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We hired a roofing company to complete our roof and they didn't comply with contact, what can I do?

Brockport, NY |

We hired a roofing company to do our roof. The contract states that Ice Watershield would be installed 6 foot up the roof. They only did 3 foot up the roof. We contacted them and addressed this in the middle of the project when we noticed. They did nothing and completed the rest of the project. We only paid half the money and still have half. What options do we have? The owner said we don't need to be worried but we are very unhappy.

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Filed under: Construction law
Attorney answers 3


There are a few things you need to look at to determine what your options are. First, look at your contract and see what your options are in the event of non-compliance. You may have to put the contractor on written notice for example. Second, find out if the 3 foot ice shield vs. the 6 foot ice shield makes a substantive difference. Assuming it does, what is the cost to remedy the problem? If the cost to remedy exceeds the value of your retained funds, assuming that your contract allows it, then you may retain the funds. However, if the cost to remedy is less than the funds you are holding, you probably don't have a valid reason to withhold the full amount due.



The snow buildup on the front of the house in the winter is a great concern of ours, which we discussed with the owner prior to signed the contract. This was the main reason for the additional 3 foot ice shield. It was also factored into the total contract price, as it is significantly more expensive than traditional tar paper. Also, we have an 18 inch overhand in the front of our home which means his placement of 3 feet of ice shield is not compliant with code which states that has to be a minimum of 2 feet of ice shield over living areas. He fails to meet this by 6 inchs, or 25%. There is nothing in the contract stating non compliance, other than for me as the property owner. To remedy the situation the roof needs to be removed and iceshield has to be put down and then re-shingled. An extensive project.



The contract does state that We must notify them in writing if we believe the warranty have been breached. I don't believe the warranty was breached, I believe the contract has been breached. Thanks for your response. It is much appreciated!

Vincent Thomas Pallaci

Vincent Thomas Pallaci


You need an attorney to look at your specific contract but it sounds like you have valid grounds to withhold payment since you believe the funds you are holding will not be sufficient to complete the remedial work. As a precaution, put the contractor on written notice of the defects and advise that the contract balance will be withheld pending remedial work. Also put him on notice that if the remedial work exceeds the value of the contract balance then you deem him responsible for the extra cost. Good luck.


good sound advice by the other lawyer. Here is what i would do. First put the contractor on notice that they have to complete the work as contracted for, give them a reasonable time to complete, then get the rest of the work done. Pay for it , now you have a record of the cost to complete. Further if you do not have to be worried why did he say he would do it in the first place?

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You contracted for services. You expected the services to be preformed according to the contract. You could take the contractor to court to perform the additional service. You have the money. He will likely want the remainder.

If you don't pay then he will take you to court. As we don't know the amounts, it is difficult to determine your best course of action.

Document everything. Did you take pictures? Is the Ice Watershield visible with the shingle (If the roof has shingles)? Why did you want the 6 foot in the first place?

Again, if this is a lage sum of money, you may hire experts. If it is a small amount of money, it may not be worth pursuing. Again, if you have the money, he will likely take you to court for the final payment. SAVE ALL THE Documentation. If your unhappy, document that to the contractor. Writing, not just verbal. Take pictures. If an archetect or other roofer or contractor comes to estimate or bid the 6 ft of ice/watershield, get it in writing. Figure out the difference in the price done both ways.

Good Luck

This does not constitute legal advice, and no attorney client priveldge has been established.

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