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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Knowledgeable Roofing Experts,

I am in desperate need of your knowledge and advice! My home had a very destructive fire in June of 2010. The cause was electrical and started in the garage. Of course that is where I kept every caustic, flammable, incendiary thing known to mankind. The fire was so hot my Nissan Murano literally melted. The roof above my garage and the areas directly affected by the fire were flat. (The previous homeowners added 1800 sq ft onto an 1800 sq ft home) The original house structure has a pitched tar and gravel roof. It has taken the restoration company over a year to restore my home, and it still is not finished. There was a bad thunderstorm the other night and water literally poured out of the air conditioning vent in my kitchen. The entire kitchen ceiling had to be replaced after the fire because I had a lighted cove ceiling and the panels literally melted. The fire burned so hot that my water cooler melted, and in hall cabinet, which is about 60 ft from the fire. The restoration company are saying that since the pitched part of the roof was not repaired by them they have no liability. I disagree, since the fire affected every single inch of my home, and heat rises.

My question is could the heat of the fire have compromised the integrity of the tar and gravel roof? I hypothesize it did just because the smoke poured out of the attic vents for at least 20 minutes after the fire was controlled, and the well know fact that heat rises. The firefighters had to put the fire out with foam. The smoke from the fire was black, oily, and toxic.

I had been on the roof about a month prior to the fire, and went up again yesterday. The only way I can describe it was the roof is cracked in many spots, and it feels spongy. I went into the attic and there are open gaps around re-installed pipes. The restoration company spent a lot of time up on the roof repairing the flat parts.

I feel that the insurance company is liable for the entire roof. The restoration company that has done all the remodeling have been very difficult in the last couple months to work with because the initial scope they did was extremely incomplete. The GM they initially had on my job it was his first time doing a scope, and within a month he was fired. I have been through numerous GM's, foremen, and workers and my house still is far from finished. By the time it is all said and done, the structural restoration cost alone will be $240k! I am really in no position to shell out $5,000 to $7,000 on a new roof. Just getting my contents coverage out of the insurance company is like squeezing blood from a turnip.

I would really appreciate any advice on how to proceed. My home is a single level. I will be happy to upload photos if needed.

Thank You in Advance
 

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Roof Pro of Vermont
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Let's start with your GC was hired by or a "Preferred Contractor PC" provided by the Insurance Company/ Insurance Adjuster?

I ask because it sounds like a typical PC. What you probably should take a look at the Scope (You may already have the Estimate prepared by the Adjuster). It should detail areas covered.

Backing through your post I don't see that the entire home is or is not being replaced/ repaired but in my experience plywood does not do well under extreme heats as the glue breaks down.

A few pics could not hurt maybe a street view as well to separate garage from house as well as a few from above. Be careful- if the plywood under the tar and gravel is in fact weak maybe you shouldn't be on it at all.

Liability of the GC is pretty vague, but IMO if your roof has sustained damage as a result of the fire repairs should be covered and damage arising this many months after work began sounds like a poor judgement by your Contractor.
 

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Roofing Relapse
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Get another estimate from a contactor who has no affiliation with the insurance company. Most preferred contractors are preferred because they are good at saving the insurance company money. The insurance company DOES NOT look out for your interestes, you are not in good hands, they look out for share holder profit.

I did not read your whole post, the short of the short is this: If the fire was bad enough it absolutely can damage the roof from the bottom side. Also tie-ing a new roof to an old is a difficult task from a long term point of view. I as a roofer would be telling the insurance company to replace the whole thing. Personally I could not warrant the tie in from new to old.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update from homeowner

The GC I was told at the time, was a "preferred contractor" with my insurance company. I chose this company because I live in a small town and they are the biggest and the ones with the most accreditations. While one contractor is working another cannot come in. Unfortunately, there is a lot more work to be finished by the company I am contracted with, so that point is moot.

Believe me, I am well aware that the insurance company is not on my side. I have fought with them on every little thing, right down to hinges. Getting advice from experts, such as yourself is my ammunition.

A street view would not help much since the front areas of my house are flat. Those are the areas that were added 20 years ago. The back of the house is a straight line, pitched, tar and gravel roof. I have owned the house since 1995 and have never had a leak in that part.

I have attached pictures so that you will get a better idea.

If you need any more info just let me know.

Thank you again for your advice!
 

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New roof start to finish. To be honest none of it looks to be in good shape. Details are all wrong and where is the water that runs off the slope in to the wall suppose to go? A cricket needs to be installed there.
 

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I defer to GT when it comes to tar and gravel. I don't have alot of experience with hot tar except to know that I hate it and tear alot of it off (mostly due to improper instalaltion). However I can tell you, me personally, I never would have put gravel on those sloped sections of roof.

Going back to the original subject, the fire can definetly damage the roof from the bottom side, and a tie in on a tar and gravel roof is impossible in my opinion unless you havea permanent break, like a physical wall.

Onto the liability issue, I see contractor A preventing you from hiring contractor B using "liability" as an excuse, because he wants to control his profits and is handcuffing you by the short hairs to do it. Keep in ming my opinion of most contractors who specializein in insurance work is very low because most protect the insurance company not the property owner. Watch this contractor with a microscope.
 

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Did you sign any kind of binder agreement with the contractor? That is one way they bind you to do the entire job for what you get from insurance. But honestly, those roofs do not look in the best of shape. Consider doing something to fix those crazy angles!

______________________________________
http://www.mmbuilds.com
 

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You might want to read the paperwork you completed with the preferred contractor in regards to bringing in another roofing contractor. It can be true that when two contractors work near each other it can be hard to pin one or the other down if there is a problem later. Generally, I like as much control over the scope of work as possible because if there is a problem it's pretty clear whose problem it is.

If you'd like a roofing contractor out there in addition, do your best to read the agreements and figure out of the PC is "strongly advocating" (and choosing his words carefully to get you to stop asking) not bringing someone else in, or you really did sign that you wouldn't/couldn't.

Aaron

www.american-roofing.biz
 
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