Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dear Mike Holmes: We're above code!

Back in April 2011 when the hubs and I had our mellow yellow house inspected prior to purchasing the little fixer-upper we were told that the roof would need to be replaced within 3-5 years. Not the greatest news, but our little foreclosure was still priced $80k less than other houses in the neighborhood and our house had an addition and much larger yard.  We weren't going to give up the house because it needed a new roof.  Or a full kitchen remodel and two bathroom remodels. Oh wait, make that two full bath and one half bath remodels.  It's not like we're counting or anything! 

If you asked me, the gameplan was  to buy the house, continue saving like crazy, and renovate the kitchen within the first two years of living in the house.  In my mind that made sense since every system in our house, except for the roof, came with a two-year warranty because it was a Freddie Mac foreclosure.  

The hubs, the structural engineer in the family, had other plans.  Dude became an HGTV addict after we bought the house and it was only natural that he became a fan of Holmes Inspection.  I swear to goodness if I hear, "we need to be above code" one more time I'm going to go up to Canada and give Mike Holmes a piece of my mind. 

This is what the roof of our house used to look like.  Yes, we were growing a small vegetable garden in our gutters.  That was our take on a roof top garden! The hubs made a pitch for putting gutter guards up on the gutters.  I gotta give him some credit because that sounded like a good idea in my book.

One side of our house used to be tree lined with some weird looking really skinny pine trees.  They were super tall and skinny, but not cedar trees.  I don't know, that's all I got. I didn't even have time to take pictures of them when the hubs cut them down and got rid of them.  It would appear that those trees were a bit too close to the house and would knock into the side of the house from time to time.  And by from time to time I mean all the darn time it seems.  There were a million tiny little holes and cracks on the one side of the house.  I'll be completely honest, I totally forgot about this defect because I never go on that side of the house! Out of sight, out of mind! 

We also had two lovely satellite dishes on our roof when we moved in.  The hubs called both DirecTV and Dish Network and was told by both companies that the dishes belonged to the house and we had to remove them ourselves.  Guess who didn't go on the roof and play with either dish - that's right, this chick!

One Friday in mid-May the hubs took the day off from work and had three separate roofing companies come to the house and give us quotes on a new roof.  Or at least that's what I thought was going on.  He called me a few days later when the quotes were in and told me, "okay, the one company I liked the best said it's going to be $12k to do everything."

Um, WHAT?!?!?!?!  I thought we were just getting a new roof.

Hubs: "That's for everything - the roof, a new ventilation system, additional insulation in the attic, new siding on the side of the house that will be custom color matched, and new gutter guards."

Truth be told, I kind of forgot about those "other things."  You know, the ones that comprised of 40% of the total cost of the project.

Well there went any fantasies I had about custom Knotty Alder kitchen cabinets in the near future.

Fine, sign on the dotted line and let's do this already! I told the hubs, "you better make sure that every single thing that goes in our house is environmentally friendly and made in the USA."  Dude knows me and immediately countered, "Shingles are 50 year grade, top of the line, and made in Hagerstown, MD.  Insulation is 85% recycled paper product and produced in Laurel, MD."

Supporting local business ... sign me up!

Thankfully, I was out of town when most of the work was done on the house so I didn't have to physically face any of the materials or workers and think ill thoughts about how much money they were costing me.

 Some of the materials. 

New shingles and new protective coating for the chimney.  Fine, it's black and shiny which means I like it. 

New roof and new gutter guards.  I'm actually really a fan of the gutter guards because now I don't have to worry about the hubs dangling off the side of the house in an attempt to clean the gutters.  One less way he can die doing home maintenance is off the list! 

Brand new siding on one side of the house.  Perfectly matches the rest of the house. 

I'm sure there are more technical terms for this, but they also re-hung our downspout and fixed the craziness that was going on around our meter. 

Voila! New roof!  No more ugly and broken satellite dishes!  And, the hubs wasn't harmed in any of the home repairs! Three cheers all around! 

Siding - $2350 
Gutter Guards - $1500
Roof - $6487 
Attic Insulation - $1134
TOTAL: $11,471

The roof actually came in under budget because zero of our wood support beams had to be replaced.  Honestly, with how old some of the other systems are in our house the hubs and I were shocked that there wasn't some type of water damage in the attic. Don't get me wrong, none was found during our inspection and we're thrilled, but we're just pleasantly surprised.  The old shingles were chipped, frayed, and well past their shelf life.  We're actually hopeful that the new attic insulation will pay for itself over the next few years based on lower heating and cooling costs. 

There were a ton of deals involved like $2k discount for leaving a sign in our yard for two weeks, discounts for combining services, scheduling in advance, etc. I know I gave the hubs a hard time about adding on everything now rather than doing it later, but I will say he was right.  The Baltimore area was hit with a massive heatwave right after our new roof was put on and it was actually so cool in our house that we had to turn our AC down.  Our master bedroom used to get a tad warm at night and it's been much cooler since we've had the additional layer of insulation and the new roof put on.  

I gotta give a bit of credit where credit is due: hubs you were right. It's better to be above code! 

If anyone in the Baltimore/DC area needs a new roof, insulation, gutter guards, or siding I can definitely provide a positive recommendation for a company.  Just let me know. 

The hubs and I did not receive a discount for blogging about our experience. 


  1. Looking great! I know how it feels to spend a huge chunk of change on projects you didn't anticipate and it's not fun - but the outside of your house looks great!

  2. Well, the code is there to prevent accidents, mishaps and disasters, so it’s good to keep to it! Getting the gutter shields was a great idea. You’re right – it’s definitely going to eliminate the need to keep cleaning them (although it’s still a good idea to check every month). Oh, and don’t fret too much about the cost of it! Think about it this way – if you’ve put your money into the sturdiest, most durable and most reliable roofing materials, then you won’t need to spend on roof renovations again for a very, very long time!

  3. That last part of Galliena’s comment clearly put things into perspective. It’s never easy on the budget or on the mind to know that there is a major renovation that needs to be done in or on your home, but if you invest in contractors who do the job to the best of their abilities, then you’re set for a long time. Even if it takes a while to finish, if they are doing the job right and making sure that your roof is steady, within code, clean, and functioning at its best, then you won’t have to worry about repairs again anytime soon.

  4. Making good decisions are part of taking care of a house. I can tell that you guys have that. It’s ironic that the more people try to save house parts that are no longer good, costing them more in repairs 'cause of the greater damage. It is certainly wise to do repairs early to save more money.

    Willie Norman

  5. Gutter guards are really appropriate for your house because there are a lot of trees surrounding it. It makes a huge difference that you have those because a year of carrying a lot of fallen leaves for the gutters can actually damage it more or less 20%, compared to having gutter guards which would most likely be less than 10%.

    Allyson Ripple