Thursday, June 12, 2014

The Neverending Roof

When you own a house, you own everything that comes with it, and that includes leaky roofs. After putting it off for as long as we possibly could, it was time to bite the bullet and install a new roof. Unfortunately, having someone else install a new roof on your house is expensive, and my budget couldn't quite cover it this year. Obviously, there is another option, but after two weeks, it is one I would never suggest anyone take: DIY.

I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm simply saying that your old body will regret ever taking on such a challenge. My knees always hurt to begin with, but after spending 8-12 hours on a roof, I'm amazed when they show up still attached. The same thing goes for my back, because there is no way one can install a new roof without doing a significant amount of bending over.

Ultimately, this was the option I went ahead with. I dove in knees first. Of course, I had a few things helping my decision along. One: I have a really shallow pitched roof. This meant I was less likely to fall off the roof while trying to move around roofing supplies. Two: I had people willing to help me out. Even a simple, small roof is a big job that a weekend warrior should not try to tackle on his own. Three: the cost of doing it myself was appx. 1/3 the price of paying someone to do it for me. While price shouldn't dictate all of your home repair decisions, sometimes it has to play a role.

Starting out, I'm still a working dad with a working wife, and day one began like this:

But when things really got serious, was when the old shingles started coming off.

By the end of day three, I had been able to complete one half of the roof. The back half.

Unfortunately, the large crew of help I thought I had, turned out to be mainly just my dad. I couldn't have done it without his help, but I think I speak for both of us when I say a few more hands would have been welcomed. There is of course, the tear-off, which includes pulling all of the nails holding down the old shingles. It also includes pulling all the nails holding down the tar paper. It also includes cutting out all of the rotted wood decking, which is the reason for the tear-off to begin with. Couple all of that with temps in the 80's and high humidity, and I wouldn't wish that job on my worst enemy.

Still, that was one weekend, one side done. We left the front half covered, as rain was expected the next week. By Thursday though, I had to get moving again if I had any hope of finishing the front before the next string of storms rolled in.

So, I got some help pulling old shingles from my sister and brother-in-law, spent all day Friday patching holes, and Saturday papering and shingling. Unfortunately, I was more on my own this second week and had more rotted wood to replace in the front, and so things moved a lot slower. By the end of Saturday, I had merely a few rows of shingles nailed in place, with more rain expected Sunday.

At least, I had this guy to help me out. He literally pulled tens of nails for me!

The new week dawned, and I hit the rafters again.


Half way up.

Tuesday, and I was at it again. This time I got near the peak. But here it stands, as it is raining again today, and tomorrow I'm heading out on vacation for my son's birthday celebration at Great Wolf Lodge.

So, Sunday is Father's Day, and I know what I'm doing. I just hope it doesn't get too hot while I'm up there.


The weekend is over, and the roof is finished.

Dad came over Sunday morning and we set to work knocking out the final rows, ultimately capping the peak around 2pm. We ended up having the exact number of nails we needed (I counted the remaining nails on one hand!), and I have three and a half extra bundles of shingles. I've kept the open pack and one extra, returning the other two, and getting about $50 back as a bonus Father's Day refund gift.

Father's Day wasn't all work and no play, as Dad and I went out to catch a movie once the work was finished. My kids gave me an awesome tool-belt (after doing a project like a roof, it was obvious what I needed!) and I got to read the kids their bedtime stories. A cold beer and collapsing on the couch with the Mrs at the end of the day, and I couldn't ask for a better day to call my own.

I hope everyone was able to enjoy their fatherhood, or celebrate their fathers as successfully as my kids, my dad, and I did this year.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! Hopefully I finish it this weekend. I am VERY ready to be done!

  2. I am definitely not a diy person though I would like to have more of those skills. Anyway, I am still impressed. A roof sounds like a serious job. While your post confirms that, the picture confirms that you did a nice job. Good for you!