Roof wrap-up

Matt’s a numbers guy, so as the roof was his project, it’s only fitting that I summarize his work in a statistical fashion.

Here, in a series of lists, is the story of how we reshingled our roof ourselves.

Newly shingled roof

Schedule breakdown

  • Day 1 – 1.5 hours
    Matt loads the shingles and other materials onto the roof. Thank goodness for rooftop delivery.
    Day 2 – 10 hours
    Matt, his Dad and I strip more than three-quarters of the old shingles off the roof. And then we cross our fingers for the night and don’t cover it with a tarp.
  • Day 3 – 15 hours
    Shingling begins. Matt, his Dad and his friend (a former professional roofer) complete about two-thirds of the roof and strip the remaining old shingles. Fingers are still crossed and the naked part of our roof is still untarped when we go to bed that night.
  • Day 4 – 14 hours
    I take a personal day to stay home from work, and Matt, his Dad, my Dad and I finish shingling the roof.
  • Day 5 – 6 hours
    Matt and his Dad do clean-up picking up nails and shingles from around the house and out of the eaves troughs.
  • Total: Five people 46.5 hours–note that nearly 40 of those hours came over just three days

I have to say a huge massive thank you to Matt’s dad and his friend. It was hot, dirty, heavy, uncomfortable work, and they put in a lot of hours, especially Matt’s dad, just to help us out. They supplied tools, equipment and expertise, and we could not have done this without them.

I have to say thanks as well to our roofing supplier AMA Roofing. They were a complete cold call, and we had a great experience. From the office staff I dealt with on the phone to the delivery man who brought the materials to the house, Matt and I were both very impressed. They spent a lot of time answering all of our questions and provided great guidance about how much to order and how to install everything. I highly recommend them.

Materials breakdown

  • 110 bundles of shingles – used 102 bundles
  • 22 pieces of drip edge (176 lineal feet) – used none, as there was a strange flashing/drip edge installed on the roof that we ended up reusing
  • 48 lineal feet of valley
  • 14,400 nails (120 coils) – used only 75 coils. We had so many nails left over because we had to buy two cases, as we would have been short with just one.
  • 3 rolls of ice & water shield (240 lineal feet)
  • 6 roof vents (we found an additional four in the driveshed that we were able to use)
  • 1 special roof cap/vent for the kitchen hood fan exhaust
  • 8 rolls of tar paper – used 7 rolls
  • 6 tubes of roofing tar
  • 10 sheets of plywood – used only part of one sheet for three small patches. Despite the awful state of our shingles, the plywood underneath was in good shape.

You’ll notice that we went with a very light grey shingle. Its official name is dual grey, and it’s a combination of black, grey and white stones. At times it reads almost green or blue from the ground. This is not what I was going for at all, but I can live with it.

My biggest goal in choosing the colour of the roof was to pick something light. White roofs are more eco-friendly, because they reflect more of the sunlight, rather than absorbing all of that heat into our house. We didn’t want to go with a true white roof, but we chose a light colour to give us as much reflectivity as possible.

By the numbers

  • Total roof square footage: 3,375
  • Average temperature: 29.82ºC (not including the humidex)
  • SPF: 60
  • Cost savings from doing it ourselves: $7,000 (this is a guess, as we didn’t actually get a proper quote from professional shinglers)
  • Hours between installing the last shingle and the first rain drop: 10. And then it rained for three days straight.

Rain falling into eaves trough


  • One air compressor – it literally went up in smoke

Campbell Hausfeld air compressor

  • Three shirts – Matt wore white in the hopes that he would be slightly cooler, and I’m not even going to try and wash those poor shirts
  • Two pairs of gloves – Matt and I both wore through the fingertips
  • One shower loofa – used to be white, now is the colour of shingle scum
  • One pair of shoes – the soles melted and are now completely misaligned

Old shoes

I was a little bit uncertain about tackling the roof reshingling all on our own. This is a big job and does require a certain amount of know-how to do it right–know-how that Matt and I didn’t have at the start. As it came time to order the materials and figure out exactly how we were going to do this thing, I was very nervous and did consider calling in professional help. However, I’m a big believer that everything happens for a reason, and as we got closer to starting the work there were a few signs that showed me we were going to be okay:

  1. A tremendously positive, helpful and encouraging phone call with our roofing supplier. Getting the quote and talking through the project with Debbie at AMA boosted my confidence tremendously.
  2. Kit, another roofing novice who shared my trepidation–or as she wonderfully described it “grim determination wrapped around an unmistakable sense of dread,” single-handedly shingled her donkey barn.
  3. Matt’s friend, a former professional roofer, rearranged his schedule so that he was able to come and help for a day.
  4. This Old House had a segment on roofing–and yes, we took notes.

