Saturday, May 7, 2011

New roof and a sigh of relief

For any of you who have visited our house recently, you may have noticed that our roof is in just about as ugly shape as you can get without it actually having caved in on us. The corners of the shingles started curling up about about 2 years ago. It was first noticed when I had a contractor come out to put gutters and downspouts on our house. I couldn't believe it. The house was only built in 2000. How was it possible that the shingles had already gone to pot.

But we decided at the time that other things had to come first. Micah was on the way and we needed to be able to use our 3rd bedroom. This meant a complete basement rennovation. We decided that the roof would have to wait until 2010. The basement went as well as we had hoped it would and gave us the extra room we needed.

The spring of 2010 rolled around and Sarah and I decided that it was just about time to get our act together and think about the future. We read Dave Ramsey's book "The Total Money Makover" and decided to get serious about paying off our debt. "What does this have to do with the roof?" - you might ask. Well, you can't exactly get a loan to re-do your roof if you're eliminating your debt. So, even though it made me more than slightly uneasy to wait, we put off the roof for another year and started saving money so that we could pay for the roof in cash.

Towards the end of the year, I took a few pictures of the roof for a possible lawsuit that's been filed against the manufacturer of our shingles (more on that in a later post).

Yes, it does look pretty bad. Actually, "pretty bad" doesn't do it justice. It's one of the worst roofs I've ever seen in my life. I have piles of shingle dust at the end of each downspout. Before the roof was fixed, pieces of shingles came off with every storm.

Now for good news. After a year of saving money, we felt we had more than enough to cover the cost of a new roof. I contacted a few contractors who were recommended to me by neighbors, friends, or co-workers. We were looking for a 25 or 30 year shingle and were looking for an architectural style. They're quotes came in all over the place. They ranged from $5,000 to $10,000 (that contractor is notorious for being overpriced.)

After giving it some thought, we went with a contractor that was recommended to me by a co-worker. Gilles Construction is run by a man whose been doing roofs for 25 years. He only works on the weekends, and he brings in a large crew and blitzes through the roof quickly. After a little negotiation, we settled on a price. After seeing my roof when he did the inspection for the quote, he knew that I needed him to come out as soon as possible. We set the date for last Saturday.

They showed up last Saturday bright and early at 7:00. There was a humorous moment when one of the guys mentioned that he thought that I could have maybe waited a little bit to get the new roof put on. He thought that I had a good 2 or 3 more days of life in the shingles. That clinched it for me. When you have a guy whose worked on roofs for years make a joke about how bad your roof is, you know it's truely terrible.

Gilles brought out 9 guys total and they got to work immediately. These guys know what they're doing. They immediately got up on the roof and started to tear off the old shingles. They then dumped them into the back of a truck that they had parked underneath the eaves of the house.

From inside the house, it sounded like thunder. I was able to get the boys outside so that they could see what was going on out there. The boys were amazed when they saw all of the men up on the roof. Like all boys, they showed their amazement by picking dandelions.

They had the roof completely torn off by 8:10. A little over an hour on the roof, and they had completely cleared it. I can't give enough praise for these guys. Gilles runs a tight ship and every guy knew exactly what he was supposed to be doing, and what he was supposed to do when he was done with that. Because it was windy out, he even had guys come down periodically to bag up the litter that had blown off the roof before it got on our neighbors lawns. They didn't show any delay in starting to put on shingles. They were putting shingles on the back of the house as soon as they were done stripping it. As you can see in the pictures below, they moved across very quickly.

Once finished with the roof, they all got together and cleaned up any shingles that had fallen on the ground and used a magnet to pick up any nails that might have been missed. They were finished and had left by 11:30 in the morning. That's 4.5 hours to tear off and re-roof a average sized house. I still don't believe it. They were done before nap-time. Now that they're finished, it looks like this.

Sarah and I are very happy with it. It looks great. And by using a 30-year Owens Corning shingle, it should last us much longer than 10 years.

On a final note, I can't say enough great things about Gilles Construction. They did a great job for a very reasonable price and did it quickly. For those of us who spend a lot of time watching shows like "Holmes on Homes", it was a blessing to deal with someone who holds themselves to a higher standard. If your looking for someone to do your roof and you're in the Waunaukee area, give them a shot. You won't regret it.

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