New Roof Options

New Roof: Weighing the Options

We’ve been in the house for a few weeks now and my mind continues to race with ideas for how to make this place feel a little more us. We’ve started some projects (we’ve finished none), but there is one item in particular looming over our heads: replacing the roof.

The Bad News: Roof Replacement

During the home inspection we learned that the roof needed to be replaced on both the main house and detached garage. Ouch! We seriously considered pulling out of the deal, as that can be a pricey item to replace right out of gate. However, we didn’t want to lose out on the house, so we were able to negotiate a lower purchasing price.

The home currently has 19 year old desert brown asphalt shingles. Not my personal favorite, but also not out of place for this part of the country.

Desert Brown Asphalt Shingles

Brown house, brown trim, brown roof. That’s how we do things in Phoenix. Sidenote – I’m not hating on this color scheme. Our rental house is brown, brown, brown.

Desert Vista House

Our rental property is brown, brown, brown as well 🙂

What’s the damage?

The shingles are worn down to the fiberglass in some places, with the detached garage being in the roughest shape. This isn’t a patch job, the whole thing needs to go.

While under contract both of us (buyers and the sellers) obtained quotes to replace the roof. This assumed we would replace asphalt for asphalt. Both estimates came in around $12,000. That’s a tough pill to swallow, especially after shelling out a good chunk of change on the down payment.

It’s not the most exciting project, but it is the most urgent. There was evidence of a few little leaks in the home after an uncharacteristically “wet” winter. As we near Arizona’s monsoon season this summer, it is pretty critical for us to get this replaced.

Monsoon season in the desert brings duststorms and microbursts with large amounts of water in a short time

The Good News: Updating Exterior Color Scheme

The good news is, I wanted to repaint the house anyways. Replacing the roof gives me a chance to pick out the house color I want, since I can change the roof color to match the body of the house. I am dying to give the outside a makeover and really show-off the character of the build.

Everyone can use a little makeover, right?

There were countless hours spent on pinterest and many “what do you think of this?” texts to my mom. Jimmy is color blind, so he admittedly is not much help in this department.

I was instantly drawn to a navy body with white trim combo. It would really make the home pop!

But reality set in. Dark paint colors fade quickly in the desert sun and I was reading that it could make the inside of the house warmer, driving up our energy bill. When I’m contending with 120 degree days, the last thing I want to do is make the home hotter! Not to mention, we would likely have to repaint every 3-5 years due to the fading. That’s a big fat nope!

In the end I settled for a more classic combo that is lighter, but will still emphasize the clean lines of home. Grey body. White trim.


The grey will look clean and brighter than the current brown/tan. I also really think a white trim will add a perfect accent to our unique “Victorian Farmhouse.”

Why you ask does all of this talk about the house color matter to the roof? Beacuse in all my research to find a desirable color pallet, my eyes were opened to other roofing options. I became obsessed with one option in particular: METAL.

New Roof: The Metal Roof of My Dreams

A metal roof in Phoenix: isn’t it too hot there for metal? Much to my surprise, the answer is no. In fact, I learned that it is a “cool roof” option supported by the department of energy. The more I read, the more I thought this is the perfect option. Here’s what I learned and loved about metal.

  1. Better for the environment
    1. Made from recycled content – less waste
    2. Minimal carbon footprint compared to shingles
    3. Easy to attach solar to a standing seam system
    4. 100% recyclable if ever replaced
  2. Can lower energy bills by reducing the temperatures in the attic
  3. Is more expensive upfront, but can last 50+ years. The roof can be repainted, but likely will not need to be replaced
  4. Standing seam is aesthetically pleasing. I mean, have you ever watched Fixer Upper?

I just knew this was the option for us. We would get a white metal roof to round out the exterior redesign. The house would look amazing. There was only one slight problem: the price tag. $$$


Metal Roof Cost

From what I read, I expected a metal roof to be twice the cost of a traditional asphalt roof. Which is crazy. That would put us at $24,000+ for a new roof. We would almost certainly need to finance it (terrible idea).  But the thing is… if it lasted twice as long, is better for the environment, and achieves the look I want then maybe, just maybe I could justify it? I needed some numbers to back me up.

Which leads me to the day my metal roof dreams came crashing down. I researched local companies that advertised metal roofing on their websites. There are loads of general roofers in the greater Phoenix area, but not so many that do metal in the area. Luckily, one company returned my request for a quote quickly and met us at the house. He spent some time on the roof measuring and then gave us an overview of the standing seam system. This was going so well, soon I would have the white standing seam roof I have been dreaming about. That was until he showed us the final quote number. Are you ready for this?

$62,000. Yes you read that correctly, sixty-two thousand buckaroos. Of course he was willing to offer us a “discount” since it’s off season. And if we put their sign in our yard for advertisement, that would shave off a bit more. In the end we were looking at $54,000. We smiled and thanked him for his time, but on the inside I cried a little. It just isn’t feasible for us. Holding out an ounce of hope, I reached out to another company for a second quote.

Second Opinion

My hopes increased a bit when I heard our first quote just so happened to be from the most expensive company in city. Go figure. Instead of coming onsite, the second company looked at aerial shots online of our roof to give an estimate. It was significantly lower than the first quote, but still not realistic. His response, “Anywhere from $38,000-$41,000. You have a complicated roof.”

Nail. Coffin. Case Closed. Back to the drawing board.

 Asphalt Shingles: Cost and Installation

Jimmy really stepped up on vetting roof options once metal was off the table. One of the many things I love about him is his eagerness to learn and the confidence in his own abilities. He started pouring over articles and videos about asphalt roof installation. He also has a friend that is willing to show him the ropes. In no time at all he took on the attitude of, “I can do this. It will look great and will save us loads of money.”

For the past two weeks he has been driving all over the west valley visiting roofing companies and wholesalers to learn about roofing. Different brands of asphalt shingles, colors, underlayment, ridge caps, etc. I can’t keep it all straight, but he is excited to learn a new skill and is determined to use the best installation methods. As he pointed out, that original $12,000 quote could have been for low quality shingles with shoddy work. At least this way we have some control and accountability on the outcome.

Checking out options for new shingles

Out of curiosity we obtained a second quote to specifically include the brand/style of shingles we want. That quote came back at $18,000. So moving forward, as we calculate cost for the DIY roof, this is what we will compare it against.

So now… we wait. I’m still getting a “white” roof. Except it will in fact be shingles instead of metal. At this point, it is a race against the clock and weather to order the stock/materials, learn from our friend Chris, and hit the ground running. Not to mention Jimmy is leaving in June for a trip to Brussels, Germany, and Scotland.

We found shingles that are lighter and Energy star rated

Wish us (ehem, Jimmy) luck! This will be his biggest undertaking yet.

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