Exterior Reno: If You Give a Mouse a New Roof, You’ll Spend a Billion Dollars.

By Melissa

It was 2010 and we were looking for a home. The housing market in Phoenix was abysmal and the condo we owned was worth 1/4 what we bought it for. It was not ideal since it meant that we wouldn’t be able to sell it to have money to put towards a new home. But on the flip side, it also meant that the budget we had thought would buy us a home to stay in for a few years, would now buy a home that we could grow old in.

So I started making a list of things we wanted in a home, or rather, things I wanted in a home. Some were normal, like a pool, a big yard, mature citrus trees, a garage. And then I started getting a little more picky; I wanted my own mailbox, a large laundry room, a good floor plan. But after that, I just got a little insane. I wanted a cute street name, a house number that didn’t end in an odd number, unless it was 5 or 9, but would prefer it to end in a 0 or 5. And to top it all off, I really didn’t want it to be stucco, a tall order for Arizonan suburbia.

Well news flash, you don’t always get what you want. 🙂 As I poured over the dozens of listings that semi-fit my criteria, I came across a house that checked a lot of boxes, but sure was stucco-y. The backyard with artificial turf, a pool and a sport court is what really drew me in, and ultimately made up for the lack of mailbox in the front yard. The house really was lovely, taken care of so so well, had such wonderful features that we loved, and ultimately, it became ours. We owned a tan stucco house with a pink wavy tile roof. Hooray!

This was the first picture I took of it as I drove past it regularly, trying to not be super creepy.

Like I mentioned before, the house had been well taken care of, so the only major thing we did was paint the interior and kitchen cabinets, and put shutters on the back windows. We figured the painted cabinets would buy us a few years until we saved enough for a bit of a kitchen facelift. And then, as you’ve read, we had student loans! And then expensive babies and cars and all the other things. And then our pool plaster was chipping up like crazy and we decided that the kitchen could wait and we needed to repair the pool. And when I say we decided, I really do mean WE, but when Philip first suggested starting on the pool and not the kitchen, I gave him the HOW DARE YOU look. Why would he suggest pushing back my beloved kitchen? Well, because it worked just fine as it was, that’s why. And let’s be honest, it’s not like a pretty kitchen is going to make me a gourmet chef (or even a moderately good cook) all of a sudden. Also along the way, we slowly started removing palm trees, but more on that later. 🙂

Then in 2014, we had the largest rainstorm that Arizona had had in 100 years. As I came downstairs at 6:15 am to go to work, I noticed a large bubble on the side of the wall. Uhhh, guess what, our roof was leaking! Well farts, that’s not what we wanted. But it was a giant rainstorm and it didn’t rain like that very often, so we popped that bubble, drained the water and just kind of ignored it. We never had water dripping anywhere else, so we figured it would probably be okay. In 2018, we decided that we would finally start thinking about remodeling the kitchen. I told Philip to give me six months to decide what I wanted and where to start, and wouldn’t you know it, it rained in that six month time period. And just like before, our roof leaked. But this time, it was bad. We had a steady stream of water pouring through our kitchen ceiling and falling into buckets next to our kitchen table. There was so. much. water. What wasn’t dripping into the bucket was running down the slope of the ceiling and down the wall. It was terrible. And just like that I thought, “What’s the point of a pretty kitchen if it gets wet every time it rains?” And my dream kitchen got pushed back again as we made plans for a new roof.

Now, as far as roofs go, there are the cement tiles and the felt paper underneath. Our roof was 27 years old, which meant that the paper was about seven years past when it needed to be replaced. When we got the quote to replace it, the roofer let us know that the tiles were all fine, so it was just the paper that needed to be replaced. We asked that he give us a quote for both options, replacing just the paper, and also replacing the paper and tile.

You guys, the difference was only $5000. For five thousand dollars, I could GET RID OF MY PINK WAVY TILES! It may seem like a lot, but when we were already planning tens of thousands of dollars on a roof, and the quote came in lower than we initially thought anyway, that $5000 seemed like a no-brainer. I was so sure that the numbers were wrong that I asked to make sure that the price included the cost of the tiles. Yep, sure enough, tiles, paper, labor, all in that original quote. I frantically emailed back, “WHERE DO I SIGN???”

And so it began. If you give a mouse a new roof, you’ll spend a billion dollars.

I crack up now thinking that changing the tiles was only $5000. Because had we just stuck with the original tiles, we probably wouldn’t have changed anything else either. I mean eventually we would get to the landscaping, and sure we knew the windows were somewhere on that to do list, but it wouldn’t have been an immediate need. But here we were with new, beautiful, grey, flat tiles, just waiting to be accessorized! It was for sure a giant can of worms.

Honestly, I feel like it makes the biggest difference. There are several houses in the neighborhood that have updated their exteriors, and I feel like replacing the wavy tiles is such a game changer!

And last thing, when we would have contractors over to get bids on a few things, they would often comment on the other things we were doing also, and I would say to them, “It’s like ‘If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…'” because in my world that makes perfect sense as an analogy for this little project that has turned into a million other things. Then Philip finally said to me, “You have to stop saying that, nobody knows what you mean!” I was shocked because of course they would! But alas, they all looked at me like I had two heads, and I had to admit to Philip that yep, I’m a mom with my random kids’ book references. 🙂

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