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Roof replaced 3 years ago - now told plywood needs replacing

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  • Feb 9th, 2018 4:48 pm
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
141 posts
33 upvotes

Roof replaced 3 years ago - now told plywood needs replacing

3 years ago I had my roof replaced with a 10 year watertight workmanship warranty.

Recently the roof started to leak. The roofers came round and could not identify the source of the leak.

However they stated that the roof is buckling and then we need to replace the plywood - which of course involves removing the shingles.

This will cost $6500 - the original cost approx $8000, so I don't know whether any discount has been applied.

When we had the roof done before they did not suggest to redo the plywood.

Obviously I am annoyed about this - since it would have been much cheaper to replace the plywood when it was done before.

Do I have any options going forward other than paying to get it done?

Ideally I would like to just pay what it would have cost extra to get it done originally, but is that a reasonable expectation?

I would presume any other company would charge more.
35 replies
Deal Addict
Jun 11, 2010
1369 posts
801 upvotes
ottawa
itIsI wrote: 3 years ago I had my roof replaced with a 10 year watertight workmanship warranty.

Recently the roof started to leak. The roofers came round and could not identify the source of the leak.

However they stated that the roof is buckling and then we need to replace the plywood - which of course involves removing the shingles.

This will cost $6500 - the original cost approx $8000, so I don't know whether any discount has been applied.

When we had the roof done before they did not suggest to redo the plywood.

Obviously I am annoyed about this - since it would have been much cheaper to replace the plywood when it was done before.

Do I have any options going forward other than paying to get it done?

Ideally I would like to just pay what it would have cost extra to get it done originally, but is that a reasonable expectation?

I would presume any other company would charge more.
What does your warranty say? I would push them to replace the shingles for free and only charge you for the original plywood install costs.
Deal Guru
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Mar 13, 2004
11522 posts
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Toronto, Ontario
Would not be surprised if they found the leak and it was their fault so now they are trying to get some money out of it. I would maybe even call another company and get a second opinion.
Deal Expert
Jan 27, 2006
17180 posts
9928 upvotes
Vancouver, BC
sickcars wrote: Would not be surprised if they found the leak and it was their fault so now they are trying to get some money out of it. I would maybe even call another company and get a second opinion.
Exactly.

The plywood is only there to support the waterproofing material (they did put that down didn't they?) and the shingles above it. If the water got through the two materials (waterproofing material and the shingles), then obviously, something failed in those two materials. Get a second opinion.
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
141 posts
33 upvotes
barqers wrote: What does your warranty say? I would push them to replace the shingles for free and only charge you for the original plywood install costs.
The only wording of the warranty that I can find is from the original quote which said
"10 year water tight workmanship warranty"
There was also warranty info regarding the shingles but I don't think that is relevant here.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 15, 2013
1667 posts
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Ottawa
I think you're SOL.

When it comes to roofing, I don't place any credence to warranties whatsoever. I basically pick a roofer with a good rep and is accredited with CertainTeed, Owens Corning or GAF and hope for the best.
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
itIsI wrote: The only wording of the warranty that I can find is from the original quote which said
"10 year water tight workmanship warranty"
There was also warranty info regarding the shingles but I don't think that is relevant here.
10 yr Watertight is your warranty IMO as they should have assessed the roof before they did the job or at least advised you at the time.

Did they put shingle on top of shingle or did they strip and shingle?

I'd get them to fix the area where the water is leaking...it should be at their cost.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
141 posts
33 upvotes
gr8dlr wrote: 10 yr Watertight is your warranty IMO as they should have assessed the roof before they did the job or at least advised you at the time.

Did they put shingle on top of shingle or did they strip and shingle?

I'd get them to fix the area where the water is leaking...it should be at their cost.
They stripped the old shingles.

They haven't been able to identify the source of the leak.

While trying to find it they said they found that the plywood was buckling which would cause leaks now and/or in the future
Deal Guru
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Mar 13, 2004
11522 posts
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Toronto, Ontario
But why is it buckling? Because the plywood is wet/damaged. When they stripped the roof they would of saw damaged plywood and told you to replace it. Since they did not that tells you the plywood was good which is why they put shingles on top. So it has to be an issue with their installation if its leaking and now there is an issue with the plywood.

