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Ceiling Stain from Roof Leak?/Unreasonable Clients


CMR
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Last week we started the installation of a new metal roof on a residence. During the installation of the roof the customer decided to discontinue installation due to alleged negligence. The customer claims that their ceiling was damaged overnight by rain before installation was completed. Also, the customer was dissatisfied with one area that had a structural problem underneath the installed metal.

The day after the alleged rain damage to the ceiling, the ceiling was already dry and had a brown stain when the customer showed it to the crew leader. They said it was caused by our negligence. (Before it rained, the crew covered the roof with tarps.) How long does it take a ceiling leak to dry and form a brown stain?

On Thursday, July 22, 2010, customer had verbally communicated to the roofing crew that the same problem area looked good the previous day so installation was continued. Not until the following morning, (Friday, July 23, 2010) before the crew started work, did the customer tell the crew that they "F__ked" up (after saying the same area looked good the day before). The customer gave us a draw on the same day. Work was continued to repair a different area where there was some structural damage that also was not visible when estimate was given to the customer). The crew was waiting on a decision to be made made on the area in question. The customer gave us a draw that same day after all of this occurred. On Monday, August 2, the crew continued working on the structural damage. The customer questioned the way they were repairing the structure. He was told that it would cost more money to repair it the way it should be repaired (which would have been to tear the top structure down and rebuild instead of a repair job). He didn't want to pay to have that done. So, after the crew had worked all day in the hot, hot sun and were ready to go home, the customer told them that he did not want us to finish the job and he would get someone else to complete the work.

We have been in business since 1998 and have never had a problem like this. Everyone has always been satisfied and if there was ever a problem we would always work to satisfy the customer. You don't stay in business this long doing shabby work.

Anyway, what I am going to do is give them the bill for all work done and materials thus far. My opinion is that the ceiling stain was there way before we ever started this project but I don't know how to prove that. We do have insurance so that is not the problem. It seems that they are trying to get something for nothing. I don't mind paying for the ceiling being repaired if it was our fault. Can you give me some advice? We are going in the morning to talk to them about the balance of what they owe and have them to sign a Release of Liability form.

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The day after the alleged rain damage to the ceiling, the ceiling was already dry and had a brown stain when the customer showed it to the crew leader. They said it was caused by our negligence. (Before it rained, the crew covered the roof with tarps.) How long does it take a ceiling leak to dry and form a brown stain?

There's a lot of variables, but if there's a stain a Tramex ME+ moisture meter ($400) should be able to still detect moisture even if it felt dry to the touch the next day. If there's insulation above, maybe even upto a week in warm weather.

The stain must be at a joint; it takes an amazing amount of water to create a stain in the field of a drywall panel, which would be easily detectable for quite some time with a moisture meter.

Sounds like one of those clients from hell.

Chris, Oregon

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Maybe if you told the client that you have pictures of the old leaky roof which you took while estimating the job .......?

Is the damage to the structure from old leaks?

On the other hand, tarps can leak, you must know that. Sometimes just asking the client what would make them happy can resolve the issue. It sounds like there is a lack of communication there, but yeah, there are people no one can reason with, and you must have seen that before as well. Good luck with it.

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