Submitted by PowBoomZing t3_11clrc1 in baltimore

TL;DR - Beware the moment when you have no roof, your contractor has all the leverage, and they hit you with a huge repair bill.

I have a flat roof rowhouse in Charles Village. The roof was overloaded with tar, my second floor was leaking, it was badly in need of replacement.

I solicited quotes from four contractors: Four Twelve, Charm City, Kelbie, and City Builders/Roger Shiflet. I crossed Roger Shiflet off the list promptly because 1) he said "the problem" with a lot of roofing crews these days is that they're Mexican and 2) he claimed he could predict how much damage was under the many layers of tar just by tapping his feet on the roof due to, I guess, special powers of perception developed over years of experience. I did not find this claim credible. He did give me the lowest initial quote, however, which helped me get a better price from Kelbie.

Four Twelve I ruled out because they use peel-and-stick roofing material whereas the other contractors use torch-down modified bitumen which I preferred.

Between Charm City and Kelbie I went with Kelbie because my neighbor had used them about twelve years prior and their roof was holding up fine. So I felt confident in my choice. I negotiated a price of $16.5k for a complete replacement of the roof plus a layer of silicone on the front porch roof.

After I signed the contract with Kelbie there was about a three week wait while they pulled the work permits. I did not receive any status updates or timeline estimates during this time. After three weeks I was contacted at 7pm on a Sunday by the crew foreman who wanted to begin work at the crack of dawn the next day.

The crew showed up early and tore off the old roof in a single day, an impressive feat. The crew foreman called me in the early evening to give me a field report and to drop a bombshell on me: the cost of repairs would be an additional $20k. I was expecting this moment (I knew there might be some repairs required and they would only be revealed once the old roof was off) but I was not expecting the pricetag. I expressed my shock at the price tag and asked if there was anything "not absolutely necessary" that we could trim from the repairs to get the price down. His answer was a flat "no." Moreso, I would have to remit payment immediately. Half tonight and the other half tomorrow.

This moment is the main reason I'm writing this post. If you own an old house and you're getting your roof redone, you are going to experience this moment. You will have zero leverage in this moment. I literally did not have a roof on my house. Rain was expected on Thursday. The foreman even sent me a screenshot of the weather to turn the screws on me.

They told me they needed to install 15 new joists. What do I know about roof joists? They had all the expertise and all the leverage. And they acted like it. It felt like I was being extorted. An awful, sinking, humiliating feeling. Even though I didn't have the knowledge to necessarily refute what they were telling me, the dynamics of the situation set off red flags and made me feel like I was being taken advantage of.

I felt like a real sucker.

Through the miracle of family connections (thank you uncle) I was able to get a guy with ten years of roofing experience to climb up on my roof at 11pm with a flood light and make an assessment. He concluded that, yes, I was being overcharged. He said he saw one broken joist that needed to be replaced. One, not fifteen. Given my situation he advised it was best to try to make a deal with the current crew. He gave me talking points and the next morning at 430 I was back on the phone with the foreman armed with some new information.

Now he changed his tune, saying sure I could just replace the one joist but I had a dip in my roof and they pride themselves on "customer satisfaction." I said just replace the one joist, put down new plywood on the whole roof and make the other repairs, and I'll pay you $15k. He said ok.

My savior had saved me $5k. I sent him $500 as a very well-earned thank you. If only everyone could have a savior like mine in these moments.

The rest of the roofing experience was, I would say, like a typical contractor. They used particle board instead of the plywood specified in the contract. Do I want to fight them over it? No I do not. They also installed a section of the downspout incorrectly so it leaked. It took a week to repair and once again their communication was poor. I had to harangue them to get it done.

The total cost came to $31,500. I believe the work was done well and the roof is high quality (although only time will tell). But as a customer the experience was wrenching and frankly I feel they tried to use the unique leverage of the situation to extort as much money from me as they thought they could get.

I've since shared this story with friends and come to learn that it's a common experience. I don't think you should avoid Kelbie necessarily as I'm satisfied with the final product. I just think you should be aware that, with any roofer, unless they are exceptionally ethical (does a roofer like this even exist?), they're going to try to sneak a couple of fingers up your ass while your pants are around your ankles.



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yeahyeahyeahyeah t1_ja3s3qm wrote

Uh, you definitely don't want fucking particle board under your roof. Call the MD Attorney General and a lawyer.


soundslikemold t1_ja49uul wrote

I'm fairly sure he means OSB and it is fine. Depending on the OSB used (Advantech or Legacy) it is at least equal or better then some of the plywood you get today. Not to say that ignoring a contract is ok, but people in here are acting like they put up chip board from Ikea furniture.


Cunninghams_right t1_ja4bgmd wrote

they probably do mean OSB, but OSB is NOT equivalent to plywood, especially not in this application.


DoNotWeepAtMyGrave t1_ja5ccpv wrote

OSB is approved for flooring and siding, NOT roofing. If it gets wet at all, it’s trashed. Plywood should be used in any situation where they might be water intrusion.


yyyyy25ui t1_ja4mzx3 wrote

If they pulled permits I’m fairly certain they’d have to put down fire rated plywood


MotoSlashSix t1_ja81z8b wrote

But failing to do so would only be caught on inspection. And that would mean an inspector saw the underlay before the membrane covered it up -- assuming the inspector climbed up on the roof at all.