Tell them they should replace/fix everything at their cost. They will likely not agree and so on and so fourth but based on the warranty they should. See how that goes if it does not work after them arguing with it then say, ok listen I'm willing to pay for the plywood that needs to be replaced & the company pays for everything else
itIsI wrote: They stripped the old shingles.

They haven't been able to identify the source of the leak.

While trying to find it they said they found that the plywood was buckling which would cause leaks now and/or in the future
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
3860 posts
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What, they offered a "10-year Watertight Workmanship" warranty that you were counting on, and you never asked for the terms in writing? Oops, mistake #1. My last roofing job had the same thing, but I did ask for a written copy of the warranty (not offered by the company), and then I questioned them about the details.

When they do a shingle roofing job, normally one of the terms is that they will inspect the plywood sheathing and add the cost of repairing any portions that require repair. Normally that's where there has been a leak and the plywood is rotting from being damp all the time. Is there such a term in your roofing contract? Did they charge you for any repairs? Did they mention any concerns?

Those sort of leaks are rare if the roofing job was done properly, i,e,, they put down a proper waterproof underlay underneath the shingles. Preferably synthetic underlay these days and not cheap old-style roofing felt. Did they do that on your job? Or did they cheap out and lay shingles directly on the plywood? That's still allowed by code in some places, but it shouldn't be. It's substandard and asking for trouble.

It's possible for plywood sheathing to suffer damage from moisture and condensation in the attic, for example if bathroom vents are improperly vented in the attic and there's insufficient attic ventilation. Those are issues that the responsible roofers would tell you about. But more likely if the sheathing is warping and needs replacement, it's because of a leak through the shingles (a leak that should have been stopped by the underlay). That's due to poor workmanship or materials if the roof is fairly new. That's where your nebulous warranty should come in.

So you should find out exactly what caused this plywood sheathing damage, and hold the roofer responsible under the warranty if it's a leak. If they didn't provide you with the warranty terms, then take them to small claims court and the judge will likely agree that "10-year Watertight Workmanship warranty" implies to any reasonable person that they will fix leaks caused by their poor workmanship, and they should have provided the warranty terms to you if that was not the case.
Deal Guru
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Sep 1, 2005
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Markham
As EXP315 said....there is a clause that they will inspect sheathing and they also quote how much they charge for sheathing.

They might have had some leg to stand on if it was shingle on shingle at your request and insistence (in which case, they would've had a CYA clause) but since it was stripped they are SOL.
We're all bozos on the bus until we find a way to express ourselves...

Failure is always an option...just not the preferred one!
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
141 posts
33 upvotes
There was a clause to replace defective decking, but they did not inform of us of any and do not charge us.

The quote included synthetic underlayment to entire deck

When they were looking for the leak they said that there was an uninsulated bathroom fan vent in the attic which could cause condensation but did not claim that was the cause of the buckling.

Next step is get back to them with info learned here to see how they respond
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
141 posts
33 upvotes
Response is that we were provided with two quotes, one including plywood replacement and one without (which is true).

We chose the one without (I presume on their recommendation) and that he told us that the warranty did not cover buckling of the plywood - I have no idea whether he did or not.

The quote is significantly under the going rate for the job so getting someone else in is not really practical.

Grrrr
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
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Would you mind sharing the company name or what city they're in? I'd like to avoid them.
Deal Addict
Jul 3, 2017
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itIsI wrote: Response is that we were provided with two quotes, one including plywood replacement and one without (which is true).

We chose the one without (I presume on their recommendation) and that he told us that the warranty did not cover buckling of the plywood - I have no idea whether he did or not.
The usual situation is that if they find any plywood sheathing or cross-strapping that needs replacement, they will repair it and add it to the cost. Most roofers won't do the job without making required repairs, but there's seldom any need to completely replace the plywood sheathing. You're saying they told you that if you didn't agree to a full replacement of the plywood sheathing, then their warranty was void?

