It has been a week since we replaced our old, leaky roof, and guess what? It has been raining EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. We could not be happier. What is not to like? Watching the rain drops forming a cloud of mist over the new ridge without worrying about any leaks? Listening to the music of nature while knowing that our attic is bone-dry? Seeing all the water gushing out of our new gutters and draining away from our foundation? Or watching our yellow lawn (very much ignored) drinking up the rain and turning green without any effort from us? This last weekend, being warm and comfortable inside, we felt such a deep sense of gratitude, that we are able to put a roof over our heads (literally!) and be cozy in our own home, a privilege lots of people had lost during the disasters lately.

Our roof was 20 years old. From the inspection day, we knew that it was buying time. The previous owner did not have the roof insured, so we were not able to get any help from the insurance company for repair or replacement. Thankfully, we had a pretty good roofer on file who gave us a decent price. So coming into September, we finally pulled the trigger.

Removing the old shingles

The price includes demoing the old roof shingles, repair any leaks and rots, new impact resistant architectural shingles, and replace our old gutter with brand new metal gutters in the color of our choice. The first day, our roofer showed up super early in the morning and started tearing out the old shingles:


They put down a big tarp along the perimeters of our house, which I really appreciated. It made cleanup very easy, because there were lots of dirt and debris falling off the roof during the work.

They also parked a dump truck right against the garage door, so any trash could be directly throwing into the truck without being carried down the ladder:


The roofers started working about 8 AM, and by 8:30, they have already removed all the shingles along the ridge.


Our roofers were really neat and organized. I love watching them work and trying to understand the strategy of each of their move. They stacked old shingles in small piles that is just light enough for one people to carry:



Then when one of roofers worked on removing the last section of the roof, the other roofer transferred these piles one by one to the dump truck.


As much as I would love to be on the roof, I made myself watching from the front window – it was really hard! Once the shingles were removed, I decided it was time for me to get on the roof so I would not miss what’s happening next:


Apparently I was a little late. The roofers already started pulling nails off the old vapor retarder (the black layer). They have also laid down new underlayment along the ridge.

Roxie was very concerned about me walking on the roof. Her eyes followed me at every move. What a good pup! On the other hand, Charlie (the black pile in the tree shadow) could care less…


New shingle delivery!

The highlight of the morning might be the new shingle delivery. It is mainly because how the delivery truck operates. Since the renovation, I started seeing all these machinery and I am so impressed how they work! I even had the urge of buying a toy truck when I saw one in Costco – even though I had never cared about trucks and backhoes as a kid.


When the driver pressed a button and rotated the big arm over our roof, my mind was blown away:


They operated that arm so precisely that it was just over the ridge. Then they pressed another button and the belt on the arm started moving! It turned out to be a conveyor belt!


I shamelessly video-recorded the whole process of our shingles being transported onto the roof. it was about 10 minutes of the shingles moving on the conveyor belt and I will surely spare you from watching the entire video (you are welcome). I might have even whispered to Slav that I would love to ride the belt onto the roof – well, maybe not so much whispering, because the delivery guys totally smiled after I said that.

Then they rotated that cool arm back over the truck and left. I deeply regret that I did not ask.


Our neighbors dog Cabbie was very worried about everything happening around here:


I made my way to the roof again (via a boring ladder…could have asked). Now I understood why they put down the ridge underlayment first – the shingles were all stored over the ridge.


Fixing the roof leak

The next step was to identify any rotting sub-roof or leaky spot. And it was done in three steps – first, any original paper with tear and wear were removed and the plywood sub-roof below was inspected. Two, our roofer walked and bounced on every inch of the roof, and any sub-roof that felt soft under their feet were replaced. Three, All the sub-roof around the existing ducts and piping were inspected.

We have two sewer vents (the small straight pipe without caps), a kitchen fan vent (the big one in the middle), and a furnace vent (the rusty pipe to the right). We also have one passive attic vent, which is in front of the kitchen vent in the picture.


Our furnace vent pipe was so rusted and needed to be replaced.  We could also use a new vent flashing.


A close inspection revealed why we had a leak around the kitchen vent: the flashing around the kitchen went missed some nails and was lifted; the sealant around the flashing was all cracked too. The big gaps allowed water to seep into the roof and make its way to our kitchen during last rain fall.


We took the vent apart, lifted all the paper around the kitchen vent and indeed, the sub-roof was rotten:



Our roofer removed the rotting plywood and another panel below, and replaced them with new 7/16″ thick, 4’x8′ plywood.






And the kitchen vent was re-installed with proper base and flashing:


It was pretty cool to see our attic from the above – there was no water damage whatsoever in the attic and we are pretty happy about that. I guess all the water leaking down from the vent base went along the pipes and straight to the kitchen.


Sealing all the pipes with new flashing, base and vent boots

As the large vents got their new base and flashing, the small pipes got new vent boots as well. This was the first time I saw vent boots and it is just so cool to see they fit snugly on our vents.



As one roofer working on water-proofing all the pipes and vents, the other roofer finished laying down the underlayment:


The roofers worked so fast and it was amazing. We were told that the roofing takes three days and it looked like that they were about the finish in one day!

Replacing side trim

While walking around the roof, Slav and I spotted another problem – our wood siding between the two roof surface.


The paint was peeling and the tar at the bottom were cracked. We could easily life the wood from its edge, which meant that the the board was rotten.


According to our roofer, the tar along the bottom edge was not only unnecessary, but in fact trapped the moisture inside, which facilitated the rot. There should be a small gap below the trim and above the new roof shingles to let the moisture out.


Our footer scraped the tar off and installed new stepped flashing, while Slav went to Lowe’s for new cedar boards (1″x6″x8′) and trim (1″x2″x8′):


And our roofer cut it to fit and installed it in five minutes:



By the end of the first day, the old shingles were removed, the rotten sub-roof was replaced, the new underlayment were put down. We also had all the vent and pipes installed properly with new flashing/base, and a new side board put in!


The roofer removed the gutter during the demo process. Since our new gutters would not be installed until the third day, we were presented with a rare opportunity to paint the trims and fascia any color we want. It is time to de-brown the ranch!