Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Roof

Before getting up on the roof to do the hard work, I spent a few minutes walking around with my camera to find a few pristine bits of snow.  They don't last long in the city so they're precious.  These were two drifts along the fence just off my back porch.  Despite the hassle caused by so much snow in one night, it's nice to stop and see the beauty that nature can create.

At the back end of my attic there's a little trap door that provides access to a flat roof over my bedroom and the bathroom with the claw foot tub.  The door is about 1-1/2 feet above the roof and the opening was almost completely occluded with a snow drift.  So there was about four feet of snow on the roof.

It's always scary getting out there with so much snow already there.  All I can think is that I'm
going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back.  But with rain in forecast, I can't risk letting any additional weight sit up there. 

There's just no graceful way to get out there.  It's usually kind of dive.

Just as a safety measure, I try to stay in the middle and throw the snow into my
yard on both sides.  

As I get within six feet of the edge, I kneel down just push the snow over the edge.

And it's nice to take a few minutes to enjoy a view of the neighborhood
that I otherwise never get to see.

I signed a contract a few weeks ago to replace the roof.  It's an expense I wasn't
anticipating and unfortuantely the bathroom budget is being partially reallocated.
I've known the roof was at the end of its life since I moved in.  It's never leaked until
recently and as you can see there are shingles missing.

I had a few shingles missing but the winds from Hurricane Sandy tore off several
more and I had a leak in the middle bedroom upstairs.

I was hoping to avoid this job because it sets off a chain of events that I just can't tackle 
all at once.  This old chimney that goes through the edge of the roof will eventually come down to make way for new kitchen windows.  But taking down the chimney to do the roof means work on the siding and new kitchen windows.  To add new windows, I need a variance.  The variance also includes plans for a new window outside the new bathroom and new french doors on the back porches.  If I apply for and get a variance, I have one year to complete the work.  So until I have the savings for all that, I've not wanted to do it.  But the roofer and I debated the problem and we agreed that the chimney will be lowered just enough to repair the eave and finish the new roof.  It'll look stupid until I can finish the job but what's wrong with looking a little stupid?

I'm going to be using architectural shingles--the roofer uses
Certainteed--and they dropped off the samples so I could pick a color.

There are several nice grays so it was harder than I thought to pick one.

I chose Colonial Slate that has little bits of both red and green.
I think it'll look nice.

A few weeks ago, I had a second leak during a heavy wind and rainstorm so
I'm glad this is a project that's going to get taken care of in the short term.

I just need the weather to cooperate.


  1. I was wondering how you were faring up there! Gosh, for us who get nothing and are becoming way too temperate to exact snow any more (in VA) I am so envious of how beautiful that is. I'm sure a sentiment you only shared during the first hour of snowfall :)

  2. Oh...boy...I can't believe you have to stand on your roof in the snow! You'll be happy once you get the new roof. But oh....it's no fun getting one. Lots of noise and a big mess. Although I have to say....the roofers did a pretty good clean up job. But when it's happening...you feel like nothing will ever be the same.

  3. Beautiful shots! I love the architectural shot of the snow drift. We got about two feet of snow in Rhode Island, with drifts in some spots of about four feet. It was beautiful. Not so much now, after the rain!
    I have a colonial reproduction, and desperately wanted real cedar shingles on the roof 30 years ago when we built the house. I'm relieved now that my husband insisted that we use architectural shingles... I had to have the roof reshingled two years ago, and the quality of shingles is amazing compared to when we first built!
    Good luck!

  4. So pleased to hear that you are well and up to tackling a blizzard! Perhaps you should have been roped up to tackle the roof? But it does look so beautiful, the drifts and the view of the church under a clear blue sky. I remember when we holidayed in Rockport being impressed by photos of the town being lashed by extreme winter waves.
    Once more you have decisions, decisions for the house. Ah, but isn't that just what you enjoy!

  5. Oy Vey Steve :O Good job, but looks scary and I know how you don't like the going up to the attic;) Dan's outside raking the porch roofs as I type. I like your choice of roofing. Never a fun expenditure, but one that has to be done. That first photo is stunning!
    Stay warm!

  6. I have had major water damage in our Florida house and know no sneaky water is...un seen damage and mold issues are a huge issue to contend with. The roof, although not the most apparent upgrade will give you peace of mind. Wise to remove part of the chimney so you don;t pay again to fix the roof line.

  7. First of all, gorgeous photos. But second, holy cow! I can't believe you had to get up on the roof and shovel snow off! Yeah, scary is quite the understatement! What do single ladies do in this event? I guess hiring a shoveler is the obvious answer, but wow, that is an amazing amount of snow!

  8. Love the view from your roof but you my friend need a snow rake so you don’t have to go up on a slippery roof. As for allocating your bathroom budget for your roof, just think of it this way….no new roof, no bathroom. I hate how much money is spent on things you don’t see or is in the walls in a house but I guess that’s life. Stay off the roof until it melts and stay warm!


