Home Improvement

5 Roofing Scams To Look Out For (And Avoid)


Your roof is arguably the most significant part of your home. It protects it from the elements, ensuring you’re warm and comfortable all year round. That’s why it’s so important to pick the right company to mend or replace it when the time comes. Sadly, there are plenty of roofing scams out there that will leave you without your money. Some will even damage your roof further.

Here are the most common scams to look out for, and how you can avoid them.


5 Common Roofing Scams

  1. The Door-To-Door Salesman: this salesman promises low, or free roofing if you have any damage.
  2. The Disappearing Act: your roofing company suddenly disappears after you’ve paid or put a deposit down.
  3. The Rising Costs Scam: once your contractor begins work, they suddenly need more money for various reasons.
  4. The Storm Chaser: these contractors suddenly appear in your time of need, after a major storm. Yet, they don’t actually repair your roof.
  5. The High Pressure Scam: these salespeople give you extreme deals and promises in hopes you will sign right then and there.

These five roofing scams are unfortunately more common than you’d like to believe. However, in this article, we explain these common roofing scams, and how you can avoid them.


1. The Door-To-Door Salesman

Now, not every door-to-door salesman is untrustworthy. However, many of them are from companies you have every right to be wary of.

These salesmen will come to your door and claim to offer a free inspection of your roof, right there and then. They’ll often target senior citizens, but honestly everyone is vulnerable to these people. If you have an older home, or there’s just been a major storm, you’re more likely to see them.

They say if there’s damage to your roof, they can get you a new one for free. If you let them in and let them inspect the roof, that’s where the trouble starts. If they can’t find any damage, they’re known to create it themselves. They’ll tear shingles off, hammer at the roof to mimic hail damage, or even present a photo from another home’s roof damage, claiming it is yours.


How To Avoid This Scam

If someone comes to your door, don’t let them in right away. They may be persistent, but you don’t have to let anyone into your home. Look up the company, and see what others are saying about them. If you see anything that makes you uncomfortable, avoid them.



2. The Disappearing Act

Another one of the most popular roofing scams is known as the disappearing act. The roofing company may look legit, but then you’ve got to put down a deposit. You’re told it’s for labor or parts, which sounds reasonable. You give the roofers the check, and they’re never seen again. In the meantime, you’re out the money and you still have a roof that needs replacement. It’s a homeowner’s worst nightmare.

This often happens when roofers know there’s been an insurance payout to fix damage to a roof. They’ll cash the insurance check you were given, and disappear with your money.


How To Avoid This Scam

Do not give any money until the company has shown they’re going to do the work. This means that they either have to come and complete the work before you hand over the money, or at least drop off the supplies first. You need to know they’re going to do the work you’re paying for, so hold onto the check until they show willing.


3. The Rising Costs Scam

Many roofing scams will use what is called the ‘elevator ride’. This tactic involves giving the homeowner a lower than average quote for the work, which they will jump at. After all, they’re inexperienced in what a roof should cost, and the job is an expensive one.

Once they start working, they’ll claim that they need more money from the homeowner. Maybe the price of materials has increased, or they’ve found more damage once they started working. Either way, they’re going to get more money out of you. Some scam artists are even known for stripping the roof down, then threatening to leave unless you pay up.


How To Avoid This Scam

Check the contract with this service carefully before you agree to any work. In most reputable roofer’s contracts, they will include a section on what happens if they find any damage. They’ll list out a fair price if they need to extra work, usually to the decking, as it’s often not possible to check it before starting work. If the contract doesn’t have this, walk away.



4. The Storm Chaser Scam

There are plenty of roofing companies that travel the weather, following storms. If there’s been a large storm in the area, they’ll swarm it. They’ll hand out leaflets and even show up on your doorstep, offering help with your damaged roof.

If you allow them in, they’ll do the bare minimum to fix the damage. Often cosmetically your roof will be fine, but they’ll have done nothing to help you get any lasting damage fixed. Often, victims of this scam will find that they need a whole new roof, just 5 years after having it replaced.


How To Avoid This Scam

Again, look into the company before you agree to any building work. Visit their offices if you can. If their address is just a PO box, then that’s a major warning sign that you should steer clear of them.


5. The High Pressure Scam

The problem with having your roof replaced is that you only do it once or twice in a lifetime. Less than scrupulous roofers know that this is the case, so they’ll pressure you into a sale any way they can. After all, you won’t know until you’ve already handed over your money.

Pay attention to the way a roofer talks to you about a potential sale. Someone using high pressure tactics will lean on you if you show any reluctance to buy from them. They’ll promise things they can’t possibly deliver, or use scare tactics to make you give in there and then. It’s intimidating and worrying for a lot of homeowners.


How To Avoid This Scam

If this roofer is on your doorstep and you feel uncomfortable for any reason, you can ask them to leave. They may not want to, as they know you’ll do your research once they’re gone and you may not go with them. Stand your ground, though, and don’t let them intimidate you. In the worst-case scenario, you can call the police if they refuse to leave your home.

Unfortunately, there are roofing scams all around us. However, these tips will help you spot a scam roofing company before they get their hands on your roof. Do your research before you sign on the dotted line, and you’ll have a roofer that’s reputable.

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