Metal Roofing Systems, Inc
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Bad Experience: Four month install, damaged drywall, premium price
There is a lot to review as the process from starting my roof to finishing my roof took 4 months and 2 days (and that does not include the time it took to deal with some issues that I had before the project began). For a short synopsis of my experience, read the sections titled “The Good” and “The Bad”. For a more in-depth review read on after that.
• Jack Gugger (the owner) always answered my phone calls and if he was unavailable, he would get back to me very soon.
• Aside from a flimsy drip edge (that was not as advertised) on my lower roofs that are standing seam, the roof does look good (second story roofs are rustic shingle). Neighbors have stopped by to comment on how nice it looks.
• Foreman was knowledgeable and accommodating to my concerns.
• After I had signed the contract, Metal Roofing Systems tried to increase the price as they claimed they had forgot something in their bid.
• Project took way longer than expected. The foreman would often tell me he was going to show up and then would not show up.
• My crew was subcontracted by Jack, which means there is less accountability to him or his standards. I asked Jack if he subcontracted all his work out and he more or less refused to answer me (Jack was always courteous and kind unless he felt you were being critical of him).
• Drywall ceiling was damaged by water due to improper covering of roof during construction. When I told this to Jack, he refused to accept any responsibility and suggested I probably had water damage there before the project began (I watched the water drip into my house where I had not had water dripping before).
• Three different kinds of underlayments were used on my house; one of which began to peel and separate after exposure in the Sun.
• The original contract for my roof included installing the rustic shingle on my lower roofs, which (unbeknownst to me) would have been installed outside of the manufacturer’s specifications, which would have voided the warranty. Ultimately, I found the specifications and Jack defended himself by claiming that he had installed it in many applications like mine and hasn’t had any problems (which means he has voided the manufacturer’s warranty on many other people’s roofs).
• Jack advertised himself as a member of the Better Business Bureau but hasn’t been a member since 2015.
• Jack was always friendly on the phone until I claimed that I was being treated unfairly. At that point he would tell me anything good that he had done or talk about his hundreds of satisfied customers and mostly refuse to hear my criticism.
I first contacted Metal Roofing Systems to get an estimate for my roof. They set me up with one of their salespeople and requested that both my wife and I be present for the meeting. When the evening came to meet, the salesperson did not show and called after the scheduled meeting to say he ran late with another client but requested that we setup an alternative time. We agreed to setup another time to meet and when we did meet, the salesman seemed knowledgeable and persuaded me that Jack (the owner) has good crews that work for him. The salesman offered a 10% discount on the roof if you agreed to terms that allowed them to complete the roof anytime in the next six months. That seemed like a good discount to me, but I verified that once they started the project, they would finish it and not be jumping from project to project leaving my roof partially done. The salesman confirmed that they would finish the project once they started and that the discount was just to allow them to be flexible in their scheduling (in the end it took 4 months and 2 days for them to complete the project once they started, but I’ll explain that more later). The salesman also offered a 5% discount if you signed the paperwork that day and gave Metal Roofing Systems a check for 30% of the price of the roof. Ultimately, my wife and I agreed to sign the paperwork.
About a week later, the salesman calls back and said he feels terrible, but that he forgot some things in his estimate and needs to raise the price by about 10% or Jack won’t do the roof. I was clearly upset about this and expressed that I did not feel that the onus was on me to pay for the supposed additional things they missed in their estimate. The salesman said he would talk to Jack and get back to me. He called later that same day and said that Jack was willing to split the difference and only increase the price by 5%. In the end, I said no to the price increase and the salesman understood but became noticeably terser with me. He said he would contact the office and have them send the check back right away. The next day, the check was cashed by Metal Roofing Systems. I contacted the salesman to express my outrage that they would cash the check after we had mutually agreed to part ways. The salesman asked if I would still be willing to have them do the roof for the original price. Regretfully, I said that I would honor the contract I had signed. Shortly after that Jack called me and said that he would do the roof for the original price.
Fast forward a few months to the spring of the next year (I had signed the contract the previous fall). The foreman meets me at my house on a Sunday night and says he will be starting work on my house the next day. We go over the details on the house and he informs me he expects to be done in less than two weeks. I told him that would be great and told him that I would be moving my family to my parent’s house for the two weeks as I have a pregnant wife and two young kids who need to nap. He said that wasn’t necessary, but that it would allow him to work longer hours to get done sooner.
The foreman did not show up to work on my house until nearly two weeks later. I continually contacted him, and he would constantly tell me that he would show up first thing the next morning to begin work. Several nights throughout the week I would drive by my house only to find that no work had been accomplished. This is how most of the project went for the 4 months and 2 days it took from the first night I met the foreman to the night it was completed. I would sometimes call Jack to express my frustration with the time frame and Jack would apologize. Eventually, I came to find out that the foreman did not work directly for Jack but was instead a subcontractor. This upset me because although it was never explicitly stated, I was under the impression that Jack had his own employees completing the work. I would not have agreed to have him do my roof if I had known he used subcontractors to complete the work for two reasons. Firstly, subcontractors may push off your job for some other job they have going and get back to you whenever they feel (as is what happened in my case). Secondly, subcontractors may race through the job and sacrifice quality in order to get paid and move to the next job. Fortunately, the second case was not my issue, but it may have been for Jack’s other customers as my foreman often did roof repairs for Jack on days when he was not working on my house. Jack did offer to send a different crew to finish the project about a month before the project was completed, but I told him that the project was so close to being completed that I preferred that the foreman who he had started the project with, finish it if possible. I was worried the next subcontractor would race through the job to finish it as quickly as possible and would cut corners.
