The Craigslist House
  Description of the Property
  Tree Removal Services
  Pests and Pest Removal Services
  Mold and Moisture Problems
  French Drains
  Sealing the Stucco
  Legalizing Second Unit
  Engineers, Architects and the Like
  Parking/Retaining Wall Project
  Foundation Types
  Foundation Contractors
  Helical Screw Contractors
  Dirt, Debris and Demo
  Rain, Rain, Rain
  Fire Sprinkler Vendors
  Framing Contractors

Replacing the Decks


As mentioned, we purchased a house with a leaky roof. Since we purchased during northern California's rainy season, we elected to wait 'til spring/summer to visit the roof issue. To tide us over, I purchased two of the largest tarps available from Home Depot, laid them out on the roof, cut around the chimney and skylights, then sewed the tarps together with heavy-duty line. Since there was a good chance that the wind would lift the tarp off, I scattered lumber, cinder blocks and bricks across the sheets. 

The house stayed dry, and time flew by. 

Suddenly it was August, and time to get my act together.  My roofing options were limited, since the slopes of the three roofs vary between next-to-nothing and minimal

Portion Size Current Roof Pitch Condition
Old Square 27' x 27' Tar and gravel, on top of old corregated metal Slight Multiple leaks
Pantry 27' x 8' Modified bitumen Slight Worn, one minor leak
New Wing

25’ x 18’

Modified bitumen

Almost flat (Plans show 1:12)


Since the roof needed to be done, this seemed like the right time to also consider solar. Helping to motivate me: the state had a rebate program that was decreasing 50 cents per kilowatt every half year and would be decreasing again in the next month or so. 

First-things first: I shopped for a roofing quote.

The realtor had mentioned Juan, at DeMello Roofing (45 Jordan Street San Rafael, CA 415-456-0741).  He quoted $12,860 for the old square and the pantry.

Holmberg Roofing (222 Lakeville St. Petaluma, CA 415-383-0411) came out. I never heard from them again, which means I wasted my time racing home for that appointment. Strange, since their marketing brochure was so slick. My suggestion: Don't waste your time calling them.

One of the solar vendors I spoke with suggested Julio, at Gutierrez Roofing (800-450-6333).  Julio quoted $5,332 for the old square and the pantry, and offered a 3-year guarantee.

Home Depot sent out one of their "authorized providers." I was not impressed with the guy, and at $17,264, this was the highest quote I received.

Creative Roofing came by. They bid $14,845, and offered a 5-year guarantee.

In the end, I selected RB Roofing, who bid $7,500, or about $5.50/square foot. Most-important, RB offered a 12-year guarantee. Bob's bid was as follows:

Old Square: Remove both old roofs. Replace with two plies of modified bitumen, torched-down.

Pantry: Add a single ply on the pantry - since the pantry's lifespan was limited.

New Wing: Add a 1 ½" layer of hard foam insulation, then two plies of modified bitumen, torched-down.

Yahoo's weather forecast indicated possible rain in a week and a half. Amazingly, Bob decided that I would be better served by a company with more employees. He suggested Miranda’s Roofing (5190 Griffin Road, Vacaville, CA 707-694-3912).

Luis and Gil came out, and accepted the job at the same rate. Their guarantee was 10 years, which still seemed fine. With rain on the horizon, timing was important, and Miranda’s performed admirably. A large crew showed up promptly each morning, the tar and gravel layers were removed, the metal was removed, any cracked or penetrated boards were replaced, and the bitumen was placed. What’s locked in my memory is the small touches – adding fascia to the new wing to protect the roof joists, making an extra effort to get the flashing right at a corner, taking some extra debris off the lot during their cleanup. It’s been four years, and two of the wettest ones in memory. The roof is holding up fine, and I am pleased to recommend Miranda’s 100%

Update: I just moved the wood stove. I used one of those tar-in-a-can solutions to seal the newest roof penetration, but wasn't impressed with the goop. I decided that I should try to coax a torchdown roofer to come by to seal this one vent. Then today I heard the distinctive sound of a torchdown flame, somewhere close by. I hopped in the car, and a few minutes later came across Sunshine Roofing (Vallejo CA 707-694-4220) about a block away. I explained my need, and Gus, the owner agreed to send a few guys over as they wrapped-up.

A few hours later Julio and a coworker came by. I was very impressed with the effort they put into my small project, and I am comfortable recommending them for torchdown work.

The roof was in need of replacement.

I bought some time with a careful tarping job....

Since the new wing's roof was going to get foam-board insulation and an extra layer, I used a hose to identify portions where water pooled. The crew could then raise these areas a bit.

Miranda's Roofing at work.


Julio Reyes (Sunshine Roofing) doing a nice job sealing the wood stove's chimney.


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Last Updated Feb 2014.