Second roof estimate: optimistic

Water Wall

Last week I was in Houston for a business conference. (Apologies to those of you who were subjected to my presentation. I understand I sustained 80 words a minute with hurricane gusts of up to 170.


Nervousness. I hope you enjoyed the live demos. Also, my joke about including “the gratuitous store separation” animation was not intended as disrespectful. Instead, it’s (a) an observation that the example occurred no fewer than a dozen times and (b) hope that I’d someday get access to the data set showing the store being dropped by an F18, B1 bomber or Imperial Star Cruiser. As it stands, I only have a delta wing attached to… nothing.)

Anyway, to answer some questions my friends have had about this week:

Marble Slab
  • Gas was only $2.07/gallon (For comparison, it’s about $2.69 here.)
  • Temperatures were in the upper 80s, with 1,000% humidity. I was drenched whenever my skin came in contact with outside air.
  • Iced tea is excellent. Here, it’s either been brewed in a coffee maker or made from a powder.
  • I ate well, too 🙂 Best meal was El Tiempo with my parents.
  • Rice’s campus had a lot of new buildings and dorms. The surrounding neighborhood has improved, and is a lot prettier than I remembered.
  • The Water Wall’s over twenty years old.
  • Houston is a textbook case for zoning. I saw: churches in strip malls, liquor stores in strip malls, strip clubs in strip malls, all randomly sequenced.

I’m glad I went, but am glad to be back home.

After the shock of the first estimate settled in, I hunted around for more. Two companies called me while I was in Houston. Both have been out to do whatever it is they do to come up with a large number. I’m supposed to meet with one of them tomorrow afternoon to hear The Bad News. Meanwhile, a guy from a fourth company came out Saturday, as I was lugging in 50 pounds of (“both”) pumpkins out of my car.

He was personable, but spoke in thick Toolmanese. For example, instead of saying “Is there an outlet in front?” he said “We need provisional access to the structural electrical service on the western facing segment of your domicile.”
He pointed to my neighbors’ roofs (rooves?) as examples of various things that could be done to mine. I nodded politely as he excitedly tried to convey why a “2×2 Rake Edge Flashing (with a kick)” was a significant upgrade over “the more commonly used 1.5×1.5 inch rake edge flashing.” Rakes are a garden tool, right?

George H.W. Bush

The proposal he dropped off Monday evening is written much like he spoke. Indeed, its first paragraph reminded me of the peculiar patentese experienced a few years ago.

001 DOCTRINAL REFERENCES: The Technical Specification and the Roof Assembly INstallation Conduct For this proposed roof system is structured around following Doctrinal References: 1) 1997 (Refroofing); 2) The NCRA (National Roofing Contractors Association) Roofing and waterproofing Manual, Fifth Edition; 3) Residential Asphalt Roofing Manual; and 4) The manufacture’s specific Asphalt Shingle and/or Cedar Shake/Shingal installation specifications.

Ouch, I sprained my cerebellum.

After unfurling from the reactionary fetal ball (okay, not really), I patiently read through the proposal, highlighting the salient words of the 29 subparts. His proposal, while much more detailed than the other, assumes I have a master list of the individual components going into a reroofing project and am comparing this line-by-line to the estimate. In contrast, the one from two weeks ago assumes I’m a dolt.
Whereas the first estimate came in at a Suburu Impreza just for the roof, the second one is that price for the roof, gutters (he quoted only the “no frills” variety), tubular exhaust thingie, some kind of facia board purported to be a better surface on which gutters are mounted, and a new bike. It’s difficult to make a true apples-to-apples comparison, though the primary difference is the workers in the lower bid get to use my toilet while those with the expensive bid would bring their own. Hey, for $5k difference, I’ll splurge for a pink, fuzzy seat cover. (Or by the time I get approval from my homeowner’s association, I could try knitting one 😉

The other two estimates should be in by the end of the week. I’ll pick the two that sound best, then call references.

6 thoughts on “Second roof estimate: optimistic”

  1. See, now the “Doctrinal References” give me a warm fuzzy. You don’t have to read them, you just get to say “hey, they actually follow specs and standards!”

  2. Gas is $1.97 here. 😛 As for the roofing, my parents had their house reroofed for $10K. PitA though. But that was like 10 yrs ago. Looking to buy a house now in Atlanta but I have to take in considerations here and there. I guess I will blog about it later.

  3. I’m curious; what gives the homeowner’s association the right to yay/nae your new roof? If it meets all applicable federal/state/local government building regulations, why couldn’t you go ahead with any roofing material you felt like?

  4. It’s like a private little government with a right to levy fines (that will morph into liens) as a means of enforcement. On a practical level, they collect dues and provid some basic services like a regular security patrol, pool, and neighborhood vegetation maintenance.

    Most of the architectural rules are common sense. For example, I couldn’t paint my house pink and purple (like M+H would have me). However, it’d be nice to have some more leeway and be able to do the roof thing now (while the weather is still nice) rather than wait for them to officially approve it.

    Theoretically, it should be rubber stamped. However the literal reading of the rules say they would have the legal right to make me reverse the reroofing if I don’t have prior approval. (Sometimes the tone in the newsletter suggests they are that petty.

  5. I’m vaguely remembering the homeowners’ association from where we lived in suburban DC in the 1980s being that petty but the covenant had no teeth: the only thing they could do legally was keep you from selling your house until you corrected your association rules violations. That always sounded to me like an excuse to paint your house purple just to frack with people.

    We were in Louisville over the weekend; gas was $2.05/gal for regular. It’s $2.37/gal here in DC. Go figure.

    And hey, at least if they come in to used the toilet you won’t have to live with a locked porta-potty on your front lawn ’cause that’s just *so* attractive. (though, not as bad as it would be in mid-july 😉 )

  6. or call the BBB. That’s how we decided between two similar quotes.

    BTW, gas in Omaha is currently $2.05 a gallon. Nice break from the almost $3, eh?

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