I just bought a house, and knew it needed a new roof because of its age. I had a roofing company come out and inspect it. The inspector spent a couple of hours standing on the roof and going through my attic. He showed me pictures of the inside attic meticulously showing me pictures of small nail punctures and such and explaining to my wife and what this meant etc. He eventually gave us a price of the job guaranteeing that this would absolutely not change. We were concerned about any surprises after the roof comes off. Long story short day of the job the foreman calls and says the plywood is 3/8" and is too thin we need to replace all the decking. And not only that it had large baseball sized holes in places. Our price went up 10k and we felt mislead. They kept pushing back telling us no one has x-ray vision so it was impossible to understand these conditions. We of course felt mislead.

Question is, could they have been able to detect the thickness of the decking beforehand? And those craters in the plywood, could he have seen it in the attic?

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    3/8” has never been up to code to my knowledge. I would look at the quote and also contact the local contractors board. This sounds like a scam to me. Anyone knowledgeable in roofing would notice decking that was two thin in a couple of steps. And after walking the roof and looking inside the attic there may be small areas that need replacement but not the entire roof.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 30, 2019 at 14:41
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    He photographed nail holes from inside the attic, he should have seen "large baseball sized holes" if they go all the way through, which would have also let him see the sheeting thickness & include it in the quote. I smell a scam. Contact your state, county, & municipal licensing bureaus to verify their license status. Check their workers comp & any other insurance. Did they put a lien on the house for the cost of the project? With work already started you may need legal counsel to resolve such a large difference. Dec 30, 2019 at 15:29
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    They could have determined the thickness of the decking with a simple depth gauge or thin ruler, something every inspector should have, from inside the attic.
    – JACK
    Dec 30, 2019 at 16:14
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    It sounds a lot like you are getting scammed... Next thing you know they will have a lien on your house. At the very minimum call another roofer for a consult and realize that you might need a lawyer. Dec 30, 2019 at 23:08

2 Answers 2


He eventually gave us a price of the job guaranteeing that this would absolutely not change.

Ok, so I assume this is in writing, correct? If so, it's his problem, not yours. Of course there may be the "fine print" that covers such things and makes the roofer's "guarantee" worthless.

It's hard to say beyond that without seeing the actual contract you signed.

But yes, a roofer should have been able to determine the condition and thickness of the decking before giving you the quote.

  • I fully agree there are exclusions in most contracts but a real roofer would have noticed 3/8 decking and probably said the roof was spongy and needed extensive repair. 1/2” plywood is as thin as my state allows.
    – Ed Beal
    Dec 30, 2019 at 14:46
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    Yes, a verbal agreement is hard to enforce. More to the point, a verbal agreement means absolutely nothing if there is also a written agreement (aka a signed piece of paper, aka "sign this"). Every written agreement has language that says it supersedes any verbal agreement. Dec 30, 2019 at 18:50

Could they have been able to detect the thickness of the decking beforehand? And those craters in the plywood, could he have seen it in the attic?

It's hard to say. In some areas, the decking is exposed underneath in the attic. You can clearly see holes in that case. In other areas, you might have insulation in the way, or possibly even a finished attic.

3/8" decking is the absolute bare minimum and might be below code in some areas (especially if you live in an area prone to heavy snow). Since the roofer would likely have to bring it up to code (since this is considered an "improvement" in some areas), it's possible they found out and had to notify you. If this were the case, however, I would expect them to tell you up front that they did not inspect the decking, and that they have to bring it up to minimum code.

  • Thanks for all your responses. This company is called quality homes. Part of their whole selling point and claim is they're officially certified "platinum" installers for Owens Corning. They kept saying how very few roofing companies have this status with Owens Corning. So we were sold by whatever jargon. Long story short, they completed the roof, and after endless arguing with managers they cut off $300. Pennies compared to the 10k price hike.
    – sunny kim
    Jan 2, 2020 at 2:24

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