a gift from oak house

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back in march, our home inspector highlighted the bow in our roofline and flagged it as something we would need to fix. he hardly had to highlight it for us; the fact that our roofline followed a concerning curve inwards was plainly visible to us from the street. our realtor even pointed it out — as in, “you guys noticed this, right?” we said yes, confident we could do whatever needed doing to make this house our forever home. fixing the bow in our roof made it onto our 2017 priority list and i started making calls to roofers — and then, once i realized i was chasing after the wrong trade, to general contractors — back in july.

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we got a couple of opinions, and the consensus was that our front-left porch pillar was rotted out and so not supporting the roof anymore. mike graham, our neighbour and general contractor, noted he’d been asked by the former home owners to look at this issue — 25 years ago. he told us that not fixing it would not harm the house in any way, but said that if we opted to fix it, it was probably as simple as jacking the roofline level and replacing the pillar. and we got lucky — the hardest part of this whole job was pinning mike’s carpenters down to a date.

our roof had to come up just over 5″. the discoloured wood that you see at the base of the pillar above the porch railing is new and then the whole post below that is new, too. the job took three guys, a 20-ton jack and just a few hours, keeping our cost to about $1000. even though we were assured the bow wasn’t affecting the structure of the house in any way, we decided to spend the money to fix it because a curving roofline doesn’t look good on a 104-year-old house. it gave us pause when making our bid and i’m certain it would have given potential buyers 20 years in the future pause, too. we’re also about to spend a lot of money on our roof — new shingles are going on this month and new eavestroughs, soffits and fascia board are going on next month — and to do all that on top of a roof that wasn’t straight just seemed like major corner cutting.

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oak house still looks pretty tired from the outside — though she sparkles a bit more on a sunny day — but she just has to hang in there another six months or so. a new roof and all new troughs this fall will help a little bit (i’m so relieved that’s getting done before winter hits), but next spring and summer is all about exterior work. we’re planning our back deck, picking paint colours and making a landscaping plan (bye-bye giant cedar tree and sad snapdragon plants) this winter, hoping to hit the ground running with deck demo and exterior painting in march.

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