Contractor Only Replace Half of Roof - Options?

37 Replies

what is the average cost per sq foot in the area for the work done?

Most likely a judge will require you to pay that. 

Personally if it would be approx $3,000 I would pay it and be done with it

When you get roofing quotes it should be specific on how many squares they are replacing.  Fiber Board is called OSB Oriental Strand Board.  Its less expensive then plywood but is used all over the country.  I would have hoped you had gotten more than one bid so you could compare pricing.  That most likely would have acknowledged the discrepancy.  In our area you will probably pay $350 dollars a square (per 100 square feet).  A small job of course will cost a higher figure.  Always get multiple bids, many times this will resolve something left out.

Good Luck.    

Originally posted by @Tim Porsche :

Hi All,

I have a bit of a situation here and would greatly appreciate any advice on how to proceed. I purchased a rental property back in Spring of this year and decided to replace the roof on it because it's quite obvious it has reached the end of its useful life. The roof can be divided into four main sections.

1. The main section of the roof. This is about a 600 Sq. ft area and is a flat roof.

2. The front porch roof. Relatively small section that is rubber.

3. Back area of house roof. This is about a 150 sq. ft area that covers the back of the house where the kitchen is. Also a rubber roof.

4. Back porch roof. Very small section that covers the back porch. Maybe 50 sq. ft.

The contractor replaced the main section, but nothing else, and is claiming that is all he bid on. He also charged me extra to remove two extra layers of roofing underneath. Now, when I originally contacted the roofing contractor to get a quote to replace the roof back in June, I never differentiated between any of these sections. When I told him I wanted "the roof" to be replaced I assumed he realized I meant the WHOLE roof, not just the main section. I had never thought a contractor would replace only certain sections of the roof when you tell them you want "the roof" replaced. Looking back this was a mistake on my part, and in the future I'll make sure to have as much detail as possible listed in the contract about EXACTLY what is included in the price and what is not. 

The only written proof I have that I wanted all sections replaced is an email where I stated the following to the contractor's assistant, and also the contractor himself who was copied on the email:

"Hi Name,

Thanks for the quote, I appreciate it! A couple of quick questions for you on the roofing product used though. Will .060 TPO be used on both the flat portion of the roof and the slanted portion and porch roofs, or just the flat section of the roof? Also what is the average life expectancy of .060 TPO roofing for flat roofs? I'm not familiar with the product so I have no idea.


The contract itself states the following:

"Specifications: Proposed Cost


Remove & dispose of the existing roof, if additional layers are found they will be removed at $50.00/sq.

Inspect current roof deck, if replacement is needed it will be completed at $1.65/s.f.

Install 1⁄2” fiber board to the entire roof deck using screws and plates

Install .060 TPO to the roof with all needed flashings and trims

Install perimeter metal with all needed flashings

Proposed Cost: $3,300"

I guess my question is, what options do I have at this point? Do I just suck it up, pay, and then get someone else to finish the other sections of the roof? I know I made a mistaken not specifying exactly what needed done in more detail...but honestly, when you say you want the roof of a house replaced, wouldn't most people assume you mean the whole roof and not half of it? 

Thanks in advance for any advice.

I would call the county and confirm they are licensed

Also try to find out if they are insured 

@Alex S. Thanks for the feedback Alex I appreciate it. That makes me feel better knowing someone who does this kind of work and is licensed would have assumed the same thing I did...that replacing the roof means the whole roof not just one section. I have other roofers set to come out next week to give quotes on the main section and the rest of the sections. I'm going to wait to see what they come back with, and then decide how to proceed based on that. 

Originally posted by @Michael Plante :

what is the average cost per sq foot in the area for the work done?

Most likely a judge will require you to pay that. 

Personally if it would be approx $3,000 I would pay it and be done with it

Yes that's just what I need to find out. I'm having a few contractors come out next week to bid on the main section and also the remaining sections that weren't done. If their quotes are in the same ballpark for just the main section as what I paid, for the same materials, I'll pay the contractor in full. If every other roofer is quoting me around $2,000 for the main roof, then I'll most likely not be paying the full $3,300 + $540 extra for removing extra layers. 

Hi @Account Closed , please see my original post. I have the contract that I signed in the post. In the contract the roof was not broken down into sections. It just says that "the roof" would be replaced. The question is does "the roof" mean all sections of the roof on the house (there's nothing detached here), or only the main top section? I assumed, I think reasonably, that "the roof" means the whole roof...all sections. The contractor apparently thought it only meant the main section.

WOW, there are a lot of misleading/wrong information posts here. 

@Jay G. LOL. Your post cracked me up, couple points:

- Get quote for the other sections from another local roofer. Up to you to share your experience or not with the roofer giving new bid, but I wouldn't share the price that you paid to your scammer roofer for the first half of the job.

