My roofer doubled the cost in the middle of the job. Is this my fault or his?

Answered by Brett ~ September 24, 2010 ~ Comments

My roofer quoted me x to do a roofing job along with a porch, we knew there would be rot, especially in the porch so we padded a few extra grand. Now he has finished the porch and says he miscalculated and the price is almost doubled for the remainder of the roof. What type of recourse do we have?

Bob C. ~ Portland, Maine

Brett Kulina

Bob, this type of problem happens all the time, and the best solution is to make sure that you have a well written contract which specifically describes the work to be done, the cost of completing that work, and the responsibilities of the contractor who is doing the work. If you do not have a detailed contract, and instead are relying on verbal agreements, assumptions, or just common sense, then unfortunately there is not much recourse for you once your contractor increases the cost of his services. Of course you can just refuse to pay the contractor, but in most cases all this will get you is a lien against your property, an unfinished project, and lots of headaches.

Unfortunately, it can be difficult for a roofer to estimate the cost of a job when there are unseen issues, such as rotten wood or damaged roof sheathing. In your situation, perhaps things would have worked out better had you had a fixed bid for the roofing project and a separate time and materials contract for the porch repairs. This way you would have had some certainty about the cost of the project, and the contractor would have had some assurance that he would be fairly compensated for work that needed to be completed.

If you feel that your roofer is taking advantage of the situation and has increased the cost of the project for unfair reasons then you can report him to the Better Business Bureau or seek advice from an attorney, but in general, it is always best to try and solve these disagreements outside of a courtroom. My advice is to try and seek a reasonable compromise with the roofer and consider it a hard lesson learned.

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