Monday, November 09, 2009

Tear The Roof Off The Sucker/Give Up The Funk

Those of you who know our little house in the woods know that it's got a lot of roof. It also has a lot of holes punched in that roof, for chimneys and skylights and vents of one kind or another. This is a large part of the appeal of the house, because it makes it very bright and sunny and cheerful and airy, a pleasant change from the rather dim and close house we lived in for so long.

It also leaks like a sieve, mostly in one particular room. It leaks so much in a steady or heavy rain that we simply leave the buckets in place all the time, like some backwoods hayseeds from a depression-era comedy. Following each rain, we would judge the quantity and quality of the "Roof Tea" we had brewed, evaluating the depth and color in each bucket. But enough is enough—there was only one thing to do:

Tear The Roof Off The Sucker. Give Up The Funk.

Starting the afternoon of Halloween, Mary began to—well, tear the roof off the sucker. With a shovel. At the West End. Assisted by Colonel Mustard with a lead pipe, if I recall correctly. And once the roof was torn off the sucker, then we could give up the funk, which has flourished funkily in the dark, damp confines of the rafters and roof decking. Sodden insulation was dragged out to reveal the progress of the decay...eccch.

It was pretty disgusting. Whole sections of the roof superstructure were completely rotted away (the load bearing portion of the roof, protected below, remained intact and sound, mercifully) along with the boards above them. At the west end, the rotten materials were replaced by sound new plywood and 2-bys, and in short order Mary had the new roof in place, with the guidance and assistance of our neighbor, the erstwhile roofer.

Now the living room roof is getting its due. The three of us spent half of Saturday and most of Sunday doing demolition and reframing the roof, giving up the funk—actually, bleaching the living hell out of the funk—then adding fresh R-30 fiberglass, piecing together the new plywood roof decking, and framing in the new skylights. BTW: After years of pooh-pooing them, I can unequivocally say I am a believer in pneumatic nailers.

Who would have imagined it would be possible to break a sweat and get sunburned in mid-November? By late Sunday morning, the air temperature was in the upper sixties, there wasn't a cloud in the sky, the humidity was low, and the sun was dazzlingly intense. By sundown Sunday, all the bad stuff had been excised, the new roof was sound and completely enclosed and the skylights were in place. Sunday after dark, we made a huge bonfire of all the rotten old stuff and sent it off to a better place, where there is no funk and the sun shines perpetually.

Mary spent this afternoon tearing off more old roofing and getting the sound old roof deck ready for the new stuff. With any luck, she can start applying the substrate (ice & water barrier, something like tar paper or rool roofing, but adhesive and better than both) to the exposed surfaces tomorrow and have the new structure protected before a change of weather predicted for sometime Wednesday. Hey, with any luck and three of us working at it, we'll have the new shingles in place before the change of weather.

Hot damn. Can't wait for that first real rain after the new roof is on! No more roof tea for us!

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