And why would the roof be leaking if they put proper synthetic underlay below the shingles, even if the plywood was warped? Are you sure they put down a full layer of synthetic underlay? Did you get photos?

These don't sound like the best roofers to deal with.
[OP]
Jr. Member
May 4, 2007
141 posts
33 upvotes
Exp315 wrote: The usual situation is that if they find any plywood sheathing or cross-strapping that needs replacement, they will repair it and add it to the cost. Most roofers won't do the job without making required repairs, but there's seldom any need to completely replace the plywood sheathing. You're saying they told you that if you didn't agree to a full replacement of the plywood sheathing, then their warranty was void?

And why would the roof be leaking if they put proper synthetic underlay below the shingles, even if the plywood was warped? Are you sure they put down a full layer of synthetic underlay? Did you get photos?

These don't sound like the best roofers to deal with.
They haven't said that the warranty would be void. But have said that it would leak again the future because the warped boards (I can't remember the exact term) will cause the shingles and nails to rise.

Why would the roof be leaking - I would guess through the nail holes, isn't that what it normally is.

I doubt that they are making much money on the plywood replacement (by comparing with the original estimates to do the job) so I don't see the incentive to say to do that if not necessary - except to cover up a poor job.

I did not get any photos, but I do believe that they used the synthetic underlay - as for a full layer who knows.
Sr. Member
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Nov 26, 2007
785 posts
186 upvotes
You may be best served by cutting your losses.

I’ve learned my lesson - when you hire someone and they do a crappy job, then you call them back and they say they will fix their crappy job at a reduced price... guess what... the second fix will be done as crappily as the first.

Not what you want to hear but don’t expect them to be willing to lose money by making you happy. That level of customer service is quite rare.
Penalty Box
User avatar
Apr 25, 2013
7398 posts
1330 upvotes
Roofing 101 = Never trust the roofer !
The owner never goes up to see what the hell they are doing = easy money !
Get a professional to list the material for them to use and the method and standard of application before you sign the contract of else they will take short cuts and get the cheapest material they can get. Use proper and explicit grammar on the contract. "Install Vent" does not mean "Supply and Install New Vent", they will just reuse your old vents. "Supply Plywood" does not mean "Supply and Install 1/2" thick one side finish Plywood with Nails or Screws". "Install Metal Flashing" does not mean "Supply and Install New 24AWG Thick Metal Flashing and Attach with Screws" etc... If they refuse to follow your requirement, skip and find another one. I normally go through 5-8 quotes before choosing an acceptable roofer.
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 12, 2007
5587 posts
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Ottawa
I would get a home inspector (or if you can't find one, another roofer) to inspect the problem. Note that it may be difficult for you to find somebody who will want to go against your roofer. If the decking has buckled from moisture from their original workmanship, you have an argument with them to cover all or most of the cost. If the decking has buckled from moisture due to poor ventilation of the attic, it can be entirely on the homeowner to correct.
Newbie
User avatar
Feb 6, 2018
26 posts
8 upvotes
Cambridge, On
How is the access to the attic? Did the roofer or anyone else go inside the attic to locate exact point of water entry? Did the roofer show you pictures up close of where he suspects the water is coming in? I would get a second opinion from a reputable company that doesn't send their sales guy to your home but an actual experienced roofer that will inspect the issue. Obviously if the plywood decking is buckling in several areas then you should definitely re-deck and re-roof and you probably have a severe attic ventilation problem that should be addressed as well. Although, if its just one area then most likely the plywood was loose upon install or maybe you a have a bathroom vent exhaust in the area that did not make it out of the attic during install. Lots of variables here but perhaps the leak can be repaired? Did you discuss that option with the roofer? The roofer will do everything they can to avoid replacing at their cost, even if they are ultimately at fault for not inspecting decking or knowingly installing the roof on faulty deck boards. If bad attic ventilation is the culprit then you are SOL and it is unfortunate that the roofer did not originally discuss or inform you of that potential problem that is fairly common. Definitely express your point of view to the roofer and if possible write a review on the company regarding your experience so others are informed of their business practice.

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