Our House Has a Poncho

Continuing the story of unexpected homeownership expenses – we are going to be getting a new roof this coming week.

The roof on the house is the second roof, my grandparents had a full tear off done in 1994, so this roof is 22 years old. I had it inspected before we bought the house and the shingles were in good shape, looking like another 10 years of life. Even now, the shingles are in good repair and have another 5-7 years of life in them, but we have a different problem – somewhere above or around the chimney area of the roof, there is a leak. This has always been a problem in the house, one my grandparents tried to address in the past too, but something was missed.

We knew there was at least a small leak somewhere, as every few years we would get a very small water spot on the living room ceiling that needed to be addressed. But since it was so infrequent and inspection didn’t reveal anything, we just rode it out. Unfortunately, our luck ran out this winter, as the leak became acute. Just a regular rainstorm would lead to an excessively wet spot on a ceiling tile and\or water running down the front of the house as it ran down the rafters to the soffits. Inspection in the attic showed that there was clearly a problem that, left untreated, was going to get out of hand quickly (mold, etc.)

To prevent things from getting worse, I had the roofers stop by and put a big tarp on the roof, to make sure that the water intrusion stops and give a healthy amount of time for any wet areas to thoroughly dry out. In the meantime, our house is wearing a poncho.

As with all projects around here, there is a “while we’re in here” project to be addressed – properly insulating the cathedral ceiling. In short, this ceiling has never been correctly insulated, leading to ice damming issues, etc. So we’re fixing that too. And I’m going to add a sputnik light to the entry space. You know, while I’m in there and all.

This weekend I’ve been buying the supplies needed to do the insulation project and coordinating with the roofing contractor about how to get it accomplished. If the weather holds out, we should have a new roof, tightly insulated ceiling, and new sputnik light by this coming weekend.

4 thoughts on “Our House Has a Poncho

  1. John

    I had a new 30 year dimensional shingle roof installed in 2009. The old 20 year roof had nails popping through the shingles. Recommend your chimney be flashed properly by inserting it about 1 inch into the mortar. Most new flashing is just attached to the surface and caulked, this is not how it should be done, you can find examples on a website. Hope you have a cricket on the high side by the chimney. I went with a dark shingle as it hides any staining and I have two large trees to shade it in the summer. Caulk any cracks you see in the cement wash around the flues or have it replaced if in bad shape. Good luck!

    1. Douglas Camin Post author

      Thanks John! Fortunately our flashing was done right the first time – step flashing at the joints with counter flashing covers that were cut into the brick and caulked into a joint. Because of the water, we’re peeling back the shingles over that section of the house and are expecting to replace a lot of the decking in that area, and possibly the entire cricket – we’ve always had one, but may have one that is a bit steeper installed. Our new shingles are IKO Cambridge AR in “Patriot Slate” – a relatively dark gray shingle with red granules. Probably the single biggest hassle was that we had the solar panels put on a year and a half ago, expecting the roof to last 5-7 years. Now we have to pay (about $750) to have them taken down and then put back up. But, at least the job will be done!


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