Tiverton budget makers vote: half-a-roof better than a whole

Tiverton budget makers vote: half-a-roof better than a whole

Tiverton's Budget Committee recommends re-roofing only the southern half (the lower half in photo) of Fire Station #2 on Main Road.

Tiverton's Budget Committee recommends re-roofing only the southern half (the lower half in photo) of Fire Station #2 on Main Road.
Tiverton’s Budget Committee recommends re-roofing only the southern half (the lower half in photo) of Fire Station #2 on Main Road.
TIVERTON — It may have been the chairperson of the Tiverton Budget Committee who said, “the only issue is the roof,” as the committee approached its final vote on the final night of the budget process, and approval of the capital budget it intended to put to the voters on May 21 at the Financial Town Referendum (FTR).

After some debate, the committee voted 6-5 to re-roof the southern half of the roof of Fire Station #2 at 85 Main Road (for $21,000), and put off until the succeeding year’s budget the cost, and task, of replacing the other half of the roof, at whatever the cost will be at that time..

The committee appeared sharply divided on the question.

On one side of the Budget Committee’s debate was the figure of $35,000 that had been recommended to it by the Town council for the whole roof, although there was some confusion about exactly what kind of roofing job the council contemplated.

There was nothing in writing, and some believed the council had in mind what’s called an “overlay,” just the placing of new roofing material over the old.

There may have been others — it was never made clear — who thought the council had in mind instead a stripping-down of the entire old roof and its replacement with a complete new roof for the whole building, an approach that would fix or replace any rot or deterioration discovered.

On the other side of the debate was the approach put forth in the provisional budget committee proposal, of $21,000 for half a roof.

As the debate swung back and forth, Bob Martin stepped forward from the audience to make an offer. He’s the maintenance foreman for the town, knows the town’s roofs well, and attends budget committee meetings.

“I’m here to make a proposal tonight,” he said. “I’m very comfortable with $25,000 to do the whole roof — strip the roof, put all the flashing it needs, ice and water shields.”

He said the job would have to be bid, he’d write the specs, but he’s gotten several informal estimates for about $25,000.

“If it comes in over $25,000, I will personally pay for the difference, that’s how confident I am,” he told the Budget Committee

No one took Mr. Martin up on his offer, and it went nowhere.

Minutes later, by the close one-vote margin, the Budget Committee decided to recommend $21,000 to the voters, as the budgeted figure to fix half the roof.

The majority plan was to do the other half of the roof next year out of next year’s budget, assuming the budget committee next year feels the same way.

As Joe Souza, the principal proponent of the $21,000 figure — and the half-a-roof-now strategy — explained it later, “half roofs are done all the time.”

The south-facing side of the roof will be completely stripped and done first this year, he said. It will not be an “overlay” job. Then next year the other half will be done. It will spread the higher cost for the entire roof over two years, he said. This way, he said “we’ll get all the roofs done that need it.”



  1. I have done dozens if not over a hundred roofing jobs earlier in my life for other roofing companies and then for two years I had my own roofing company. I have never roofed half a roof when the whole roof needed it. I’ve actually never roofed half a roof at anytime. You always do the whole roof at the same time.

    Generally when i’ve seen roofs being done in this manner they end up looking hacked. Shingle colors on one side will fade faster than the other. Maybe next year the shingles won’t have the exact same color tone. In my opinion, anyone reccomending doing a roof in this manner is incompetent. Set the money aside this year for half the job and then next year when you have the rest of the money do the whole roof all at once.

    This idea of doing it in two halves is ridiculous. Suppose next year the roofing company damages part of the other side and it ends up costing more to fix it. Mr. Sousa sounds like he has no clue what he’s talking about in this matter.

  2. If we had your money we could afford it . The times are what they are. I see people doing small sections at a time as they can afford it. We did the Senior Center roof in four sections . it’s done and not leaking .

