Doing it Myself Roof Repair


My house, March 2012. It looks a little crooked.


1: Breaking The Roof

This is my house in mid-March 2012. The snow had melted; the sky still had a tinge of grey to it, but blue was around the corner and with it the sun, the green grass, cherry blossoms and probably a lot of ladybugs (bugs in general deserve a post of their very own).

I didn’t own the house yet. The previous owner was giving us a tour when I took this picture. I knew the house well enough as a casual visitor. I had known the owner’s twin sons for the past fifteen years or so. Now grown, they lived in the city I was moving back home from; back to their house; back down the street from my parents, just a ten minute away.

I asked him why the roof over the covered porch was crooked. He said he didn’t know.

Fast forward to May 2014; the house was mine. I had lived in it for the past year and a half. I had shoveled the driveway; I had cut the grass; I had renovated and I redecorated. In the bitter winter of 2013, I had watched the ice build up in the valleys and leak into my beautiful shiny thing. Come spring, I watched the gutters sprout saplings and melt water flood down at all angles except, of course, the one they were supposed to.

I called a half dozen gutter repair contractors, settled on a good one and got the gutters changed. He did the whole house except for the downspout on the covered porch. He said he would come back when I fixed the porch roof because he refused do the hack job it required otherwise.

This was going to be a painful job. I asked my dad to help. He likes the painful ones. It gives him something to gripe about.

We dug a hole.

We placed footing.

We dropped a son0tube in.

We mixed the concrete.

We buried the tube. The shovel kept hitting something right beside the tube. Probably a rock, we said. We dug around. It wasn’t a rock.


See the re-bar between the tube and shovel?

I found out why the roof was slanted. The post had rotted to about a two-inch core. All the while, it had sat about three feet from its intended base: a re-bar in concrete. It didn’t help that the old downspout came down the post and drained into a reservoir around it. Luckily the gutters were not very good and had to be replaced. If they had worked properly, the porch roof would have collapsed by now.


Holding up my porch roof: a broomstick

2: Fixing the Roof


Making it Level. Isn’t the black gutter nice? I think so.

We jacked up the roof with a car jack and a 4×4 post. We put a second post beside the 4×4 post just in case. In total we jacked up the roof about a foot. This caused some noticeable separation from the house (about two inches) and cracked some of the board and baton finish on the side.  It also increased the problem on top; the reason we put the new gutters on in the first place: water coming into the house.

The porch roof and the house roof  should be connected with a seamless weather-proof finish. They weren’t. Jacking up the roof meant the valley between the house and the porch  was even worse.

I posted some videos of me awkwardly talking about the water damage, the Ash post, and the broken board and baton.

I like how nervous I sound. It adds to the charm. I imagine this is how I sounded at 16 (through 26) when talking to girls.

With the roof level, we had some small jobs to take care of and one big one. The valley had to be filled and sealed. I called my buddy Andrew. He gave the roof a good once over and said best thing to do (for him) would be to pay him lots of money and he would put a super nice roof on the house for me.

I asked him what would be the second best thing.

He said tear up what’s there about two rows up and three rows down, put in an aluminum valley, cover the valley with some weather shielding and place new shingles on top.

The roof while not a great shingle is still relatively new, it really isn’t worth tearing it off and putting something cheap on it. But, he warned, the new shingles might not match.

This sounded like a good plan to me. It had all the elements of sounding like it would work and costing enough to be affordable. It’s also my first full time-lapse video available here.

Click here for a how-to post for this job.

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2 thoughts on “Doing it Myself Roof Repair”

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    1. That is a terrible thing to do and you are a terrible person.

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