Roofing dilemmas

MoccasinDecember 12, 2012

I'm going ahead and making a new thread about this. Yeah, there is a forum for roofs, but this is among friends for now, so we'll hang together as small home owners.

It was the roofline which stumped me with my kitchen remodel. The plan called for changing the low shed roof of the old back porch, which was barely high enough to have a real back door installed. And that did not allow us room enough to raise the floor level the four or five inches additional to make the floor there equal the same level as the kitchen and rest of the house. And the back of the house was a high steeply pitched gable, which was ugly as sin, and I did not want to simply extend it out further into the back yard. It felt to me like that would not let the house relate to the garden around it.

So I stewed over that. I looked at numerous house plan books, and found a few that seemed to deal with the issue, bringing the house closer to its surrounding environment.
One was like a cap bill, with the vent of the old gable still visible, but the sides of the gable and the new roofline blending together.

Another option was to make that back porch roof a smaller version of a gable, so it created a lower gable nestling beneath the soffit or eaves of the higher existing one. That looked okay too, but created a problem for getting the new power supply located. Always some tradeoff, right?

And, since we also want to have a standing seam metal roof which is an approved brand (our homeowners insurance has a list of such brands and materials) to get a discount on the hurricane coverage, very high since we are not in a "flood zone" but are south of I-10, the magic line in this area for NO NEW INSURANCE BEING WRITTEN. Any effort on our part to remodel has to keep that in mind.

So that brick wall kept me stymied. Also it bothered me about locating the laundry center on an inside wall and allowing for the vent line to be efficiently exhausted to a suitable spot outside. Then, of course, figuring a way to move the power meter/outside breaker box so it will be strongly mounted and according to code, and won't be right next to the kitchen sink! (where it is now, and it is SO UGLY)....then making room for a small Generac natural gas generator which will kick in when our power line goes down and out. Locating it next to the gas water heater will be efficient I suppose, but have no idea how to make it "code" approved. Really the only 220 power coming into the house now will wind up being the dryer. My beloved Bertazzoni is, of course, gas.

Working out all these basic utility questions, plus the roofline, has bothered me, so I've gone in circles for many months.

Then last week, I was thinking about the front window sills rotting out, and that window should be rebuilt, and that made me think I might as well think about that entryway right beside the window too, because it is a little tiny gable, sort of like a peaked-up telephone booth, and it places the front door right in the corner of the living room so I cannot use that nice 15 foot long wall to arrange furniture, and anyone at the door is automatically given a peek down the whole house, and I don't like that. It is a very vulnerable feeling. So I also thought, hmmmmm, that little peaked roofline over the entry is going to chop up my metal roofline, make it more expensive and ditzy to install, more chance of leaking and being vulnerable to wind, is the time to decide how to change that to a different entryway.

And I now plan to "bumpout" the wide sort of picture window of the living room to equal the entry stoop, and thave that small new area be the new spot for the front door, turned 90degrees from its current location. I'd have to get a new front door swinging from the other side, but the current front door can become the new back door. It is 36 inches and swings in with the handle on the LEFT (from inside the room). This way, no one sees anything of the interior except for the entryway itself. And, my existing interior window shutters will still fit.

So this means I will have the new entry portion of the roofline coming straight down at a slightly raised angle from the rest of the roof, all the way from the ridgeline. I will also have a chance to add a few of those solar tubes for the dark hallway and the dining room and the living room. I'm all about the LIGHT.

My DH wants the standing seam metal to be the same silver color as the roof of the Teahouse. But I don't know the brand on that, so I'd have to verify it is approved by State Farm. If so, no problem. If no, then we get one that looks similar but meets their specs. Plus, I've called a local architect, cousin to our regular contractor, and he will be drawing up the detailed plans to get the work approved and permitted by the City. I met with him Saturday, and I look forward to further help.

Now, NancyInMichigan, please come right this way with your roofline discussion, and we'll all be UNDER ONE ROOF.


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This is one of the profiles of a metal roofline. It sort of kicks up a wee bit to slide down from the ridgebeam.

That's what I'd like for the front new front stoop, since that side of the house is straight except for the stoop, and the rafter tails are all exposed.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 3:33PM
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This is what I was thinking for the back roofline (facing east). It will be no open porch here, but the heavy posts will have windows between them mostly. The near end will be the bumpout (again) for the master bedroom, a seating area, and so that roofline might work across the back.

This is what I mean by relating the house to its environment, to its lot, because the back yard is my private garden space. A secret garden, with 7 foot tall privacy fencing all around it.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 3:37PM
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This roofline is for a porch added to a gable end. I think it might work if no need to share the attic space. Sort of a cute story-book look to it, not sure it will be as strong and four square as my DH likes. He wants heavy duty look.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 3:45PM
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This house, on the other hand, is very sturdy looking. But the right end of the roof, where the gable vent is left bare and the roofline is filled in beneath it, that is what I'm liking.

