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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Previous customer calls me to look at putting a wood roof over his deck. I've done 3 jobs for this customer, he is a great guy, very down to earth very easy to please. All the work I have done for him up to now never required a permit.

His deck to cover is pretty big, about 15 feet out from the house and about 30 feet long. Problem for me is his deck and his houses roof line are about 9 feet apart and the slope going out is going to have to be so small or you would end up with a 4 foot high ceiling at the far end!

He want is shingled! To make a long story short every time I mention the problems and the issues of not passing code, he points to his neighbors all around him with illegal roofs on thier decks and says that guys seems to work. Problem is his is the biggest of all of these and all of his problems are magnified. He doesn't seem to care about any of the issues. I talk to him about his grandkids being out there if he lets somebody build it out of code and it collapsing some day and he just points to his neighbors - "that one made it through the big snow fall 2 years ago."

He has an estimate already from somebody else, which of course even includes illegal running of wiring by the guy to light it! He keeps saying over and over again, I want you to build it for me, but I keep hemming and hawwing and dragging my feet. The issue isn't really about the fact that he doesn't care if I permit or not - because there is no chance in hell I would ever build this thing without a permit.

But the thing that amazes me is his lack of concern with any safety issues I point out over and over again. It is amazing that he just keeps looking at his neighbors examples and sites them as the norm! No matter how many times I tell him how much of a red flag it is to let some yahoo build it out of permit he doesn't get it. I hit him one way about codes being the minimum - how safe can something be if it can't even pass the minimum? I hit him about how a guy who doesn't care about the permit, doesn't care about much else and has nothing to loose later if something happens ... no matter what way I try to explain it, it just seems like it doesn't faze him!
 

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DGR,IABD
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Mike, a question related to your predicament.... is it possible to do a low pitch rubber roof for rain tightness, and then affix shingles to the rubber in some manner just for effect? I know that's not what you intend to do, but I always wondered if that was technically possible.

When I have people that insist on having work done that doesn't meet code, my typical response is: "Yes, we could do it that way. How good is your fire insurance?". That sets them to thinking. Your situation is a porch roof. You have darned little leverage there unless one of the neighbor's porches falls down and kills someone during the next week or so.
 

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I was out at a guys house today, frame construction, T-1 exterior, way out west and he was convinced that his house was bulletproof. It survived 2 hurricanes didn't it? He bombarded me with his rationale for his cheapie 'bomb shelter'. I fixed his boat and walked away, unfortunately, he has reproduced.
 

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People like that are unfortunately impossible to deal with. I'd just tell him that being a professional who does the job right and on the up-and-up that you aren't going to do it without the proper permits and that a design like he wants will never pass inspection and prepare to walk away from it I guess.

Many years ago I was asked to help out on a buddy job remodel for a friend on his grandfathers old house, a former lake cottage-turned residence. The place was about 80 years old if it was a day and in a serious state of disrepair.

The problem is that the buddy's old man was footing the bill for the remodel and fancied himself as Lord of the DIY'ers *gasp* *ack* *cough* and apparently resented my presence there from day one. I dealt with it as a favor and just went about my business of ripping out most of what he built and doing it right...LOL

The place however was a deathtrap. One in which his son and grandchild would be living in and he was in no way concerned by this. I showed up one evening after a few days away while they did their own demo on the first floor to remove the lath and plaster from the ceilings and walls. The first thing I noticed was the reason why the second floor had so many sags. The joist system was 2x6's on 24" centers spanning 14 feet in either direction of the common wall that carried them. Then I noticed the common wall....through decades of DIY'ers doing thier own heating ducts and such had only THREE full studs that hadnt been hacked to hell carrying the whole second floor load.

After an hour of arguing with the old man about what would have to be done and what it would cost and the obvious safety concerns (his response was that it had stood this long and would be fine), I finally told him that my boss has been friends with the local building inspector for 20 years and I was just going to have him contact him and shut the place down. I told my buddy not to move into that place and I packed up my tools and never went back.

As far as I know, no one has lived their now in the last last 10 years.
 

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Take a walk. I think we've all had those customers. I can remember one distinct time where the customer was insisting I do my roof the wrong way because his neighbors was like that... after trying repeatedly to convince him, I just packed up my stuff in the middle of the presentation and told the customer I couldn't do the job for him. He had already wasted enough of my time and I knew there would be no convincing him.

I once saw some so called roofers installing shingles right on the wood. I called the building department. Perhaps that's what you should do.
 

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Mike Finley said:
I talk to him about his grandkids being out there if he lets somebody build it out of code and it collapsing some day and he just points to his neighbors - "that one made it through the big snow fall 2 years ago."
Is it impossible to build it within code at a price that he'll deem reasonable and you'll be happy with?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
PipeGuy said:
Is it impossible to build it within code at a price that he'll deem reasonable and you'll be happy with?
I think that is the magic question. In the end all I can do is show him what it will cost to do it legally and correctly. I'm sure it will be more than his current estimate, but we all know why that is.

