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Raising the [non-shingle] roof
by James Pepper, Editor
[Editor's note: Some time ago, I sat down with professional roofer Tim
Brown to discuss an issue many Foxenwood owners are facing: roof
Tim has been replacing and repairing roofs in Foxenwood Estates for more
than 20 years and has owned a home here. Here are Tim's frank
thoughts on the subject.]
SHAKE SHINGLE ROOFS AND CC&Rs
FW.COM: Were all the roofs [in Foxenwood Estates] originally wood shake?
Tim: No. There was some tile in here, too.
FW.COM: Are tile roofs getting old?
Tim: The tile shouldn't have a problem. You can fix those.
FW.COM: Some people are replacing their shake roof with asphalt shingle, which violates the
CC&Rs in most of the 12 Foxenwood areas.
Tim: Somebody did [my roof with shingles]. I didn't put this roof on. I'm putting steel on mine.
I have steel all over [Foxenwood]. It looks like shake or tile. I just put it on ______'s house. I
put it all over the place. It's lightweight and a good roof.
Unfortunately, the CC&Rs are unenforceable. If Mrs. _____ cannot afford to go from a shake
roof to a tile roof because she's on a fixed income, there's no judge in the world that'll say that
she has to let her roof leak.
If you lived in a neighborhood where houses were built with tile roofs, I think the CC&Rs would
probably stand up on something like that. But if you have wood shake, and the county does not
allow wood shake anymore, you cannot tell somebody that they cannot protect their
investment. If someone can't afford the more expensive roofs, what do you do? There are still
some left. I have a list of them.
If people still have a shake roof in this area they should start budgeting for putting a new roof
FW.COM: Have you seen examples of roofers who have come into the neighborhood and done
bad work, or have been dishonest?
Tim: I've seen it happen everywhere. You have to be careful with who you use, and you also
have to be careful with what kind of materials you put on, because some of the material
companies go out of business. You might put a 50-year roof on, but if it's not a not a proven
product, and the material fails, what good's the roof?
It's unfortunate, but people tend to scrimp when it comes to their roof. I mean, they'll spend
$25,000 on a vehicle, and that vehicle will only last five years. You're not going to have to
spend $20,000 on your roof. A tile roof in this neighborhood is ranging between $12,000 and
$18,000, depending on what product you use. And you'll get your money out of it if you sell
because you won't have to do anything to the roof. Plus it has a little bit better curbside
You're not really saving money by stretching time out on a shake roof in this neighborhood
because the material costs go up every year. I understand a roof isn't a thing most people
want to invest in, only because you don't see it. You don't enjoy it as much as you do a new
kitchen, or a new floor, or a new bathroom. But when it comes right down to it, what's
protecting all those things is the roof.
[Multiple estimates] should be within $1,000-1,500 of each other, on these homes [in
Foxenwood]. If it's way too high, or way too low, there's a problem. I'm usually in the middle.
Get three competitive bids—and of course I'd like to say to just use me!
A really good time to do your roof—and people don't realize this—is in the wintertime, because
roofing is slower.
We cover up everything. I worked all the way through El Niño without any problems. I don't
stop working because it's wintertime. We do them all the time in the winter. The "tear off"
company I use has the roof off in three hours. Within one and a half days your roof is
watertight. Don't be in a rush to get it done in the summertime. You can also save money by
avoiding the peak season, around August.
In the rainy season we wait for a clear three-day period. But even if it ends up that a storm
comes in, we cover the roof. I have a million dollars’ worth of insurance but I don't necessarily
want to use it!
If you're going to use my company but for whatever reason we can't start right away, and you
have a leak, I'll fix it for free to get you by until we can start.
Just because your roof isn't showing signs of water damage inside, doesn't necessarily mean
you don't have rotten wood all the way around the perimeter of the house. With a shake roof,
what keeps the water out is the paper (under the shake).
HOW TO CHOOSE A ROOFER
Don't ask the contractor for a list of references, because they're going to give you a list of
people who were happy. Ask your neighbors. Ask people in the neighborhood who you know
have had their roof done. An unhappy customer tells 10 people. A happy customer only tells
And then make sure and check to see if the contractor is insured. Ask for the name of his
insurance company and contact that insurance company. Ask them if he is in fact insured.
A lot of guys try to hedge around the fact of whether they're insured or not. People should ask
the contractor for an up-to-date certificate of insurance. It only takes a few minutes to
contact the insurance company to see if in fact the person is insured. There's a website for the
State Contractor's License Board to see if the person has any complaints [against him].
Ask [the contractor] where he buys his roofing materials. If he buys them at [a retail store]
and he doesn't buy them from a local building supply company, [it may be] because he doesn't
have credit. And 90 percent of the time, if he doesn't have credit, he hasn't paid his bills, or
he's new in the business.
If somebody asks for money up front to put the roof on, don't do business with them. A
reputable contractor shouldn't ask for money until the job is done.
Also, if the contractor can get to your roof tomorrow, this time of year, that's an indication that
he's not too busy.
I've probably done, I'd say, 50% of the roofing in Foxenwood. I know I see my trucks around a
lot more than anyone else's. That's probably because I'm looking for them (laughs).
The State has an excellent Website for checking out contractors:
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