I’ve heard people recommend cedar shingle roofs because “they look beautiful.” Those people are on psychedelic mushrooms and/or haven’t owned one on a residential home. What they neglect to mention is cedar shakes are renowned for their ability to harbor moss, split, rot, attract crows and burn baby burn. On top of that, I understand the lifetime — with frequent maintenance and good fortune — is 15 years. Maybe cedar is a good choice relative to tissue paper or a good choice if you’re a roofing company.
Mine’s 20 years old and… not so beautiful. Though the homeowner association has finally relaxed the rules, allowing alternate to the cedar peril. They don’t offer hints on what kind of numbers to expect… so I feel as if I’m about to be cast into the wolves’ den.
I should have known the first estimate was going to be high when the guy introduced himself, asked “How long have you lived here?”, then followed it up with “I bet you have built up a lot of equity.” He did his roofer thing for forty minutes then handed me a packet with an estimate and a contract. While he was explaining why they were eminently qualified, thumbing through a notebook of roofing photos of sample work, I peeked at the Bad News.
Oh, lordy, it was. The range quoted is the equivalent to a new car. If I go with nagahyde thin shingles with the limited 40-year warranty, we’re talking Subaru Impreza. The triple layered, cubic zirconium jewel-encrusted thick Presidental shingles with the creatively limited 50-year warranty costs a Toyota Sienna. Given the roofing company hasn’t been in business that long, nor have the the products been manufactured that long, I think “50 years” is creative marketing. Also, at the rate my property taxes have been increasing —10% per year — it seems increasingly unlikely I’ll be able to afford living in my house that long anyway. Unfortunately, most of the work is pulling off the old roof and preparing it for conventional materials..
After he left, I read the contract. As with reading financial reports, the devil’s in the details. And the details of what’s excluded from that number worry me:
- Replacement of some tubular exhaust thingie used by the heater and water heater. Whatever this thing is, I never knew existed, but that work is done by another company at a cost “not to exceed $486” extra.
- Gutters. They’re in marginal shape, sure to be damaged further by reroofing. Estimates range from $2,400 for aluminum equivalents to what I have now, to $7,800 for the fancy-schmancy “Leaf GuardTM” to $13,700 for de luxe one-piece copper gutters made from smelted bicentennial pennies. (I’m kidding about the penny part.) The last one was probably thrown in just to make the others seem less expensive by contrast.
- Permits – I have no idea what this will amount to. It’s King County, so I’m scared. Very scared.
- Sales tax – nine percent, baby.
- Damage – if they break the skylight, guess who has to custom order a new one and add to the fixed bid at the rate schedule they conveniently appended to the back of page three?
Two nearby houses had their rooves done just before the current residents moved in. I’m not very sociable with my other negihbors enough to ask for the gory details, but I may have to be.Anyone have a reroofing done that they want to talk about?