It's pretty cut and dry - I won't build it out of code so the only way I'm involved is if he gets enlightened and figures out doing it right it worth it. I have a sneaky feeling that if I talk to him and his wife at the same time and explain it over again with her in the room, after I leave she is going to tear his head off about his ideas of doing it half-assed. Women tend to be a little smarter about these things when it comes to protecting their grand kids and focus more on what could happen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
mdshunk said:
Mike, a question related to your predicament.... is it possible to do a low pitch rubber roof for rain tightness, and then affix shingles to the rubber in some manner just for effect? I know that's not what you intend to do, but I always wondered if that was technically possible.

When I have people that insist on having work done that doesn't meet code, my typical response is: "Yes, we could do it that way. How good is your fire insurance?". That sets them to thinking. Your situation is a porch roof. You have darned little leverage there unless one of the neighbor's porches falls down and kills someone during the next week or so.
I'm pretty sure only a rolled roof is going to work here, have no idea about attaching shingles over it. The thought of it kind of makes me shudder at having to do a work around just for the look of shingles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The funny thing about this guy is that he loves to jack around with his house. Him and his brother have 'remodelled' his bathrooms, sometimes 3 or 4 times - not because they wanted to but because they have installed stuff so badly that they tear a little bit out, put a little bit back in... tear a little less out, put a little bit less back in this time...

He hired me to fix his ceiling under one of his bathrooms last month. It had fallen down from all the leaking of his upstairs shower he and his brother put in.

He was pretty sure that he had gotten the leak taken care of this time. (4 times was the charm it seems) But just in case, he had me put in an access panel in the ceiling directly below the shower drain. LOL! Looks like a nice attic access panel about 2'x3'.

This is the mentality of the guy, he just cracks me up. He jacks around with his house all the time, so instead of getting the drain fixed once and for all and being done with it, just have Mike fix the ceiling and put in an access panel in the middle of the living room! :cheesygri :cheesygri :cheesygri
 

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...jammin
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Mike Finley said:
In the end all I can do is show him what it will cost to do it legally and correctly.
Yup
I've had to do this with good regular customers
All you can do is shake their hand, thank them for the opportunity, and tell them to please call you if there is anything else you can do for them, as you really do enjoy working for them
They'll either see the light, or have the other guy do it

It's just real frustrating when you have a good relationship with a customer and they get stuck on something like this

I've been suprised when I've said this to a customer and then later they do call me back for a different job
(Sometimes I think it is to show off the job I said no to and say "See, it Can be done" Heh heh)
But it doesn't always mean the end of the business relationship
 

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...jammin
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Mike Finley said:
This is the mentality of the guy, he just cracks me up. He jacks around with his house all the time, so instead of getting the drain fixed once and for all and being done with it, just have Mike fix the ceiling and put in an access panel in the middle of the living room! :cheesygri :cheesygri :cheesygri
....lol...
Yeah, I know this guy
I have a couple of regulars like this
I have had to tell them thank you but no on a few of their projects they want me to do, like I mentioned above
Sometime you just gotta laugh
...well after you pull out of the driveway ;)
 

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mdshunk said:
Mike, a question related to your predicament.... is it possible to do a low pitch rubber roof for rain tightness, and then affix shingles to the rubber in some manner just for effect? I know that's not what you intend to do, but I always wondered if that was technically possible.
Better to use Ice shield the whole roof instead of rubber because if you puncture the rubber (EPDM or ModBit) it will leak. It is not engineered like Ice shield to tighten around the nails.

The other option is to use a granulated modified bitumen which has the same color as shingles... and a third yet option to use cooley illusions which are a PVC membrane (I think) with shingle shapes painted on.

Is it technically possible to somehow fasten shingles to rubber? Maybe, but if it is true rubber (EPDM), asphalt and the rubber have a bad chemical reaction. I once had to use roof cement to glue shingles ontop of a black modified bitumen roof because the owner didn't like the look of the modified bitumen. It was only a small area, less than a bundle of shingles, so I did it but told them there was no warranty it would stay put.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
slickshift said:
It's just real frustrating when you have a good relationship with a customer and they get stuck on something like this

Yep, that's exactly the feeling I have.
 

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As a consumer, I feel comfortable that I can tell the difference between safe and unsafe. But, in the event that I ask a professional (thats YOU guys) to do something that I think is safe, I would be so fortunate to find a pro that will say what you guys are saying. There are a lot of folks that would do it just to make a buck.

Print this thread out and give it to the guy, along with a proposal to do it RIGHT and SAFE. If he wants you bad enough, he'll do it. He'll also know that his covered deck is the safest place in his house.
 

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I don't mind a little bootlegging if the homeowner is involved hands on , ( banginig nails, pulling wire, etc), and supplies the material. My one experience with liability, it was decided that the liability went with the person who bought the materials. Sounds like this project is a pretty big bootleg. I believe I'd pass. RT
 
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