Friday, June 27, 2008

Roofs, Arborists and Hawks

When I don't write for a long time, I end up having a lot to say, with posts that ramble all over the place. This one will be like that.

The roof project moves along in fits and starts. Monday I sent an e-mail to our roofer, Jon, laying out the project scope. It was meant to give him exactly what he needed for a final bid. Yesterday we received a letter in the mail with all the specifications and a final price. It was a little bit higher than I expected, but as part of my final specifications, I instructed Jon to purchase enough shingles for the garage. The garage shingles still have a few years left on them, but I know they'll need replacement in the next five years.

I still need to provide the gutter guy, Roger, with the final gutter specifications so that I can get a final bid from him, and there will be some carpentry expenses involved too. The sides of the attic dormers are covered with a cedar shingle and the bottom few rows are rotten. They need to be replaced, as well as some parts of the fascia.

One of the items in the roof bid is to increase the amount of venting on the roof. They will be adding eight roof vents along the back side of the roof. This serves two purposes that I can see. First is to let out any moisture that may get into the attic, either from the rest of the house or through leaks.

Second is to try and keep the attic cooler in the summer so that the shingles don't bake and curl. Fair enough, but when I asked Jon about heat loss in the winter, he acknowledged there would be more heat loss. Just what I need. More heat loss in the winter.

Insulation in the House of 42 Doors is a topic I haven't mentioned much yet. There is about five inches of fiberglass in some parts of the attic. That equates to maybe R-15. In other parts of the attic there is none. The recommendation for this state is R-49. We're a bit deficient. The attic is a full walk up attic with a small finished room (the maid's room), but there's enough space up there to squeeze out another 500 to 600 square feet, which would be perfect for an office or just an "away" space. It's on my list of someday projects (behind oh so many other things).

When I asked the roofer about options, he came up with two. First was to apply a "Michigan" style vented roof, which I'd never heard of, but evidently lays insulation on the exterior of the roof and then shingles over that. Second was to lose a lot of head room in the attic, and insulate . A ballpark cost for the Michigan style roof was ten thousand. We won't be going that route. It looks like I'll be taking a week off this fall to try and tighten up the attic insulation as much as I can on a small budget. The rest of it will have to wait until we're ready to finish off the attic.

We had our tree guy come last Friday and grind out the last of the buckthorn in the backyard, including the buckthorn I erroneously cut down. Dan is great. He's a simple guy who works hard, is attentive to detail, follows direction well and is really careful at what he does. But he's not an arborist. When we had him take down trees last fall, he couldn't identify one of the trees that I wanted taken down.

Our conversation went something like this.

Dan: And that big tree over by the garage? You want that down? I couldn't tell what kind of tree it was. I took a few leaves and put them in my truck to see if I could tell what kind they are.

Me: It's a basswood tree.

Dan: Oh. Well, I'm not much on identifying trees. I just like the physics of cutting them down. Where they will fall, how heavy a branch is. Most guys don't know just how a tree is going to fall. I'm good at that.

When I was getting bids last fall, I asked Dan for a few references. He gave me a few. And then the conversation went like this:

Dan: Say...Are you a Christian?

Me (not knowing where this was going):

Dan: Ahhhh...well, you know then.

And then he gave me a large conspiratorial wink. At this point I was wondering if he was going to give me the secret handshake too. Maybe all these years nobody had taught me the secret Christian handshake?

If you want to take down a tree or grind up a few stumps, Dan is your man. If you want to trim up a tree or shape it, find an arborist. And Dan is consistently 30% cheaper than other people I've talked to. I like Dan. He makes me smile.

This morning when I went upstairs to brush my teeth before work, I came across my wife skulking in the hallway with a camera. [MHH - I wasn't skulking! I was trying not to spook 'em.] The nesting pair of red tail hawks in the lot to the south of us were perched in our big oak tree in the backyard. I'm hoping that she got some good pictures and will post them (hint, hint). Because we were on the second story we probably weren't more than 50' from one of them. Very cool.

Edited by Ms. Huis Herself as requested to add photos. Click on them to see them bigger.

Through the screen door to the back balcony

Both hawks as seen from the bathroom window.

Mr. Kluges suggested I try to take some photos from the attic window... I think the hawk knows I'm here!

Action shot of the getaway


Jaysan said...

You might want to get a bid for Icynene or some other spray in foam roof insulation.

Pusher said...

I probably would have remained Christian if they'd let me in on the secret handshake. ;-)

Your attic seemed spacious enough to me to be able to afford the loss of some headroom, but then, I'm a lot shorter than you. I still think it will make an awesome office/escape someday.