SpacemanSpiff__ t1_ja44f8k wrote

This is less for you and more for everyone else. I was in a very similar situation last summer. Row home, multi-level roof, a ton of tar everywhere, and a noticeable sag in the roof with leaking upstairs ceilings.

Ended up going with TSW roofers. I don't know anything about this stuff and had to research, but they were definitely not the lowest quote. Went with them because the methods and materials seemed better. EPDM membrane, all new plywood, plywood on walls and eaves, aluminum capping on perimeter walls (it's an end unit). Also made the choice based on vibes if I'm being honest. Not a very solid basis for a decision but I had a better feeling about them. Quote was $20k.

Anyway, Brandon from TSW noted the sag and made it clear we wouldn't know the extent of the damage until the roof came off, and there would be additional charges if the joists needed replacement. He said the roof felt solid despite the sag, and it's okay for them to sag a bit, but there was no way to know how bad it was. Makes sense, no choice but to agree.

They got the job done in three days. I'm struggling to remember the damage they found under the roof but it turned out not to be as bad as we were bracing for. Ended up paying an additional $3,000 for the hidden damage under the roof. Brandon texted me photos of the roof in real time to explain what was going on and what needed replacement. Definitely did not try to extort me when I had no roof and made sure I understood what I was paying for.

The thing that really assured me they were good is that my neighbor is a contractor and he can see my roof from his home office. As the crew was clearing out after finishing the job, I overheard him outside telling the crew how great the roof looked and what a great job they'd done. He didn't know I was eavesdropping. The next time he saw me he said "I can tell that roof wasn't cheap."

Should probably post this as a yelp review or something. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend TSW. There were other good things about them too (very respectful of our neighbors property, return visits to check on something I thought might be an issue) but you get the picture. Putting a new roof on an old house was the last thing I wanted to deal with and they made it as painless as they possibly could.


Stubbedtoe18 t1_ja4iw4c wrote

Reviews definitely help. Working with contractors is a pain because of the trust issues that OP mentioned (yes OP, people SHOULD avoid Kelbie. Everything about your experience was unacceptable. That also needs to be posted online!!), so when disti finishes itself as good and trustworthy, reviews like yours help them stand out. It's beneficial to both homeowners and the contractor.

Yelp kind of sucks for contractors but that couldn't hurt, but there are other sites like Houzz and even Google reviews (which also suck) that would benefit them as well.


longdoggos647 t1_ja4ww35 wrote

I’ve also used Brandon from TSW and love him. We’ve had to have him out several times and he’s always honest and efficient. The crew was extra vigilant about picking up nails when I told them I had a dog. We had to have a whole roof replacement a month after buying our first home, and TSW made the process significantly less stressful.


COldBay t1_ja513cl wrote

Brandon and Tom at TSW are both excellent people to work with. I’ve used them numerous times for my slate roof repairs.


BassElectronic6046 t1_ja3opnf wrote

> They used particle board instead of the plywood specified in the contract. Do I want to fight them over it? No I do not. They also installed a section of the downspout incorrectly so it leaked.

You know you can sue people for failing to meet their contractual obligations, right? You did not get what you paid for, they are obligated by contract, which you paid, to perform that work.

Talk to a lawyer and stop letting people walk all over you.


MCvonHolt t1_ja3vohb wrote

Absolutely you can sue. Your contract is legally binding. I would talk to a lawyer at least. I know about 5 years ago I paid significantly less than you did on a similar roof in Hampden. That company is crooked in my opinion with having them call you with the roof off trying to get a ton more money. I work for commercial contractors which is different than home contractors but contracts are legally binding in both.


bmore_conslutant t1_ja5ftaa wrote

Yeah I paid 8k to replace a roof that was absolutely fucked, and I didn't pay a penny more than the estimate

In Hampden also

This guy got fucked sideways

Edit: looked it up, was cheaper than I remembered

Edit 2: I used booth brothers


MCvonHolt t1_ja7n8e1 wrote

I paid about this amount 30k is insane.


bmore_conslutant t1_ja7ngef wrote

8k wasn't even my cheapest quote, i went with the middle guy because the cheapest guy seemed skeevy

either shit's way more expensive now or OP got three way out there quotes

i know four twelve is a dogshit fly by night company but i don't know the others


MCvonHolt t1_ja7o53r wrote

I used beltrands contractors inc (just looked it up) and this was 2019. I’m still in shock over their price and they went to multiple people for quotes. I think I went with this company because they did a few of my neighbors.


jellyphitch t1_ja685jh wrote

We literally spent 12.5k on a new roof for a single family home. 30k for a townhome is BONKERS


Elkram t1_ja545qy wrote

I would normally say that contract violations are a pita to litigate and not worth the trouble, but this is the difference between spending 15k as negotiated, and 31k. That's well above small claims level of money.

Why we are going to reddit and not reaching out to the dozens of contact attorneys in the area idk.


moderndukes t1_ja3sr1d wrote

Um, you signed a contract for $16.5k of work and then they didn’t honor it every step of the way. Contact the Attorney General.


27thStreet t1_ja40ysy wrote

There certainly was a "we'll see what we find when we tear off the old roof" clause in teh contract. It's standard practice just like with your car. Yeah, you took it in for brake pads but it turns out you need rotors and caliper to boot.


Tim_Y t1_ja46b5v wrote

> you signed a contract for $16.5k of work and then they didn’t honor it every step of the way

that's not how it works. The quote didn't include replaced rotten joists, which you can't see until the roof is pealed off.


