The Roof, The ROOF!!!!

Cottage East – looking a little less decrepit now that it has its new roof


The Cottage East needs a lot of work. That said, it is going to take time. The biggest concern right now for us is getting the structure stabilized and Codes off of our backs.

To do this, we needed three things completed in short order:

  1. A new roof – layers upon layers of roofing are on Cottage East. We are having them take it down to the deck, and since those are the old original boards, a full re-deck will need to happen as well.
  2. Siding – on the east and west sides of the house the brick facade has been removed and now just waits for the new siding to be installed. We chose a firehouse red to match the brick facade that will still remain on the front and back of the house.
  3. Windows – ALL of the windows need replacing, but we are focusing first on the ones that are on each side of the house. Later we will replace the other six with vinyl replacement windows.

This will stabilize the structure, ensure that water doesn’t get in, and make it attractive on the outside while we work out the logistics for making it pretty on the inside.

The crew hard at work. They took down both of the chimneys shortly after this picture.

A Rough Start

Waiting for the roof wasn’t an issue, but having the supplies delivered to the front yard instead of on the roof certainly was. So when I came home on a Wednesday nearly two weeks ago and saw them stacking everything in the front yard, my first question was, “When are the roofers coming?”

The guy delivering the materials just shrugged and I immediately went inside to call Champion and find out what in the world was going on. I explained that if they left their roofing supplies where they could be easily accessed, these same materials had a high chance of sprouting legs and running away. And having stacks of roofing supplies just sitting there begging to be stolen ended up proving far too tempting for thieves on the second night. Despite my warnings, the materials sat there on Wednesday night and then vanished on Thursday night.

The following Tuesday I finally heard from the roofer who promised a start date of Thursday, August 31st.

That day came and went.

Bye bye decrepit crumbling chimneys! Hello original wood decking!

On Friday, the 1st, I saw some guys up on the roof. Before I could pull my shoes on and go outside, they were gone again. That evening, Dave came home and said, “Did you see they delivered more material?”

I swear my head spun round and my eyes bugged out. We were at the beginning of a holiday weekend and they had done it AGAIN?

A flurry of irate phone calls and an hour later the supplies were picked up with the promise that they would return on Monday.

“But it’s a holiday on Monday.”

“Believe me,” the rep assured us, “we will be there.”

Just look at the poor old dear, she is in dire need of a facelift! Also, we have about 3-4 more feet of space we could bring the ceilings up to. Doing so will create a more airy heigh

Bright and Early

On Monday morning, the roofers were there bright and early to begin work. While we both had the day off, apparently day laborers do not. They had TWO crews ready and willing to make it happen.

As you can see from the pictures, I kept tabs on them as they first tore off the multiple layers, taking it down to the bare bones.

It required a full re-decking due to the changes in codes, so plywood was then cut and fixed to all parts, before tar paper was laid and the actual shingles applied.

It took all day for them to finish, but finish they did, which was awesome in its own right.

We had plenty of looky-loos. Our neighbors all lined up and watched at different intervals, and there were the occasional challenges over territory and all that. I would love to say that we all get along, but some still have sore feelings over property ownership. It lead to tense moments, but in the week that followed things seemed to calm down.

My dad asked if I gave the neighbors “what for” and I said, “No. I believe they are entitled to their opinions, their concerns, and their frustrations. I’m doing my best to not cause problems, to be a good neighbor, and to not quibble.” He stared at me and shook his head. I guess Dad would handle it differently. I figure that if I live my life doing the right thing, things will eventually right themselves. And if they don’t, at least I’ll know I didn’t sink to pettiness or greed. And that means a lot.

See where the arrow is pointing? That’s the bulge.

Is That a Tumor?

On Monday evening, we walked over to take a couple of pictures and admire our new roof. Our neighbor was out. She found two nails on her property and had strong words of warning for us.


Be the better person. Don’t engage.

“And did you see the lump?” she asked. I looked at her in complete bewilderment. What lump? What was she talking about? She pointed up onto the roof, “There. They didn’t bring the chimney down far enough and there’s a lump. If it were me, I’d make them fix it.”

And so on Tuesday, when the supervisor showed up, we had a little talk and he was incredibly responsive. He promised to clear the area of nails (which he did before leaving) and we discussed the roof tumor. He went inside and upstairs in the house and we excavated the wall where the chimney was. All of the walls will come out for the new wiring and plumbing, so it didn’t bother me a bit to dig into the plaster. As he cleared the bricks he pointed out that it wasn’t the bricks causing the bulge.

“You have some buckling here, the foundation has slid down.” He said, pointing to a section of the house. We walked back outside, “Yep, here there is rot and the house is sagging. You will need to reinforce that before the siding can be done.”

It sure is a nice looking roof – don’t you think?!

And That’s When Some Random Carpenter Came Walking By

I would really like to say that my luck changed then. A carpenter who happened to be walking by right then and drew closer as we discussed what needed to happen before the siding could be installed – that he looked at it and said, “Yeah, that’s an easy fix. Cheap too.”

Do they ever say that?

This one sure didn’t.

After looking inside, getting down into the basement and walking around the entire perimeter, pointing to this and that, he said, “Um, you have some serious structural issues here that need to be fixed immediately.”

Well, of course, they do. Because really, that’s how our luck goes, right?!

“You are looking at about $12,000,” he says. “That’s labor and materials.”

Needless to say, that will not be our only quote, but it included shoring up the foundation, replacing the rotting 2x6s, framing the windows property, covering the exterior with plywood or some other boards and then wrapping it in Tyvek.

[big sigh]

Time for a home loan? I know it is definitely time for a second and third opinion.

Meanwhile, I’ve canceled the siding and windows order with Champion. The windows for just the two sides would have cost over $7200. That’s a couple thousand more than Window World would charge for ALL of the windows. Window World is coming out today to give us bids on the exterior doors, siding and windows. And this past Saturday we had a couple of other guys come out to give us a bid on the foundation and framing work needed. They mentioned that they have a good source for windows at an even lower price than Window World.

So…we’ll see.

Stay tuned, loyal readers (and sworn enemies of the crown), updates will follow as I have them.

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