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No one will look at this roof and ask, ‘Whose asphalt are those shingles?’


Wyatt Hall, left, and Mark Rutledge unload bundles on the roof while Kevin Hall does the “heavy lifting” from behind the forklift controls.


By Mark Rutledge

Saturday, October 6, 2018

My wife has grown weary of my interest in roofs. I call it an interest. She calls it an obsession.

“He cannot drive past a metal roof without commenting,” Sharon has said to our daughters and anyone else who happens to be present.

It’s true. For months I have been noticing rooftops as never before — especially the shiny ones. During the early planning stages, one of the few things we knew for certain was that we wanted our new house to have a metal roof.

After much of study, deliberation and cost escalation, we have joined the ranks of first-time home builders who say, “we wanted a metal roof, but…”

Through my extensive research on the subject of metal roofs, I have learned that there are two basic types: expensive ones and really expensive ones. The expensive ones, called “AG panel,” have exposed screws. They come in large sections that are moderately difficult to install.

The really expensive ones, called “standing seam,” feature hidden fasteners and folded edges that demand a high level of skill and workmanship. Naturally, we had our hearts set on the standing seam.

Well, my heart was set. Sharon would have gone the other way, except for having to hear me complain for the rest of our lives — which is how long we plan on staying in this house.

An easier way to do a cost comparison between standing seam and AG panel metal roofing is to note how many more banks than barns have standing seam roofs. Price estimates on standing seam probably should come with a warning label for those with a history of heart problems.

I finally decided that if we cannot have the roof we want, we will enjoy a nicer kitchen under the one we can afford. Owning fixer-uppers and homes in hurricane zones left me with just enough roofing experience to install asphalt shingles myself.

In all of my roofing experience, however, I will say that installing asphalt shingles has never been more physically demanding. Roofing has to be one of the hardest jobs on the planet — and wearing an Amish hat will not make it less so.

Most of my previous roofing experience involved carrying shingles (which come in 80-pound bundles) up a ladder, and nailing them on by hand. With 159 bundles to carry and nail, the old way was out of the question. This job required a forklift, nail guns and help from my 20-year-old nephew, Wyatt.

After five days of intense labor, we have nearly half of the roof covered. We might be slow, but no one will look at what we’ve done so far and suspect that professional roofers were not involved.

The first day was the toughest, even with the rented forklift. Stopping to huff and puff after moving the second pallet of bundles to the ridgeline, Wyatt’s dad wondered if I was asking myself anything.

Such as, “What have I gotten myself into?”

Yes. That question and more. But just wait till you see the kitchen.

Contact Mark Rutledge at mrutledge@reflector.com or like him on Facebook at Mark Rutledge Columns.