Monday, December 16, 2013

Finished Metal Roof Pictures (and more metal in my life)

I took a bit longer-than-expected blogging break.  I had intended to post the final pictures of our metal roof sooner but I am actually recovering from a hip replacement.  I'm young-ish, but I have hip dysplasia, and it took a big toll on one of my hips.  In the past year, my ability to function was so severely impaired, and a hip replacement was the only option.  I thought about starting a blog for my hip replacement because I have lots to say on that subject, but I decided not to.  I will just say that I'm glad to be in recovery mode now but I still have a long way to go before I am "recovered"and I can get back to work on DIY projects.  Hopefully my recovery will be significantly improved by the spring.

So onto the other metal in my life--the roof.  Our roof took a while to finish because the company was working on a local green addition to a school simultaneously, but it's done and it's gorgeous.  Here are some pictures from different angles. (And no, I wasn't on the roof!  That was hubby's job.)

BEFORE PICTURE:  Can you believe this? This is the original flashing around our chimney.  Completely corroded.  I find it really hard to believe that the roofers didn't think to replace this when our roof was done 8 years ago!  To quote Holmes on Homes, "Unbelievable!"

A close-up of our non-existing flashing. This was completely redone with the new roof, obviously.

And here is our gorgeous new roof!  The color is "Burnished Slate" which coordinates nicely with the stone fireplace, stone planters, stone patio, and stone walkways around our house.  This is a view of the side of our house.  This is also the view that is most visible from the road.

Here is a little closer view...(hard to take these pics from the ground.)

 Here is a picture of part of the front of our house.  That piece of metal hanging out of the gutter is an old leaf guard.

 My husband got up on the roof to show me what was going on up there.  Note the new flashing around the chimney.  The roofing guys took a masonry saw and adhered the flashing into the stone. 

 Here's another view of the metal work.  This is a ridge vent.

Below is a picture of the the backside of the chimney. It's built up to divert the rain and snow from hitting the chimney and causing leaks.  It was built that way from the beginning.  (Of course the old flashing was completely corroded so it didn't help from causing leaks.)

 This little window is in the upper corner of our great room.

More views of where some of the roof planes meet.  Sorry about the glare.  It is really hard to get good pictures of a metal roof.

So far, we are really happy we put this roof on.  Some people have asked me questions about it so I'll try to put together an FAQ post at some point for folks who are interested in this type of roofing.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Roof in Progress...

Our tearoff went fine and I was able to confirm with the roofer that, YES, we did have full ice and water shield under that 8-year old, 30 year architectural shingle roof that leaked in about 8 places.  So that should be a lesson to anyone with a house with 2/12 pitch.  DO NOT SHINGLE YOUR ROOF.  Don't be mislead by a roofer that says its fine to shingle a house at that pitch with full ice and water shield.  Guess what--it isn't fine.  Water is insidious and WILL find a way to get through all of those nail holes in time.  Trust me--it happened to us.

The roofers re-flashed all of the flashing and installed the new ice and water shield.  Then we had about a week's delay before installing the metal.  The standing seam metal we are using is for low-slopes, so the seam is higher and there is a special machine that is used to seal the seam of the panels together.  The machine was in use at another job and my roofer got the run around on when it would be available from the metal roof distributor.  So they finally started to install the metal on Thursday.  This is what the house looks like after a few days of metal work.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

And so it begins...

My new roof is under construction!

Tear-off began last Thursday.  I was actually in Ireland on business, so I didn't witness it, but my husband said that they found full ice and water shield under the shingles.  If that is true for the entire roof, then it further confirms my feelings that you shouldn't put shingles, even with full ice and water shield, on a roof pitch this low. 

We had a couple of days of rain, so tearoff continued today and the NEW Carlisle WIP 300 HT ice and water shield was put on the roof.

New ice and water shield.

I tried to take conference calls from home this morning so I could see what was going on but it was so loud in my office--it sounded like elephants were walking on the roof!  And the banging...not for the faint of heart.  So I went into the office.  Before I left, though, I took some pictures.

This is what our place looked like today while the tearoff was going on.

