I just had my house reroofed yesterday. It already had two layers of
shingles on it. So, it was necessary to remove all of the old asphalt
shingles before putting the new ones on. I have given the contractor
about half of the money as a deposit, but I haven't given him the
other half yet. The two issues I have with the job he did are:
1. He roofed right over the swamp cooler legs instead of removing the
legs and then putting the roofing underneath them. Now I have little
teepee like or vulcano shaped mounds made out of bent shingles going
up around the legs along with gobs of some sort of roofing sealer
plastered all around legs. When the day comes that I have to replace
the swamp cooler, I'm obviously going to have to tear off part of the
shingles and then do some sort of a repair job. He also did the same
thing with my satellite dish antenna. So, I'm never going to be able
to get it off either without tearing off some shingles, etc.
2. Removing the Shingles made a helluva mess in my yard. I did raise a
lot of Cain with those guys before they left in order to get most of
it picked up, but there is still some left and there are also pieces
of shingles in the rain gutters. The normal method of cleaning up was
obviously to use a rake and then any pieces that weren't picked up by
the rake were left for the homeowner. The problem is that this leaves
one helluva a lot of asphalt shingle pieces in my yard that range in
size from a dime to a dollar and even larger. In addition, there's no
way to be sure that all of the nails have been picked up. So, you
never know for sure if a child, for instance, could wind up with a
nail in his foot someday.
My two questions are, do I have legitimate complaints about the
workmanship and even if the roofer lifts the legs of the swamp cooler
and takes the antenna off and does it right will the patchwork repair
job he does on the shingles be acceptable?
Cleanup is a matter of degree. Any roof job is going to leave a few
pieces of old and new roof as well as a number of nails around. It is just
part of that kind of work. It sounds like yours was worse than it should
have been. As for the swamp cooler, I really don't know what good practice
is for that kind of issue. I have never had a house that had that kind of
I suggest you start by reviewing any kind of contract you may have
signed or they may have given you. See what it says.
As far as cleanup goes, most roofers in these parts will lay a tarp on
the lawn below the roof. This is a better-faster-cheaper way to deal
with tear off mess.
Just running the shingles up the legs of the swamp cooler sounds
shoddy to me. I guess in hindsight you should have asked him how he
would deal with it. I would certainly think the best way would be to
get the new shingles under the legs, but I'm not familiar with them so
can't say what the standard practice is.
That is the way my recent hail damage re-roof was done, but it does not
totally eliminate clean up or offer 100% The guys who did the job were
careful. They also did a after removing the taps clean up and followed up
with an industrial magnet to catch additional nails, but even with all that
there were a few nails and scraps left behind. I might add that the gutters
were clean when they left, but a few days and rains later, they had some
scraps and nails in them.
I agree that good workmanship means it should be clean when they are
done, and I consider what that crew did was clean when they finished. As my
uncle always said, "Only God is perfect." He of course never tried to be
After I seen the difficulty involved with trying to clean up pieces
the size of a dollar and smaller and the problem with the nails, that
was the first question that came to mind. Why didn't they use a tarp
of some kind? It would certainly take less time to lay the tarp down
and pick it up again, than it would to do a half-way decent job
cleaning the area by hand.
The cleanup should be more thorough. Ask them to do a better job and
to have them use a magnetic broom (basically a long magnet on wheels),
that will pick up any stray nails and keep your lawn mower from
hurling projectiles and chewing up the blades.
Your other point is not a valid one. You do _not_ want a roofer
disconnecting equipment. Nothing good would ever come of that. If
you wanted the shingles under the equipment it was your responsibility
to contact the appropriate people for that sort of work and have it
completed before the roofer arrived.
Ripping off a few shingles to expose the connections when you do
eventually need to replace that stuff, is no big deal. Rather
I agree. They are roofers, not swamp cooler technicians.
Done "properly" (to your specs), you have have to hire a swamp cooler
technician to REMOVE the swamp cooler. Then the roofer would do his job.
Then the swamp cooler guy would return and REinstall the machine.
Done this way, the roofing job price would go up like your cable TV bill.
As for the mess, I suspect the OP got as good a clean-up as he'll get after
having complained about it.
We had a HORRENDOUS hail storm 10 years ago. Baseball size. (no joke) I
retrieved a couple "stones" from my bathtub as they came right through the
Hordes of "roofing gypsies" descended on our community, leaving in their wake
all manner of workmanship ranging from good to total trash.
I waited a year before our LOCAL (well reputed) roofer got to my house while
virtually everyone else on my block had theirs done by traveling roofers.
My original, 7-year-old roof was torn off and replaced by this craftsman while
we were away on a week's vacation.
The old man from across the street came over to compliment my job. He
observed that I got a MUCH better job than he did and that the clean-up after
my job was MUCH better than what he had gotten.
Indeed: I probably found no more than 3-4 nails and a couple
50-cent-piece-size chunks of shingle at the end of my downspouts after the
next, hard rain.
The cleanup should have been better from what you describe. It is
impossible to contain every scrap of shingle and nail when you do a
tear off even with tarps but a good faith effort is expected.
So far as the cooler and antennae are concerned, it should have been
moved before roofing but no way is that the responsiblilty of the
roofer to remove your equipment unless specifically requested.
The roofer may show up on the job not knowing exactly what to
expect. The person who bid your job may not be on the crew.
Typcially they just do the job and leave without even interacting with
paid to move it then they have no choice but to work around it. They
don't have time to stop to ask you or anyone else why it hasn't been
moved. So, it you don't move it then you have to have it in the
contract if you want the roofers to move it.
An acceptable patch can be made in both cases, no problem. It should
be just as good as new when patched. I do not think you can hold the
roofers responsible for this extra work unless it was in the original
Yes, I would contact the roofers and at least ask for a half bundle of
shingles to store somewhere, this way if you move your dish or have the
cooler replaced you will have matching shingles to patch the roof. It is
always a good practice to have some extras of tiles, shingles or anything
that could be hard to find in the future, to have around for repairs or
That would be sort of difficult to do, I think, since I would have to
have them spread out somewhere for many years. That's a good point,
though. In 10-20 years the shingles aren't going to match any how,
even if they were exactly the same before they aged.
That sounds like great advice. Thank You!
As it turns out, I did replace the swamp cooler a couple of years ago.
So, it will last quite awhile. They do eventually rust out, however.
I'm not sure if one will last 30-years (the advertised life of the
shingles), though, even if well cared for.
I would guess DirecTV has upgraded their dish antennas about 3 times
in the last 10 years. So, I'm not very optimistic about not having to
replace the dish.
Hint: Don't put the new dish on the roof. Mount it on a fence post or a
metal post sunk in concrete in the yard. TV antennas need to be high, a
Having the dish within arm's length helps with snow removal. You can also
more easily move it if tree growth interferes.
I would love to do that. Unfortunately, my neighbor to my south has a
solid wall of tall trees on the north side of his property. So, I had
to put the antenna near the peak of my roof on the south end of my
house to get clearance.
I read somewhere that it helps to spray cooking oil (Pam) on the dish
to prevent snow buildup. I've done that with mine and I don't have
much trouble with snow. I'm not sure if it's actually because of the
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