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Choose a Roofer Carefully For Your Construction Job

Sep 10, 2008
In what appears to be a constant storm of problems contractors have seen the value of their homes plummet; their income drop from the levels of brain surgeons to normal wages; and lawsuits from failure to pay overtime wages and construction defects.

Among construction jobs there are some that are more forgiving than others when it comes to the quality of workmanship. During the booming housing years many contractors employed unskilled workers that learned on the job, many were undocumented workers and had a further language problem. Some construction workers abandoned their construction jobs and set up shop without a license. Some kept their construction jobs and did side jobs on weekends and evenings. This in turn has led to lawsuits for construction defects and will continue to lead to defective construction lawsuits for years to come.

Among the less forgiving construction jobs is roofing. The problem with roofing is that few if any roofs fully comply with building codes and manufacturers recommendations for installation of the roofing materials. The following are some of the common problems.

(1) Insufficient penetration of fasteners. When installing cement fiber shingles many roofers do not use staples to penetrate the sheathing at least 3/4". When there is a high wind the homeowner will often see large chunks of the roof flying off.
(2) Insufficient overlap of shingles or tile. Some roofers in order to keep the aesthetics and to prevent cutting of tile or shingle do provide sufficient overlap of the tiles or shingles, exposing the underlayment at the joints.
(3) Insufficient Flashing. Penetrations through flashing or flashing that does not extend high enough.
(4) Intrusion of water at plumbing and utility penetrations.
(5) Valleys that are improperly configured. The valleys in the roof need to be big enough for the debris to fall down the roof and larger at the bottom to keep from trapping the debris.
(6) Shingles failing to project at the roof edge. There should be plenty of drip flashing to prevent this problem and gutters. Wood damage often results in lawsuits for failure to install tile or shingles in such a manner as to avoid these problems.

This is not an exhaustive list of what goes wrong with roofs, but some of the most common problems found in roofing projects. When accepting a new construction job, the roofer needs to be sure that a bare minimum the previous six problem areas are properly addressed.

When the housing marketing was booming, there was a tendency to push forward regardless of the workmanship, but the markets have changed. The roofer needs to insure quality workmanship not just for legal reasons, but to insure a constant flow of business. If the construction project is done right in the first place, the roofer would not only avoid liability, but also increase the likelihood of getting more construction jobs. Failure to adhere to the bare minimum, leads to fewer construction jobs, possible lawsuits, and possibly having to shut down the business.
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