DEAR BARRY: Last summer, we hired a contractor to put a new roof on our leaky garage. When he was finished, the final cost was higher than the original estimate because the contractor had to remove the old layers of roofing. Months later, the first rain came and the roof leaked in several places.
We called the roofer, and he did some patching. Again, the rains came, and there were more leaks. He did more repairs, but again, the roof continued to leak. Now he blames the layout of the roof and wants more money for further repairs.
We checked his contract, and there is no stated warranty. It just lists the work to be done. What can we do to resolve this situation? –Christine
DEAR CHRISTINE: Everything you have said about this contractor raises doubts about his qualifications and integrity. First, he should have known that there were multiple roof layers when he bid on the job. You should not have had to pay extra to remove the existing material. Second, he knew the layout of the roof before he began the job and should have taken any irregularities into consideration.
To blame the roof layout, rather than the questionable quality of his work, and then to ask for additional money for repairs, is an inexcusable outrage. Third, the fact that he cannot install a new roof that does not leak and then cannot stop the leaks, in spite of repeated attempts to do so, shows that he is not a master of his craft.
Contractor warranties are typically regulated by state laws and apply to all construction contracts, regardless of whether the warranties are specifically stated. For details regarding warranty requirements in your state, you should contact the official agency that licenses contractors. If your contractor is unwilling to stand behind his work, you can file a complaint with that state agency.
To get a better idea of what is wrong with the new roof, have it evaluated by another roofing contractor or by a qualified home inspector.
DEAR BARRY: The home I’m selling has an asphalt driveway with thousands of cracks, some as wide as 2 inches. How should I deal with this as a seller? Should I disclose it as a safety problem? Do I have to repair the cracks? Can repairs be made without repaving the driveway? –Avery
DEAR AVERY: All property defects, including driveway cracks, should be disclosed to buyers. Whether such disclosures should be framed in the context of safety depends upon whether the cracks constitute potential trip hazards. If the cracks in your driveway are as wide as 2 inches, they certainly qualify in this regard. Consider, for example, a high-heeled pedestrian planting a spike in a deep crack and spraining an ankle.
As for repairing vs. repaving, the question demands a visual inspection rather than a written description. However, if the cracks in your driveway truly number in the thousands, a new layer of asphalt is probably the most practical approach.