And here is what it looks like tonight after work. (They left their truck in our driveway....its ok, it's a big driveway.)

Roof with ice and water shield.

The coolest part about today was seeing how they make the metal roofing on-site. Using this machine:

Metal Roof Machine

But that is the subject of the next post...sorry to keep you in suspense...:-)

On tomorrow's agenda is the installation of our ISO board on our cathedral ceiling great room.

Yay for more insulation!

  And they will be starting to put the metal roof on tomorrow, too!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Our Roofing Decision

This post has been a long time in coming...nearly 3 years, actually.  As I mentioned in my last two posts here and here....we have been dealing with roof issues since we moved into this house.  And they were very unexpected as we had a 5 year old roof on the house with 30 year architectural shingles.  We've spent the last 3 years trying to figure out what to do--research, educate ourselves, determine how we were going to afford this, and there may have been a few tears as well.

Our roof is not small...when you have a sprawling ranch, things like the roof are expensive.  So cost was definitely a consideration.  But at the end of the day, I really felt like we didn't have a choice.  Shingles seemed too risky (and we had 2 roofing companies flat out say they wouldn't put shingles on this house and one no-bid.)  I felt like we would be in the same situation in 10 years with shingles. 

The next set of options--the "membrane group" didn't seem aesthetically appropriate for this house.  Our roof is low-slope but visible, and I thought a membrane would detract from our house (and our neighbors too). 

 The next option was rolled asphalt roofing--I basically felt the same way about this as I felt about the membrane.

The last, and most expensive choice by far is metal roofing.  Standing seam specially designed for low-slope applications.  And that's the choice WE  WENT WITH!!  I couldn't be more thrilled to shell out the big bucks right now.  We'll be dry this winter and have a awesome looking roof to boot!

We picked "Burnished Slate" as our color.  We were between that and a color called "Charcoal", but the "Burnished Slate" matched the stone around our house very nicely.  I felt it was a better color for our home and looked less "tinny". 

Not our house--but this is the color roof that we chose.

 We signed the contract just after labor day and they came to take final measurements this week.  It will take a few weeks to get material so I'm anticipating having this roof put on in October.  I am very excited!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Low Slope Roofing Choices for Mid-Century Homes

I have a confession to make.  In the last 3 years, I've become borderline obsessed with roofs.  I notice them when I drive, I stop and look at them, and I note where all the interesting ones are so I can go back and show my husband.  (He plays along although there may be an eyeroll or two....or some slow blinking.) 

Yes, I've become a roof stalker.  The only thing I haven't done is stop and knock on doors.  I haven't had the guts to do that.  Not yet anyway.  There's still time, though.  (Or maybe I can get my husband to do that...)

In my last post, I shared our roofing woes with you all.  To recap, our 8 year old roof is failing.  We did not have it installed, it was already here when we purchased our home in 2010.

The existing roof was installed incorrectly, on a slope that is too low for shingles (a little less than 2:12), and we need to do something.  There are 3 basic problems that we can figure out:

1.  Ice and water shield was not used over the entire roof, only at the edges of the roof.
2.  The shingles were "cheated" in the installation; i.e. they were not overlapped properly so some of the nails are not completely covered by the higher shingle.  During heavy rain storms, water can actually wick uphill and get under the shingles through the nailholes. 
3.  Flashing is failing--probably poor installation here as well if it was replaced at all.

I have met with 5 different roofers and received 9 quotes of varying materials, opinions and price levels.  In addition, I had an architect come out and do a roof consultation.  This was money well spent--I highly recommend it if you are in a similar situation.  I felt like I had an honest broker's opinion to compare to the roofing companies.  And the first words out of his mouth when he came here for our consult were, "Is this a Don Hershey home?"  Bingo...I found the right guy.

I selected roofers to come and look at the roof based on several criteria.  Most of the roofers I selected did both residential and commercial roofs.  I tried to get a commercial-only roofer to come out but they declined saying they only do commercial roofs and won't look at residential.  So I didn't try that again.  I only looked at roofers that had decent reviews in Angie's List.  This is the first time I've used Angie's List and I found it quite helpful.

