This was a difficult review to do as it was one of the more inconsistent experiences I’ve had with contractors. Somethings were out of the park, others were painfully frustrating and overall just an okay experience. The scope included the following for both of our attics (2150 sq. ft. 1 1-2 story house):
• Removal of existing wood chip and fiberglass batt insulation
• Sealing all penetrations through the attic
• Adding in R50 of new blown in mineral wool insulation
• Removal of existing shingles and step flashing along one side of the roof
• New shingles, step flashing, power vents, vents and Deckair to increase ventilation
• Sourcing the blown in mineral wool from Texas was excellent. Ideal was the only contractor I could find that would work with me on my desire to have mineral wool given is superior moisture resistance and without the health concerns that fiberglass has.
• Installation of the air chutes was also excellent. There were many areas where plywood stops would have prevented the use of chutes however the crew spent a lot of time knocking them out, installing the chutes and then used batts as blocks under the chutes. Given the tightness of the space it was a superb job.
• Sealing of penetrations was solid. The bathroom fans were missed but otherwise spray foam, tuck tape and electrical box covers were used well.
• Speed of the insulation removal, air sealing and install was excellent. Over two days it was done (not including having to come back to top it off).
• Willingness to work with me to resolve issues we’ve had in our roof, such as installing the Deckair right to the edge of the roof, to allow to cooling right to the edge. This should avoid the ice damming issues we’ve had in the past.
• Great material cleanup around the property and they indicated that they will recycle the shingles, which helps reduce the environmental impact.
• Really positive insulation crew that I felt were ready and willing to help.
• Their price was higher than competing bids but I was willing to pay a premium for a company that would work with me.
• Scope changes without discussing it with me. Our original estimate had roof access from both attics. Prior to the work starting, three Ideal folks came over to discuss the work and they really wanted to access via the house which would have been really messy. We agreed to roof access on the second level and inside access on the lower. On the second day the site crew decided on roof access without a discussion or informing me at all. I actually preferred this, but would have liked a discussion given the prior agreement we had.
• On the first day I had been very clear with the Project Manager that I wanted to inspect the attic before the new insulation was blown in and I could only do this from 1-2pm. As 1 pm passed and no one came I called our Project Manager and didn’t get the helpful response I was hoping. He asked me to talk with his crew, which is what I thought his job was. They told me 30 mins and didn’t seem to know that I was to inspect the attic at 1 pm. At 1:45 I went up as I had to leave at 2 for a meeting and they were just wrapping up. 45 mins isn’t that late but given that I had left work just to do this inspection, and Project Manager knew that I had a short window, I expected better communication with me and within the Ideal team.
• At the end of the first day, the clouds were rolling in. I asked the lead roofer if we’re all sealed up and he said the felt paper would keep everything dry and the temporary covers he put on would stop the moisture. It then rained an hour later for about 10 mins. I looked in our attic and the sheathing was wet in five different areas which I could see from just the attic hatch, and water was dripping down the vent stack inside of our wall. When I pointed this out to Project Manager, I received less than a warm response. He indicated the felt was not supposed to stop the rain, which left me confused as that was the only thing there and the roofer’s choose not to put poly down on top of it. The next day when I went up to speak with the roofers the attitude was unacceptable. One asked me if I had “proof” and “pictures” because there was no way it failed. The lead roofer just said that they would lay a second layer of felt down and that he was really busy. Very different than the discussions we had on the first day when he was walking me around and we discussed the problem areas. I wasn’t seeing the accountability for the problem that I expect from contractors or a desire to figure out what went wrong. I did get an apology the next from the PM but it should have never happened in the first place and the roofers should have apologized directly to provide even a hint that they were accountable for their behavior.
• After the insulation in the lower attic was completed I went up to have a look which they packed up. I measured the depth and it was 2” short in many areas. I pointed this out to them and they then installed some more after being defensive. They said that it was good and I went up to measure again. Then then spent time trying to convince me that if I looked low down it was an “average” R50, which it wasn’t. They agreed that it needed more and then told me that they had run out of material. Even though this is a new product for them, I would have expected that they would have ordered enough based on the manufacturer’s specs and knowing the measurements of our attic. I also expect all of my contractors to let me know if there’s a problem, not expect me to go and find it, twice. They needed to come back to add extra insulation which went smoothly.
• The attic hatches weren’t properly boxed off so when I opened the attic hatch to check on the insulation, a ton just fell on me and around me. They had used batts around the hatch to block the blown in insulation, however then blew in and around the batts, causing loose fill on all four sides of the hatch. When I pointed this out, the Project Manager was defensive but agreed to fix this. Cardboard was used to create the box which works okay, but not ideal.
• The attic hatches were sealed by extremely cheap foam tape. So cheap, it’s essentially a single use. My wife saw them redo it at least twice on the lower hatch after they had to use the hatch and when I went to use the upper hatch the first time after they left, there were already three chunks missing (you can see it in the pictures). I ended up ripping it all off and using vinyl weather stripping which should last several years, instead of a few days. There’s no excuse to use cheap stuff like this, when an extra $5 would last a lifetime.
• There were some other small things however the above issues were the key ones.
So would I hire them again? Possibly as in the end I got well insulated attics and a roof that should stand the test of time. However, I would go out and get multiple quotes again, and if they seemed like the best, have a much more detailed scope with all materials listed, and avoid “trusting” their decisions, which in a few areas was lackluster. The fact that during installation the roof failed to keep out water when rain was expected, and the significant attitude I experienced, left me feeling that wanting a roof that didn’t leak was my fault. And overall I wasn’t happy with the level of communication, the tone of communication or the number of issues encountered.