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):