Roofing Rant

“Home is where the heart lies”, said to be a quote by Edmund Coke from the early 19th century. I take it to mean that emotion helps to define home, not architecture.

And at various times in my life the roof of my home has been canvas, ripstop nylon, and wood shingles. For the last 24 years it has been composite asphalt tile.

I once read a book with a whole chapter dedicated to “roofience”. Why a roof? What is a roof? What can be expected from the concept of “roof”?

I am old, but not at the end of my life. My roof is old, and it is at the end of its life. Thank you, roof! You have mostly kept me dry and comfortable. Now, I need to replace you.

This would have seemed to be a simple process. Call a few roofers, get a few bids, don’t lowball- but go for good quality from a good company. I had no idea what I was about to unleash.

The first issue is to maneuver through the meaning of words. There are guarantees, materials are guaranteed from the manufacturer. Workmanship is guaranteed by the company. They are not the same time frame.

It used to be tarpaper, then tiles nailed on. Now it’s underlayment, flashing, architectural composite tiles with fungus control, and roof venting system. It takes a full afternoon to understand the terminology.

At the end the day you just want to know that you will be dry and how much will that cost? The answer is… “It depends!”

Do you want a company that will guarantee a quality installation for ten years? Materials for twenty-five years? Fifty years? Hey, I don’t want any mistakes in the first place. What kind of hellish reality would it be to have bad installation, repeated by a never ending guaranteed fix? Does anything last fifty years on in the weather? How do I know that?

Just know what you are doing, use good materials and do it right.

Do you want “Johnny on the Truck” roofing that will take $1000 down and half the contract on the first day of installation, and then disappear, never to be seen again? Hey, is that a thing? Does that happen a lot? Isn’t there a contractor’s license at risk?

Are sure your roofer has a contractor’s license?

What? I need to hire someone to vet my roofers? I’m sensing that something has been lost.

I long for the day when a contract was a handshake and a fair wage asked for a fair day’s work. I live in a zip code where bids are 30% higher because the homes have higher value. A shingle is still just a shingle.

Terminology has been used to terrify, not to inform. This product is guaranteed for fifty years, but this inferior product is only guaranteed for twenty five years. The question I have is, “Has anyone gotten a free roof because the roof shingle fell apart five years short to the guarantee? Has any modern roof been replaced free because of material defects?

I have not been a good homeowner. I have not kept up with the proper maintenance. My brother tells me that it is almost a full time job, because once one project is done, there is another where time has run out. It’s like the Golden Gate Bridge in a constant state of repainting.

Perhaps that is true. At this time in my life I’m trying to simplify. Just pay someone else to do it, and take a nap.