Archive for November, 2011

BBB Advice on Roofers

Every year the Better Business Bureau receives thousands of complaints about roofers from unsatisfied and frustrated customers. Roofing Contractors are the most researched by homeowners at the BBB, more than 2 million times a year.

Dishonest companies, storm chasers and door to door salesmen can cost homeowners more than the price of repairs by shoddy work or not doing the job at all.


A common scam is for well-dressed salesman to come to your door, they have a work truck and a few tools and tell the homeowner that they were in the neighborhood working on another roof and they could see from the road that the homeowner’s roof is severely damaged. They tell you that the insurance companies will more than likely cover the cost. The workers go up on the roof; sometimes doing damage themselves so they can charge the homeowner to repair it. The homeowner then signs a contract saying they will hire the company to do the job. Once the check is cashed, the work is not done properly or not done at all.

BBB Tips and Advice

The Better Business Bureau recommends that when homeowners are looking for a roofing contractor or roofer to do repairs or replace your roof that you start your search with either online or call your local BBB office and check the Accredited Business Locator.

• Never pay the full cost upfront. Avoid contractors that ask you to obtain the required permits or use high pressure sales and make offers too good to be true.

• Verify that the business meets all state and local requirements including being licensed, insured and bonded.

• Ask for references.

• Ask if they will be subcontracting out the job and for those references and licensing information also.

• Get at least 3 bids. Be careful as very low bids might be a warning of poor workmanship or added-on hidden fees.

• Extremely important to get everything in writing, even verbal agreements. Scrutinize the payment terms, cost of labor and materials. Get warranties or guarantees in writing.

Being prepared is your best defense. You can also contact your homeowner’s insurance company for a list of approved roofing contractors. Be careful you don’t end up paying for the cost of the repairs yourself because you were scammed by an unapproved roofing contractor and your insurance company won’t pay for repairs again.

Metal Roofing Faces Opposition

metal roofMany homeowners love metal roofs and the variety of styles and colors they offer. They have great aesthetic appeal and can really add value to the look of a home.

These roof materials also offer great wind resistance and are energy efficient. A quality metal roof can reflect the sun’s UV rays, keeping the home at a more even temperature and protecting the home from sun damage.

Homeowners also love metal roofs for their green roofing impact, as they are easily recycled into scrap metal or made from recycled materials. However, not everyone is a fan and they have begun to meet public opposition for the first time.

All Opposed?

While we can all agree that not every roof material is appropriate for every home, there has been very little negative feedback about metal roofs until now. One roof contractor in California is speaking out about the dangers of metal roof for California residents.

Much of California is susceptible to wildfires and the threat of fire damage. Metal roofs come with a basic level of fireproofing that, generally, does not require additional maintenance or additional treatment for the average home. However, homes that are at a greater risk of fire danger require additional fireproofing to be sure the home is as safe as possible.

Just because one California roofer does not feel metal roofs are appropriate for  California homes doesn’t mean that they can’t be used at all. Homeowners that are interested in metal roofing should shop around for the best material, making sure to find a metal roof that has a “Class A” fire rating. Copper roofs are considered Class A roof materials and aluminum roofs must have fire resistant underlay materials to meet the Class A standard. Many metal roofs may also come treated with chemicals that increase their fire safety rating.



1,500 Year Old Church gets New Roof

In Bethlehem, the Church of the Nativity, (built over a cave) in the town Jesus was born in, will be getting a new roof. The Palestinian government initiated the renovations, getting the 3 Christian churches that inhabit the building to agree on the repairs.

Funding is being provided by the Western backed Palestinian Authority and international donors. The roof repair is estimated to cost about $2 million, and the overall cost of the renovation at about $15 million.

Water Damage

The roof will be the first part of the church to be renovated. Iron beams precariously held overhead and ancient wooden beams that are rotting and crumbling are the most urgent repairs. Water has been entering the building, causing more decay and ruining priceless 12th century paintings and mosaics.

Roman Catholics, Armenian Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Christian churches share the 1,500 year old building. In traditional practice, which ever group pays for and makes the repairs, that area then belongs to them. This behavior has kept the church in poor condition for centuries. No church willing to give up any section to another.

