Monday, July 22, 2013

"This Old House"

In the scheme of things "This Old House" isn't really very old.  I mean in Europe and Asia there are palaces and hovels that have been around for centuries!  That is old!

Our place is only about 20 years old, not much more than an infant as houses go!!  We have owned (well, we share ownership with the bank) for only 13 years.  We moved here in November, 2000.  Everything was in pretty good shape back then.  I'm sure the previous owners did some touch-ups and upgrades to make it all pretty and shiny and looking like new; after all they were trying to sell it!   The bottom line, however, was that there was nothing that needed doing!  That was okay with Mikey!  In the previous houses we had owned the Big Guy had done LOTS of projects!  He had put in new bathrooms, modified closets, put in hardwood floors, tore out walls, completely remodeled two kitchens, laid carpet, wall papered, painted, laid tile, put in a window seat, and so on and on.

He pretty much did all the work himself, but for the most part he was a bunch younger for the bulk of those projects.   When we came to Austin, we were both "somewhere between 40 and death."  (lol!  That's one of my favorite lines from the play, "Auntie Mame.")  At any rate, when buying this house we were thrilled there were no outstanding projects needing attention and Mikey, especially, was glad of that, as he had very little energy or enthusiasm for starting remodeling on yet another house!

As it does though, time passed and took its toll on our house.  Certain things are becoming obvious in their need for replacement, repair, or updating.  First and foremost, we must replace the roof.  Yuck!  That is one of the biggest projects one can have for a house.  But this is a project that you definitely call in a pro for!  It isn't that Mikey couldn't do it or wouldn't do a great job, every project he has undertaken over the years has turned out beautifully.But this is the ROOF!  It is HIGH (!), steeply pitched, and big!  The idea of my Big Guy climbing around up there, doing the hard work that roofing requires in the heat of an Austin summer just gives me (((shivers)))!!  To say nothing of the fact that you make one little misstep and SPLAT!!  That is definitely a sound I don't want to hear....ever!

Anyway, the result of all that is that we have had 3 different roofing companies out to give us an estimate and talk about the whole process.  My only input to those discussions was to help choose the shingles we will use for the new roof. After all, what do I know about roofs???!!   The first company's estimate was pretty high, the second was a lot lower, and the third was in the middle.  We really liked the 3rd company the best, VERY knowledgeable and responsive. Besides we contacted that company based on a personal recommendation from a contractor who had done work for a friend of Mikey's.  So we chose the third company!  We don't have a start date yet but the project will undoubtedly begin sometime in August.  The man we talked to (one of the owners) thinks it will only take 2-3 days to do the whole thing.  That would be great, but of course, it depends on weather and  unforeseen problems which might kick in.  Still they sounded like they really know what they are doing so I am hopeful they can handle whatever turns up in a minimum amount of time and disruption.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

Now all we have to do is convince our HOA (homeowners association) that we cannot replace the roof with the exact shingles that are up there!  The color will change because no one appears to make a shingle even in the same color family!  After all, that roof was put on 20 years ago or more!  The HOA can be pretty picky (I'm being nice here!)   They have a rather obnoxious approach to keeping up the standards of the homes.  Mikey hates dealing with them because it never seems to go well.  Crossing my fingers and holding my breath on this part!!!

Another victim of age and the Texas sun is our deck.  I like our deck a lot.  It's an interesting shape, not too big, nor too small, but it appears to me that the cedar was never sealed, so the wood is rotting out in several places.  It doesn't seem safe any more and I'm afraid someone (maybe me!!) will crash through the wood and break a leg or worse!  So we don't use it anymore.  I miss it.  I love sitting outside when the weather isn't boiling and enjoy the peace and quiet while I read and relax.

The existing deck has a small section close to the back door where the roof extends out over the deck a bit, so there is a tiny bit of shade at certain times of the day, but it is small and by mid-afternoon the sun has moved to that side of the house and the little covered section is just too small to do any good.  The Big Guy and I have decided that a Pergola  over the side of the deck would be the perfect solution as it would provide some shade and style.

(Hmmmm, did I warn you this was a long post???  Sorry, but it is!)

So as long as we had to replace the roof, we thought we could do the deck next and depending on final cost either do the Pergola too or do it separately a little further down the road.    We have had 3 different contractors out to give us an estimate on that too.  Even though it's been 2 weeks, I think, none of the three have yet provided us with an official written estimate.  They also need to prepare a drawing of the finished project.  But gee, how long can it take??  We need to decide and then provide the info for the deck to the HOA too.  

The difference in the responsiveness of both the roofers and the contractors is pretty widespread!  I don't get it.  They all came out pretty quickly to see the property and talk about what was needed to bid for the job. But only one of the six different companies has been super responsive, providing us more information when asked, quick answers to emails, etc. etc.  He's got the job.  The others??  Well, they'd better get moving or we just might have to start over with a whole new set!!

I know, I know....I may be just the tiniest bit  impatient, but either they want the job or they don't.  And "This Old House" definitely wants its pretty new roof, comfy and safe deck, and a pretty Pergola finished!  So do I!!  I want to get to the fun part!  Accessories!!!  


  1. Oh horrors, getting a contractor to call you back is a miracle. You are not alone. This is the way it is. I think they all take a long time in a conspiacy together so they can get get the most money because you are desperate for an answer.

    My son wanted to build a new deck in the spring, got three contractors to come out ( it took weeks for them all to even pay a visit) and just one came thru with an estimate in a reasonable time. In the end, it took them two months to start and, because of weather, two weeks to do. Winter was approaching and they finally finished.

    It is enough to tear your hair out!

    My house is 12 yrs. old and in three more years I expect that I will need a roof. Maybe I should move now.

  2. I "let" the contract for my new roof at least 6 weeks ago. Still no new roof. And, after all the water damage inside, I cannot get a contractor to light long enough to give me an estimate on repairing the damage to my kitchen ceiling. Thus, the drywall is still hanging, fan broken, and lathe and plaster showing. GROSS! All contractors are so busy outside repairing storm damages that they don't want to work inside right now. But the new roof...I don't get that one. Maybe his list is so long I am still waiting my turn. If I don't hear from them this week, I will give them another prod, but I hate being a pest! (At least they did fix the leak, this new roof is purely a replacement of a very old one on the main part of the house.)

  3. I pray all goes well with the decking a roof project. I will check back to see. I like your new blog look.

  4. I would like to quote what you said that we should trust roofing projects in the hands of professional roofers. That is so true, especially when it's a major roofing project, like what your house needed. Also, it's a smart move to compare prices and services of different roofing companies first to get the best deal. Good job!
    Soo @ Willi Roofing Services


Thanks so much for leaving a comment. It's really nice knowing what you think!! Besides, comments keep me from feeling like I'm here all by myself!! :)

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