Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Why I am not getting a kitchen redo November 30, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:19 AM
Tags: , , ,

The south side of the house roof, reshingled.

FOR TWO DAYS I LISTENED to the scritch-scratch scrape of shovel against roof and workmen tromping and pounding and thudding above.

This should not be.

Thirteen unlucky years ago my husband shingled our home and garage with shingles that were supposed to last for 30 years or more.

Defective shingles torn from the roof and tossed into a trailer at the front of our house.

But within less than 10 years, the shingles were curling, lifting, cracking, breaking off and basically falling apart. In recent years, every time heavy rain fell, bits of shingle grit (or whatever it’s called) washed off the roof.

Shingles and equipment stacked on the garage roof.

Our contractor, Jerry Voegele of Voegele Builders, LLC, told me Tuesday morning, when he and his crew began the reshingling process in 17-degree temps, that the shingles should have come off five years ago. That means these shingles lasted only eight years. Eight short years.

Rolls of roofing nails await roofers. I snapped all of these photos while the roofers were away on break so as not to bother them.

Am I angry? You bet.

First, the local lumberyard where we purchased these shingles did not stand behind the product they sold. I won’t name the lumberyard, but suffice to say I will never do business there again.

I buy local because I expect excellent customer service, and usually get it, not because I will save money. I do not expect to be directed to the manufacturer (even if “that’s the way it’s done”) and a lengthy claims submission process that involved my husband climbing onto the roof to pull off defective shingles and to photograph the roof. At least the shingle company reimbursed us $100 for our trouble and expenses.

Then, when we were offered only a minor prorated certificate for costly replacement shingles from the same manufacturer, I’d really had it. Why would I buy shingles from a company I did not feel worthy of my trust? Besides, labor is the major portion of the cost in shingling, not the product.

So here we are today, paying a contractor $x,000 (materials and labor) to shingle our roofs because a manufacturer produced defective shingles.

The north and west side of the house before reshingling began there.

Given the steep pitch of our roof and its many angles and the husband’s aging body and lack of time to re-roof, we had no choice this time but to hire professionals who re-roofed the house and garage in two days with shingles that should last a life time.

If not for this $x,000 expense, I could be remodeling my 1970s vintage kitchen right about now.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


48 Responses to “Why I am not getting a kitchen redo”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    Oh dear….the illusion of a 30 year shingle (and it IS just that, an illusion) has resulted in so many of such jobs for our local re-roofing companies. 15 years is excellent (I have been told by the “experts” in the field) for such materials. That is why we went with the metal roof option some years ago. Our roof is very steeply pitched, also, and retirement was on the horizon so we “bit the bullet” and have not regretted it one bit. No ice dams, no snow build up, no rain leakage, etc. The metal siding replicates the lapboards that were so typical of this area’s home of the era and we are very happy with that treatment, also. $$$ well spent! We redid our kitchen a couple of years after moving here and still love it. Nothing major by today’s standards. Our tastes/demands are very simple, as, I am sure, yours are! Your home looks lovely and the roof looks very good!-D

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      So it’s all an illusion then, huh? But since we got only about eight years out of our shingles, the magician failed.

      Randy and I briefly discussed the metal roof option, but worried about snow sliding off the roof, etc. Sounds like that should not have concerned us. However, it was the cost that eliminated that option. Perhaps eventually metal roofs will become more affordable.

      As for the kitchen, it needs a new floor, countertops and a sink, plus something to fill the hole in the wall where we removed a chimney three years ago. Cupboards: I need to find a way to easily redo my oak veneer 1970s cabinets that are yellowing with age. Any easy and inexpensive ideas? No paint, the husband says.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        The steel roof we went with is not a “standing seam” roof…that was definitely too much $$$. It is used on a lot of the homes in this area since we did it about 10 years ago. The gutters have to be able to withstand snow sliding off so do have to be considered. Yes, the snow slides on to the front walk, when it does “unload” but it’s not a problem. The kitchen cabinets we have are a natural wood face and we just had them “grooved” by the carpenter then I did a major “degreasing/cleaning”. Love them. The floor is a product called Marmoleum (looks like linoleum minus the linen backing)….zero maintenance!!! Ours is a “farm” kitchen and the spot where everyone ‘lands’. Good luck on your projects!!!!!!