First off, the roofer is not a scammer, there is no indication of a scam here, it is simply misunderstanding between two parties, mainly the contractor is not up to industry standard, NOT KNOWING what his trade is does not constitute a scam, he simply did not know, a scam has the "intent", meaning, they know but they intend to deviate.

- Send that new quote to the scamming contractor. Offer him a short period of time to perform the work as you originally agreed. Inform him if he fails to complete within that period of time, you will file a licensing board complaint and sue him for the additional charges you had to pay to complete the work + damages + attorney fees. Do this in writing - send email w/attachment and the same via registered mail to his mailing address on file with the licensing board.

Second, there is no such thing as Damages and Attorneys Fees in small claims court, the project is less than 5k, so it belongs to small claims, Ergo, you can't get an attorney to get involved. 

For everyone else... when getting a roofing job estimate, make a single page overhead printout of your house (google images or whatever) and make sure the contractor clearly indicates on this document all sections to be included (even if it's a giant circle around everything). I'd especially do this if you have a detached garage, shingled porch, or similar that you specifically want in scope.

Third, this is an overkill, you just hire a better contractor to do your roofing, simple words such as "ALL" will give a great weight, but industry standard wise, when you say existing roof, it means all roof coverings, not just one section as what @Alex S. said. A word such as dwelling and property is treated differently as well, property means all structures.

what is the average cost per sq foot in the area for the work done?

Most likely a judge will require you to pay that. 

Since you are talking about judge and court Average Cost per sq foot in the area means nothing in court, it is heresay, what it needs is solid/written quotes from other roofing contractors.

Also try to find out if they are insured

What does insurance have to do with his problem?

@Manolo D. (you might have a slight professional bias here) ;-)  --  The email exchange clearly indicated that the homeowner/client was assuming all pieces of the roof were in scope. Since the contractor was currently in the estimating/quoting phase during that exchange, something I'm sure he's done countless times, that was the time for the contractor to ask for clarification of what the client was expecting him to quote -- especially if during on on site the homeowner/client said "I only want this section done - not this, this , or this.". Instead, he may have quoted based on "half a roof" to provide customer with something he knew the customer would see as a "low" quote. 

But then, services like Yelp, BBB, and history of license board would probably help reveal if this was an honest mistake, or a common tactic by that contractor.  Neither of us knows for sure, but in my opinion from someone who has been on the client side, the estimator dropped the ball there, at minimum. 

@Jay G. I agree, it might be that as well, one thing is for sure, he is not that professional, or he doesn't know his trade. To me a scam is like when a client tells a contractor on the job that he sees a ghost, the contractor will remove the ghost by calling ghost busters and charging him 3k, oh yeah -- it happened, not a story. Never the less, the OP should not pay a dime until all roofing is done. The email does have a binding issue and a flat roof is a different material than sloped, in essence, he can have the same material installed for the other 3 sections and the roofer will be free from liability, that was the problem with the email, there was a mention of material to be used. And I think I am not biased, but then this sentence might be biased also, heh.

@Manolo D.  true enough... "scammer" may be too harsh for someone out there even doing "half" the expected work when some take the money and run.  I'm just thinking that estimating and being able to create clearly defined SOW are probably requirements of getting licensed. I'm sure you could agree that scope misunderstandings are just as much of a PITA for contractors as they are for clients. 

I guess my point in that is, the contractor is engaging in that type of business (and potentially experiencing the risks of poorly defined scope) every day. Client had expectations in the email enough so for the professional contractor expecting to only do "A" and not B,C,D to know enough to ask "... Oh you want to put B,C,D in scope as well?" 

I'd bet his quote came in seemingly low and he was award that job for that reason.  So maybe not outright "scammer". How about slightly deceptive business practices in order to get the work?

I find this thread interesting. I am a roofing/waterproofing contractor with my own $.02.

Unmet expectations lead to frustrations and disappointment.

What the contractor did well:

  • Described what the spec was for the work he was doing (tear-off, cover board, TPO, and flashing)
  • Defined the possible extra charges.
  • Requested only a small deposit.
  • Charged fairly for the extra work he performed. The quote was $50/sq ($.50/sq ft) per extra layer, he charged $560 which equals two extra layers of demo on a 560 square roof area and did not round up.

What the contractor did not do well:

  • Did not communicate effectively the limit of the work he was quoting. (Only the main roof)
  • Did not notify that extra work was necessary during the tear-off. (Two additional layers)
  • Did not respond effectively to questions.
  • Did not get a signed contract.

This is a great example of some pitfalls of not so good communication by both parties. You may have assumed that he would do every roof section and he may have assumed you wanted the lowest price and smallest scope of work possible. Who can really know?

In my opinion it is always best to have to have the scope of work and specification for that work absolutely clearly defined, described, in ink, and signed.

If I had been asked to do the section of work he did I am sure the price would have been more than $6/ft.

@Tim Porsche Would you mind PMing me the name of the contractor?

I too would've figured the quote was for everything, especially considering all the roofing is essentially the same process to replace it (not shingles on one part and rubber on another).