    • This is a straight, simple roof with minimal material needs. If it doesn’t need to be stripped, meaning it only has one layer of shingles on it, then 3 guys should be able to roof this building in 2-3 days. If it needs to be stripped, meaning it already has 2 layers of shingles on it then maybe an extra 2 days. The whole roof doesn’t look any bigger than 60 square, probably smaller, my eyes aren’t that good and it’s a small pic. With such a low pitch and easy access , this roof should be no problem. Even if minor problems are found then it shouldn’t be a problem. It’s been a while since I did a roof like this, but, even today I would do this whole roof for $25k and make at least $7k myself unless there aren’t any problems then maybe it would be closer to $10k and have it done well within a week.

      If there are major problems then they should be addressed all at once and if there are going to be major problems a good roofer should spot them well in advance of doing the job. You don’t want a leak knocking out critical systems. From the look at it in this pic and driving by it a couple times I don’t see any major problems. $25k should easily cover this roof including stripping and proper reroofing. $35k should be a premium job with the best shingles out there.

      21k this year for half of it then next year there will be a reason to jack that price up and it end up costing the town $45k to do the whole roof. To me that’s ridiculous. Put half away this year for the $35k price and do it next year when you have the other half and save at least $7-10k overall.

      I see absolutely no sense in doing half a job now on a relatively easy roof when you can save $7-10k for other things by putting half the money aside this year and doing the whole roof next year. If you can afford $21k this year you should easily be able to either find the other $4k to have the whole thing done for $25k or at least put half the $35k cost away and do it next year.

      “If we had your money we could afford it” What’s that supposed to mean? You don’t know me. You’ve never met me. So where would you get the idea that you could or should make such a wiseass statement. You’re supposed to be an elected official.

      You have no idea what your talking about. This roof is a very good example of poor money management and in my opinion just shows how dumb some people can be. There are some very good people who have no idea what roofing is about and have assumed you’ve done your homework on this. they’ll figure it out after a couple more years and whatever money is overspent and the work is inferior.

      As far as the senior center is concrned, that is a building with several different sections that can be done in sections depending on the type of valley’s that are used or the total configuration of the roof. leaks on a new roof can take several years to show themselves especially if they are slow leaks. Then you get damage and mold that costs a fortune in the long run. That’s one reason you want to do a roof all at once. I haven’t looked at it close up. Roofing is physically demanding and a very tough job, but, it’s not difficult to do correctly. I’ve never done half a roof and would never reccommend it. If it’s done right then doing a roof in sections might work, it will usually just cost you twice as much overall. In this economy I thought the focus was on saving money.

  3. BTW, check out some of those rooves you see being done in sections and tell me how many of them develop leaks? Did you know that most roof leaks aren’t obvious until they have done tons of damage? I don’t know where you go, but, I don’t recall seeing rooves being done in sections. I drive on average about 30k-40k miles a year around New England, mainly between Boston-Providence and I can’t remember the last time I saw half a roof being done. For about 20 yrs in my younger life I did mostly construction and roofing was a major part of that. Just out of curiosity, I asked a few roofers since I saw first saw this story if they have ever done or reccommended to do half a roof. Maybe a couple have done it for older couples that can’t afford the total cost upfront, but the vast majority said it’s a bad idea especially on a commercial building. Then you have liability issues, espexially if the original roofer aren’t available and you have to have it finished by another company. How do you handle a leak at the peak if 2 different companies do the job?

  4. I guess when I was standing on the roof with two other roofers doing the due diligence we should have called you . What a buffoon .

    • I wonder, is this job going to be bid out or are the 2 guys you were on the roof with getting the job? I mean Bob Martin, the town’s maintenance foreman, who presumably knows considerably more about roofing than you, says the whole thing can be done for $25k, and that’s from several sources. In my experience that sounds about right for a roof of that size. It seems to me the one person in town that should be considered to know what should be done is the guy whose job it is to know what needs to be done and not some pencil pusher trying to make a big splash in a small pond.

      I’m still wondering where you get the idea that you think I have the money to do a job like this when you don’t know me or never met me, “If we had your money we could afford it”. It seems to me that an elected town official should have more common sense than to make statements with no basis in fact, oh, that’s right, i’m talking about Joe Sousa, gotta remember that.