Our roof is 50 squares...that is really, really big.  Quotes ranged significantly--surprisingly, actually.  And the range didn't correlate with my perceptions of the quality of the work.  I should note that one roofer came out, measured the roof, and then never submitted a quote.

Here are the choices that we investigated  and the collective opinions.  (There may be others...but in here's what people have to choose from based on my experience in upstate New York):

1.  Shingles:  Two of the roofers said that we could do shingles on this roof if we used an ice and water shield over the entire roof.  I should also note that two roofers said they wouldn''t put shingles on this roof at all and wouldn't do it if we wanted to.  The architect said that the only way this would work is if you used a higher grade ice and water shield over the entire roof--he recommended a product called WIP 300 made by Carlisle.  The other roofers recommended a product made by Grace.  The idea is that conventional ice and water shield expands and contracts in our weather. Eventually (as in 10 years down the line), the material would not expand and contract the same way and it would leave small gaps around the nailholes.  At this point, we could get leaks.  The higher end ice and water shield (like the Carlisle WIP 300 product), has material properties that prevent the expansion and contraction problems that the lower grade one has due to a higher melting point. 

2.  Standing Seam Metal:  This is the most expensive option but it will basically last 100 years or more.  Essentially, long sheets of metal are mechanically welded on site to provide a seamless roof.  There are products made just for low slope roofs all the way down to a 1/4 pitch.  The architect recommended using a full ice and water shield underneath as well.  This is the option that the architect recommended.  It was also the most aesthetically desirable.
Standing Seam Metal Roof on low slope

3.  Rolled asphalt roofing:  I would simply describe this as rolled shingles.  It is less expensive than metal, but the look isn't as great.  It is only warrantied for 12-15 years as well.  Usually used on porches, not on an entire house, although I have seen it on an entire house.

4.  EPDM. Black rubber.  It's not as expensive as other options, and its water proof, but you basically have an inner tube covering your roof.  It has a good warranty--20+ years.  It's glued down so you don't have any nails.  But it's not a great look if your roof is visible, like ours.

5.  TPO.  This is another synthetic roof membrane.  Comes in a few colors.  Heat welded onsite.  Warranty of 30-40 years. Used a lot in commercial applications.  I've never seen this in a residential application although I did find this picture on the internet.

6.  Torch-down.  Not recommended--insurance won't cover your house if it burns down.  I think my neighbor has this, however, and it's coated with a silver paint.

In my next post, I'll tell you what we picked.  We are deciding this week!  We are also addressing some insulation issues and lack of bathroom fan issues as well.  So stay tuned!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Roofing Decisions We Need To Make

I normally like to spend my money on pretty things for the INSIDE of the house and my patience for spending money on FIXING my house is running thin.  My intention for writing this post, and one of the reasons for writing this blog, is so other people can learn from my experiences--the good and the bad.  There are many mid-century homes out there with low-pitched roofs, like ours.

When we purchased our home in August, 2010, we were told it had a 5 year old roof.  30 year GAF architectural shingles.  I had just put a new roof on my old house and I was pretty happy that I wouldn't have to address that again for a long time.  Plus, this house needed so much TLC that I was relieved that wouldn't have to redirect my funds towards a roof.  Or so I thought...

We had our home inspected as is customary in real estate--the inspectors spent about 4 hours and actually caught a lot of problems, including alerting us to the rotten wood on the screen porch and the siding--and we got a fair bit back at closing to go towards fixing those issues.  But the roof was given a "Good" on the inspection report.  They missed the fact that the pitch is probably too low for shingles, or that the roofing job that was done was poor.  And I didn't know that the roof pitch was low and the impact that would have so I didn't think to ask.

The previous owners gave us the paperwork to the roof on closing and it showed that the roof had been installed in 2005.  It also had a piece of paper slipped in there that showed the roof had at least one problem and that another roofer had been hired to re-flash around the hood in the kitchen.  Ominous.

