DOOR UNSOLICITED.
Both these homes show older roofs with worn areas. However, neither roof requires replacement, just some repairs. But that's not what the door-to-door roof salesmen said!
Portland is gone. I was born here in 1956. From a distance it is still a beautiful city but the closer you get the worse it is. Mega graffiti everywhere. So called 'homeless' encampments and the obligatory huge pile of trash, human waste, needles and rats are all around. It gets worse by the day. The city is gone. Ruined. And it was all easily avoidable. What's the reason? I'd say mostly because of the inept, incompetent, lazy, elitist folks that keep getting elected and the just as clueless electorate that keeps putting them into office. The Portland crime rate including murder has skyrocketed. Police are taking early retirement in droves. It's a sad shame.
Perhaps I am over-reacting? The contrast between the abstractly placed colorful recyclables and the bright green grass reminds me of a field of daisies. The gaily hued tents mirroring the complicated paint schemes of the finest Victorians in Nob Hill, a hat tip to the good old days. And don't think of it as grafitti, think of it as Contemporary Wall Art for the curated modern city. FREE public art ! What more could a citizen wish for? And I bet, with all the rain, the human waste and syringes often get washed away into the river and down to the sea. And Burning Man celebrations every night, not just once a year !
It is hard to understand how such ridiculous ideological groups like the mayors and councils of Portland and Seattle ( another ruined city ) a) get in to power and, b) remain in power. You would think a group of concerned citizens could declare an emergency, and frog-march them out of there. Maybe whatever is left of the police could declare a defunding emergency, and announce they are no longer able to provide protection to the mayor and council's homes and offices.
Whatever the intention of these knuckleheads, it has to be clear by now that their theories have failed. Portland is on FIRE, nightly, but all they do is double down? It makes no sense, so sure, now let's try it on a national level. Definition of insanity.
Home prices are skyrocketing, many realtors have told me the inventory of homes for sale is the lowest in 20 years maybe ever. I see cars with California license plates everywhere. We catch some of the emigration from California ( A ruined state ). The trouble is, THEY leave the state THEY ruined, recognizing that California IS ruined, but then THEY bring their same f- - - -d up voting practices here. Of course, this doesn't refer to all newcomers from the Golden State, just the ones who vote for lunatics and putting them in office and then keep re-electing them! They're contributing to turning our state in to what they were fortunate to escape from.
ORC has partnered with many lawyers in Oregon and Washington. Been in several courtrooms and have attended a bunch of arbitration hearings. I always tell folks to avoid hiring a lawyer because they somehow seem to always end up with most if not all the money. However, sometimes legal help is necessary. If there is a dispute a homeowner can file a claim with the CCB. You must give the contractor 30 days notice and you have up to a year to file a claim / complaint. Pay a $50 fee and a CCB mediator will try to work things out. They are successful about 40% of the time. ORC has attended 19 of these onsite meetings. If that fails then consider hiring a lawyer. We have seen many lawyer assisted victories over corrupt, inept, downright fraud 'roofers' and it feels good to help folks get un ripped off. Legal cases can drag on for a long time and if you eventually prevail then there's that little matter of collecting. That's a whole new ballgame. I can recall a very unfortunate homeowner that paid $45K for a new metal roof that was so bad it had to be done again. Open and shut case. Slam dunk. Even though she prevailed, spent $90K on 2 new roofs and about $40K in lawyer fees the roofer simply refused to pay. So, hiring a lawyer is no guarantee you will prevail even if your case is rock solid so beware the so called legal profession of which my present opinion could be better..
Here at ORC we work with a lot of realtors. Many of which are regular clients. We work with buyers, sellers, banks, insurance companies, etc. ORC is the only independent that does roof certifications. We've done hundreds. In the home buying process a full home inspection is usually done. These guys look at everything. Of course nobody including me knows everything about everything so on occasion my roof findings are much different then those views coming from the other side. We look at any roof from a much different perspective. Occasionally we get a call from a frustrated realtor who is disappointed our findings don't match theirs. My typical response is something like "I'm certainly not trying to be a wise guy but I don't give a damn what your inspector says". Our findings are an opinion. We give no guarantee. Many times, the buyer has a roofer look at the roof on their potential new home. A roofer wants to sell a roof. Objectivity isn't always profitable. I'm selling nothing so can afford to be honest. I can recall a 74 year old homeowner with a 4 year old roof being told by a roofer that her roof was shot and needed replacing! No shortage of predators - male and female - out there folks.
*** This was written before China delivered a very successful biological attack by sending their lab created virus here. They did a lot of damage without firing a shot. China is not our friend.***. The economy is booming. Record growth. Soaring stock market. Lowest unemployment rate in decades for all demographics. Jobs, manufacturing, consumer confidence, optimism is high.
The construction industry is surging and so is the roofing industry. Many established roofers have told me they anticipate their best year ever. I know a guy who is 1-1/2 years out and isn’t even bidding anymore. You see company trucks on the road and they all have ‘We’re Hiring’ signs on the tailgates. All roofers are slammed, especially the good ones. That’s the good news.
