Progress Update: Roof Replacement, Roof Framing & Load Bearing Wall Removal

Hey there. We know it's been a while... we're still here. We promise. 

It has been a long few weeks filled with phone calls, inspections, and confusion. As Em mentioned in her previous post, we wrapped up the foundation work [insert celebratory dance gif] and are now on to...well...everything else? 

Our To Do List (in no particular order):
- Install new roof
- Reinforce roof framing
- Remove central walls to open up living room space
- Install beam to support the removal of a semi-load baring wall

We wasted no time getting bids to replace our saggy roof. We received 2 bids on the work and after two weeks of phone calls, we got both companies to lower their costs and agree on materials. In the process of negotiating I was sharing the bids we'd revived with both contractors. Tiny Rehab Lesson: remove the costs when sharing competing bids with contractors. You can quickly lose the upper hand if they know what the other company has quoted you. **sheepish** Roof replacement is (to my surprise) pretty quick turn and does not require a permit. Both companies can get the work done in about 2 days. 

Helpful Diagram from

Helpful Diagram from

The roof reinforcement however, has been a whole different animal. Moises, our structural engineer, noted that our roof is currently framed with 2X4s. In order to fix the sagging and pass city inspection, we will need to reinforce the 2X4s with 2X6s. Our little house has a very low pitch so that means there is not much attic space. This causes an issue when we need a contractor to access the space and install the new beams. Our ingenious solution to this was to find a company that would do both the framing reinforcement and install the new roof all at the same time! Unfortunately, that is damn near impossible to find in Austin, and the one guy we found has stopped returning our phone calls [more later on the emotional trauma of being ghosted by contractors].

In addition to the framing, we need the same carpenter to remove the walls in the center room and install a new support beam. And here is where things start to go off the rails. Basically everyone we have talked too has a different opinion about what needs to be done in regards to the roof reinforcement and installing the support beam. One contractor seemed happy enough to just do the reinforcement and install a beam and call it a day. Another contractor we talked to swears that reinforcing the existing framing will not pass city inspection. He also pointed out that we would potentially need to replace all of the ceiling joists. He swears it will be more cost effective to remove all of the existing framing and roof and start from scratch.

At this point we are more confused than ever. We need both contractors to contact Moises and discuss their plans with him - but talking to an engineer seems to be a bridge too far for these guys. 

On top of finding a contractor to do the work, we need to figure out the permitting process. From what we have heard, the permitting process in Austin is particularly onerous. The contractors we have spoken to insist that it will be easier and cheaper if Em and I go to the permitting office and request the permit ourselves. However, they have been less forthcoming with information about what we will need to bring to said meeting to leave with a permit in hand.  

We have received (an albeit rudimentary) drawing from one of the contractors we spoke with. We have reached out to Moises to try to get more information on the permitting process (like who is supposed to be doing these drawings and do they have to be... good...?).

"Architectural" Drawing 

"Architectural" Drawing 

Once we have a bit more information and if we can get one of these darn contractors to reach out to Moises to get their plans approved, we should be able to get the ball rolling with permitting and then hopefully be knocking down some walls soon! 

Whats up next you ask? 
We're simultaneously working on the plumbing and the electrical, but we'll talk more about that later.