Then too, that eyebrow over the garage is sort of what I mean for the new stoop, with its length taken all the way to the front. Nothing complicated. Maybe have a row of clerestory panes up high to unite the old stoop area with the pushed out window, if at all possible. I'm a fan of high up windows. Unless it makes the entry too busy.

Where the existing front door WAS, I'd put in a long glass panel surrounded by beadboard, not stucco. The ceiling of the stoop is beadboard already, so using it coming down that wall (where the old door was) would feel natural.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 3:54PM
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Wow, you really have given this a lot of thought. I like the first two photos you posted. They look like they would shed rain efficiently and be strong enough to stand up to a hurricane.

So if no new insurance can be written in your area, what happens when you sell your house, or when SF jacks up the price?

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 5:02PM
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Thanks, Marti. Those two are my favs too.
Insurance is a problem down below I-10. It makes it hard for folks to sell their homes, even if the housing market was better in the rest of the city. The state has a "self-insured" fund of folks who pay them their money into a common pool, I think that is how it works, then when a claim is filed, it is pulled from the money every home owner contributed. Not sure I understand that.

But, we bought our house and got insurance the month before all these changes came about, and so we have insurance. It is quite a lot of money each year, plus the much cheaper federal flood insurance which I'll NEVER be without regardless of where I live. And there are higher % deductible before a claim is processed, but it is better than a total wipeout.

When our house was destroyed by Katrina, the HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE (with Farmers Group) paid about $1,000. It was the FLOOD INSURANCE which paid for the house that was totally destroyed. AND for the contents.

RISING water is paid by the flood insurance. FALLING water (from the sky) is paid by homeowners. I have yet to figure out how they deal with WIND DRIVEN WATER. We also added in the sewer backup rider to our insurance, after seeing what happened during Katrina. Insurability thus figures into my home designs too. I put in an extra very accessible sewer line cutoff between the house and the street, if we have to evacuate because of pending floods. At least we won't be wading in backed up sewage when we return home. If your house is up high, that is not an issue, but if you are low, on a slab, or the street is higher than your lot, either install the easily accessible shut off, or get the sewage backup rider on your homeowner insurance. Believe me, you do NOT want to walk through sewage in your home!

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 5:27PM
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Here is my post earlier this week on MoccasinLanding's Hardwood Floors thread, with edits:

Remember DH's declaration that we won't do any more major projects for the next three years following last year's 5 month and $30,000 foundation disaster? Well, we barely made it a year. The roof is really really really bad, the guys who cleaned my gutters said. We are looking at tearing off the 34 yo shingles, replacing some decking, doubling the amount of soffit vents and adding roof vents. We also may be removing all the decking from the area above the family room in order to insulate above the raised ceiling (it is sooo hot in there in the summer!). Fun fun fun.

Last year's foundation disaster almost resulted in us pouring a "porch" foundation the same height as the foyer/laundry room for another 15 ft out from the front door so that when we re-roofed, we could extend the roof out over the porch to the end of the front room, which is DH's library and music room. Doing that, we could add a peak above the foyer and laundry room to change the path of the roof drainage. Then we just need to have Jim move the front wall out and drywall the new side walls and we would get a front closet and a laundry room big enough to work in. Didn't do it. (When I say "almost resulted in," it means that Jim (my contractor) and I were contemplating. DH was never on board.)

Kick kick kick.

Instead, we will continue to have a flat area on the roof above the foyer and laundry room and just hope that improved ventilation stops the snow from melting or sliding down the roof and icing up my porch and ramp. Stupid house designer must have been from the South. Who makes a roof designed to dump rain and snow in three different directions onto the FRONT PORCH in a cold climate! If we had extended out the front slab, we would now be adding a roof peak where the flat area is and the roof would drain to the sides. And I would have a laundry room big enough to fold in, and a front closet. We do have a coat closet in the middle of the house. It could be a utility closet now instead, if we had poured that slab out further last year......... My shins hurt.

Friday, December 14
Yesterday I signed a contract to redo the roof. Today I stopped by their office to drop off a check for the first half of the payment. I talked with the manager and we discussed the venting further and the possibility of putting insulation above the cathedral ceiling in the family room. There was no way to get up there to insulate when we had the attic insulated because there was not enough room between the ceiling and the roof. So he will pull up some roof decking to check out the condition of the insulation there before re-roofing. He says that if we do need to insulate the room from above, he will do his best to make it fold into the cost of the roof job as much as possible, maybe just paying for the extra materials and a bit more.

So that is the not-so-exciting news, we are getting a new roof. The picture you see below is from 2007, before we put in our front door, raised porch deck and ramp. We no longer have any shutters and the front windows have been replaced by Eagle windows with bronze aluminum cladding. The picture in the link has the new garden bed, door, and porch in it, but not the new windows.

