It's done! Phew! Thanks so much for the help

First of all, thanks so much for the help and advice offered over the last 3 months. It’s been invaluable.

Of course, the best advice you could have given me was…DON’T DO IT! :lol: I never thought roofing a house would be as much work as it was, and at 53 years old I think I’m a bit “past it”. Roofing would definitely appear to be a young man’s game.

That said, it was an experience, but one I hope to never revisit. But I do think I’ve learned some valuable skills along the way, and they could translate into other facets of life even if I never roof again (like learning how to solder flashing pieces together, for example).

I don’t want to get too bloggy, because I know some sites frown on that, but I do want to give you a bit of a rundown of what got us to this point:

It all started out when we got a handful of quotes from local roofers. They were all a bit higher than I’d expected, with the cheapest coming in at just above $13,000 and the most expensive coming in at just shy of $17,000. This was on a 30-32 square roof (depending on who was measuring) with ancient shakes on the front and ancient shakes over even more ancient shingles on the back, all nailed to original 1x6 skip sheathing. The RFQ called for tear-off; 7/16 OSB and felt; then a basic 30-year architectural asphalt shingle.

The cheapest quote was a young fella who I knew to do good work (he’d already done a couple of houses in the 'hood), but he didn’t have a contractor’s license and he wanted me to pull my own permits. The other quotes were the higher ones, and were all more or less in the same ball-park. Rightly or wrongly, I was hoping for something in the way of a quote around $12,000 with tearoff and $10,000 if we did our own (which we’d planned all along).

Speaking of tearoff…what a soul destroying process. The dirt and filth coming off that 50 year old material was just biblical. Had I known what hard work THAT was, I would have definitely subbed it out, being as that cost was the most affordable part of every quote we got (around $1200-$1500). By the time we’d hauled the stuff to the dump we were probably $500 in just for the dump fees, and it took us almost a week to pull it all off. The worst part was the back of the house, where we’d remove a roof only to have another roof we needed to remove! AARGH!! If there ever is a next time, we sub that biotch for sure!

So how did we go from getting bids to deciding on doing the job ourselves? Well, I’ve basically been on part-time at my job for the last 6 years, waiting (in vain?) on the economy here to turn around. Back in the day, on my regular salary, I would have little hesitation in accepting any reasonable bid from the ones we received, but on around 60% of my normal salary we had to save, and save big. Besides, I had (have) nothing but spare time on my hands and, really, how hard could it be? :lol: In the process of deciding to move forward, we made the choice to spend a bit of our savings and go to a higher definition asphalt shingle after my wife saw the difference between those and the regular/30 year jobbies.

I knew I could count on the younger of my wife’s grandsons for help (the 21 year old is a total waste of space, but the 19 year old is a good worker if not something of a blunt instrument), at least over the labor day weekend while he was out of school, so that’s when we started in. Myself, I’d taken two weeks vacation from work. Of course, it took us WAAAAAAY longer than expected, and once he got back into school, even with only a half-day schedule, it would be three solid weeks before we got to the point where we could schedule our sheathing inspection. I had to take an extra week off work, unpaid since I’d run out of vacation time.

We passed inspection OK and got the felt on in just a couple more days, at which point I told the kid that he could stand down and I’d go about shingling by myself (remember I said he was a bit of a blunt instrument). I also had to go back to work on my part-time schedule, so I could only shingle four days a week - Friday through Monday. It took me 8 of these four day weekends to lay my 30 squares. 2000 pieces, plus 200-odd ridge shingles. Now I did take my time, and I did storm nail both front and rear (front because that part of the house faces into Santa Ana winds, rear because I happened to have a ton of left over coil roofing nails from the two boxes I bought), but it probably shouldn’t have taken that long. The only excuses I can offer is the sheer exhaustion of going full-bore for nearly a month before I’d even gotten to the shingling and the fact that my day job usually involves sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, so this was the most physical work I’d done for probably 15 years, when we moved out of this house and into a newly built one that needed about 2,000 square foot of wood laminate flooring.

I have to say that I was the most fortunate SOB *EVER *with the weather we had. We had a couple of tropical storms move through while there was no roof on the house whatsoever, but those dropped probably 10 minutes of light rain each and we never heard from them again. In the past when we’ve had tropical moisture like that come through it could be hours of just torrential rain. We didn’t even bother breaking out the poly sheeting we’d bought just in case. Then we had two small fronts come through with about a hour of steady rain each after we’d already felted and the house held up pretty well. I did have a leak the first time though, but it was in an area that I hadn’t thought to weatherproof better and I was able to duct tape it off for the second storm and it didn’t leak again. The rest of the time was just typical fall SoCal weather. In fact, it was almost too hot a few of the days, but I muscled through. We didn’t even get a Santa Ana wind until all the front of the house and a good part of the back was already done and the shingles had sealed themselves. Like I said…super lucky.

So anyway, now the house is done. I finished shingling the weekend prior to Thanksgiving and did the last chores (color matching the various flashings) the day after Thanksgiving. We’ve just had our first big storm of the season and I’m glad to say that no leaks were reported by our DIL. So all-in-all I think I’ve done my job fairly well.

Thanks for reading my diatribe (hope it doesn’t violate the site’s rules), and if you’d care to take a look there is a small gallery of before and after pictures here (sorry about the lighting in some of them - most of my days I finished up either when the sun was well on it’s way to being gone or when it was already dark): … sp=sharing



You and I went down similar roofing roads, only I’m not finished yet.