Liverpool1986 t1_ja42jns wrote

That’s Kelbie roofing for you. Had a similar experience. Stay away


TrhwWaya t1_ja3smpv wrote

Had roof redone twice In 20 years. No problems. You don't even need permits unless you are seriously modifying it. Sorry this happened to you.


POGTFO t1_ja5fh94 wrote

Who did you use for your roof, if you don’t mind me asking?


TrhwWaya t1_ja5lkp3 wrote

Horizon roofing.


bosconet t1_ja5rp88 wrote

i had them (Horizon) out a few years ago to assess my roof and they came out within a day or two, assessed the roof, invited me up to explain what they saw, pronounce the roof OK and charged me nothing.

Left a good feeling about them...and they will be a call again to assess the roof again soonish.


BeyondRecovery1 t1_ja5fp0f wrote

When do you have to redo it and why


TrhwWaya t1_ja5l2f4 wrote

Used horizon Roofing both times.

After purchase, had a new rubber roof but it needed light touch ups and ultimately a new redo of a section of my upper roof with some kind of resealing around my hvac unit. Then 10 years later needed this:

Clean Roof of all Debris. Repair & Reseal Front Eaves Elevations. Install New Metal at Front Eaves Detail. Repair & Seal all Roof Penetrations. Make Field & Seam Repairs with Roofing Cement & Tape Apply a Silver Aluminum Coating to all Horizontal and Vertical Roofing Surfaces at a rate of 1.5 gallons per 100 sq. ft Redo section of upper and lower Roof. (Sorry had this written out on another location and don't have specs handy) Seal and Secure Properly. Final job site clean-up.


Dr_Midnight t1_ja47kgj wrote

> The crew showed up early and tore off the old roof in a single day, an impressive feat. The crew foreman called me in the early evening to give me a field report and to drop a bombshell on me: the cost of repairs would be an additional $20k. I was expecting this moment (I knew there might be some repairs required and they would only be revealed once the old roof was off) but I was not expecting the pricetag. I expressed my shock at the price tag and asked if there was anything "not absolutely necessary" that we could trim from the repairs to get the price down. His answer was a flat "no." Moreso, I would have to remit payment immediately. Half tonight and the other half tomorrow. > > This moment is the main reason I'm writing this post. If you own an old house and you're getting your roof redone, you are going to experience this moment. You will have zero leverage in this moment. I literally did not have a roof on my house. Rain was expected on Thursday. The foreman even sent me a screenshot of the weather to turn the screws on me.

This is a scam that has been around for decades, and it works for the very reasons that you cited. We're not all experts. We don't necessarily have the visibility and knowledge to check them on their work and claims either.

Likewise, when they do these things, as you noted, you are literally without a roof; and they know this which gives them incredible leverage. What they did was blatantly illegal, but no shortage of people have paid up because "that's a nice house you've got there. It would be a shame if something happened to it."

On that note...

> They used particle board instead of the plywood specified in the contract. Do I want to fight them over it? No I do not. They also installed a section of the downspout incorrectly so it leaked. It took a week to repair and once again their communication was poor. I had to harangue them to get it done.

> The total cost came to $31,500. I believe the work was done well and the roof is high quality (although only time will tell).

You absolutely do want to fight them. Particle board is fine in IKEA furniture. It is not fine in roofing materials, nor is it what you contracted for.

They fucked up the install of the downspout causing a leak, and failed to fix it in a timely manner.

They charged you almost twice what your original cost was for an inferior roof that is most certainly not "high quality" by any measure and you think they did you a favor?

The only thing you should be doing right now is drafting your complaint to the MD AGs office, and seeing who might be interested in determining whether or not you have a cause of action.


covidcares t1_ja86qzi wrote

Maybe OP is saying particle board but it’s actually OSB. They did state they are not well versed in home construction. I don’t know. Also I’ve only build like 6 roofs my entire life and am no longer in the trades so not an expert.


mjy12892 t1_ja3txe3 wrote

Yea horizon roofing was absolutely fantastic to us when we needed a roof. Sorry man.


baltimoretom t1_ja4c0j4 wrote


Google their address lol


Zoroasker t1_ja4dt8c wrote

Wow…not what I was expecting!


baltimoretom t1_ja4eeyt wrote

I felt childish posting that, but those opportunities are rare.


JonWilso t1_ja7mkmn wrote

For more fun, check out Google maps where you will see it's right near....Pleasure Island.

No joke.


baltimoretom t1_ja7t285 wrote

Which is a fun place to go if you have a boat or friends with a boat.


brocialism t1_ja3wvya wrote

Agreed, Horizon was hands-down the most honest company I've ever worked with. It felt like they were family friends.


candy4breakfast11 t1_ja4r4qq wrote

Ditto! Horizon also worked with me on what I could afford rather than pushing crazy financing (lookin’ at you, four twelve with a 9% interest rate in early 2021!). I believe I have a 12 yr warranty on my roof per our contract.


mjy12892 t1_ja50lol wrote

Yea we have the same warranty and after 5 years they contact you for a re seal. Worth every penny I spent.


justinbreaux t1_ja5xhqi wrote

Ken’s all class and his team was super friendly and efficient for me as well.

Another thing reading through OP’s post about Roger Shiflet I chuckled because I wasn’t surprised. He’s obviously built a good reputation amongst this area so I guess he’s got to be at least somewhat good, but I got the same sense of arrogance from him when I tried to get my roof quoted.


