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getting our roofing on

So on Friday you saw how we installed some new shutters on our little house, and I mentioned (among other tasks) that re-shingling our roof was on the to-do list.

You can’t see super clearly in the photo above how bad the shingles on the front part of our house had gotten. They were all peeling away and some had even flown off last spring with some gusty storms. Our garage, which is free-standing, was in the same condition and needed some serious re-shingling. See below how the shingles are peeling? Luckily though, it was just the front section of our roof and garage that needed re-doing. The two sides and back of the house were totally fine (you can also see a glimpse of the side of the house in the photo below).

I’ll let you in on a little secret that I haven’t actually talked about on the blog yet. We’re hoping that in a couple of years we’ll be able to put a second story onto our house. We live in a neighbourhood that is super trendy and luckily the market in our area can take a bigger house. We’re actually probably the smallest house on our street. This past spring, our neighbours put a second story on their house, and it looks fabulous. Needless to say, there is a lot of planning and penny pinching that has to happen before we can go down that path, and a fix of our foundation (I’ll save that for another day!). What we are trying to do in the meantime though, is not invest too much money into things that would need to be torn down and re-done come second storey time. The garage roof was one of those things — we’re hoping to knock it down and build a new one alongside the house (attached), giving us a way bigger backyard and additional building space above the garage. All that to say, that we decided to hold off on replacing the garage roof and just focused on the front part of our house. We’re not getting any leaks, so hopefully it will hold up for another year or two.

Since it was only one side of roof that we were tackling, and because you know we like to save money wherever we can, instead of getting big roofing companies to come in and do the whole thing, we hired our contractor/builder/plumber/jack of all trades friend (the same guy who helped us with our bathrooom reno). He has a reasonable hourly wage, had all of the equipment we needed for the job, and is super skilled (he has built his own houses from the ground up!).

The whole thing happened in a day. Here is DIY Dan bringing shingles up. His job was to get the shingles out, cut to size if necessary, and haul up onto the roof.

Then it was our pal’s job (thank you, Daryl!), to hammer in the shingles one-by-one. This team effort meant the job was so speedy.

Luckily the under-pad from the previous roofing job was still in pretty good shape, so the boys just had to lay down a new piece of black base sheet on top (this stuff) and then shingle. We used lifetime shingles in charcoal from Home Depot (these guys).

After about 5.5 hours, it was looking good as new!

The shingles aren’t exactly the same as the ones on the sides, but are only slightly different variations of charcoal. You can only tell if you’re looking really closely.

Budget breakdown?

  • $220 in labour
  • $300 in supplies (shingles, under-lay, nails, etc) –> this may be off by a few bucks since we still have a return to do
  • $16 in rentals (for that big ladder)

TOTAL: $536

Not bad for a whole new roof front. It definitely would have been a lot more if we had gone with a roofing company, so we’re feeling pretty grateful to know someone in the industry who we can hire on his own.

What about you guys? Had to do any roofing on your place before? It’s not really one of those fun things to spend time or money on, but if you have ever watched any episodes of Mike Holmes, you’ll know that all of the fun decorating stuff doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have the structural part of your house looked after!  Oh and has anyone done any huge renovations (like added a second story) onto their place? Any tips and advice are so welcome!

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  • $536 is not bad at all! (eieihome.com) is a great source for any type of contractors from Canada. Hope that helps in the future!

    • gemma

      Cool! Thanks for the tip :)


  • We bought a ranch with a basement as a weekend home, with the intention of adding on to make it a retirement home for the future. We priced out contractors and the estimates we got were $125K-$250K, WAY out of our budget. So we decided to act as General Contractor ourselves and we hired people to do what we couldn’t do (hubby is very handy). We hired people to: remove the roof, frame out the second floor and the rooms, side the house, roof the house, install the windows (we could have done that but it’s a weekend home so we were only there 2 days a week; it was faster if not cheaper to have it done). We hired our friend who’s a plumber, did the electric ourselves, hired a sheetrock guy and the fireplace people to extend our chimney and install a gas fireplace on the new 2nd floor. We had the stairs built at a lumberyard then installed by our framers. We did all the painting, put in our own hardwood floors, built and installed our banisters, our pull down attic stairs, did all the insulation ourselves, installed all the plumbing fixtures ourselves (except the shower pan), and will be redoing the first floor floors and kitchen this winter and next summer. OUR total? Not sure but we haven’t broken $100K yet… THAT was enough to convince me it was the right thing to do!

    • BUT it IS a lot of work. My husband is a teacher so he was off in the summer to watch and manage the subcontractors… If he wasn’t able to be there to do that, we never could have done that much ourselves…

      • gemma

        WOW — that sounds like a massive project!!! Congratulations! It’s great to hear that someone else was able to do the general contracting and a lot of the finishing work themselves. And on such a great budget. That’s exactly the way we want to go, too.

        I might hit you up with some specific questions in a year or two, Krys! :)


  • Martine

    Care to share contractor info :) I am looking for a reliable contractor for my bathroom and I am also looking for a foundation fix. Mr. Foundation did not even bother to return for phone calls for an estimate.
    Thank you.

    • gemma

      Hi Martine! Unfortunately our friend has a full-time gig and isn’t really taking on any contracting work at the moment (he sort of did for us as a favour). A reader suggested this link for finding a contractor: eieihome.com

      As for the foundation repair, we haven’t actually done ours yet but did have two companies come out recently to take a look: http://www.dmfoundations.ca/ and http://www.ottawafoundation.com/. We liked them both but can’t vouch for them yet since we haven’t done the fix! We’re dealing with City of Ottawa at this point, since our foundation issues are somewhat a result of the drought this summer and our 2 City trees on our lot. Will keep you posted!

      Good luck with your projects!!


      • Becky

        We have used Dave marcotte for foundation work and we were very happy.

        • gemma

          Wow – great! Thanks very much for commenting and letting me know, Becky. It’s great to get other people’s feedback before hiring any contractor/builder.


        • Martine

          Thank you Becky for the recommendation.

      • Martine

        Thank you. Good luck with the City.

  • YES! to adding a second storey! We (fingers crossed!) will be starting our second story addition early next year, as soon as we jump through all the hoops put in place by the city and get our funding in place. Our drawings are finished and we’ve started the permitting process. We’ve also been chatting with contractors AND real estate agents to make sure the whole thing will be worth it over just picking up and finding a new place. The quotes we’re getting are floating anywhere between $200,000 and $250,000, or around $140,000 for just the ‘shell’ and no finishes. Eek! Fortunately, we have a connection to a framer who will do our outer shell for us and we can do almost everything else ourselves/beg help from knowledgeable family members.

    So excited you’re planning on doing this! Have you started to play around with floor plan options yet?

    • gemma

      Hi Jeanette! Yahoo! I was so thrilled to hear you were considering a second story (I remember the floor plan conundrums you posted on your blog).. AND that it looks like you’re going ahead with it in 2013! Promise to share all your tips and tricks, k?! Great to get an idea of what you’ve been quoted.

      We have only talked and dreamed of floor plans – no drawings yet. We’ve put that on the to-do list for the winter. We’re hoping to tackle the project in spring 2014, and like you, only hire out for the shell/structural stuff and do all of the finishing ourselves/with help from friends and family. We’re really hopeful it will all work out!

      Next time I’m in Toronto, it would be great to get together for coffee and chat reno’s! I’m not sure if you’re going to see Sherry & John Petersik at West Elm on Nov 12th, but I am.. shoot me an email if you are! thesweetestdigs@gmail.com


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  • Kevin

    Beautifully done!!!

    Roofing is not an easy proposition and is certainly risky.

    We’re very impressed.