Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Have A Seat; or, Hamster Wheel

The roof over the back bedroom leaks.  This is not news.  It's been leaking for a couple of years, not badly and not even every time it rains, so it hasn't been a priority.  But lately I've been thinking that a good indoor project for rainy days or hot-as-hell days would be to redo the back bedroom (which is an unmitigated disaster) and it doesn't make sense to put in drywall and new flooring and other nice things when the roof leaks.  So now the roof is a priority. 

It's also somewhat terrifying, because it's a flat roof and I'd like to put a Firestone roof on it like the one on the front porch, and a Firestone roof is expensive.  By the way, the proper name for this kind of roof is EPDM, but Marion has always called it "Firestone roof" so now I do too, even though Firestone is not the manufacturer and nobody else calls it that.  EPDM.  Firestone.  Rubber.  All synonyms for expensive.

I finally went down to the lumberyard and asked how much it would actually cost.  Ed at the lumberyard said, "Well...it's expensive."  Ed knows I am a cheapskate.  I replied, "Just expensive, or like super expensive?" 

So Ed and I went back to the office and he got out a calculator and then made a couple of phone calls and then wrote it all down.  And then he said, "Whew."  

And I said, "Are you gonna tell me how much it is?"

And Ed went over to to the copier and said, "Nope.  I'm gonna make a copy of this and hand it to you and you can read it."

"Oh, hell,"  I said.

"Have a seat over there," he said. 


So I went and sat down and then he handed me the thing folded over so I couldn't see it and pass out right away, and I unfolded it and there it was:  $721.17.  For a roof that's 15 feet by 19 feet.  Seven hundred actual dollars. 


"Wow," I said, and let out the breath I'd been holding, "that is expensive.  Not super expensive, though, but still expensive.  I have to think about it."

These are my thoughts: 

On the one hand, spending more than about 250 bucks at one time makes me panicky. 

But on the other hand, not doing something right the first time really bothers me. (Remember the front porch and the first time we re-did it?  It looked a lot better, but it still wasn't right, and it bothered me for five years until I got over my panic at spending a lot of money and did it right.)

But on the other-other hand, I don't have a lot of money and $700 cuts into the budget for other things I want to do--things like fixing up my hideously ugly bedroom that has no ceiling and bare subfloor that tilts towards the back of the house (for reals, it is hideous), remodeling the two bathrooms, and refinishing the floors in a couple of rooms.  Most of that, honestly, falls under Stuff I Want To Do rather than Stuff I Need To Do, although living in a house that's half-pretty and half-ugly is starting to affect my mental well-being.

On the other-other-other hand, Marion thinks that one of the leaks might be caused by cracks in the tar around the stack pipe, and the other one might be caused by a clogged downspout that's making water back up into the gutter and seep into the seam between the roof and the side of the house.  (This is also Chris The Contractor's theory.) Mare says that overall, the existing roof--which is a torch-down roof--looks good.  If we tar the stack pipe, clean out the downspout, and put on gutter guards and that fixes the problem, then he thinks I could buy myself 4 or 5 years before I'd have to replace the roof.  I already have an almost-full can of tar and the gutter guards (which I was planning to put on anyway) so the cost of repair would be zero dollars. Zero dollars is better than seven hundred dollars.  Money is tight, but I have $700; for various reasons, in 4 or 5 years money won't be so tight. 

Welcome to the hamster wheel of my thinking.  What do y'all think I should do?

11 comments:

  1. Well, if there's a quick fix by all means take it. But I'd rather shell out the 700 now for just a roof, then 1700 for the roof and rotted framing and trim a few years for now. Mental health aside, pretty can wait!

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  2. That's a good point. As it is now, we're not replacing the decking. Waiting might mean I have to.

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  3. That's a good point. As it is now, we're not replacing the decking. Waiting might mean I have to.

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  4. Roof and water leaks are tricky things. We want to believe that the stop-gap repairs will solve the issue, but are we SURE? As MM said, what will happen down the line if it doesn't? Us old house people are used to juggling the checkbook, putting things off when necessary, and doing what we have to. You're the best judge of this ... do whatever helps you sleep better at night.

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    1. Well said. I still haven't decided what to do...

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  5. I don't know your financial situation, but I personally try to fix something only once.

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    1. It seems it always costs more in the long run to try to get by on stop-gap measures.

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    2. It seems it always costs more in the long run to try to get by on stop-gap measures.

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  6. If the small fixes would really fix things for several years, I would go for it. You see the inside of the house more than the outside. On the other hand, if the roof keeps leaking, it's possibly creating a major additional expense - can you safely check out what it's doing before it gets to the bedroom ceiling?

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    1. That's the kicker: will it *really* get me by for several years?? No way to answer that question for sure.

      Chris thinks there's more than one problem here, and he doesn't think any of it is actually a bad roof. His belief is that the flashing needs fixing in a couple of places and the gutters need re-routed so they don't overflow. So now we're trying that first.

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    2. That's the kicker: will it *really* get me by for several years?? No way to answer that question for sure.

      Chris thinks there's more than one problem here, and he doesn't think any of it is actually a bad roof. His belief is that the flashing needs fixing in a couple of places and the gutters need re-routed so they don't overflow. So now we're trying that first.

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