Accurate-Tell8 t1_ja5js94 wrote

Same. Their price was competitive and they were top notch. They also didn’t push me to replace both levels of roof, only the main level. They identified the problem and were honest. Other companies tried to push me to replace everything which would of required removing a deck and rebuilding it.


instantcoffee69 t1_ja4051w wrote

Hey I'm sorry I got a follow up:

It was a +$15k for one joist replacement? Or there was other work?

Cause let me tell you, replacing one joist when the roof is off is not a huge scope change. They should have provided a ticket for labor and material, with an agreed upon markup. Cut and dry.

For the scope change. It can happen. Some time you don't know conditions till you get in there. Agree to the mark up rate before.

And if they didn't do work as per the contract, DO NOT PAY THEM. Pay when it's fixed.

You got hosed bad. I'm sorry.


PowBoomZing OP t1_ja42b26 wrote

There was other repair work as well but I agree with you even at $15k I got hosed.

The problem with holding a hard line and not paying them is they wouldn't start the work until I paid half of the repair invoice. And then the wouldn't finish the roof (put down the modified bitumen) until I paid the second half of the repairs. So they've really got you over a barrel until your roof is complete.

Thanks for the question.


instantcoffee69 t1_ja47lwb wrote

Yea I'm going to need follow up. You payed for 1 joist v 15 joist and that saved $5k. So they were charging unit $360 per unit price of joist. Where is the other $14k coming from?


suburban_paradise t1_ja3xg0q wrote

You should contact MHIC assuming the business has an MHIC number. Let me know if you need assistance.


Jblumbe t1_ja44x8h wrote

I do this for a living, all I can say is those are high numbers. I did a complete tear off and new joists to replace all the failed ones and brand new roofing membrane for under 15k a few years ago. Do your homework and hire right. No one should EVER be holding you hostage when there's no roof on your home. Replacing old 2" joists with new when they're not bad is a waste of money. Those 2" joists pocketed into the brick are REALLY strong. Also are some people confusing "particle board" with OSB - OSB is fine and allowed just not on the sides it's got to be fire treated Ply.


weebilsurglace t1_ja4ljj0 wrote

After having an OSB roof disintegrate and blow off without warning this past spring, I'm a firm believer that "allowed" isn't always synonymous with "best."


DoNotWeepAtMyGrave t1_ja5cqpk wrote

Yeah OSB is not approved for roofing. The minute it gets wet it’s trashed.


funcommander t1_ja4ck1q wrote

>a few years ago

The key phrase ^...

EVERYTHING is much more expensive than a few years ago.


flipypy t1_ja4qygi wrote

Not nearly as expensive as OP paid, though. He definitely got ripped off.


guy180 t1_ja4psaz wrote

Several red flags here but my biggest question is, how does it cost 20k to replace all the joists and fix a slope problem but to replace one joist and no sloping problem it is 15k? Also, if they didn’t follow the contract and cut corners for cost saving reasons (using particle board) how can you be sure everything else was done correctly? They didn’t even pass those savings on to you so you know they’re saving every cent they can on their end.


jojammin t1_ja48oi0 wrote

I paid $4k to get my roof replaced by the Roof Guy of Baltimore, LLC with a rubber coating. That seems like an insane amount


Lonnol78 t1_ja4f4tv wrote

The Roof Guy did our house twice when we lived in South Baltimore. One of the most honest and well-specialized contractors I’ve ever dealt with.


jojammin t1_ja4fdcw wrote

Ya he was great. Only took a few hours and no leaks since


buhates t1_ja59q4a wrote

Same experience, Keith is amazing.


frodes85 t1_ja7r10x wrote

Yeah, Keith is great. After getting a couple quotes that recommended full roof replacement after experiencing a leak, Keith said, "nah, you just need to fix up the downspouts to improve drainage and wrap the chimneys for leaks, roof itself is fine." Ended up spending only $2500 instead of the $10K I was being quoted, and a year later still no leaks.


workact t1_ja6aat0 wrote

Thats around what i paid, but i think it was just a new layer over top.

This sounds like they pulled the old one off and checked the frame. 20K sounds about right for that.


DeliMcPickles t1_ja5wifm wrote

If you're reading this as a new homeowner and are terrified of paying $40,000 for a roof, don't worry. This is not normal. Don't use Kelbie apparently and you should be fine.


ScootyHoofdorp t1_ja7uf5y wrote

I honestly needed that reassurance. I bought my house last year, then soon discovered tens of thousands in damage that was intentionally hidden from me, and have had a score of other problems on top of that. I'm glad to know roofs are not always this much of a headache.


ObviousGazelle t1_ja4fw8m wrote

They charged you how much TOTAL cause I'm reading INSANE numbers here.


Luxmoorekid t1_ja4bzmb wrote

Thank you for this cautionary (and beautifully written) tale. It’s one of the most useful posts I‘ve read on this sub in a long time. I too expect to need a new roof soon. An open-ended clause in the contract, to the effect of „we won’t know what we’re dealing with til we take the old roof off,“ is seemingly impossible to avoid. I guess the best one can do is try to deal with a company that has a reputation for honesty, and hope for the best.


