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View Full Version : I need to vent - sloppy, careless workman



Dan Karachio
07-09-2010, 10:08 PM
Like a lot of you, I do most of my house repairs myself. I had one highly recommended loser after another fix my roof with three leaks in three years. With a flat roof (avoid at all costs) a pin hole can lead to a week of plastering and painting. I only stopped it all when I did it myself and I check it out/fix up as needed once a year. Result? No leaks in five years and that includes some monster storms and "snowmageddon" here on the East Coast with 80 inches in two weeks.

Three weeks ago I hired a guy to redo our chimney crown. I thought, this time I will enjoy laying back and letting someone else do the work. I specifically told him three times, once in writing, to be careful with the roof. Today, our first big rain and guess what - a leak in the bathroom ceiling, two feet away from the gosh darn chimney where they were stomping away doing their thing. It's hard to get up there and since I trusted this guy I foolishly didn't check it out (was going to wait until my next roof cleaning). I have learned you can't trust or depend on anyone when it comes to working on your house. Paying more isn't a guarantee either. This guy came in highest on the quotes.

Sure, there is a chance this is unrelated, just plain dumb luck, but I'm not buying it. I know my house and I have had too many fools screw up work to think otherwise.

Mitchell Andrus
07-09-2010, 11:24 PM
I feel your pain. I have a one last comm'l building with a 20,000 sf flat roof.

Not to unduly defend the chimney guy, but I've been on my roof (and the roofs of other buildings I've either rented or owned) and found it nearly impossible to work up there without causing a problem, especially if the roof is old, multi-layered or if the repairs are near flashing or perforations, such as a chimney.

I wouldn't say he was sloppy or careless until you see holes, open flashing, split seams, damage, etc.

If he caused a leak by simply walking on it (it happens) it's really not his fault because he can't levitate. If he didn't guarantee the roof for leaks (I wouldn't) then it may not be his problem.

I've been so frustrated with my roofs at times, I find it easier to torch-down a section than to even look for the defect. Better fix, faster than 10 trips with a bucket 'o tar (been there, done that) and I sleep at night even though I've spent a small fortune.
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Dan Karachio
07-09-2010, 11:48 PM
Okay Mitch, okay, you raise all good points, but I just wanted to vent. No fun breaking up the evening with a darn leak!

P.S. I actually DO levitate when I am on the roof. The way I walk up there, you could have german shepherds sleeping and I wouldn't wake them up.

Mike Cruz
07-10-2010, 7:23 AM
Dan, bottom line: Other people don't care for your stuff as much as you do. I feel your pain. I'm anal about my stuff. Others screwing up my stuff (especially the stuff I worked hard to "get right") gets my goat, too. Vent away, m'man, vent away...

Lee Schierer
07-12-2010, 8:35 AM
Dan, my father in law struggled with a flat roof for 50 years and was frustrated all the time by leaks. Fixing one part would cause problems with another part. After they sold the hose the first thing the new owner did was to put on a peaked roof. I would suggest the same course of action to you, it will save you numerous headaches and probably money in the long run.

Callan Campbell
07-12-2010, 1:09 PM
Mitchell hit it on the head, even if the mason did no damage, anyone who treads on an older flat roof may be shifting or cracking paper or causing some tar coating movement that leads to a new leak. I spent each season or every two seasons patching and tiding up our older, multi-layered flat roof to keep from having to do the complete tear-off that was really needed. Some people got lucky with being on our roof, nothing would happen afterwards. The worst was the tuckpointers who were rebuilding the parapet wall and removing/rebuilding the tops of the side walls in preparation for the complete roof tear-off that we were FINALLY getting right after the masons were through. They put lots of weight in several areas with stacked up capping and coping stones, cause large cracks in the paper and tar coating, which caused a living room leak that we'd never had in 20 years of living with the existing roof. I had to go up, move lots of heavy stones and patch the roof ONE more time before the whole roof was removed since the timetables of everyone didn't match up totally due to weather and schedules.
Once I made that last patch, it was fine. Then, the "bomb" of roof tear-off happened, and we also installed rigid 1 1/2" foam insulation over the decking before the membrane was installed. No more leaks, much better performance out of the HVAC system and lower bills for any season.
And yes, I'm watching everyone like a hawk who has to venture onto the new roof....;):mad:;)

Bryan Morgan
07-14-2010, 2:47 AM
I have learned you can't trust or depend on anyone when it comes to working on your house. Paying more isn't a guarantee either. This guy came in highest on the quotes.

I agree 100%. Been burned too many times by losers. (What is it with carpet guys where they NEVER can make it on time? Always 3 weeks late with 100's of excuses, and then a half-assed job I need to fix anyway).

Until I'm no longer physically able, I will do all of my own home repair and vehicle maintenance. Its literally easier for me to learn a new skill and rent/buy tools than it is to deal with morons. The good thing is, I learn to skills and get new tools. :)

neal jack
07-14-2010, 4:55 AM
I agree 100%. Been burned too many times by losers. (What is it with carpet guys where they NEVER can make it on time? Always 3 weeks late with 100's of excuses, and then a half-assed job I need to fix anyway).

Until I'm no longer physically able, I will do all of my own home repair and vehicle maintenance. Its literally easier for me to learn a new skill and rent/buy tools than it is to deal with morons. The good thing is, I learn to skills and get new tools. :)
you are so great. i have to say. learn to skills and get new tools must be wonderful experience

Dan Karachio
07-15-2010, 11:29 PM
Thanks everyone. What makes this worse is the previous owner had a new rubber roof put on and it is about 7 years old. Obviously, she didn't hire the best (a continuing theme I am discovering everywhere). However, there are many houses like mine, most without leaks and I have a new roofer that my neighbors swear by. He is curmudgeonly, of few words and I like him already!

P.S. The pitched roof idea is interesting, but we are in a joined twin (big out here near Philly and NJ) and anything with enough height would extend above the firewall and... well, there you go. However, like I said, plenty of flat roofs here and plenty of people without leaks. There ARE some roofers here who know their stuff. So, in this one area, I am willing to pay someone, but nobody, absolutely nobody but me and my new roofer will ever go on our roof again.

Don Alexander
07-15-2010, 11:52 PM
back a few years ago i used to do flat roofs repair them that is if you want a neverending job thats it even a well done flat roof developes leaks after awhile and the worst part is that the location of the water damage inside is not always an indication of the location of the leak as water will travel along support structures sometimes for long distances before leaking through

decided very early on when i started that job that i would never build anything for myself with a flat roof and if at all possible never own anything with one either

so far (25-30 years later) i have successfully avoided those miserable flat roofs :D

Dave Lehnert
07-16-2010, 12:04 AM
Not too many people who are Professionals today. Just people who are hired to do work.

I did get fooled once. I hired a company to replace 24 windows in my house. Early in the morning a group of 3 showed up to do the job. A dad and his two sons. Dad had to be 80 and the sons had hair down to their butt. They were leaning, heads resiting on the side of the pick-up truck, smoking cigs. Hacking and rubing their eyes. I thought OH MY GOD!

They got started and I never seen a bunch of hard working guys in my life. They had all the old windows removed and the new ones set in about 3 hours. They could lay a bead of caulk that looked like it ad been done by machine. They were the most professional guys that have ever worked at my place.