Welcome to our blog. This page is important because many people in the roofing business have absolutely no business being in the roofing business. The huge amount of negative customer reviews on the Internet is mind boggling. You need to stay away from these folks (aka Cowboy Roofers*) and know how to get the best roofing job for the best price possible. This blog will help you do that with fun, informative, and educational factoids about all aspects of roofs and roofing.
*Cowboy Roofers are the folks you should avoid hiring because they put their interests above yours and are marginally to moderately skilled at best. Cowboy roofers give a bad name to the roofing trade and worse yet they give a bad name to the large number of quality-oriented roofing contractors out there. Check out our Hall of Shame for examples of what happens when cowboy roofers get on your roof.
If you have a question that you would like SuperRoofer Joe Sardotz to answer in his blog or FAQs, please complete the Ask SuperRoofer form. Visit Joe's Contact page if you would like Joe to provide roof consulting and inspection services for you.
Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) had a busy September - October 2015, with Joe traveling far and wide to help property owners get a fair shake on their roofing. Here is a summary of each job, with links to more details and picture galleries. What do the Red Ryder Truck's golden hammers mean?
For details, please click the links and search for the title.
Summary of Roof Inspections & Roof Certifications (October 2015) - Summary of roof inspections, roof certifications, and new roof installation monitoring that Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) performed in October 2015 in both Washington and Oregon. Oregon cities included Ashland, Clackamas, Damascas, Gladstone, Happy Valley, Lake Oswego, N Portland, NE Portland, NW Portland, Oregon City, SE Portland, Tigard, and West Linn. Washington cities included Vancouver.
Photo Montage of Roof Inspections & Roof Certifications (September 2015) - Photo montage of roof inspections, roof certifications, new roof specifications, and new roof installation monitoring that Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) performed in September 2015 in both Washington and Oregon. Oregon cities included Beavercreek, Beaverton, Cedar Hills, Gresham, Happy Valley, N Portland, NE Portland, Newberg, NW Portland, Sellwood, St. Helens, SW Portland, and West Linn. Washington cities included Vancouver.
Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) had a busy May - June 2015, with roof consulting work that took Joe and Old Red up and down the West Coast from Northern Washington to Central California and Nevada. Here is a summary of each job, with links to more details and picture galleries. What do the Red Ryder Truck's golden hammers mean?
For details, please click the links and search for the title.
Photo Montage of Roof Inspections & Roof Certifications (May - June 2015) - Photo montage of roof inspections and roof certifications that Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) performed in May and June 2015 in both Washington and Oregon. Oregon cities included Aloha, Milwaukie, Mt. Scott area of Portland, Newberg, North Portland, Northeast Portland, Oregon City, Portland, Salem, Sandy, Sherwood, Southwest Portland, Tigard, Tualatin, and West Linn. Washington cities included Ridgefield and Vancouver.
Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) was hired by a West Coast-based architectural and consulting firm to inspect the roofs of 19 multi-family properties in four states (Washington, Oregon, California, and Nevada). These properties were being sold to an investment group, and part of the due diligence was roof inspections and summary reports along with photo documentation. ORC was given a specific roof inspection schedule and deadline in late June 2015, and we pulled it off without a hitch!
Our West Coast roof inspection locations, in order, were: Seattle, Olympia, and Vancouver in Washington plus Portland, Oregon in the Northwest group. The California and Nevada job locations were: Napa, Alameda, Pleasanton, San Francisco (3 properties), Richmond, Berkeley, Fremont, Oakland (2 properties), Fresno, and Sacramento (2 properties) in California, and Reno, Nevada. ➲ More photos and information.
When roofers are informed that their workmanship has issues, they have reacted in a variety of ways — from polite and agreeable, to profane and confrontational, to everything in between.
It is the contractor's obligation, responsibility, and requirement by law to install roof coverings to product manufacturers' and/or the Oregon Residential Specialty Code specifications. Just because a permit usually is not required doesn't give contractors the right to cut corners and perform shoddy workmanship. Do it right. Gee! What a concept!