Traditional_Signal73 t1_ja4pq87 wrote

You can build extras into a contract before you tear off a roof. Like, if joists need to be replaced, this much per joist, wood replacement, this much per sheet of ply that needs to be replaced, etc. Never sign a contract with an open clause.


jabbadarth t1_ja4zq4t wrote

Yeah this was the problem. Even if they don't know the extent of a houses specific damage they have a pretty good idea of potential costs. And I can't imagine any situation (outside of adding in masonry work) where the cost doubles because of plywood and joists.


LLcoolJimbo t1_ja486ik wrote

Ummmm, I’ve had Brother’s Roofing replace two roofs and they never used the fact my roof was removed as leverage halfway through. The second house had some sheathing water damage, issues with the chimney flashing, and a few rotten joists where birds had pulled up the roof and nested. They just fixed it along the way and let me know afterwards that they chimney would also need to be repointed soon. This should be a don’t use these folk review.


witty_usrnm_goeshere t1_ja54ip9 wrote

I, too, used Brother's Roofing on a single family home sized roof. I consistently recommend them. People comment that they are expensive but, given my experience, I'd rather pay more up front than have to pay more later to fix their mistakes.

Thanks to the previous owner, when they pulled up the roof we had to replace SIX plywood boards and I think we paid an extra $500. The itemized list of work was 2 pages and the total was $13k or so. Came with a 25y, transferable warranty for materials and workmanship.

When I sold the house a few years later, the buyer's inspector tried to say our roof was sagging and suggested we replace the entire thing. I immediately called Brothers who sent someone out to check, for free, and tell the inspector (who, it turns out, didn't even get on the roof) to shove it.

I would pay "extra" for them 100 times out of 10.


israeljeff t1_ja65jmy wrote

Big same, I have nothing but praise for them.

Granted, I've only replaced my roof once, and it's a shingled roof on a cape cod in the county, but the whole process was easy, the pricing was transparent, the actual new roof was about six hours start to finish in one day, and I didn't find so much as a splinter in my yard afterward.

I'm slightly less impressed with the gutter team, but not so much I wouldn't contact them again, frankly.


opuntina t1_ja3xvq4 wrote

What? You settled for particle board on your roof? This company needs to be put out of business.


Direcircumstances1 t1_ja5wsqf wrote

$31K for a new roof on a ROWHOME!!!! I would def file a claim with the attorney general in Maryland. You were grossly overcharged and they tried to extort your lack of knowledge. Seriously. Do not let this go. File! They owe you a lot of money back! Row homes don’t have hundreds of linear feet of joists either way. This makes me so upset that they did that to you.


Traditional_Signal73 t1_ja4sdhy wrote

Everything should be in the contract before you sign it. Cost of roof materials, cost of labor, cost of wood replacement if needed, cost of joist replacement if needed, etc.

And yes, you should definitely take them to court for not using the materials specified in the contract and get them to replace the materials with the material specified in the contract. Plywood is more expensive than OSB, and they charged you for plywood and then used a cheaper material.


shrugsnotdrugs t1_ja5zlwl wrote

I don’t have anything to add but thank you for sharing about Roger Shiflett - I live in South Baltimore (where he seems to live?) and EVERYONE always recommends him on our neighborhood Facebook groups. That “Mexican” comment is disgusting and I’ll be sure to let others know.


ah_alyssa t1_ja6wbgs wrote

yes!! i am so shocked about that bit, it def should be shared with others. i’ve seen countless positive posts about him and seen others vouch for him to people in emergency situations. it’s insane he felt comfortable saying that at all, much less to a potential customer


XanderCruse t1_ja7xn7w wrote

He made the same comment to me after the roof he installed caused a huge leak in my house the day after installation. Especially bad because my girlfriend at the time was Mexican and standing right next to me. He also got mad at me for being upset that the new completed roof already caused a worse leak than my old one ever did only one day after it was completed. Thankfully, I haven't had leaks in awhile but it took a long time to have peace of mind. Would love to learn about some roofers who aren't slimeballs. Seems pretty rare.


protomolocular t1_ja8608n wrote

Funny enough, I had a wonderful experience with a Hispanic crew who did not only a great job but at a good value too. This guy sounds like a racist creep.


MotoSlashSix t1_ja83m0e wrote

We had an insurance adjuster who got fired over similar comments when he came out to write up our roof replacement a few years ago. We had hail damage and he came out to do the adjustment on our roof, so I was deferential because the guy basically held our claim in his hands.

At one point he said something about "sweating like Jesses Jackson in a paternity test." Then he started talking about "Mexican crews." I waited for him to finish. Then called my friend who runs a roofing company. He put a call into the adjuster's owner/boss. The guy called me and said he fired the guy. Totally apologized. He was humiliated. HE also ended up writing the adjustment to cover every possible cost from the roof to storm windows, gutters, inside ceiling. All of it.


sxswnxnw t1_ja5wap3 wrote

Wow, I am really sorry this happened to you. Straight up, I had Kelbie do a roof repair for me, and I do feel like I overpaid (it was just a patch and silicone for about $3,100). But my initial quotes from all ~4 companies were extreme, ranging from $3,500 to >$17,000. Mind you, my roof is 4 years old. Thank god I knew this, because several companies, including Kelbie, initially said I needed an entirely new roof. I have waaaay more I want to say, but I don't want to get some of the actually decent people I encountered in the entire ordeal fired, so I will send you a message. I am unlikely to use Kelbie again now after reading this.