Centuries with No Renovations

No major repairs have been made to the Church of the Nativity in more than 150 years. The dire state of the church roof prompted the Palestinian government to step in and initiate the renovations while allowing the 3 inhabiting churches to keep their section of the church and their honor.

Solar Panels Standard on Some KB Homes

Most of the Southern California division of homebuilder KB Home, is making solar panels a regular feature of their new homes. With the focus on energy savings instead of the technical aspects are attracting new home buyers in the area.

Each community comes with a set number of rooftop panels. The customers can elect to purchase more solar panels if desired. KB Home estimates each homeowner can save approximately $2,000 a year in energy savings, reducing their energy bills by half.

Purchased Panels in Bulk

President of KB Home, Steve Ruffner says the homes prices are raised slightly but are still competitively priced since they got a good deal on the panels by buying in bulk.

In the 10 test communities, new home sales were 30% higher than in areas the solar panels were not available.

So far the homes are in Los Angeles, San Diego and Riverside County. KB Home doesn’t have any plans at this point to make the solar panels standard on their rooftops across the nation.

Eagle Scout Replaces Silo Roof

Hoyt Farm Nature Preserve in Commack, NY receives a much needed silo roof from an Eagle Scout. Jeremy Wendt, from Troop 708 in Huntington was looking for a project for his Eagle Scout badge and asked the farm manager if there was anything that he could do.

Jeff Gumin, the Hoyt Farm park manager, suggested replacing the Silo roof. Gumin had been nailing fallen shingles from the silo since he was a teenager volunteering at the park.

Storm Damaged Roof

Up until 2008, repairs were made by climbing the 2 story high cement cylinder and nailing fallen cedar shingles back onto the roof. The 80 year old silo has been roofless since 2008 when a strong wind destroyed the roof beyond repair.

Wendt raised $1,000 with a pancake breakfast after getting approval from the scout masters. Wendt and a dozen scouts, Wendt’s boss, master woodworker Joe Hallaran and donated shingles from Florence Building Materials in Huntington completed the job on Veterans Day.

Raising the Roof

The next hurdle was to get the 1,300 pound roof on top of the two story silo. Smithtown traffic engineer Tony Cannone found a way to use two trucks and hoist the roof on top of the silo.

Gumin was relieved that Wendt has been able to accomplish what the park did not have the resources to do.

The Hoyt Farm is open 365 days a year. They have a water playground, a nature center and a Hoyt House Museum. They also offer educational programs, you can see more at their website

Old Roof Sold As Scrap Metal

copper roofThe green roofing movement has created quite a buzz for innovative roofing techniques and recycled roof materials. More roof contractors are offering recycled roof materials for new roof installations, as well as removal and haul away for old roof materials that can be recycled into new products.

Although most people typically think of metal roofs as being the only roof type that is easily recycled into new products, even traditional asphalt shingles can be recycled into new shingles or scrap rubber. However, metal roof materials come at a higher buyback price than most other materials, making them more appealing for those looking to maximize their trade in value.

County Courthouse Trade

A southern Indiana courthouse has been topped by a copper roof for nearly a century. The Monroe County courthouse had planned to sell the metal roof to a nonprofit group that collects antiques and architectural artifacts. However, once the deal fell through a local salvage yard put in a winning bid for the copper roof pieces. The old roof was purchased for $2,200 and sold to the Owen County salvage yard, where it will be recycled into scrap metal.

Volunteers Raise the Kennel Roof

NY, Warwick Valley Humane Society receives donations and volunteers to replace one of the area kennels roof after it collapsed. The old roof covered the outdoor run section for the dogs. It protected the dogs from the heat of the sun and from rain. No one, including the dogs, was hurt when the outside structure collapsed under the weight of snow and ice.

Area businesses and volunteers donated free labor, cash and building materials. Contractor David Cutler replaced the roof, Specht’s Auto Recycling donated a 30-yard dumpster for the debris, Roe Brothers, Mid State Lumber and Greenwood Lake Lumber donated materials and material transportation. More than a dozen volunteers provided labor and general help.

More Donations

Among others, donations came from Warwick Valley Rotary, Golden Hill Elementary School, St. Mary’s in Tuxedo and Northern Windows and Siding, a “raise the roof” benefit by the Warwick Fire Department raised nearly $5,000.

