Help! My New Roof Leaks and the Contractor is Out of Business!

You recently invested in a new roof and breathed a sigh of relief thinking that you won’t need to deal with that for a while. Then it rained, and your brand new roof sprung a leak! You called your contractor right away only to find that they have gone out of business since they replaced your roof. Now what?

Flat Roof Leak

Especially during an economic downturn, it’s unfortunately not uncommon for less established roofing contractors to go out of business. The Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies found that during the last economic downturn in 2007-2012, 39% of roofing companies went out of business. So if you’ve found yourself with a leaky roof and no contractor, you’re not alone. Let’s go over what you should do if you are in this predicament.

Don’t Panic

First of all, don’t panic. It’s not uncommon for even a new roof to spring a leak. It’s usually not a big deal, and often is not even a symptom of shoddy roof work. Mistakes can be made by anyone—just because your new roof is leaking doesn’t necessarily mean that the work itself was poorly done. Most often a leak in a new roof originates around the flashing or seal around protrusions in the roof such as chimneys, skylights, stack lines, or valleys. This type of leak is relatively easy to fix and likely won’t be too costly or take too long to do. If you’re able to, put a tarp over the area to keep things as dry as possible until you can get it fixed.

Assess the Situation

Gather as much information about the leak as possible before calling a new roofer to fix it. Do your best to find where the leak is coming from. You don’t necessarily have to climb up onto the roof to do this—first scan the roof from the ground to see what you can observe from there, then check the underside of your roof deck from within the attic. It may also be helpful to make note of the time it started raining, how hard it was raining, and how long it had been raining when the leak started to show. This information can help a roofer determine how serious the issue is and how to best fix it.

Check Your Paperwork

Do you have tear-off or underlayment photos from when your roof was replaced? If so, this could help your new contractor identify the issue. It will also be helpful for a new roofer to know what the scope of the work was to see if the previous contractor followed specifications or what was being covered up. Both of these things will help a new contractor figure out what needs to be done more quickly, so collect as much of this information as you can.

Check With the Manufacturer

Check with the manufacturer of the roofing product used to see if a warranty was registered at the time of the original installation. If so, the problem could potentially be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty on the product and the contractor’s warranty on the installation are separate, so depending on the problem the manufacturer’s warranty may or may not cover it—but it’s always worth checking.

Do Your Due Diligence to Find a New, Reputable Roofer

When you call a new roofer to fix your leak, don’t just hire the first one you can find in a panic. Do some research to make sure you hire an established, reputable roofing contractor. Check online reviews, ask friends and family for referrals, and look for a contractor who has been around for a while. Good reviews and longevity are positive signs that a roofer does quality work, has a reputation for customer satisfaction, and will be in business for the foreseeable future.

Interview a few new roofers before choosing one, and get estimates from each of them. If a contractor says they’ll need to reroof the whole house again to fix the issue, that’s a red flag—make sure to get at least one other opinion before you agree to such an extreme solution. Also, keep in mind that you get what you pay for: If one roofer is offering you a price well below the others, that could be a red flag as well. A contractor who has a good reputation and has been in business for a while will be well worth the money they charge.

Find a roofing contractor who will not only fix the problem, but will warranty their work. Ideally, find one that will also extend a warranty to the rest of the roof. You may have to pay a bit extra for this service, but it will be worth it to have peace of mind and someone to call the next time you have an issue.

Moving Forward

If you find yourself with a leaky roof and your contractor has gone out of business, all is not lost: any experienced roofing contractor will be able to fix your leak. Just make sure that going forward you have a contractor by your side who will stand by their work should future issues arise.

All Elements offers the best in residential and commercial roof inspection and repair. We are an established business with a solid reputation for high quality workmanship and customer service, and we stand by the work we do. If you’ve found yourself without a roofing contractor, we’d be happy to step in to take care of your roof. Contact us today at 763-314-0234. We look forward to serving you!

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