Dream House

I am in the fortunate position of being able to afford to build myself a new house (well...perhaps myself and the bank). Having been to several 3rd world countries and knowing that there are lots of people in the world who don't even have housing, I felt a few pangs of guilt about this. I had a decision to make: rehab the old or build new. The cost to rehab my old house was going to be substantial. It was October of 2009. My husband had passed away in August from liver cancer. I was in the depths of grief and sorrow. I needed a project. I decided that if I had to plunk down a lot of money anyway, it was better to build new. I also decided that if I was going to build new, I was going to build green. My new house will be both beautiful and "green". I will share the journey and the adventure with you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Topping it Off: The Roof

    Yeah! The roof is going on the house!After taking about a month to make a decision on the color, its finally going up. Fortunately,  I am liking the color. It is one of the more common colors on roofs now. What was holding up the decision was not so much the color as the fact that I was trying to make a decision on the siding, the stone, the stucco, and the trim and wanted the roof to match (obviously).  The roof shingles are an asphalt shingle called "weathered wood" and are a light brown. Ultimately, I decided I could go ahead with the roof even though I haven't made final decisions on all of those other pieces of the exterior. The color I have chosen should match with most things. Delaying on the roof means that I now agnoze over the water that comes in every time it rains. The next step is the windows which should be coming soon. I went with asphalt because it is cheaper. Its not really a great option in terms of being green since its made from petroleum products and its difficult to recycle, but I am hoping that by the time the house is ready for its second roof that that the shingles will be a lot easier to recycle than it is now. I felt sorry for the roofers this week though. The annual outbreak of lakeflies started over the weekend. These are 3/4" green flies with wings, but no teeth, who hatch for 2 weeks in May of every year. They hatch, then mate, and then die. They are important for the ecosystem of Lake Winnebago because their eggs (which they lay in the water) provide food for the sturgeon fish that inhabit the lake. The lakeflies come out in droves and are a nuisance for 2 weeks. They were horrible this week when I went to visit the house. Thanks to the roofers for putting up with them!
Green decisions re: roofs: If you wanted to be really green, you could go with a sod roof (think Al Johnson's restaurant in Door County).
Another nice option is a metal roof: it lasts a super long time (50 years) and it can be recycled at the end of its life. Its made primarily from recycled steel as well. The market share for metal roofs has tripled in the last decade (to about 7% of the market). The downsides? It costs twice as much as an asphalt roof and the metal may interfere with cell phone signals.
A third option is a recycled roof made from 80%recycled plastic and rubber with the other 20% being made for limestone fillers for added strength.The company that  makes these is Eco Star. The roofs are beautiful but come at a cost: about 3x the cost of an asphalt roof.
There is also the option of a clay or concrete tile roof. These last over 100 years or more. However, they are heavy. Plus, they have a harder time handling extreme cold without cracking.

Billie Jo Mathusek: co-owner of Gallery Homes, interior design consultant
Colleen, Mary Alice (my sister), myself and Caroline