Contractors are not used to scrutiny and they don't like it. They are too used to a blank check and a permanent get out of jail free card. It's amazing how willing roofers and their supporters are to justify, condone, and be satisfied with poor installation. Here are a few comments that I've heard from roofers, along with my translation:
"I've been in business xxxx years and have never had a complaint." Translation: I've never been caught.
"You can't put every nail in properly." Translation: We are in too much of a hurry.
"You're picking my roof apart." Translation: Quality is not our highest priority.
"It's not possible to do a perfect job." Translation: Our installers were never properly trained.
"You forensic guys are all the same. You're just here for a paycheck." Translation: I wish you were dead.
"Once the shingles are sealed by the sun it'll be OK." Translation: I sure hope we don't get a windstorm.
Don't Let Cowboys Ride YOUR Roof!
The term "Cowboy" can be used to describe reckless "professionals" whom you should avoid hiring because they put their interests above yours and are marginally skilled at best. Cowboy roofers give a negative image to the roofing trade and they give a bad name to the large number of quality-oriented contractors out there. (No offense to the hard-working cowboys who ride horses on the open range as they tend herds of cattle.)
Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) had a busy March - April 2015. Here is a summary of each job, with links to more details and picture galleries. (Dates are approximate, reflecting when we updated the website for projects completed.) What do the Red Ryder Truck's golden hammers mean?
For details, please click the links and search for the title such as “Photo Montage of Roof Inspections (March - April 2015)”.
Photo Montage of Roof Inspections & Roof Certifications (March - April 2015) - Photo montage of roof inspections and roof certifications that Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) performed in March and April 2015 in both Washington and Oregon. Oregon cities included Aloha, Beaverton, Damascus, Forest Grove, Gresham, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, North Portland, Northwest Portland, Scapoose, Southeast Portland, St. Helens, Tigard, and Vernonia. Washington cities included Brush Prairie, Federal Way, Longview, and Vancouver.
Updated 4/2015: See "Willow Pointe Homeowners Association (Longview, Washington, March 2014, April 2014, April 2015)"
Updated 4/30/15: See "Apartment Complex New Roof Inspection Federal Way, WA (April 30, 2015)"
Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) has been very busy during late Summer and Fall 2013, with roof inspections, supervising roofing projects start-to-finish, a few happy discoveries of roofs well-done, and several candidates for the Roofing Hall of Shame. Most jobs are addressed quickly though at times there is a waiting period as I have no employees and do everything myself. I intend on keeping this an owner/operator business. Here is a summary of each job, with links to more details and picture galleries. (Dates are approximate, reflecting when we updated the website for projects completed during late Summer and Fall 2013.)
At the 52-unit Avalon Park HOA Townhouse complex in Beaverton, ORC was hired to inspect and advise about the roof, get bids from quality contractors, and monitor the work to be done.
More images at Roofing Gallery ("Roof Inspection: Avalon Park HOA Townhouse complex in Beaverton (Oct 2013")
ORC has been hired to manage this roofing project in West Linn, Oregon, from start to finish. ORC wrote the installation specs, found good roofers to bid the job, will monitor this roof until completion, and will do a final inspection.
November 18, 2013 update: The West Linn roofing project is done.
More images at Roofing Gallery ("Residential Roofing Job Management Start to Finish (West Linn, Oregon, Oct 2013")
ORC recently wrote the install specs for and managed this new roof for homeowners in Milwaukie, Oregon.
More images at Roofing Gallery ("Residential Roofing Job Management Start to Finish (Milwaukie, Oregon, Oct 2013")
For a shake roof in Beaverton, Oregon that needed replacing, ORC wrote the installation specs for the roofers, and will monitor the work and perform a final inspection.
More images at Roofing Gallery ("Residential Roofing Job Management Start to Finish (Beaverton, Oregon, Oct 2013")
A homeowner in Milwaukie, Oregon was hoping for a roof certification, but not a chance. This roof should have been replaced years ago.
