If you’re from Britain you probably take the roof of your house pretty much for granted. As far as I know most British house roofs are covered with slate tiles – it’s expensive and heavy but lasts for decades. Here in Minnesota (and most or all of America) it’s a different matter. Slate roofing is very rare, and the roofs have asphalt shingles. These are relatively light and do the job well, but typically need to be replaced every 25-35 years. When we moved into our house we noticed that the roof looked rather old, and the chimney was really crumbly. We promised our realtor that we would do something about it, but then didn’t. Now, however, we came into a little extra money and decided that we should put it to good use, and invest it in the house. So we called a few companies and settled on one that would do both jobs, which saves some money. They’re a long-standing local company called Sela Roofing – I apologize for their over-busy website. While we’re linking, here’s a bunch of information from the company which makes the roofing materials.

So on Tuesday the masonry guys came, removed the old chimney from the roof, and replaced it with a nice new one in very smart brick. No more crumbling concrete for us. Then yesterday, Thursday, the roofing crew, about 10 men, got to work. Their first job was to rip everything off the roof, a tearoff, which typically is done before the new roof is put on. However in our house’s case this had clearly never been done and there were four layers of roofing including what looked like original (1909) wood roofing tiles. Despite all the layers they got rid of this amazingly fast, but then saw that the gaps between the planks over the roof beams were quite far apart – too far to comply with city code – so they had to re-deck the whole roof with plyboard, effectively building a new surface for the roofing to sit on. This is something which had to be done, but it did add a lot of extra cost on, about $3500. Anyway, by the end of day one they had totally removed the old roofing, re-decked, covered the new decking with waterproof insulating material, and applied about 1/3rd of the new shingles. Seriously impressive. The foreman reckoned that they’d be totally done by end of day today, which means that they’ll have finished the main roof, done the tearoff and new shingles on the porch roof, added four ventilation things and applied the flashing – the seals between the roof and the chimney and the roof and the walls. I’m very excited to get home and see how it looks, and I’ll post up a couple of before and after pics sometime. A rather expensive undertaking but it’s something which needed to be done before we move – not that we’re planning to do so soon, but it seems dumb to get things fixed just before you move out so you don’t see the benefit.

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