As well as everything worked out, I cannot recommend roofing as a DIY. This is a really tough job, and Matt basically knocked himself out getting this done. I’m incredibly grateful that he’s willing to take something like this on, but we’ve both agreed we won’t be doing this ever again.

Final lessons

  • There’s a fine line between stubborn and stupid, and we ended up deep in dingbat territory
  • Bungalow = big roof. Big, big, biiiiiiiiiiiiig roof
  • Don’t try this at home. Seriously, folks. Don’t.


The roof is done.

I’ll post a full project wrap-up next week, but right now I’m too stupid tired to coherently tell the full story.

For the weekend, I leave you with some photos of what happened this week.

Bundles of shingles on the roof

The before shot: A portion of our 110 bundles of shingles sitting on the roof awaiting installation

Stripping old shingles from the roof

Work begins: Matt and his dad start stripping the old shingles off the roof

Bundles of shingles on a plywood roof

The end of day one: Note the naked roof and the new shingles waiting to be installed

Let’s take a bit closer look at this photo, shall we? This image pretty much sets the scene for the rest of the week.

Matt and me

The dirty duo: Matt and me at the end of day one.

This is the “I’m trying to smile, but every single muscle hurts right now and I’m too tired to make the proper facial expression” look. Oh, and the reason the upper half of my face is the only part of me that is clean is that I was wearing a hat and sunglasses all day. I’m sure if I hadn’t the dirt would have been up to and into my hair.

Toad on the roof

The toad that showed up on the roof two mornings in a row. If he’d brought his tool belt, we might have let him stay up there. And can I just ask, what is it with us and amphibians?

Half shingled roof

The sun rises on the second day of shingling: On day one–also known as the 15-hour day–about two-thirds of the roof was shingled and the remaining old shingles were stripped.

Matt on the freshly shingled roof

The end of shingling day two: As the sun sets, Matt gives his best Scott McGillivray pose on the finished roof

Matt laying on the roof

A few minutes later: Matt’s muscles give out and he collapses from exhaustion–nail gun in hand still wearing his hammer, tool belt and knee pads.

I’m wishing everyone a good weekend. I sincerely hope that Matt and I will be doing nothing.


Friday’s mystery image was a preview of this week’s to-do list. There is only one item on the list. And it’s a doozy. It makes me say, “Oof!”

As many of you guessed last week, the picture was of shingles. The project for this week is the roof. Oof.

You’ve seen the detail shot. Let me zoom out a little bit and show you the scope of our issues.

Old shingles

Shingles are not supposed to look like this

Our shingles have gone beyond curling and are officiallyfried. They have to be replaced.


At this angle, I’m looking above the broken shingles on the house and gazing longingly at the steel roof of the barn

Somehow, our attic is still dry inside, but I’m a little anxious about what the plywood under the shingles is going to look like.

Shingles in need of replacement

The front half of the roof is as bad as the back

Normally, roofing a whole house is not a job I’d choose to DIY. However, given the long list of must-do fixes we’ve done so far (new geothermal system, upgrading insulation in the attic and the basement, redoing the well and water system, rewiring the basement) the budget is reaching its limits, and so we chose free labour (us) over professional help.

Matt will be the lead on this, as he’s able to be home while I have to keep up with my day job. However, I will be working in the evenings and he’ll have some help from his dad and one of his friends.

The roof is just under 3,400 square feet. That works out to 110 bundles of shingles. Oof.

In addition to new shingles, we’ll be looking to make a few other changes to the roof.

Collage of roof images

Areas of concern from our roof

Clockwise from top left:

  1. The sea creatures–or moss–that have grown up on the old shingles will be extinct by the end of the week.
  2. The old hook-ups for the solar hot water heaters for the indoor pool will hopefully not be too difficult to remove and patch.
  3. The cupola and buxom rooster weather vane (the only thing I like about the roof) will be carefully removed so that I can reuse them on the attached garage, which we will build some day.
  4. The last remaining piece of the woodstove chimney will be removed and the hole will be patched–with plywood and shingles, not a garbage bag and duct tape.

The other necessary upgrade is to improve the ventilation. Currently, there is not a single vent anywhere on the roof. Hence the reason why our shingles look the way they do–they cooked. No vents is not only unhealthy for our house; it’s also against the building code.

We’re crossing our fingers that we haven’t taken on more than we’re capable of with this project.

If anyone has any pointers or words of encouragement, they would be most welcome.