I want to thank you for sharing this. I am a new homeowner, not even a year in. And I have been saying repeatedly, as repair needs have popped up, how ridiculous the entire process of finding a contractor for anything is if you are not in their business or do not have experience or do not have a trusted reference. Just a bunch of nearly blind, American Idol-like auditions where you don't know what is going to walk in the door. For example, I have had people come in saying they are licensed and insured, but upon doing my homework finding they actually aren't. The fact that a person has to navigate this is overwhelming. And I know for certain I have been played at least twice to varying degrees by two contractors so far! You have probably helped someone learn from this experience instead of potentially getting burned. It is not easy to share negative experiences, so I respect that you did.

Also, don't beat yourself up about it too much: you did the best you had with the info you had at the time. Fortunately, you had someone with experience provide some guidance that saved you a lot of money. That actually demonstrates a strength many people do not have in similar situations.


markmano33 t1_jace9yx wrote

It is hard to find good ones, I agree. I’ve put off repairs in my house just because of not wanting to go through the process. Then you do find a good one and you don’t even get a response! Probably because they’re the ones getting all the work.


sxswnxnw t1_jacpaeh wrote

Yes. I have a running list of things to do. I'm grateful my hot water heater is still hanging on by a thread, because it is up next after I get something else finished. I have a great plumber for the heaterand some plumbing updates I want to make, and they gave me a name for an electrician who is supposedly good and affordable to switch/set everything up to go from a gas hot water heater to electric... He never called me back. So I will likely have to go with the one I used back in the fall who is supposedly one of the most expensive but also did really good work. Paying a thousand or more for every little service is not sustainable.


markmano33 t1_jadvk2d wrote

It’s really annoying when they don’t call you back. At least say sorry I’m not interested 🙂


Natensity t1_ja538rp wrote

My friend used Shiflet and had terrible experience that including him throwing a tantrum over being asked to do work he had agreed upon to fix damage they had caused earlier in the project that lead him to abandon my friends roof and deck a few months in. They also didnt submit the correct plans or something for the deck so he 412 come in and they basically had redo everything. So you dodged a bullet avoiding him. They are very happy with 412.


HumanGyroscope t1_ja4h7vf wrote

I’m really sorry this happened you, not only did they they have you grabbing your ankles they were wearing an extender. I have a couple questions, was the particle board OSB? OSB is an acceptable sheeting underlayment as long as it needs the manufacturers specifications. The permit they pulled, did you see it and did the city come out and do a final Inspection? They would have come out and pull a green sticker on a window. You can look up your address online to see the status of the permit. Section 105.2 in the COB building code does not require a permit for replacing a roof. Also if they pulled a permit and added structural repair modifications then a modified permit would have been needed, section 114.14 states thats its a violation. Unfortunately the work they did you agreed too, they only thing you could look into is the permit if they applied for one and didn’t you have a case to pursue if you wanted to. Also in the future advise for you and anyone else, if a contractor has concerns about structural elements of your home, call a structural engineer, I am a structural engineer and do this types of inspections for a few hundred dollars and it could have saved you Atleast $7k I know several contractors that would have done that work for way less than what they charged you. They more than doubled the price of that work.


jonuggs t1_ja4xyrm wrote

Had something similar with Arocon. Asked them to repair a few small things, and add a downspout. They said they only do a $300 tune up service, at which time they’d have a look at everything and give me a quote.

They came out. Did the service. Lead guy told me that they would advise a quote for a new roof. I said, “I just want these other things but if want to write up a quote for a new roof feel free but I absolutely can’t afford it.”

Emails back with a quote for a new roof and the other work. I emailed back, “again, no thank you on the roof. Just the other work, please.”

Guy says “okay but that quote was discounted because I thought we’d be putting a new roof on. Here’s the quote for just that other work.”

Of course it’s 7 times what the original cost was. I get that you’re running a business, but that’s crazy. Alternately, if it’s just not worth it to do the work just tell me that.


Biomirth t1_ja57i91 wrote

As a different sort of contractor the main issue I see (aside for any work promised not done, like the particle board) is that they did not explicitly tell you "When we take off the old roof we'll have to assess the damage. Typically repairs run $1000 - $15k but if we have to fully replace joists this can go as high as X".

What I've seen happen with burnt out contractors is they forget to do this part because 'they've seen it all before'. Yeah buddy, you have seen it all before and the client certainly has not. I suggest asking potential contractors questions that they will find redundant to gauge how they'll handle this kind of information in the future (Information you are likely not to categorically know about). When they say "We'll need to set up a scaffold" you say "Will the scaffold be tied to the building and will there be damage from that?" Just anything you can imagine for each step of the process; The process which you'll have to ask them to outline (Even normal contractors don't really do that unless asked typically).

The fact they had you over a barrel is a happy coincidence for them (I say 'happy' because it's their lack of understanding of how this adversely affects the client that is often a contributing factor (stupid or malicious or both, take your pick)); A comfortable position of investment (by you) that was hugely exacerbated by a lack of information and communication. There are always thoughtful contractors who will go out of their way to describe their process but unfortunately these are few compared to the kind you got.


JonWilso t1_ja7n0gm wrote

I had to have some work done on my roof a while back and it was annoyingly difficult to find a trustworthy company that communicated well.

It's a serious problem with contractors and any work I've had done on my house has resulted in me spending an hour calling 10 different numbers.

Everyone says you should get three estimates, but for some stuff you can't even get one in a timely manner.