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Question: What do you mean by having the kitchen cabinets “grooved?”

        I know ours need mega degreasing and new coats of varnish.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Will try to take a photo and send………

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Sounds great. Thank you.

      • Matt Steele Says:

        One reason I’ve never considered a metal roof is my limited experience sleeping under one during a rainstorm… they can be very loud. Any metal roofs that don’t suffer from this issue?

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Yes, that was a concern of ours too as my husband had experience, decades ago, living in a trailer house. One of my commenters noted that she likes the sound of rain on the roof at night. I doubt I would, but…

        Any readers out there with metal roofs want to address Matt’s question about noise during a rainstorm?

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Grrrr….what a disappointing experience. You just wish that they would do the right thing and sometimes companies do but in this case they didn’t. Sorry you didn’t get your kitchen redo—-and it looks like you did not win that Powerball thing so it will have to wait awhile longer, right??? At least you will have a new perfect (hopefully) roof!!

  3. Carol Vilendrer Says:

    Been there Jerry Voegle’s nephew, Jake Schultz, is the one is the one who just re-shingled our roof (house and garage) as well as did all of our new windows and siding and a new deck out front he’s going to do our kitchen when we do that and I think he said he’s going to ask his uncle Jerry to help him.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      We enjoyed working with Jerry and crew. I especially like that they took care to cover the ground and windows with tarps and to clean up after themselves, not something all workmen do. Also polite and hardworking. We got three bids and all came within $200 of each other. We chose the contractor we felt to be the most knowledgeable, the most highly recommended and with whom we felt most comfortable.

      We did have to wait awhile, though, to get Jerry here. He’s busy. Lots of homes in the area needed reshingling this year due to hail damage. Is it bad to wish ours had been one of them?

      Good to hear you were equally pleased with the work done by Jake, Jerry’s nephew.

      • Carol Vilendrer Says:

        Jake is also my Nephew. He is going to do our kitchen when we have it done and he’s is going to enlist Jerry to assist him with it

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Ah, always nice to have a relative in the trade.

  4. That is maddening! Guess those guarantees aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. The new shingles are nice. I like the three dimensional look that has taken over the shingle market. Much more interesting than the old flat shingles. When we bought our house 18 years ago, we knew we would have to reshingle in the not too distant future. What we didn’t know (no thanks to the inspector) was that there were FIVE layers of shingles on our house. (Our house is about 110 years old.) They had never taken off a single set of shingles. The original wood ones were still there. Tearing the roof off made the biggest mess I have ever seen, both outside and filling the attic. Ugh. I am sorry you had to go through roofing twice in thirteen years.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Five layers of shingles on your house? Wow. What were these homeowners thinking? If I’m correct on this, Minnesota law requires removal of shingles now before reroofing. I also sometimes wonder about the value of inspections.

      Sounds like you had to go through quite the ordeal. And that is frustrating and maddening.

  5. Clyde in Mankato Says:

    Don’t get me started. I’m telling you, this is a topic on which I can easily raise my dudgeon higher than yours on this topic. One of the reasons my wife and I, who are old and retired, sold out and went to an apartment. I think we started this hot trend. Many higher end apartment buildings are in the works here.
    “May you always have walls for the winds, a roof for the rain, tea beside the fire, laughter to cheer you, those you love near you and all your heart might desire.”

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      It seems I’ve touched a hot button topic with readers this morning. I totally understand why you would move into an apartment. With a house there are never-ending expenses. We had five new windows and a front door installed two years ago along with the front of the house resided. We also got a new furnace and central air (something we never had) the year before that.

      Going back about 20 years, we gutted several rooms, installed new windows, insulation, sheetrock, and carpet upstairs. And before then, we did the downstairs. Now it’s time to start over.