Here is a link that might be useful: A view of the front of the house with flat roof area

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 12:23AM
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I also like the first 2 the best. Having lived south of I-10 for many years I appreciate having covered porches or decks to keep the hot sun out, along with lots of windows to let the reflected light in, which both have. I also like their crisp lines.

We lived in a tract house for over 25 years. When we first moved in the large back windows were not sheltered from the sun and within 2 years the vinyl flooring was sun burnt. We added a covered deck and filled the small back yard with native plants and old garden roses, which attracted many birds and butterflies. I still miss my 'view'. One year I watched the cardinal family as the parents worked very hard to help the fledgling move from the nest. It takes a lot of perseverance to be a cardinal parent! A good memory.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 12:36AM
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Thank you, Orcasgramma! We both have lived "south of I-10" and it is really a different world. I'm pleased to read your comments, you and I are on the same frequency! Love the birds and butterflies, and especially the cardinals. I will one day decorate a Christmas tree with nothing but cardinals. I had a nest of them outside my study window in 2011, in a big camellia bush. I saw the papa bringing food, never saw the mama. And then the last day, he sat on the fence post and called to them to come to him. They were charming babies.

Here is a picture I took this week of cardinals in my leafless Japanese maple, used by the birds as a waiting room for the busy feeder nearby.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 12:16PM
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Beautiful pic, ML! When I lived in Baton Rouge, I loved having the birds from "back home" stopping by on their yearly commute or even stay for the winter. We had a huge Holly tree. The Cedar Waxwings would stop by on their migration and strip it clean in a few days. They would eat so much they could not fly, or hit my windows when they scattered when a hawk flew overhead.

My neighbor in my last house used to tell me about her husband, who died a year or two before I moved in. He always loved Cardinals. Every time she saw a cardinal, this widow knew it was her husband, looking in on her.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2012 at 4:35PM
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That is a sweet story, Nancy.

To keep this "roofing" on track, I'll mention that I need to roof one of my bird feeders. Several of them are trays on the iron tables holding umbrellas which I leave open for protection. But this one, it is sort of near the bushes and the timid birds and squirrels come there to eat. That is where the Japanese maple provides some shelter and waiting space. It is also visible out my kitchen window.

But here is another shot of the feeder itself. That squirrel is a descendent of Bob, the original no-tail squirrel that came here for several years. I think it was not an accident that cost the tail, but a deformity. I also now believe Bob was a girl, else a female would not choose him as a mate because he could not keep her warm or whatever it is that squirrels look for in a mate. But in the years since then, I've noticed several squirrels with strange tails or strange colors, even with spots on them, so I think it was some mutant genes at work. But now, this little guy comes for his second year here, and he had a slightly longer tail at one point, but he could not lift it up to curl around him. Whatever is wrong, it has gotten shorter. Plus I notice when he moves there is some deformity of the hips or back legs, and Bob Junior is one I watch out for. S/he is very wary and is pretty much a loner. This was a picture from the latest series I caught while at the feeder.

I need to figure how to put a roof on it, right?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 10:44AM
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Wonderful pictures of cardinals and Bob junior, and your memories of the cardinal nest outside your window - thank you for sharing them.

Nancy your story of the widow reminded me of a neighbor who knew her deceased husband was near when the monarch butterflies were in the yard.

I am looking forward to seeing all 3 roofing plans evolve (your respective homes and the feeder).

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 7:13PM
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Grrr... I just agreed to answer their darned survey, and in doing so, lost the post I had just typed.

Anyway, I was saying that the weather here is not cooperating with our roofing job. Today and tomorrow are okay, but the crews are on another job. Wednesday is good, but we need a little more than one day for our job, since there is so much work in the soffits and we are possibly removing roof decking to insulate above the cathedral ceiling in the family room. Thursday and Friday have a 70% chance of rain, so Wednesday is out. Sunday's weather looks good, but the crew does not work on Sundays or on Christmas Eve, so the job is put off until after Christmas. On Friday, Tim, from the roofing company, will call and we will discuss the weather for after Christmas.

Here is a picture of the shingle we are using. It is Landmark by Certainteed. It is not a high definition shingle, but is an entry-level dimensional shingle in the color Burnt Sienna. I am hoping that it will be just a little darker and just a little redder than the roof we currently have. That is what the salesman says it will look like. With our Cranberry door and redwood colored porch, we did not want to go with plain brown.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 8:28PM
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It is going to be gorgeous!
I have somewhere a picture of the architectural shingles that DH put on his house up north. It took forever to get it installed, and the chimney rebuild is still not done....they need 48 hours of fairly warm weather and DRY. Right now it is snowing and somewhat raining, so it might be spring before that gets done.

One part of his house, the sun porch, had a pretty flat roof on it, so they put some sort of epoxy finish on there, which is white instead of shingles. And, it takes 48 hours to dry.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2012 at 10:42PM
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