  9. I know the feeling! We had a leak in our guest room which I didn't realize until the paint started to peel and down it came. Who knows how long it had leaked. We had a patch put on until we can replace the roof in the summer (no one around here would get up there til' April) but it takes so much money away from the other fun projects that you can see and touch the money everyday. I mean we all need a roof over our head - but why must they be SO expensive!?!? LOL!
    Glad you got through the storm, and that you made it off the roof in one piece.

  10. Good luck with the roof problems. I have been there before and it just seems like so much money for something that's no fun.
    The views from on top of your house were interesting. I am sure its easy to see things that you had not noticed before.

  11. Not sure if you have checked, but because of the storm you might be able to get the insurance company to cover the roof replacement.

    We had a storm back in the summer at the place I rent and they paid for my landlords to replace the roof, because we lost several shingles.

    1. Thanks for that suggestion. If it were new and got damaged by a storm, I might consider it but it's old and should be replaced anyway.

    2. They probably wouldn't pay 100% because of its age, but a contribution would help. You still might want to check into it. No harm in asking...

    3. The soffits and gutters on my house were OLD and my insurance company covered the damage from a major storm...sadly I had a large deductible but it still helped!
      They even covered the repair that was needed to my bathroom ceiling when the roof leaked in and cracked the plaster.
      You really need to check it out!

  12. Please don't mention roofs. I seem to be in that same place as you of somewhat looking the other way a bit. It's really not in bad shape but some tiles blew off with Sandy and others have blown of in high winds which leaves these little gaps that make me crazy. We're not at a point where it need to be replaced but I don't wanto to do repair work on and off. It looks like your sample of Colonial Slate. The unexpected things of the old house :)

  13. Oh, gosh...this is NOT cooperative weather any way you put it! First snow and then rain on top of it??!?!?! Not the winter that dreams are made of! :-( Be careful!!!

  14. I love all the photos and tales of your adventures. What precludes you from sliding over the edge with the snow? I guess the roof is not slick so the snow doesn't just slide all of a sudden. My parents (also very old) house has a tin roof (well, thick aluminum maybe?) and suddenly a massive chunk of snow will just slide like a glacier and there will be 10 feet of snow wherever it lands below. So it would not be safe to be up there upon the snow!

    Looks like yours is a bit safer. I would consider a harness....

    Sorry to hear you are incurring re-roofing costs. I hate expenses like this that make practical sense but don't add to the beautification indoors...

    xo Terri

  15. Ahhh...went thru that myself this last spring. Have so many future projects that may affect the roof eventually, so I was hoping to delay getting a new one til the other projects were completed. But no such luck. Some things just won't wait, and a leaky roof is one of them. I think the compromise that you came up with is a good one. Man, reading this makes me ashamed of myself for whining about the cold down here (in the 60's today).

  16. I know getting a new roof is expensive but think of the cost of the damage from a leaky roof. The roof will more than pay for itself in a few years. Well worth the investment. Check with your insurance company to see if some of the replacement cost is covered. You never know. I had a relatively new roof, about 5 years old, we had a pretty bad summer storm with driving rain and hail. I had a roofer out to look at it and he said the roof was damaged. Honestly I didn't see the damage. Long story short the insurance company covered the cost of the roof, which was a complete tear off. It was a boat load of money, but the only cost I incurred was an upgrade on the shingles, about 400. Not too shabby.


  17. Great shots!!! If that was me, I would have fallen off looking around :) It's so lovely to get the eagle's view (or at least the sparrow's) of the area -- what a different perspective. I should be doing the same thing on a flattish roof that we have in one area, but, well, I'm lazy and my man is away. I posted about your nomination over on the 6wilsonblog.com. Hope is gets you some votes -- so well deserved, as this post attests.

  18. Good choice on the roof color! I'll bet that was tough to decide on. I'm awful when faced with choices like that. I look to my husband who is a professional color matcher in the ink industry, and I trust him for all things related to color. Oh, and I love that first photograph of the snow drift. So artistic!

  19. Homeownership is wonderful, isn't it? If Sandy damaged your roof, I really think your homeowner's insurance might be of some help. It is only a matter of time until our roof will need to be replaced. Love the shingle color you selected.

  20. we have cobblestone gray we are going to have them replaced in the spring they have been on for 26 winters it is time.

  21. Wow, that's a ton of snow on your roof! I hate the thought of getting a new roof too and I think we're on borrowed time. It's hard to think the roof was new when we moved in and it's time is up after 20 years.

  22. I've been waiting for these shot but now that I'm up on the roof with you I'm feeling a touch of vertigo.

    I am needing a new roof myself,roof or oil burner. Roof or oil burner?

    Lady or the tiger?

    xo jane

  23. That first photo is so beautiful, made me think of Ansel Adams.
    The second photo reminded me of something from a scary movie.
    The photo of the top of the roofs, made me think of Mary Poppins. :)
    Sorry you have to dip into the bathroom fund for your roof, but I do like your choice. I wish my roof was a darker grey, what I choose turned out to be rather light. I would like (hopefully in the FAR future) my next roof to be metal. One of my neighbors has one. It started out copper and is slowly aging to a beautiful patina.
    Glad you are safe and didn't fall off and break something.
    Makes me glad I don't have a flat roof because being a single lady, (as Karen mentioned) I would be out there doing it myself like I do with everything else around my home.
    :D - Cindi

  24. Check into insurance for the leaks . . . I like your roof choice too!

  25. The first photo of the snow drifts on your flat roof certainly brought the reality to light of 30+ inches of snow. Wise to squeeze yourself out on that roof to go through the exhausting snow removal task. It is always more enjoyable to be spending our hard earned monies for the interior rennovating and decorating than for a shingle project. But it looks like now is the time for the roof attention. All the best to you.

