The Cool House: Redoing the renovation

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Redoing the renovation

In a previous life this blog was called So Not the Money Pit because although at first glance it looked like it needed a lot of work the house was far more forgiving than we first thought. Ha. That was based on the engineer's report. A $925 catalogue of obvious statements and omissions that was supposed to tell us what we were getting ourselves into and so save us from severe financial hardship down the road. Spend close to a grand but save yourself from possible ruin. Cheap at the price.
One of my favourite passages concerned the roof, which the engineer said would last another five years. But his contract did not allow for him inspecting it at close quarters i.e. going up on it or looking at it with binoculars, so he was not responsible if it failed at any time. Hum. So his inspection was as good as mine but a lot more expensive. Then there were the gutters. As these were hanging off, he suggested we should replace them. Rocket science.
We, poor simple house owners, followed his advice. Thinking the roof would last a few more years we replaced the gutters as soon as we moved in. Well here's the thing. The roof failed the first winter and ice dams formed cannonballs that rested on the new gutters and buckled them.
I know I should have got the guys to come in and fix it then for free but I knew we had to have a new roof so I thought I'd call when it was all done. Then the roof couldn't go on until the gutter guarantee had expired. When the guys tore off the roof nails and bits of asphalt clogged the leaders. With the torrential rain this spring and summer water poured over and behind the gutters so I called for a repair. Repair, which was free, meant large amounts of caulk that totally failed to solve the problem.
So today I am replacing the gutters and leaders at the back of the house with 6" ones because the gutter guy is convinced that with our large flattish roof we need the wider ones. He's giving me a discount because I asked him if I needed the larger width two years ago and he said not. But it's still costing me almost as much to replace this side as it did to do the entire house last time.
This is why I blog. So I can remind myself never to trust a piece of paper no matter how much it promises; that when renovating you work from the top down: roof, siding, gutters; ceiling, walls floors. So I can vent my frustration without harming anyone. And to let my friends know that renovating houses, be they forty years old or a hundred and forty is always surprising and usually costly.

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