3-month fight to fix roof ends after call to Go Public

A homeowner says he wishes Landmark Group had agreed to fix the roof on his almost-new house before he called Go Public, but is happy the company has finally agreed to replace all the shingles.

Builder initially balks at third straight repair to almost-new house

A homeowner says he wishes Landmark Group had agreed to fix the roof on his almost-new house before he called Go Public, but is happy the company has finally agreed to replace all the shingles. 2:13

A homeowner says he wishes Landmark Group had agreed to fix the roof on his almost-new house before he called Go Public, but is happy the company has finally agreed to replace all the shingles.

Jared Bowkowy said large patches of shingles have blown off his roof three times since the house was built.

He said Landmark had already repaired the roof before he bought the house in Beaumont, Alta., and repaired it a second time shortly after he moved in July 2012, but that the company refused to fix it a third time after an 11-square-metre section of shingles blew off during a storm in early January of this year.

Bowkowy spent the next three-and-a-half months on the phone and sending emails to Landmark, its roofing contractor, the shingles manufacturer and his insurance company, trying to get the roof fixed once and for all.

He called Go Public Edmonton when it looked like he might have to pay $10,000 to put a new roof on the two year-old house, he said.

“It is a little disappointing it had to get to this point for them to see wrongs in their ways,” Bowkowy said.

Warranties no help, homeowner says

On its website Landmark advertises a “comprehensive” warranty, and offers “peace of mind” that “any issue, no matter how small” will be taken care of by its “after-sales team.”

But in an email to Bowkowy on January 15, Landmark told him that blown-off shingles aren’t covered by the company’s one-year warranty.

Jared Bowkowy said Landmark originally refused to fix a troublesome patch of roofing on his house for a third time. (CBC)

The warranty expired in July 2013, a year after Bowkowy took possession.

Landmark said it had repaired the roof during the first year he owned the home only “as a courtesy,” and that the courtesy doesn’t extend beyond a year.

The company told Bowkowy to seek redress from Great Canadian Roofing, the contractor that installed the roof and which offers a five-year warranty.

In March, Great Canadian sent a technician to view the damage.

In his report he noted 20% of the shingles that had blown off had been nailed in the wrong spot, and that the tar lines on the underside of the shingles had not melted and adhered the shingles together as they were supposed to.

The tar lines on asphalt shingles are designed to seal the shingles together using the heat of the sun. The manufacturer says this may not be possible if the roof is installed in winter.

In an email, Great Canadian told Bowkowy hand-sealing the shingles could have helped, but Landmark would have to have requested that be done.

Questions over warranty

The company offered to have its technician remove a sample of the shingles so Bowkowy could take it to IKO, the manufacturer of the shingles.
Large patches of shingles are missing from Jared Bowkowy's roof. (CBC)

IKO warranties the shingles to withstand winds of 130 km/h, but only after the shingles have properly sealed in the sun.

IKO’s warranty says proper sealing may not happen until the following spring, and may never happen if dust or sand contaminates the tar strips, thus voiding the warranty.

“They’re hilarious. They’re not warranties,” Bowkowy said. “You have to put it in quotes.”

Bowkowy contacted his insurance company to arrange a temporary repair, but doesn’t want to use home insurance to have new shingles put on the patch.

“I’m being told by everyone that the whole roof has issues,“ he said.

“It’s just a matter of time and I will have to fix it again, and either I will have to make another insurance claim or I will have to fix it myself.”

Landmark Group and Great Canadian Roofing both declined interview requests and sent statements by email instead.

In an email to Go Public, Wes Cheyney, general manager of Great Canadian, expressed surprise Bowkowy was unhappy, saying he had never contacted the company’s senior management team or told them he was speaking to CBC.

Cheyney said the storm in January generated winds of 120 km/h, damaging many buildings, including Bowkowy’s.

He said the company would work with Landmark until Bowkowy is satisfied.

In an email, Tanya Rumak, sustainability and public relations manager at Landmark Group, said the company would work to resolve Bowkowy’s complaint, rather than point fingers of blame.

But she reiterated Landmark’s position that it had “fulfilled our warranty commitments during the first year of ownership”.

Rumak wrote that damage caused by winds over 100 km/h is  typically not covered under the one year warranty, and that manually sealing shingles in winter is not a standard industry practice.

Nevertheless, Bowkowy said he has heard from Landmark that it now intends to replace the entire roof.

“It was a breath of fresh air really. It finally seemed like somebody was actually caring about us,” he said.

“I’d like to think that this is just a rare circumstance that just doesn’t happen often to others. “But I think it was the shaming was what made them come out of their hole and actually make things right.”

NOTE: Under the Alberta New Home Warranty Program, on houses for which building permits were applied after February 1st, 2014, roofs are warrantied for a minimum of five years.


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