Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Expensive But Necessary

It has been a such a long time since I posted anything that I was wondering if I would remember my password.....obviously I did.  I took a couple of weeks off and spent a great deal of my children's inheritance.  We have talked about and fretted about having the tile roof removed from Menagerie Manor for several years.  When I say tile, people think I am talking about terracotta barrel tile but in reality it is concrete tile with a color glaze on top.  After thirty nine years sitting up there in all of our northwest weather the glaze has disappeared leaving the exposed concrete which is water absorbent.  Each 9x15 tile weighs six pounds but without the glaze when it rains day after day the water soaked tile almost doubles its weight.  A while back I told our family that if Oregon is hit with a major earthquake to just toss some roses on top of the heap because we would both be under it.

Although it gave the house a lot of character, its removal was long over due

A good example of the damage to not only the roof line but the rain gutters as well

 We decided that the company that restructured the sagging porch earlier in the summer would be an excellent choice after getting several bids from other companies.  So Owen from "His Builders" was thrilled to take on this big project.  I decided to stay home from the office to not only monitor the progress but to make available the facilities for the crew members.

The company was started by Owen's father and has now passed down to his two sons Owen and Nathan.         
Crew members are mostly family as well.

Owen's younger brother Nathan (with hat) was the "job boss" and turns out he is a young man in an
old world craftsman's body.  Nathan is gifted also with more patience than any I've seen.  
He handled every hurdle with the ease of someone with many more years of experience.

Once the scaffolding was in place the dirty and noisy job of removing the tile began.  It took four and a half trips to the recyclers and I am sure the neighbors were glad to hear the last tile hit the dump box.

There was no plywood underlayment, only a thin foam board that had a foil moisture barrier on one side, this was also the point of the tear-off that they started looking for damage and dry rot.

Rain gutters that slopped so bad that they spilled rain water out and on the ends of the face boards causing the ends to rot away. Birds nested under the tiles as well.

All of the knee braces were pulling away from the side of the house causing severe cupping or bowing to the face boards that that rested on them leaving the face boards in need of replacement.

The guys got quite the chuckle out of my answer to one corner where the eve sagged badly.  
I had my son Ian use a bottle jack to push the eve back in place and then I jammed a 4x4 under to hold it in place for about the last three years.

Same corner but the 4x4 removed, knee braces bolted back in place and they fashioned metal caps for the exposed ends of the braces. 

New face boards, painted and ready to be installed.

Nathan cut the end off one of the face boards to use as a template in replacing all three sets of face boards 

Years ago when we had the garage and sunroom added to the house the contractor put these two sky lights on the south side of the garage which is the hottest side, so we had this crew move them to the north side were they were supposed to be.  Even though the new parts of the house had composition instead of tile we decided that all three roofs should be replaced so everything matched.

One of our biggest concerns was the overall safety of our Koi fish, so we had it written into the contract that they would build a protective cage over the exposed area of the pond.

The crew built a wood frame over the pond and then layered plywood and then tarp to make sure the fish were unharmed in this whole process.

At the front of the house the upstairs dormer window had a tile covered roof over it that had sagged badly the only way to bring it up level was to add braces to each end.
 Nathan carved them out to look just as though they had been part of the house since 1916

They replaced the tile with this beautiful "Copper Penny"

After two weeks of hard work the crew stood back with this happy homeowner and marveled at the straight lines of the once sagging roof with rain gutters that will now direct water to their downspouts instead of out the ends.

That evening MeMa and I stood back and looked at Menagerie Manor sporting her new look and could almost hear her big sigh of relief.


  1. Goodness; it might have been easier to have simply moved house. It looks like a major undertaking! We've had a whole huge barn roof replaced recently, and our actual house was re-done about 15 years ago, so I know the angst. The final result looks very good.

    I rather like the big STAR on your garage... does it have any significance, other than being nice to look at?

    1. ……no significance except my wife loves moons and stars.

  2. I've been in love with your house since I saw it the first time. Almost impossible to find its like here on the East coast.
    Loving investment in an irreplaceable gem. Enjoy your beautiful family home.

    1. Thank you Leslie for the lovely comment. We have enjoyed the first forty years here and don’t see us leaving any time soon.

  3. Your lovely home appreciates the new look.Pleased you still love her.

  4. Love the copper roof. A special touch to finish off your beautiful house.

    1. As you know from your life at Frog View it is those little details that make these old houses so wonderful. Good to hear from you, hope all is well in your life.

  5. Wow, a serious , but necessary amount of work. But what an excellent result and how satisfying to find a real craftsman!