DiscountPoint t1_ja5qotu wrote

These days I only contract from referrals.

Similar roof to yours done for $9k by Jaime Cox who runs Better Home Solutions MD 443.744.0776. Nice guy, absolute expert & honest. Also had good honest experiences with Park Heights Roofing.

Make sure you absolutely trash these people on every site (Google Reviews, Facebook Groups, Yelp)

That scam shit is so unacceptable.


DrPlatelet t1_ja7j9gi wrote

Looks like they have 5 stars on Yelp with only 5 reviews so your one star review copy pasting what you wrote above will make a big difference


MotoSlashSix t1_ja80pk2 wrote

Here's the thing, once the contractor decided to violate their contract, they lost whatever leverage they acted like they had over you. Now they have none.

In over 30 years as a home inspector and P.E. my father has done expert witness testimony and inspections/reports on dozens of cases where homeowners were scammed, taken advantage of a defrauded of their money. Coincidentally, he used to run a roofing company that specialized in torch-down, flat roofs (mostly commercial because they were located in where there are few residential flat roofs). So when we bought a home with a torch-down flat roof he was really concerned and helpful and gave me a lot of information and things to look for. Also, one of my best friends runs a roofing company. So when we bought our row home I had the privilege of some really helpful people like your uncle.

From your write up it appears Kelbie Roofing ripped you off and possibly perpetrated a breach of contract and potentially fraud. Specifying materials to be used in a contract, and then not using those materials is a breach. If they did that willingly and attempted to conceal it, they potentially defrauded you. If those materials do not meet code, they are in violation of the permit they supposedly pulled.

I don't want this to be misconstrued as I'm wagging a finger at you so please don't take it that way. I understand how these experiences can make you feel humiliated and extorted; that is because you were humiliated and extorted. And this is NOT a reflection on you, it is a reflection on Kelbie Roofing's dubious business practices. You absolutely deserve the proper roof that matches what you paid for and is installed completely to code. And you have the power to make that happen. Regardless of how little leverage they made you feel like you had.

To anyone else reading this; this may be typical of unethical businesses, but it is not and should not be typical of a home improvement/repair contractor.

OSB or particle board is not appropriate for roofing underlayment. But specifically, it's not in your contract.

Other people have pointed you towards Maryland's Home Improvement Commission and I encourage you to talk to them. Before we bought I read the cases involving the GC who did the work on our house. They are there to assist you, the homeowner. Using the improper (and not to code) roof underlayment could mean you or a potentially new owner, will have to replace that roof much sooner. Worse, if you know you have the wrong underlayment you now have to disclose that upon the sale of your home. And that could mean a new buyer requests you replace the entire roof (again) to bring it up to code.

Again, I'm not trying to make you feel worse. You did nothing wrong here. The roofing contractor is in the wrong. It is absolutely worth fighting them over this. Because your new $40,000 roof could end up being $53,000 roof prematurely. I know it all sounds like a giant pain in your ass, but it is well worth it.

Sorry if I went off a bit here but in addition to growing up with a father "in the business" and friends in the business and a BIL in the business of home repair and improvement I've also spent several years doing work for a few different larger home foundation repair contractors with very good reputations. So I understand that good companies doing good work and doing right by their customers are out there. But over the last few decades I've also seen way too many contractors take advantage of decent people by getting them to pour their money into dubious home repairs and improvements. Too often people don't have something like MHIC or they just let it slide. This is definitely worth you taking to the Commission.


S-Kunst t1_ja5bu8s wrote

Amazing, but expected. When I took ownership of my 1830s row home with pitched roof. I had two estimates, each for 8,000-10,000 to remove the old and install new. That was in 2001. Now you are saying the price is 3x that price. I have not done the work, but had a feeling and am was guessing a new roof will cost $20K, but I now have think of 30-40K. I had a flat roof on another row house, that cost 2K to simply add over extant, but that was in the 1990s.

We are in a new world of inflation, and we have to expect that everything will cost more. Workers deserve decent pay. Roofing is a crap job. Knowing car repair costs are up and many other home repairs too, I hope some of the higher cost is going into the workers pocket mot just owner's profits. Still so many white collar businesses seem to be able to pay their desk jockeys high salaries, they must be soaking their customers.


DecayableBrick t1_ja7im7j wrote

Many contractors are just one step above criminals. You should report this guy to MHIC and try to get some money back. There is a guarantee fund that might be able to reimburse you. Make sure you retain all documentation.


HourLake4200 t1_jaabeai wrote

That is rough...had my roof replaced by Charm City Roofing today...tore off old shingles and stripped roof to the wood, lay new underlayment, and put new shingles and gutter system. They did find some rotted wood on both ends which they charged me an extra $100 or so to replace but that was part of the contract. Done just in time for the rain tonight.

Wish you better luck with home improvement projects and contractors in the future.


protomolocular t1_ja5ml35 wrote

Wow. I had a crew that I trusted (and that have numerous good reviews) do a total tear down, replaced plywood, and torch down all for 10k, along with a good warranty. They arrived before dawn and left at dusk and got everything done in two days. They also fixed some flashing on certain exhaust pipes coming up through the roof as well. Sorry you had such an awful experience.


keyjan t1_ja85l96 wrote

Wow, talk about extortion…😕


Fit-Accountant-157 t1_jab055z wrote

When I moved into my place I discovered a leak on the second floor and the roofing company told me I needed a whole new roof, around 20k. I was crying!

