Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Why My Roof Makes Me Smile

When I bought my home in the spring of 2011, the inspector told me I'd need a new roof within three years.

"You've got three layers of shingles on there, Jen. It will need to be torn off so the integrity of the wood can be inspected."

Right. New roof. Got it.

Flash forward to January 2013. Our refinance went through and we received a nice little parting gift from the mortgage lender. Roof Fund! Step 1, fund, complete.

March came. We barely noticed the two year anniversary of owning our cute little house. We'd had a baby, adopted a dog, and decided we were going to complete this roof ourselves. Sure, it would be hard. Heck, we've encountered worse. Bring on the DIY books and awful looks from professionals!

We went into the library with our hopes high and our quest simple: get a roofing book. We left with three beautiful, colorful, perfect-smelling library books chalk full of roofing expertise. We were two human sponges, my husband and I. We were ready to learn!

Then, as we rode home on a euphoric cloud of problem-solving wonder, we realized our little trip to the library cost us valuable dinner prep time. Almost on queue, the baby cried from the backseat. Bubble popped, reality is baaaaack...

We left the books in the car for almost a week. I looked at them once, during that ride home from the library. Aaron also looked at them once. They settled into a dusty place under a stack of to-dos on our kitchen peninsula. I forgot about them for a while....a "while" meaning until the library started sending those threatening overdue notices.

No bother, I thought, we've got YouTube! Who needs books. Not this resourceful chick, no way. Not now, not neva. Step two, research, complete.

We decided June 1st would be the day. Step three, lock in a date, complete. This was almost too easy! I peppered my conversations with my dear, lovely man friends with as many references to the roofing project as I could. They had completed the same project at their bachelor pad. I had every bit of confidence they could teach me how to roof my own place.....And then help me do it.

We also jumped at the chance to have Sears come give us a "free estimate" on doing the work for us. This was a twofold benefit for me:

1. I received free measurements (Step four, get measurements, complete)

2. It snapped Aaron down from the crazy he was swinging from when he thought the labor "really wouldn't cost that much more"

My friends and local Sears representatives weren't the only ones falling deep into my manipulative roofing hole of servitude. Aaron is studying to be an accountant. Guess who needed a real good quote for roofing supplies using measurements she swiped from an unassuming sales man.

Now Aaron came up with an amazing quote. I was truly impressed. About $2k for all the supplies, using various big-box stores and rental supply companies. He even factored in a food-and-drink budget for our friends. I had a price using good shingles. I had a price using the best shingles. Heck, I had a price using no shingles. He broke it DOWN for me, Barney style. Step five, set up a list with prices and supplies, complete.

The only, and I mean only, drawback to his supply and pricing list was we'd need to shop at various stores and pay for separate deliveries.

I went through the next couple of weeks feeling on top of the world. We had a date, a couple of verbal commitments from amazing friends, and a ridiculously detailed supply list with sneaky measurements. Steps one through five, complete!

....but as the days trickled down, and our attention shifted to everyday life, our resolve weakened.

My baby turned one the weekend prior to our roofing date. I wanted a party. It became the battle of the Jens.....

Logical Jen: Skip party so we can have a roof!

Party Jen: Have a huge party and live in a mud hut in the backyard!

Crazy Jen: Do both!

......Guess which one I chose?

Can I please point out, despite my best intentions to give both events my all, when faced with the choice between planning a big party and gathering supplies for a roofing project, my attention automatically and joyously fixed on the party. Roof? What roof? I'm collecting baby food jars for backyard tea lights at dusk, don't bother me.

(......Side note: The party was beautiful, aside from the rain. Annabelle didn't care one way or another and Daddy and I enjoyed the time with friends. But that roof. Oh did it loom in the background the entire time. Literally....)

I began to panic about three weeks out from our roofing date.

"Aaron, do you know what we need to do? Aaron, when should we get this stuff? Aaron have any of your friends agreed to help? Aaron Aaron Aaron!"

Lucky man, ay?!!

My controlling nature was brewing one hell of a storm and I needed to do something. I'd heard great things about a family-owned roofing supply company in our town. No, they did not pay me anything for writing this. The praise is plentiful because it is well-deserved.

I called Copley Roofing with confidence. I knew what we needed, I had my measurements, we were golden. It was going along swimmingly. What is your name, check. Where do you live, check. How many valleys do you have? I made it three questions before the wonderfully patient woman on the other end of the line began to realize she was dealing with a roofing moron.