In all fairness, the 4 month and 2 day time frame did include one change order that I made in the middle of the project for a change in material for my two lower roofs (my house has a second floor roof that covers most of the house and two small lower roofs that cover some additional first floor space). Jack told me that he anticipated that change order would add 2 weeks to the project. Originally, I had chosen the Rustic Shingle aluminum roof for everything, but after seeing it completed, I thought it would set the roof apart nicely if I had standing seam aluminum roofs placed on the two lower roofs. Later I found out that the Rustic Shingle would not have met the manufacturers specifications for the pitch of my two lower roofs and so it would have voided the warranty if installed. Neither Jack nor the salesman told me about this, and it wasn’t until after much frustration I began to question everything I was told, and I investigated things further.
Another issue included water dripping into my house when my roof was improperly covered. The foreman came out the next day to cover the roof properly, but there was damage to the ceiling drywall. The only other issues that I had with the quality of the roof included the flashing and the ice and water shield. The drip edge flashing on the lower roof was not as advertised and was a significantly thinner material than what was used on the upper roof. The thinner material causes the metal to have waves and curves in it rather than holding straight like it did on the upper roof. When I confronted Jack about that, he never gave me an explanation about why they did not install the drip edge that the salesman advertised. The other issue was the ice and water shield that was used as an underlayment. There were three different brands of underlayment that were used on my roof, two of which were exposed to the Sun for about a month. In that time frame, one of the brands (a green colored underlayment with no markings as to brand) separated under the exposure. I had that portion ripped off, but much of that same brand of material remains underneath the aluminum shingles that were already installed. I only hope that they hold up over time since they are not exposed to the Sun. I also asked Jack about the different underlayments and he claimed that they are all premium underlayments, but he buys whatever is cheapest.
Overall, I am satisfied with the foreman’s work (barring the exceptions listed above). I am just extremely unsatisfied with how I was lied to about when work would commence and ultimately how long the whole process took.
When the roof was finally complete, I asked Jack to come to my house to discuss the issues that I have had. Jack flat out refused to come to my house and claimed that I just wanted to “beat him up”. Most conversations up to this point had been cordial and he was usually very friendly. He claimed that he had hundreds of satisfied customers and he wasn’t going to come to my house just so that I could berate him. I expressed to him that I wanted him to see the final product including the flashing and the water damage. He said he was too busy to meet with me (my house is in Oregon and his office is in Madison, which is less than a half hour away). I expressed shock that he was too busy to meet with me especially since if he has so many customers that are satisfied, wouldn’t it be worth his time to meet the one that wasn’t? I expressed that I did not believe I should be responsible for the standing seam change order (which was all that I owed at that point anyway and amounted to less than 4% of the total project) since that product would not have met the manufacturer’s warranty and he should not be installing products that void the warranty. He claimed he has installed that product on roofs just like mine and hasn’t had any issues. I expressed that it didn’t matter whether there weren’t issues, it still voids the warranty and at the very least he should inform the customer before agreeing to install a roof and offer a warranty that would be void due to improper application. I also requested $5,000 back (which amounts to about 13% of the total price including change orders) seeing as how he falsely advertised himself. He advertises his business as a premium service and criticizes other contractors that have “longer-than-expected installation, final bills that come in higher than the quote and shoddy workmanship” (that quote is taken directly from the Contractor Standards Guide that he advertises to people to help them find a quality contractor). In that guide, he also advertises that he is a part of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and he emphasizes how important that is. He, however, is no longer a current member of the BBB. My list of complaints could go on, but the sad reality is that whenever Jack was confronted on any shortcomings, he acted like he was the one who was being attacked and not the perpetrator who was wronging the customer.
In the end, I settled with Jack to forgo the remaining amount for the standing seam change order that I owed him (less than 4% of the total project). I do not think that was a fair settlement, but I had no desire to drag this process out in court (my family has been through enough already). Jack refused to meet me at my house, so I traveled the long 20 miles to meet him at his shop to finally meet face-to-face and shake hands. I have no doubt that if Jack reads this review, he will think I just posted it to “beat him up”. That is not my intention. My intention is twofold. One, I hope to warn others of the experience I’ve had, because I think it’s very probable that it could happen again. And two, I hope that Jack reads it and considers it from a customer’s perspective. I hope that he can see that he is not the one who is getting “beat up”, but it is him who unfairly treated the customer and was unwilling to entertain any criticism or wrongdoing on his part. I hope that Jack really does have many hundreds of satisfied customers as he says he does, but this has been the worst experience I have ever had with a contractor.