Then I called the original contractor that renovated my house and he agreed to put down a light weight, white reflective layer of tar for $1400. He said it would last 15yrs so needless to say that's what I went with and haven't had a problem since then, I've been in my house for 5 yrs.

I really hope I never have to deal with replacing a roof.


DntH8IncrsDaMrdrR8 t1_ja3qxdy wrote

Wouldn't you have been better off to just spend the extra 5 and have all new joists?


opuntina t1_ja3y0pu wrote

You don't gain anything replacing joists that are perfectly fine.


DntH8IncrsDaMrdrR8 t1_ja3zplq wrote

If the roof has to be off to replace them it seems like I would rather have new joists instead of one new one and the rest old. Especially if all that saved was 5k. Piece of mind alone is worth that 5k to me but ymmv


opuntina t1_ja4015p wrote

That's not how it works. Those new joists would not be any better than the ones removed. This isn't a wear item. A joist may fail and need to be replaced but it isn't like an engine or other moving part. It's either good or it's bad. The costs of this job are mostly due to the homeowner not knowing what they are doing.


DntH8IncrsDaMrdrR8 t1_ja49mw1 wrote

Right it's either good or bad but a 70-year-old one is going to fail much sooner than a brand new one. No?


opuntina t1_ja4b3ci wrote

No. They do not wear out. What happens is they are made or installed poorly, or some other piece fails and allows the joists to get wet which then rots them out. That's why particle board is bad. It will absorb water like a sponge and rot any other wood pieces it touches.


Unless they are failed, you are just wasting money replacing things that are fine. Houses last hundreds of years without any replaced parts if they are well made and well maintained. The replaced parts they DO get are due to water or bugs usually.


daxophoneme t1_ja5q152 wrote

The 70-year-old one could be from a denser, old-growth tree. The newer one will most likely be worse quality lumber.


DecayableBrick t1_ja7iffp wrote

The 70 year old one is most likely old growth lumber and therefore much stronger than the new one. So no.


PowBoomZing OP t1_ja3syrn wrote

No because I didn't need all new joists. I needed 1 new joist.


covidcares t1_ja91rb9 wrote

I think Kelbie should do an AMA to defend their business practices and explain their side of the story. The story above feels believable but unrealistic at the same time.


lavazzalove t1_ja43iuk wrote

I hope you report the contactors and also leave them a bad review on Angie's list and Google reviews or wherever you found them.

This will sound tone-deaf, but this is why I will always buy new construction homes. Everything is up to the latest code and I don't have to worry about the roof or HVAC for decades... I would rather pay up more to not deal with issues of old homes.


PowBoomZing OP t1_ja3ufjs wrote

Wow a lot of folks in the comments want me to go to war over the particle board. I asked my savior about this specifically and he said it's not worth the hassle, yeah plywood is better but the particle board should hold up fine.

Plus a law suit would take up a ton of my time and focus. It's my decision and for me it's not worth the time.


TMB190 t1_ja3zmmf wrote

Stop calling them your savior. It's weird.


physicallyatherapist t1_ja60mb9 wrote

I'm sure that how Jesus got his start. He probably helped one of Jude's kids save 5k off a 20k roof due to his construction knowledge


covidcares t1_ja8zgd8 wrote

Thanks someone had to say it. Lol.

Also thanks OP I learned a lot from this thread.


BassElectronic6046 t1_ja3vawf wrote

My man you signed a contract and so did they.

All of your complaints are you just allowing them to flagrantly breach the contract and then you bitch about how it was a bad experience.

You don’t need to do much beyond contact the attorney general. This isn’t some law and order drama show, this is a cut and dry contractual issue that they are obligated to perform.

If you don’t want people to tell you to get a lawyer when you yourself acknowledge that someone has breached a contract then I don’t even know what you were hoping to get out of this post.


PowBoomZing OP t1_ja3walo wrote

Genuinely confounded by the hostility here. As I said in my post I want folks to be aware of the moment when roofers can charge you exorbitantly for repairs. Pursuing legal action over the particle board is not worth my time (and not the point of the post).


opuntina t1_ja3y9hf wrote

You'll change your tine when the board gets wet.....


Cicada17 t1_ja4fsxx wrote

I don’t understand the hostility either. I have never had to redo my roof, but you sharing your experience here gave me something to think about for when I do. Thanks for posting.


npmoro t1_ja4rsmc wrote

Hey, thanks for posting. This will help me in the future. I agree with your actions and appreciate the insights gleened.


moderndukes t1_ja52l2f wrote

They’re going to keep doing this to people because they got away with it without legal repercussions.


imperaman t1_ja5we2c wrote

Wow. You paid 31.5k to demo an old roof, replace one joist, install particle board or OSB, and install torchdown. You could have gotten all of that work with a new 20-year TPO roof for less than half of what you paid.

You got terribly ripped off.

Honestly, you're better off renting instead of owning. I'm not saying that to be an asshole. I've known people like you. They are so bad at managing house ownership that they spend much more owning a house than they would to rent the exact same house. They describe their houses as money pits.


sxswnxnw t1_ja60l6m wrote

This is such a silly response. LOL you are saying that to be an asshole, actually.

No one is born knowing the cost of a roof repair or replacement, nor born inherently better at being a renter rather than a homeowner. All of that is learned. If you learned it, anyone can. Because clearly you aren't any genius making generalizations like that.