She sent someone out, free of charge, to measure our home. Turns out Sears really sucks at measuring. Good thing they've got Ty Pennington. Bedding, Sears. Stick with bedding.

So after numerous calls back and forth, a couple embarrassing moments where I mispronounced the word "architectural," and about $3k later, we had our supplies lined up to be delivered. Yep, we needed a lot more than we thought. Stupid library book!

We started the roof Saturday, June 1st, as planned. Mr Charles Copley, the owner himself, delivered our dumpster and supplies (minus the shingles, which were delivered the next day).

Mr. Copley was an incredible man, walked me through each item and offered some highly-warranted professional advice. You've gotta love your small-business owners. So much better than the box stores. Heck, when we went to Menards a sales lady tried to get us to buy her leftover roofing supplies directly from her garage for a cheaper price. She actually gave us her cell phone number. Weirdos.

So I had some gorgeous men show up early Saturday morning.

I don't think a girl could have better friends. I was loving it. They worked hard, fast, and with determination. It was ugly, tearing off three layers of shingles. Not pretty at all.

Mr. Copley was due back Satuday afternoon to deliver the shingles. We'd hoped to finish demo and have the roof watertight.

No such luck.

Mr. Copley came back with his son, way after business hours, his brow wrinkled in worry. "Clouds are looking gray, guys. Better get that paper done." He was genuinely concerned and I wanted nothing more but to run and hide. The guys were moving as fast as they could. But we couldn't beat the weather.

Moments after the guys finished hauling 70lb bags of shingles off Mr Copley's awesome rooftop conveyor belt, the sky opened up and rain came pouring down.

Now, we found out our roof is not your standard plywood roof. Our home was built with 1x6 wooden beams. I remember this measurement because I had to purchase more of these beams, by myself, in my Toyota Echo, when we ran across a few rotten planks over the garage. Please, just for a moment, picture me driving down the highway with huge wooden planks hanging out my passenger window. You're welcome.

So back to the roof. No plywood meant larger gaps between the beams. Rain just drip-dripped into my attic.

Note: do not tear off what you cannot put back on. And if you do, make sure you have tarps. Lots of tarps.

We did what we could and the troops retreated in what they felt was defeat.

Sunday rose grim and cold, but dry. I was freaking out, worried about the drywall, the insulation, everything. My beautiful in-laws agreed to take both kids and leant us a fan for the attic. It was the only time I'd ever been up there. Spooky!

Four of my dear friends returned. I got up there. I made my girlfriend get up there. I would've plucked Santa from the sky on Christmas Eve if the timing been right. It was go time.

We are now four days into the roofing project. We'd hoped to complete it in two but cannot complain; we've had one amazing guy help all four days. Two of my other buddies have joined us after work, too. They are gold to me, more valuable than the clearest diamonds.

Even though it is not yet complete, I love my roof. It's a complete representation of the love I'm so incredibly lucky to have in my life.

More to come :)


  1. Things could go worse when we delay a loud need for a new roof. But I'm still glad that, after a little more problems, the new roof is now on! I'm pleased to hear that you are loving how your new roof turned out, Jennifer!
    Eulalia @ Barnhouse Exteriors

    1. Thank you for reading Eulalia! We are also very pleased it worked out ok in the end :)

  2. A roofing project with your friends sounds adventurous! But exciting as it is, still, you must keep in mind that roof installation is a serious matter, and when it is not done properly, might cause more harm done good to your house. How long did the installation process last, by the way?

    1. Hi Jessie, thank you so much for reading! I must admit we weren't excited about doing it ourselves. Fact of the matter was, we needed a new roof and absolutely could not afford to pay a pro. Luckily, the small business owner in my neighborhood was incredible enough to give us some sound advice. We were able to do the demo (3 layers!!), get it watertight, and do half the shingles in two days. The rest of the shingles, including the ridge caps, took us about four more days, but we were only working on it after work in 3 hours bursts. It was worth it and we are so proud of how well it turned out, but it was hard, hard, hard work! I will never look at a roof the same way again!

      Thanks again for reading!! :)

  3. While fixing the roof on your own is fun, there are times that it wouldn't work out, especially if you have other pressing matters at hand. Like for example, you were caught between doing the repairs and throwing a party for your baby. Anyway, it’s good that you’ve finally decided to call the professionals to do the job for you. At least, the job was finished in a timely manner, and you were able to spend that time with other important matters. Cheers!

    Pleasance Faast @ Shelton Roof