if you’re going to buy a 100-year-old house, you really want to buy one like ours, lived in by one family for the past 70 years and well loved, even if some of the previous homeowners’ decisions are a little frustrating/perplexing to us. a good indicator that a home has been well loved is if you find a box in the basement containing manila envelopes for every year of home ownership dating back to the early 1970s, detailing all the work that was done, who did it and how much it cost. of course, these envelopes stop around the year 2001, which was the last year anyone lifted a finger around here. 2001 seems like it was not that long ago — wasn’t i listening to the shins and watching buffy the vampire slayer just moments ago? — and when i mention to people that the majority of the most recent renovations took place here in the late ’80s/early ’90s most people kind of nod their heads like, that doesn’t sound too bad. but 20–30 years is a long time to ask a house to run on its own steam. i mean, the dishwasher was installed the same year that i took a little mermaid lunchbox and thermos to school every day.
i knew from these envelopes that the roof was most recently reshingled in 1992. (and it only cost $5,000 to do.) honestly, the roof looked pretty good for being 25 years old. our home inspector took this photo in march. this is easily the part of the roof that was in the best shape, but still — the roof on our toronto house looked way worse than this by the time we replaced it in 2016 and it had been seven years’ newer. this probably has something to do with the climate here — no snow or ice to wreak havoc on the roofs the way they do in toronto.
our real issue here is actually our eavestroughs. i went through all the envelopes, 1972 to 2001, and the eavestroughs never make an appearance so i’m guessing they’re old. really old and really bad. the really bad part is actually not a guess. in the spring and fall about 20 black birds head into our attic through a giant hole in one of the soffits. we haven’t had too much rain yet, but when it has rained — watch out! water just comes down in sheets between the house and the troughs, seeing as they’re just not even attached to the house in many places anymore.
it doesn’t make any sense to replace your eavestroughs before you reshingle your roof. the shingles just do so much damage to your eaves as they’re being chucked off your roof and roofers don’t treat the troughs with kid gloves as they lean their ladders against them or step on them. so i knew i’d have to get the roof done before the troughs, even though the roof wasn’t as pressing.
i wasn’t sure we were going to be able to book a roofer this fall, so back in the summer we had top pair roofing complete a very small patch job above our kitchen where there were no shingles. as luck would have it, and with the help of a general contractor who lives up the street from me, i was able to book a roofer for this fall — and an eavestroughs company, who’ll be replacing our troughs sometime next month. we used admirals roofing for the roof. they worked really quickly (1.5 days) and the noisiest part (getting the old shingles off) was completed in the mornings, before frankie’s nap. she actually slept right through the reshingling part; thank goodness for that generous attic! they also allowed me to dump a bunch of renovation material into their bin, which always wins points with me.
i chose midnight black for the shingles and think the black roof looks way better than the brown — or it will, once we get the whole exterior colour scheme rolling.