More images at Roofing Gallery ("Roof Certification: Failed (Milwaukie, Oregon, Oct 2013")
ORC was hired to inspect roofs on three houseboats along the Columbia River area of Portland, Oregon.
More images at Roofing Gallery ("Houseboat Roof Inspection (Portland Area, Oregon, Oct 2013")
Project Management Commissioned 4/30/13: Oregon Roof Consulting (ORC) has been commissioned by a busy professional to manage this residential roofing project from beginning to end.
ORC will be responsible for:
having quality-oriented roofing contractors bid the job;
writing the specifications for the job;
assist in deciding who does the roof;
monitoring the job on a daily basis;
photo documenting all aspects of the work;
emailing each day's photos to the owners to show the progress;
inspecting the completed job.
Managing your roof job is just one of the many services offered by Oregon Roof Consulting. I can save you time, money, and headaches and will make certain you get what you pay for. Guaranteed!
Bid Update: 5/15/13
The difference in bid prices was amazing considering that all five vendors were presented with the same list of products and specifications. Prices were requested for five different shingles: the difference in price for the same thing was up to $21,000! If the roofing companies were left to bid it their way, one would expect pricing to be all over the place. However, considering all were bidding the same job the same way, the pricing should have been closer. Bid monitoring is just one reason to have a qualified third-party owner advocate assist in the process, literally saving the property owner tens of thousands of dollars for the same job!
Successful Job Completion: 7/23/13
After the old shakes were removed, 1/2" plywood was installed. The plywood was gapped 1/8" everywhere, staggered properly, and all end joints are on rafters. Where necessary the original spaced sheathing was either raised or lowered so all horizontal plywood joints are over solid wood. The roof is Certainteed lifetime 'Landmark TL' in black. Included components are but not limited to:
Lead pipe jacks sanded, primed and painted.
9" continuous ridge vent.
Replace two 2X4 skylites with double E glass units.
Use two different color metal flashings (Black / White) depending on location.
Use 6" 'stem' or 'flapper' vents for all utility vents. Metal (never) plastic.
Ice & Water shield in all valleys and at all protrusions.
5-ply lifetime 'Mountain Ridge'.
Oversized 'D' metal at rake edges with bleeder strip.
6 double 'D' ring anchors evenly spaced around roof.
Chimney counter flashing sanded, primed and painted, then screwed to chimney flashing with 1/4" hex head sheet metal screws.
Shingles 6-nailed instead of the typical 4 nails.
Both chimneys pressure washed and sealed prior to the roof install.
This roof in Lake Oswego had to be redone. The specifications for the install were clear and the contractor knew it would be inspected. The ball was really dropped here. (Click images below for larger views in new window. Scroll down to read the rest of the story.)
Removal of damaged plywood overhang due to use of too-long nails
Replacement of damaged overhang plywood
New roof (second install)
New roof (again)
What was wrong? Lots!
The contract specified 30lb felt, 15 lb was used.
Edge flashing used was not as specified.
Vents and pipes were not laid in sealant.
At least 85% of nails were either set too deep, blown through (indication of air gun malfunction), at an extreme angle, and/or improperly placed. This does not occur if a roof is hand nailed.
All manufacturers are very specific about fastening, and even though a little 'wiggle room' is allowed, this was not even remotely close. Way too much wiggling! Also, the roofers used nails that were too long at the exposed overhangs, which damaged the plywood such that the owner demanded it be done again. Two days after the job was completed, the new roof was torn off and done again. The difference between the two installs was like night & day.
This incident created a lot of unnecessary stress for all parties, cost the roofer a lot of money, and was an embarassment for the company and the roofers themselves. Just a bad situation all the way around.
Do it right: First time, every time!
The moral of this story is: "Do it right the first time! Do it to manufacturer specifications. Do what the contract says."