The  problems started for us with ice damming over the winter of 2010-2011.  It was a particularly "bad winter" and we got over 120 inches of snow.  Here was the summary of that winter from the National Weather Service



I chalked the ice damming problems up to the fact that it was a very bad winter and to "getting to know the house".  From that point on,  we made sure to use the roof rake to get the snow off the roof.  (For those of you in more temperate climates, ice damming is a problem that those of us in high snowfall areas have to worry about.  Basically, it's a problem with lack of insulation and venting of the roof.  Snow melts and refreezes in the gutters, forming ice that backs up onto the roof and under the shingles.)

Then spring finally came in 2011 and it rained BUCKETS for weeks on end.  We had so much water coming in the foyer that we had to use 3 buckets at once to catch it.  It resulted it this damage to our original grasscloth.

Damage to original grasscloth from 5-year old roof leaking.

Fortunately my insurance company covered the damage and I used the money to get the roof fixed over the foyer.   We had about 5 or 6 roofers come out to fix our roof and we had trouble getting a quote from anyone--they all said that the roof needed to be replaced.  They said that the shingles weren't installed properly on this low of a pitch--which is 2/12 or just under.  

Finally, we found someone who was willing to fix the area above the foyer (along with some other work) so we thought we were going to be ok for awhile.   We were wrong.

We have plugged (aka caulked) leaks in the valleys of the house, next to the fireplace, 2 leaks in the garage (not near any flashing) and in a soffit area outside my daughter's bedroom.  We have had water come through two of the recessed lights in the family room and the "repaired" kitchen hood.  My husband and father have caulked so many areas of the roof.  I joke that our roof is held together by bubble gum.  Basically, I cringe every time in rains.  Here is some other nice damage photos.

Recent water damage.

Cracked plaster from water damage.

 The company that put on the roof is non-responsive.  I consulted an attorney a couple of years ago.  We have two choices:  We can sue the person that we bought the house from but we have to prove that they knew about roof problems when they sold it and didn't disclose it.  Or we could try to sue the inspector.

The person we bought the house from was the original owner and I don't think he tried to deceive us intentionally.  Besides, my conscience wasn't going to let me sue a guy in his 80's.

Our inspector is protected by so many caveats in the contract that the likelihood of winning a case was low, so I opted not to go that route.

Basically, we will be funding a new roof.  Ourselves.  Ugh.

In the last two years, I've done extensive research into roofing and contractors.  And I've consulted an architect for his opinion on what we need to do with the roof.  At this point, I know way more than the average bear about roofing--something that is coming in quite handy when talking to roofers.  I've interviewed 6 of them--their answers and the architect's view are the subject of my next post.  

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

From English Ivy Overload to a Rock Garden

When we bought this house, the landscape was pretty overgrown taking over the house.  The original owner liked to golf, not be in the yard, and it was evident.  We have a long way to go before we have it all in shape again, but we've been working on it diligently over the past few years.  One of the problems of the original landscape was the proliferation of English Ivy.

English Ivy is not indigenous to North America and it can be really invasive where it's allowed to grow free.   At our house, it was allowed to grow free in the beds next to the east side of the house.

It was actually grew ON AND UNDER OUR SIDING!  When we fixed our siding and painted the house the first year we lived here, I literally pulled out yards of the stuff from under the bottom of our siding.  And I had to sand the rest of it off from the visible parts of the siding.  You can see a little bit of the problem in the picture below. 
English Ivy overload.  Note the ivy trails growing up the side of the house.

The landscape is taking over the house!
Despite growing up in the country on 11 acres, learning to drive a tractor years before I could drive a car, and having parents who are amateur farmers, I am not confident with vegetation.  Worms, bugs, and critters in general scare me.  Circular saws don't scare me but the sight of a mouse will have me shaking in my boots.  Good thing I have a desk job. 

But here I was--in my new gardening gloves and determined to win over the English Ivy.  After I pulled away some of the English Ivy, I discovered a rock wall!  Who knew?  It was buried under the mess.  And I didn't see any critters so I thought I could proceed.  (Note the unpainted wood--we were in the process of repairing our siding in this picture.)

Newly discovered rock wall.
I dug up the rest of the English Ivy.  While digging, I discovered quite a few rocks including one very large one!  I "left the large one for my husband to get out" while I continued looking for rocks.  (Sorry, honey!)  It was then that I decided to do a rock garden.