Suzyn Barron, President of the Warwick Valley Humane Society said “We received wonderful support from our community and beyond. Our canine guests could once again enjoy the outdoors, breaking the monotony of being caged inside. The outdoor runs allow for exercise of their minds and bodies and helps to keep them from going crazy while waiting for their second and sometimes third chance for a lasting home.”

For more than 40 years the Warwick Valley Humane Society has been managing the Warwick animal shelter. If you would like to make a donation, please call 845 986-2473.

155 Year Old Church Gets Update

In Bristol Rhode Island, the First Congregational Church is getting a new slate and rubber roof and a new roof on the bell tower. The church will also be getting critical structure repair, primarily working from the new larger basement.

Built in 1856, the First Congregational Church on 281 High Street has a major issue with built up moisture from the basement. The wooden frame supporting the floor and interior walls is rotting and slowly sinking.

Replacing the Roof

The rubber was replaced on the flat roof areas. Approximately 150 slate pieces were replaced on the roof, repairing the rest with copper inserts. Throughout the years the slate roof has received tar patches and pieces of bad slate. The pieces have degraded and chipped, sliding down and damaging the rubber on the flat roof.

Deciding to go with copper instead of replacing the tin on the bell tower roof, Heritage Restorations President Robert J. Cagnetta said the copper would last at least 60 years “it takes a lot for us to get workers up there and tens of thousands of dollars to put scaffolding up” he said.

Expanding the Basement

The first part of the renovation was excavating the clay like soil to open up the basement to a 6 foot depth instead of the previous crawl space area. The workers could then get in and shore up the walls, install new drains, plumbing and electrical and then replace the sill plate and floor joists to stabilize the frame.

During the week construction runners are laid down so workers can do interior repairs, on Friday evening it is all taken up for weekend services.

20,000 Shingles for Roofless Church

The 50 foot upside down wooden rosebud that covers the alter at a church in New Harmony, Indiana is getting the roof replaced. 20,000 shingles have to be individually cut to reroof the open air roofless church.

The distinctive structure was completed and dedicated in 1960 by 20th Century architect Philip Johnson. He believed that only one roof, the sky, could embrace all worshipping humanity.

Protecting a Statue at Center of Alter

The domes structure covers a sculpture designed by Lithuanian-French sculptor Jacques Lipchitz “The Descent of the Holy Spirit”.

The father and son company, Koester Construction, has been working on the roof since August. Speaking of the 50 year old roof shingles, Chris Koester said “The main thing is figuring out how they did it, the old ones are so deteriorated that we couldn’t tell how it was done.”

Hopes to be Complete for Christmas Ceremonies

Working from the original blueprints they can figure out where to put the fluted, curved and angled shingles, they hope to have the new roof completed by December.

The New Harmony church is in the center of this 1,000 resident town. The unique church receives many visitors and is a popular location for weddings and other religious events.

Old Church gets New Roof

In Poway California, the members of the Community Church of Poway are getting ready to celebrate the 125th year of their Queen Ann Victorian Chapel. The original roof was built out of redwood from Northern California.

Through donations and fund raising, the church at the corner of Community Road and Hilleary Place, has enough money to completely re-roof the chapel and any sheathing issues that they might find under the scalloped shingles.

Removing Old Lead Based Paint First

Pastor Glen D Larson Jr. would like to see the roof have all new wood and exterior paint to last at least 25 years. The first step in repairing the roof is to remove the 100 year old lead based paint, next the roofing contractor will begin replacing the wood roof Monday October 24th with plans to be completed in a week.

The church is still needs approximately $50,000 to complete the last three phases. The church is acknowledging all donations received as donations to a charitable organization.
• Phase 2, a complete exterior repainting in a lead safe paint
• Phase 3, remodeling the entry to the chapel for accessibility and
• Phase 4, minor interior touch ups and replace the badly worn carpets.

If you would like to donate money to the Community Church of Poway to restore the 125 year old chapel, please make the check payable to Community Church of Poway, 13501 Community Road, Poway, CA 92064, include “Chapel Preservation” in the memo line.