Now, the bad news. Years ago, during the downturn, scores of roofers left the roofing industry and got new jobs. Most lived paycheck to paycheck and had to survive so they sought employment in whatever industry was available. Many of these workers are like Chameleons. They take whatever job they can find. Survival. They are no longer in the roofing industry.
Now that all roofers are hiring they are discovering that experienced, qualified, professional, competent, reliable roofers are almost impossible to find. There are roofing companies that are walking up to roofers on job sites and attempting to lure them away from their present employer and join their firm. Experienced roofers are walking into offices and instead of accepting hourly or piece-work wages they’re demanding 300$ dollars a day. If it’s refused they just go to the next roofer on the list. True story. Thus, roofing companies have no choice and are forced to hire unskilled, green employees - many with minimal or zero roofing experience and putting them in the mix. What will inevitably happen is even a higher degree of shoddy workmanship, leaky roofs, code violations, conflicts between homeowners and roofers, lawsuits, etc. ORC will see a surge in work as will the various courts, CCB mediation folks and construction defect lawyers.
If you are getting bids for a new roof I advise the following :
1) Ask if roofers are employees or subcontractors.
2) Ask if roofers are paid hourly / salary or piecework.
3) Ask if company has qualified lead roofers and/or legitimate quality control.
4) Ask how long your potential roofing crew has been with the company.
By asking these questions you are significantly reducing the possibility of headaches and a bad roof job. In our opinion there are maybe 20 - 25 really good roofers out there. After that it’s the Wild West. A grab bag. Be careful and do your homework!
Sometimes when we discover yet another shoddy cowboy installation the 'roofer' will make desperate attempts to discredit or negate our inspection. Things like, " If you break the seal on the shingles the seal is damaged! ". Not true, After a few warm days they will reseal. Or this one, " If anyone tampers with my install my labor warranty becomes void! ". Not true again. I'm not tampering I am viewing. There is no law or statute that says a homeowner cannot have their roof inspected. Here is one of my favorites, " You're picking my work apart ". No, I am simply exposing your egregious malfeasance and lousy workmanship. You got caught. It's not my fault you're a ripoff roofer.
ORC was hired to inspect a brand new roof in NW Portland and It passed with flying colors! That's two inspections which passed with flying colors in one week! TWO! Most refreshing! It actually (is) possible to install a roof correctly!
There was a solar company attaching brackets to the roof, which had a steep12/12 pitch. I looked at their work area; no scaffolding, no J-hooks with 2X6's, just 2 ropes. Hot day. These guys were working on south facing side, which gets the heat. I knew what I'd see before even climbing the golden ladder, and there they were! Dozens of brand new shingles severely carved up by foot traffic, and these guys were just getting started! Just imagine what the roof shingles would look like when thepanel installation was complete? These shingles were so thrashed they must now be replaced. The homeowner wasn't pleased. The solar company's day was ruined. They packed up and left. Can't come back until the roofer replaces the damaged shingles. He's slammed and on other jobs.
I'm convinced there are hundreds, if not thousands, of roofs that have been damaged by solar installation, as well as other trades' foot traffic, and the homeowners are unaware. Don't have a clue. Can't see it from the ground. Prior to installing solar on a roof precautions must be taken to protect the shingles. Shingles become soft and damage easily in warm / hot weather. Put up scaffolding. Install J hooks, 2X6 toe boards and plywood at the entire work area. This goes for painters, siding installers, chimney companies, anyone whose work requires getting on the roof.
Update - 07/08/2017
Still in progress, roof repaired then the solar guys face nailed their toe boards. Also managed to scar quite a few shingles even when using plywood and toe boards. These guys do not belong on roofs. I can't imagine what they do to roofs where the homeowner doesn't know any better. In any case my roofer has been great, he will be back again the repair the new damage. Frustrating. I will report back when things are all said and done or I run into more problems. Thanks again for the help.
We all know that there is no shortage of dishonest and incompetent roofers. It has recently come to our attention that there are also some wimpy roofers amongst us as well. These 'professional roofers' refuse to install or replace a roof if the roofing materials can't be stocked by the distributor and/or if the dumpster or dump truck can't be set in the driveway next to the house. The thought of packing the materials up a ladder, or dropping the debris on the ground and then handling it a second time to pack it to the dumpster at the curb, terrifies them. Why, back in the day GROTM (Great Roofer On The Mountain) stocked many a roof via a ladder and didn't think twice about packing tons of tearoff debris to a dumpster. These snowflakes are not good representatives of the industry.
With the recent changes in cannibis cultivation laws in Oregon and Washington, it's become more common to see magnificent horticultural masterpieces such as this, which we spotted when we were out inspecting a residential roof.
Before hiring a contractor, ask if their insurance covers shoddy and not-to-code work. They may not even know. Insurance companies - not famous for looking out for the 'little guy' - likely do not cover poor workmanship unless you can prove actual physical damage to your home such as dry rot, mold, water damage, etc. was caused by their client's ineptitude.
Residential and commercial roofing project consulting in Oregon; Portland Metro, Oregon; Bend, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Washington State; and the Pacific Northwest area. Offering professional roof consulting, inspections, project monitoring, and certifications for property owners and homeowners.