      I’ll toss one more ingredient into the pot I’m stirring this morning. If not for the mega bucks our family is shelling out for ridiculously high health insurance premiums for policies with high deductibles (and thus paying mega bucks for any healthcare we need), we would have lots of extra money to fund home improvement projects.

      • Clyde in Mankato Says:

        We moved to an apartment to avoid unexpected house expenses. First we bought a brand new townhome thinking it would not have such expenses. (That’s the topic you do not want me to start.) Mostly we are in an apartment because medical costs drove us to the brink of bankruptcy, where we still hover, with our feet barely on solid ground. That is with good medical insurance my company provided and now high-priced Medicare supplemental.. So I cannot complain, though I know others can. My wife has lupus, severe arthritis, diabetes, plus four other ailments. She as 23 prescriptions and 4 OTC drugs. Several doctor visits a month. Usually one all-nighter in the ER. So it costs by wife is alive and mostly self-functioning and happy. So on the whole, I should not complain. Should not does not mean I do not.

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        Alright then. I apologize for likely raising your blood pressure this morning. But sometimes it’s good to vent.

        I am so sorry your wife is dealing with all those health issues. Having endured the severe and chronic pain and increasing lack of mobility due to osteoarthritis for some three or so years before having a total right hip replacement at a rather young age (for someone getting a new hip), I can empathize.

        It’s tough this cost of health insurance and healthcare. In fact, right now our son is currently without health insurance.

      • Clyde in Mankato Says:

        She’s 72, I’m 68. She has done well to live so well so long and has a good prognosis, except the very high risk of a severe stroke. If she had been born 20 years earlier she would not have made anywhere near these number of years. So we are lucky. We had our houses and had great fun with them. Bought a cabin on Lake Superior and rebuilt it into a small house (on which the shingles lasted 28 years, probably because of so much less heat.).We lived in it 27 years. Woods behind us, Lake right in front of us (across the Hwy). Just south of Silver Cliff. Then bought a 100 year-old-home in Lower North Mankato and rebuilt that, but my wife could not live on three floors anymore. It was all fun, not that I did not complain mightily now and then. Why does everything break at 6:30 Friday night?

      • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

        It sounds like you have had some wonderful homes and retreats.

        Here’s to health and happiness. And, I forgot to mention, loved that quote at the end of your first comment.

  6. cecilia Says:

    We have a roof that is covered in the same shingles,if yours are the same as ours and it looks like it, in a hot area these shingles will never last more than ten years. My builder shakes his head every time he sees them, he would have never have recommended those he tells us. They heat up the house and fall apart too fast. The Granny Flat we are building will have white reflective corrugated iron, and very soon when we have to redo the house roof it will be the same..

    Thankfully though our house is little.. you have a lot of roofline on your lovely house..

    but there you are, houses need looking after too.. c

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      There you go. Who’s a homeowner to believe with so many opinions out there?

      Our house is not particularly big (you’re seeing garage to the left in the first shot), but most definitely has a lot of roofline. The section on the right in the first image was added on to the original rectangle of a house long before we purchased our home in 1984.

      I guess time will tell whether the new shingles will last. If not, I’ll be ranting again.

      I hope the roof you chose for The Granny Flat works well. Perhaps I should have consulted you first. Thanks for your input.

  7. Jackie Says:

    Ugh, injustice drives me Crazy….It’s like NOBODY hears you, and even worse nobody will do anything to help, double ugh! Hope the new shingle last you 30+ years! p.s. I’m kinda jealous that you have a vintage 1970’s kitchen, and my son would be even more jealous! I feel like my stove is vintage but it’s only a 1986 model 🙂 Have a good weekend Audrey!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yeah, I pretty much felt like the four men at the lumberyard blew us off and then the shingle manufacturer did too.

      Oh, the kitchen is not the type of 1970s kitchen you would like. When we moved in, it had kitchen carpet, which we ripped out and replaced with linoleum. We also got new appliances (I had to light a pilot light in the original stove.) The brown sink and formica countertops (white with gold specks) and yellowed varnish cupboards which remain are not 70s chic. Trust me.