  26. Oh...it never ends. We needed a new roof, too. I look up at it from the patio and appreciate it...at least they last for a long time.

  27. Great photo at the start, it's interesting to see how people the other side of the world cope with snow. Gosh what a lot of weight on your flat roof.
    Roofs over here are mostly real slate not shingle, so when we have gales and they blow off they do quite a bit of damage. I live at sea level, so although the mountains get covered our cottage seems to evade most of it.
    Hope you keep dry.

  28. Ah, the joys of living in an old home, right? Nothing better than climbing through a window in the middle of a storm to shovel off the upper eaves! Love the architectural shingles- we chose the same for our house. Good luck with the new roof project!

  29. We had to get a new roof a few winters ago--in December. I chose the same single and it is wonderful. the neighbors envy us the roof. I also need to have a chimney (much wider than yours) removed and new windows put in it's place. It's like dominos falling. I can afford the windows and carpentry but not the chimney teardown which is very expensive. So I think my husband and a teenaged helper will knock it down over a few weeks. Carrying the bricks away will be the hard part. I feel the chimney will go down quite easily. I have no idea what is holding it up.

  30. Oh wow! We rarely get snow down here in Texas but I'm somewhat envious. That does however look like a ton of work.

  31. What I notice about your photos is that the snow is so pristine in all of them. That suggests that you don't experience too much pollution in your city — I hope!

  32. I was just telling my hubs snow on the roof means you have great insulation!

  33. Your insurance company should be consulted-even if the roof was old, they would pro-rate at the very least.

    That snow was crazy-glad your roof help up!

    Love the shingle choice; as a NYer, I would pick the black, LOL, but I know it will look splendid when all is said and done.

    Is your home on the historical register? Sometimes there are funds available for people to redo those homes...not sure if you qualify, but might be worth looking into.

    Fingers crossed you guys get rain and not MORE snow!

  34. It's so frustrating to do the "have-tos." we had to replace the roof and then our mansard shingles the past year and I hated seeing all that money go to something that I didn't want to do! So much nicer to do the pretty things. Sorry. I just buy myself an extra bunch of flowers at the Shaw's to make up for it all.

  35. Wow, it is time for some sunshine, isn't it?

  36. We just replaced the shingles on our Tudor with architectural (too many slates missing and prohibitive) and luv it!! Good luck!! franki

  37. I'm not remodeling a house, but this sounds like all of my plans! Something always depends upon something else being done, moved, updated, or repaired ;)

  38. A great perspective from your roof, but that's quite a chore! (Sometimes the thought of renting is really appealing.) I like your roof shingle choice--that touch of red is perfect.

  39. Steve,
    First I'm going to focus on the lovely part...your view! What a pretty neighborhood. It is rather daunting how one necessary project can bring up a whole list of things. I cannot believe how much snow you must remove. Kinda makes a snowstorm less fun. But I'm sure you don't see it that way. Good luck on your project. I do love your choice.

  40. Splendid view from up there! You might want to add a roof deck to your must-do-list. (: Imagine having your coffee up there every morning!

    Happy Hearts Day.

    ox, Mon

  41. Happy Valentines! Looks like a white themed wonderland, nevertheless, the view is stunning.

  42. i could not be more jealous.....well, not the roof part, and actually not the variance/window/siding bit, but such an old fashioned snow dump. love the hush, the beauty and the forced r&r, after shoveling that is!
    glad you are well again steve

  43. The first photo is a work of art. And the view from your roof is great. How about a roof top deck w/hot tub and dance floor?

  44. Why have I not found and Followed you before now? I do love a house renovation/restoration! And yours is a truly beautiful house. Much sympathy with your roof saga; my old house's tiles were described by my cheerful old roofer as being "like flaky pastry". But he patched them up carefully, bless him.

  45. hopefully (for my sake) there is nothing wrong with looking stupid.
    your view up there is killer.


  46. How come your snow looks prettier than mine? Nice shots.

    About the weather cooperating, not sure about that. I just heard there might be another big storm next Friday. Never dull in New England!

  47. Wow! Time for some decisions, at least it's fun stuff, in a way. We have cheap builder grade shingles that are starting to fly off with all the storms these last few months. I always admire a nice looking roof!

  48. Good Lord....I hate when I have to spend money on a stupid roof....but then again I do love the term "roof over my head"....so there is no alternative. We are getting ready to bite a hard bullet also. New windows, new siding and gutters. The silver lining is that we get to have the house painted so I am all about stressing over that little issue!

  49. We have to replace our roof also due to the defective shingles put on 11 years ago. We going to use these same shingles, popular with all roofers apparently. Will you get shovel a lot of snow this weekend?