Don't let this happen to you. I hate to think of how many badly done new roofs are out there and how many property owners have no clue about it. Have Oregon Roof Consulting inspect your new roof!
When an appraiser/inspector is expected to say a roof is bad, should the seller just accept the inevitability of that conclusion? Or should the seller preempt it? How can the seller minimize exposure...as well as cost, while still presenting what seems to be a serviceable home to the buyer? What better answer could there be than a signed "roof certification" presented by a bonded roofing contractor to back their contention that the roof is good? How valuable is this shield, and for whom does it work best?
Ryan Bowen makes some good points about the roof certification process. Many roofers simply are not qualified or experienced enough to provide an accurate assessment of a roof, just as many are not qualified to install or repair a roof. According to the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (CCB), roofing has one of the highest rates of complaints, lawsuits, conflict, and other issues of all trades.
A roofing contractor's first priority is to sell or repair a roof. A certification costs a fraction of what a new roof costs, so for sheer business reasons, contractors automatically will veer away from the roof certification option.
However, it is the seller's duty to find a qualified person to do a roof certification, just as it would be the seller's duty and responsibility to hire a competent contractor to repair or replace the roof. It's on the seller.
A certification done by a qualified individual is a perfectly legitimate tool to be used in the process of selling a home. If the home needs a new roof, replace it. If it's good, leave it alone or complete any minor repairs that are needed to extend its life for the new homeowner. If a newer roof of 5 to 15 years of age needs certification, odds are it still has plenty of life left. The best way to obtain a legitimate certification is to hire an impartial third party such as a home inspector or a roofing consultant who has nothing to sell.
I was a roofing contractor in the Metro area for the better part of three decades. Now I am a roofing consultant and inspector who also does thorough roof certifications and other roof-related consulting services for property owners. I am an independent owner advocate with no allegiance to any contractor, distributor, or material manufacturer. I tell the property owners up front that there is a chance I will find out something about their roof that they do not want to hear. My certification forms cover all aspects of the roof and its various components.
» Sample certification form (new window)
» Recent roof certification jobs
As with anything else, you get what you pay for on a roof certification, if you are lucky. People often do not get what they pay for. It is the owners /sellers responsibility to do the homework and seek qualified vendors, regardless of what type of help they are seeking. If they settle for the 'cheapest guy in town' or are not careful about whom they choose as their vendor, then they only have themselves to blame if things go south. This is true for roof replacements and it is true for roof certifications. Choose your vendors well, and the odds are in your favor for a good outcome.
This week I performed four Portland-area roof inspection and Portland-area roof certification jobs. Two roof inspections revealed the need for new roofs. One roof could be certified as is. One roof needed repairs prior to being certified.
For the Sellwood, Oregon, and Lake Oswego, Oregon, roof inspections that revealed the need for new roofs, I explained to the owners what they had, what they needed, and the best way to do it so they don't have to worry about the roof in the future. I wrote the roof specifications for the jobs and these specifications were presented to all bidders. Once all new roofing bids are received, I will review them with the owners and make my recommendations on whom to hire. After the new roofs are completed, I will inspect each finished product to be certain it was done to specifications and indicate any needed corrections. The owners can then issue the final payment to the roofing companies.
The other two jobs were roof certifications in Southeast Portland and Northeast Portland, Oregon. The first roof, I couldn’t certify because it was not in good condition. The second roof was in good condition; it just needed some vents installed and some minor chimney detail work.
This house in Sellwood needs a new roof and some overhang repairs.
I wrote specifications for a new roof on this duplex in Lake Oswego.
Lake Oswego job. Skylights were leaking due to the seals failing.
Roof certification in SE Portland.
A house in NE Portland. Could not certify because the roof was too far gone. New roof needed.
Residential and commercial roofing project consulting in Oregon; Portland Metro, Oregon; Bend, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; Washington State; and the Pacific Northwest area. Offering professional roof consulting, inspections, project monitoring, and certifications for property owners and homeowners.
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