The roofing/gutter/masonry project is done. There are still a few minor items that need tidying up, but there are no more contractors coming around. The scaffolding is down. There are no bits and pieces of equipment laying around the house. The bills have started coming in and money has started going out. I've been thinking about this project off and on now for almost a year. I had always hoped that we could put off repairing the roof for a few years. As a matter of fact, I clearly recall saying to my wife, "If it looks like we have to replace the roof in the first year or two, we're not buying the place." Boy, do I feel like a fool now.
The roof could have probably waited a few more years. The asbestos tiles weren't friable and I think that with proper maintenance and care, the roof had a few years left in it. The biggest downside was that twice a year, I had to climb up a ladder, take a twenty foot stick and gently push tiles back in place. The fasteners that connected them to the roof decking were rusted through in a lot of places and they would occasionally slide down. For the most part friction kept my roof together.
The gutters were a different story though. They needed to be replaced. The leaking water was rotting out the fascia and parts of the soffit. And as soon as I decided that the gutters needed replacement, the roof had to be done as well.
I learned a lot from this project. First, I learned that I'm majorly uptight about things. Not a single contractor that worked for us did a job that I couldn't complain about in some fashion. The roofers were far too rough in removing the tile. The masons chipped some of the brick with their grinders. The gutters do not drain as I'd like. The carpenter put a cedar shingle on wrong. I probably could have paid for this remodel with all the diamonds I was crapping out.
Second I learned that I'm still pretty good at ballparking costs. People always say that renovation/remodel jobs cost a lot more than expected. I always factor that in. The only surprise on this job was that the carpenter's bid came in high. Because of the slow down in the economy though, Matt was willing to work for less and I was able to get all the work down for about $2,000 less than he bid. When I ballparked this job in my head, I was only off by about 10%.
(MHH adds: Plus Mr. Kluges did some of the work himself that we'd originally had Matt bid to do.)
Third, I learned that nobody will do as good a job as yourself, assuming you are willing to take the time and acquire the tools.
Fourth, I learned that even an exterior job like this causes a lot of stress. I have not enjoyed the last month or so. Work has been a killer lately. I had an upgrade project to deliver in record time and on top of it, I was handed responsibility to help complete a three month project in the timeframe of three weeks. I didn't realize it, but the election was stressing me out too. I'm looking forward to a lot of time off soon. I have 7.5 days of vacation to use up before the end of the year.
I'll be more inclined to work on the house myself in the future. It's not because I'm trying to save money, but because I don't see the level of craftsmanship and pride in most of the contractors that I'd like. Our mason was very thorough, but he only had three or four years of experience under his belt. Someday he'll be outstanding, if he sticks with it, but he's not there yet. Our carpenter was the only one that impressed me. Everyone else was a bit of a let down.
Driving by the house now, it doesn't really appear that we did anything. This is both edifying and frustrating. When you spend money, it's nice to see something. With this you can't. I tried to remain true to the original character of the house, and in that respect I'm pretty happy.
There are still a lot of things that need fixing in the house, but I'm not going to list them here and now. Instead, below are a few before and after images of the house.
The house before...
The gutters before...
The shingles before...
And after - you can see that while the shingles are the right shape, they are a lot smaller.
And finally, the new cedar shake siding on the dormers.