  8. That is so disappointing. We replaced our roof about 2 years ago and used metal. Yes it’s more expensive but there was one of those Obama tax refunds on “green” items. So it helped offset the cost. Supposedly you can get 40 years+ out of them if there are no tornado, hurricanes, etc. My grandparents roof is 18 yrs old and going strong. The best part is the sound of the rain on the roof at night. So soothing. I hope your new shingles do what they promised. I hate it when companies misrepresent their products. Makes your blood boil.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Good to hear that you were able to take advantage of a tax refund. I was not aware of this. Shoot.

      I hope the shingles last as long as we are in this house too.

      Thanks for stopping by to share your roofing story.

  9. Shoot! Colin reshingled our roof about 5 years ago. I sure hope it’s going to last!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      I hope so, too, Gretchen. Not all shingles are defective, so I don’t want to scare you or other readers. But I know there have been issues with more than one brand.

  10. I am amazed at what they say should last 30 years and then poops out after 7 to 10 years just as the warrenty or customer service wears off. It would be nice to have a renovated kitchen, but a proper roof over your head is important too. Have a Great One:)

  11. Allan Landman Says:

    Just be satisfied you didn’t have to re”roof” your dog. I know, back to my room!

  12. Hotly Spiced Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear this, Audrey. What a disgrace. A roof should last as long as the home. But I’m so glad your husband isn’t doing the re-roofing. In those cold conditions and with the pitch of the roof he could be seriously harmed. Better to let the professionals do it. But I’m so sorry about your kitchen. Kitchens aren’t meant to last the life of a home – they’re supposed to be upgraded and remodeled! xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Shingles would never last the life of a home, but certainly should last longer than 8 years. Sigh. My kitchen works; it’s just not exactly beautiful.

  13. Donna Says:

    Too bad about the disfunctional shingles – but the green of your home is amzing! I had my kitchen painted that color a few years ago, so peaceful and relaxing. Your vintage kitchen is probably better than what they are offering “up to date,” We had ours remodeled a few years ago and I yearn for the avocado appliances that lasted well over 30 years, as well as counter tops. And I hate the cabinets, not my choice 😉

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Well, we did have to buy new appliances quite a number of years ago. I pretty much hate my cabinets too, and countertops and brown sink. But, hey, the house is paid for and we have a roof over our heads.

      The house was green when we bought it, although the front siding is new that we had put on a year or two ago. We’ve noticed the paint if beginning to come off the aluminum siding. So that will be the next thing I suppose, painting the exterior.

  14. I, like you, expect to get what I pay for—but today that seems to be the exception more than the rule.
    I won’t go into my rant about Maytag Neptune washer and dryer–very expensive–pieces of !!!!!!!!. And a very disappointing lack of customer service at our local place of business that we shopped at!
    But your house is adorable, I love all the roof angles and dormers….and ditto on the husbands not allowed on the roof any more!
    On the kitchen front, I’m trying to pick out a new refrigerator, and I’m overwhelmed trying to make the right decision. Mind you, our fridge isn’t even 8 yrs old–another piece of !!!!!!.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Why is it that nothing is made to last any more?

      Glad to hear you keep your husband off the roof also. Not worth the risk or strain on the back or vacation time from work, etc.

  15. artsynina Says:

    Wow! I just read through all the comments and who knew that roofing was such a popular topic?! LOL We put shingles on our house that look exactly like the shingles in the first picture. Is that a before or after pic? I’m worried! haha Oh well. Tom wanted a metal roof but that would have cost more than we paid for the house 🙂

    May your new roof last much, much longer!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      The first pic is of the new shingles. Once the weather warms, they should lay down flatter to the roof boards.

      I had no idea, none, that roofing would inspire so many comments with strong opinions. Shingle manufacturers ought to take heed, huh?

      Totally understand Tom’s thoughts on the metal roof and also why you did not install one.

  16. LeRoy Haynes Says:

    We have had a similar experience. Our shingles on the sun side lasted less than 10 years aand no one stands behind them. Little recourse. If you find out who made them, let me know.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, I know who manufactured the defective shingles. I’ll email you with the name of the company.

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