We have a lot of deer here and we have a little bit of a problem with "deer-resistant" plants so it isn't quite as lush as I would like, but here is what it looks like today:

Going up the stairs from the patio.

View looking from the patio towards the front of the house.  Groovy light fixture:-)

Pretty close-up of pretty flowers

Note the giant rock that I made my husband dig dug out

We have a mix of phlox, impatiens (something keeps eating those), petunias, chicks and hens (remind me of my grandmother) and some other flowering geranium ground cover.  I'll keep adding to it next year but so far, it's MUCH better than that despicable ivy.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

How to mix traditional furniture in a modern house

Do you have furniture that maybe isn't your style anymore but it has sentimental value?

Or are you just trying to save a little money by using what you have instead of buying new?

We had those challenges recently when we redecorated my stepdaughter's bedroom.  We had a full-size bed that fit perfectly in the room and used to be mine, and my mother's before me.  It also happens to be FRENCH PROVINCIAL--*gasp!*.

We also had my husband's childhood dresser that fit perfectly in the room-I don't even know what style it is but it was traditional, not mid-century modern.

We are also on a budget and didn't want to buy new furniture for this room if we didn't have to.  The room is used by my stepdaughter when she comes every other weekend and it's also used as a guest room when we have relatives and friends in town.

Before I go much further, here is a before picture of the room from when the previous owners had decorated it:

"Before" picture

It's not great but it's the only picture I have of the room from "before".  The original owners had decorated it for their grand-daughter and it was really, really sweet.  The color scheme was pink and mint-green.  But very "country cottage" and it seemed really out of place in this house.

This room actually had really nice, creamy white wall:wall carpet in here.  It was very high quality and pretty new.  After living here for about two weeks, my 13 year old stepdaughter decided she didn't feel well and she took some Pepto Bismol, unbeknownst to us.  Well, it didn't help and she ended up barfing all over the carpet.  Ugh.

I had no idea of this before, but Pepto Bismol has red dye that doesn't come out of carpeting.  We had the professionals come and they couldn't save the carpet.  So we had to rip it out.  Fortunately, our entire house has hardwoods under the carpets.  Pristine hardwoods that have never seen the light of day before!

So here is the room now after fresh coats of paint on the walls, trim, closet doors and window:

Much better.

Looking into the Hallway.

Freshly painted closet doors.

Corner nook

We have a real mix of things going on in this room but it turned out great!  It's one of my favorite rooms in the home.

Here are my top tips for mixing traditional furniture into your modern home:

1:  Pick Modern Paint Colors: 

We chose modern colors for our walls and for our furniture.  Depending on what color your furniture is, you may be able to just paint the walls.  Our furniture's finish had seen better days so we opted to paint them.  It also helped to create a more cohesive look in the room.

Our trim in the whole house is Benjamin Moore Decorators White, which is the truest white I could find.  The walls in this room are BM Nimbus Gray, which is actually pretty blue.  We also chose to paint the furniture a modern color--BM Chelsea Gray, which is my favorite gray with a lot of brown undertones.  We also painted the walls in the powder room and the cabinets in the butler's pantry this color.

French Provincial Bed Painted Chelsea Gray

 2.  Pick Modern Textiles--Fabrics and Rugs.

We chose modern drapes and bedding for this room.  The quilt was made by my mother but it is also very modern.  The drapes are from Ikea (sad to see they don't seem to sell these anymore--they are amazing!) and the comforter is from West Elm. 

The other bedding is pretty modern--the bedskirt is a simple ticking stripe that we had left over from another house and the carpet was an old Crate and Barrel striped wool carpet that I had rolled up in the basement.

Ikea drapes

3.  Add in Modern Accessories

I added a modern round mirror above the dresser, modern lamps, artwork, and a very vintage modern tulip chair.  It's an eames knockoff that I found on craigslist a few months ago.  Layered with a sheepskin, it's the perfect teenage girl's chair.

And there you have it--so don't be afraid to mix up your furnishing a little bit  It adds personality, depth, and character to your home.  You don't have to get rid of things you love just because your decorating style has changed a bit.