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Picking out a competent roofer is a challenge

A challenge this week is my new metal shingle roof, installed in September. The metal shingles were defective, so last week the roofer came to install new ones. The problem: they ran out of materials and left a six-foot by two-foot space at the top of the roof that wasn’t covered. The crew boss said the laminated plastic underlayment would prevent leaks. It didn’t. I had 20 leaks in my attic after a storm.

A friend came on the weekend to help me put a tarp over the hole. We didn’t want to get up on the roof because metal roofs are slick and easy to damage. We spent hours using ropes to try to position the tarp.

A roofer came to complete the work. He said installing the rest of the shingles will stop the leaking problem. I hope so. Leaking roofs are a huge problem.

Robert Krughoff, president of Consumers’ Checkbook magazine and the Center for the Study of Services, told me in an interview that consumers need to be cautious when hiring a roofer. “We hear too many roofing horror stories from our subscribers.” Problems can include poor workmanship, long waits for the job to be completed, work having to be redone, and uneven rows of shingles.

In an article, “Help from Above,” Checkbook rates roofers in the following areas: Boston, Chicago, Delaware Valley, Puget Sound, San Francisco, Twin Cities, and Washington, D.C. The article appears in the Fall/Winter issue of Checkbook. If you subscribe to Checkbook, you can read the roofing article online. Or you can call 800-213-7283 to get a copy.

I also used the Better Business Bureau Yellow Pages to find roofers to ask for estimates. You can also ask friends and relatives for suggestions.

When selecting a roofer be sure to check the Better Business Bureau Web site to see if complaints have been filed against the firms you are considering. Your state Attorney General's Office also may have information.


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Lisa Robison

We are lucky that our handyman was able to install a new roof after hurricane Wilma dropped a tree on our old one. No leaks so far! Hopefully we'll have another quiet hurricane season this year to be able to keep enjoying our new roof :) Lisa


I'm glad your roof repair went well. I'm still having problems with my roof. The manufacturer of the material is working with the roofer, so I'm expecting it will be resolved.

Avis Brunswick

Oh, that is very unfortunate. It must have been so bad to suffer 20 leaks knowing that you could have avoided problem had the roofer installed the metal shingles you ordered. Your friend was nice enough to have helped you set up a tarp to cover the hole. I hope you had that roof problem fixed right away.

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