Keeping the Rain off our Heads

I hope never to replace another roof again.  At least, that is my goal considering the money I spent on roofs over the past five months.  During that time I replaced four of them.  These included the roof  of the Servant House and the roof of the Mason Lodge, which were replaced professionally in February. Both had leaks, with the Mason Lodge requiring buckets to catch the water raining down onto the floor and the shingles of the Servant House in such bad shape that only moss was holding them together.

Then, slightly more than a month ago a thunderstorm blew several shingles off the main house, resulting in water raining down in our master bedroom. Although I patched the roof with aluminum flashing, the storm served as a warning of potential problems to come. I thus gritted by teeth, took out my check book once again and had a new roof professionally installed on the main house.

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The main house after roof replacement.

That left one last building:  a large shed located far back in the rear yard that was constructed sometime in the last 75 years. The shed’s original use was chicken coop, which was deduced from the cages that are still present inside. Today, the shed houses my lawn tractor and other lawn-related equipment. Of all the buildings on the property, the roof of this building was in the poorest shape.  The shingles were crumbling and there were two large holes clearly visible in the roof.

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The shed after the removal of its original shingles. The underlying tongue and groove planks had experienced some rot, resulting in several holes in the roof.

Rather than spend money to have another roof professionally installed, this one was small enough that I decided to take it on myself. With leftover materials from the roofing work performed on the main house, I had enough supplies to almost complete the entire roof of the shed. These supplies only needed to be augmented by a bundle of ridge caps along with two bundles of shingles, which I purchased from the local home improvement store. I also needed to purchase several sheets of plywood. The original decking on the shed, which consisted on tongue and groove planks, had rotted in several sections (hence the holes!).  The plywood was installed on top of these planks in the lower sections of the shed’s gambrel roof, which were the sections exhibiting the greatest amount of rot. In several locations, the rotted planks were removed and replaced by 1 x 4 boards. Once the plywood was in place, I had a good base upon which to install the shingles.

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The finished shed roof. Future work on this building will include the removal of the chicken cages from the interior, the repair and painting of the wood siding and the replacement of the missing barn door.

For each building I opted for high-end asphalt shingles (GAF Timberline) which are supposed to last for 50 years. Whether this is true or not, we’ll have to wait to see. If it is true, I expect to be long gone in my grave before any of these roofs need replacement again. I did in one fleeting moment consider materials other than asphalt shingles that would have been more period-appropriate for these buildings such as cedar shakes or slate, but these materials were just too far outside of my price range. Besides, the shingles that were replaced were all asphalt shingles and, therefore, replacement was being made in-kind.  Interestingly, we did encounter cedar shakes, presumed to be the original roofing material, beneath asphalt shingles on the Servant House.

As I sit here writing this I just realized that I’m not done with the roofing. I had forgotten that the workshop annex located behind the Mason Lodge will need a new roof next year once I fix that structure’s foundation and replace its outer rotted walls. I’ll be performing that project myself to save money. In addition, the main house has a lower tier, semi-flat roof that needs a coat of silver paint. I guess my roofing isn’t done yet, afterall.

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Diane Roman says:

    Pete, I absolutely love reading about your house!

    Like

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