Try doing it at age 60 by one’s self… what a trip that is. I tried to get my wife to help put a tarp down ahead of forecast rain. She froze on the 3rd rung up… thought a call to 911 would be needed to get her back on Terra Firma. In retrospect I realize that it was grossly inconsiderate of me to ask her to do so.

I, like you, was not accustomed to such intense physical activity. I worked out in the weeks preceding this project in an effort to become a big strong man, but it did not prepare me for the world of hurt I felt at the end of each day. I blame the pros… they make it look so fast and easy.

I agree with you completely… I would never attempt this again, nor would I recommend it to others. I also agree that the experts here provide great advice on how to do it right.

By the way, to my untrained eye, your roof looks great!

Regards… Mike

I will say this, the toughest part of re-roofing a house is the tear-off, especially if it’s old (as in your case) and even more so if you’ve never done it before or don’t have the appropriate tools for it. But your house looks good, I like the way you cut the shingle that crosses the top of your “master dormer after 2” pic. Nice straight rows, I see “pros” that don’t roof that straight lol.

Just curious, but why did you cut the shingles back on an angle of your “saddle after” pic (chimney backpan) ?

And finally, what caps are those? Your shingles look to be GAF, but I don’t recall them having a cap like that, looks like Certainteed Mountainridge.

I see you have a furry roof inspector, did he pass the job? :smiley:

So, Mike, I empathize completely with your wife’s phobia. I’m not overly fond of heights myself, though 3 months scuttling around on the roof has gone a long way towards a cure, even if it may be only temporary. The absolute worst for me is walking on anything I can see down through - glass observation floors/walkways in tall buildings, diamond mesh steel stair treads, etc… almost always irrespective of the actual standing height. So you can imagine how I felt about having to walk the uncovered skip sheathing so early in the process - it was terrifying. The next worst things for me, initially at least, were stepping off the extension ladder onto the roof and getting close to the roof edges, particularly up higher near the ridge. Funnily though, I always felt more at ease when someone else was at the house than when I was working alone - just knowing someone would be there to hear me fall off (or at least find my limp body) and call 911 was very reassuring.

bcdemon, I tried the shingle across the dormer without cutting it back initially, but it didn’t feel like the leading edge seated well over top of ridge product that way. I think it had to do where the reveal ended up more than anything else, because I had an intersection like that on another part of the roof where the reveal line was a bit higher and didn’t feel the need to cut it back.

Oh, and the furry inspector loved my work, but was worried about the huge cat making those paw prints on the felt.

The ridge product is Rapid Ridge. It’s not a really good match to the GAF product - it’s more grey overall while the GAF is more to the brown, and the flecks are a red-orange while the GAF flecks are yellowy-orange. But you really can’t tell from the ground, and that product is what the customer wanted (and she wouldn’t be dissuaded). The product also changed between the end of last year and this and, unfortunately, I ended up running short of the old style product I was delivered and had to use about 10’ of the new - they’ve made it a little flatter and less bulbous at the leading edge. Again, it’s only something you can see from up on the roof. On the plus side, it looks like they’ve improved the sealing strips.

Where the saddle lies is actually the start of a shallow “widow’s peak” and so the first shingle is cut back to maintain that line. I’m sorry I don’t have a good picture showing that. You can see though that the original shakes maintain that line too - that first one isn’t loose and twisted, it’s placed and nailed that way. So another question that might arise is why I ran the saddle flashing out so far beyond the actual roof line. I’m not really sure what common practice is, but I looked at a few roofs in the neighborhood to see what was done. It ended up being an even split between the way I installed mine and those that were flush with the roof line. In almost every instance, the fascia boards where the flashing was flush were rotted out. While the boards under the overhanging saddles were just fine. Seeing this drove that decision.

I hope you used a flat roofing product in that dead valley like modified bitumen.
Also, I am concerned with using tiger paw on a 3-4/12 pitch.
Maybe it works, I am not convinced yet.
I like a more gooey product that has a stickier surface on it for low slopes like that. Heavy asphalt saturated… Or Ice and water shield. especially if it’s a 3/12
Don’t get me wrong, I love tiger paw and it is the very best for roofers to walk on. I use it on all my roofs that are 7-8/12 pitch and steeper.

So what did it end up costing in dollars? Including missed work, all materials, dump fees, labor and the whole 9 yards? And would you do it again?

You did a fine job, as good or better than many roofers.

Would I do it again? Not a chance in heck! What did it cost? Not really too enthused about totaling it up for fear of finding out. If I were to factor in my labor, it may well be that it’d be a wash against the quotes. But obviously the labor was the majority of the savings, and I did have a bunch of spare time on my hands. It didn’t cost me any paid time off work other than the initial 3 weeks where I used vacation days, the rest was all long weekends where I would have been home from work anyhow. Like I said in the initial post, if I’d been working full-time it wouldn’t have been something I would have considered doing at all (but then I wouldn’t have needed to because I would have had ample money to have it done).

The dead valley has 24" valley metal over 48" of I&W. I don’t think that will prove insufficient, even though it may not be what some of you would have done. I chose the Tiger Paw over felt because I knew it would take a matter of months to get the whole thing done, and was sold on the idea of you being able to leave it uncovered for up to 6 months.

We’ve just had a real soaker of a storm come through - hours of persistent torrential rain - and DIL reports that there were no leaks. So I’m considering it a done deal at this point.

Well, you certainly have my respect for all the learning, planning and hard work that you put into it and I agree with Axiom that you did as good or better of a job than many “roofers” would have. 8)