A Shingle in Time Saves Nine

Buying a fixer upper usually means that there are some things that need fixing immediately, some that can wait a little longer, and others that can wait years until your ideas and finances blend seamlessly into masterful renovations.  When we received our home inspection prior to buying the house, the inspector said we were missing some roof flashing and some shingles that would need repairing.  He also made an offhand comment that he would probably consider replacing the roof in the semi-near future and gave us the name of a roofer he would recommend we call to do the repairs/reroof.  There was a history of past leaking, as evidenced by the ceiling stains, so we knew this was something to keep in the back of our minds.


Once we found our new and awesome range hood, we knew we would need to cut a hole in the roof for the roof cap for its venting, so we decided to get a repair estimate  and potentially a reroof estimate for the roof so we could be saving up.  Some of our neighbors, including my parents, had some roofing repairs or reroofs done by a different company, and our insurance agent recommended a third person.

We called each of the three recommended roofers, and the first person who was able to come out to give us a quote was from the company my parents had used.  After ten minutes on our roof, the guy who came out to do the repair estimate (we’ll call him Bob) said he could not give us a repair estimate in good faith because we really needed a reroof, citing several things that were warning signs to a professional roofer that our roof was reaching the end of its short life (apparently our 15-year-old home came with only a 15-year shingle, so the math isn’t hard to do). For example, the home inspector had noted patches for leaks, but Bob mentioned that there were four different colors of shingles used, which to him was a red flag that whoever did the patching didn’t even try to get a close match of shingle, which could mean cutting corners in other ways, too.

Basically, Bob said we could sink a few thousand into quality repairs, but we’d need to reroof in a couple of years at best, so that money (at least a fifth or more of the price of a reroof) would just go down the drain.  Bob said he’d get the reroof estimator to provide us with a quote within the next couple of days.  Not that we didn’t trust Bob (he had confirmed our own mounting suspicions), but I also asked my dad to look at the roof (my dad has done roofing before, like so many other things).  I didn’t tell my dad what Bob had said, but after he came down from the roof, his report matched Bob’s report exactly.  We compared quotes with the company our home inspector had recommended, and the company for whom Bob worked came in with a slightly better quote.  The third guy never got back to us.2014-08-06 19.08.32

Even though dropping $10k for a new roof wasn’t really something we wanted to do right away, it makes more sense to have a new roof protecting all the other repairs and updates we want to do on the inside. Within a week of signing a contract, we had a brand new 30 year dimensional shingle roof.  From the front of the house, you can’t really tell much of a difference, but if you look closely, you’ll notice two things: The new roof is a slightly lighter gray color than the original, and the ridge caps are slightly more elevated because they are vented.  If you were to do a fly-by, our roof no longer looks like a patchwork quilt done by a kindergartner.2014-08-07 16.17.53

The reroofing took the crew only 5 hours (they arrived at a bleary 6:30 a.m., climbed on the roof at 6:45 a.m., and were gone by 11:45 a.m.). They were crazy efficient and did a fantastic job cleaning up, too.  A few things to keep in mind when having your roof repaired for which we were unprepared, though:

1.  Free-falling Objects Overhead
Although we didn’t know it, some of the screws in the original light fixtures and living room ceiling fan were loose, so the vibrations from the roof work loosened them up further until a few fell to the floor. The dome light over the sink actually fell completely off the ceiling, but thankfully my dad caught it mid-fall while he was in the kitchen nibbling a muffin (I ply my dad with baked goods in exchange for his handyman services).

2. Dandruff or Debris?
The vibrations also caused some of the popcorn on the remaining popcorn ceilings to come loose, showering everything from our clothes in the closet to the duvet on the bed in a fine dusting of popcorn.

3.  Off the Walls
My parents have had wall art fall during a roofing before, but thankfully ours just tilted in places.  Pieces that were propped up against walls slid down, but again, nothing fell or was damaged.  We would still recommend taking valuable pieces off the wall just in case, especially if they are near furniture that you don’t want damaged.

4.  Burned/Broken Blooms and Branches
The roofers did an excellent job of tarping the yard around the perimeter of the house so that materials (especially nails) raining down during the removal of the old roof would fall on the tarps for easy clean-up and for fewer opportunities to contract tetanus when working in the flowerbeds in the future.  However, we were getting a roof done in Florida on a sunny August morning, so I realized that the tarps were going to act like greenhouses, essentially burning up my plants.  Fortunately, they removed the tarps as quickly as they could; only then did I discover that the tarps and falling debris had broken some of the branches and blooms on my new plants.  I was able to salvage the broken basil, though; it is now growing roots and will be its own entity. Hooray for happy accidents. 🙂


They’re supposed to be sending someone out today to cut the hole and install the roof cap for our new range hood, so hopefully we’ll have a finished and functional hood to show you soon!  We’ll also be getting a wind mitigation inspection (paid for by the roofing company we used) so that our new and improved roof will help lower our home insurance premiums, which will (over time) defray the upfront cost of the new roof.  Here’s hoping that a shingle in time saves nine.


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