Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Roof Wth A View

There are some benefits to nasty jobs as this picture shows. Tom and I started the roofing project about the time of my last post about our bee hive experience. One of our first days working up there was over the weekend of the Findlay Balloon Fest and we were lucky enough to experience the fly over. You'll find more pictures of the ballons over in the photos section, btw. Notice too we really do have a pretty amazing view over Findlay and that's good as it's about all we've seen recently.

With roofing companies booked solid due to a spring hailstorm and labor at a premium we made the unwelcome decision to do the roof ourselves. Well, not exactly unwelcome as the savings would be great but Tom knew how hard a job it would be while I was just nervous about the height and someone getting hurt. Hurt. Now there's a word I'm becoming all too familiar with LOL If I had to describe our roof work in one word I think I'd be torn between agonizing and hysterical, seriously. It's hard, heavy, backbreaking work that literally just grinds you down. Also interesting and aggravating LOL There's between 1/2 and 1 inch of old roofing that needs to be pried up and hauled off to reach the original roof. Yep, original lumber and old square-headed nails. That was pretty neat to see. Nowadays when nothing at all seems to last it's amazing to see such old wood still hanging in there. For the most part LOL There's a few holes that have been patched with tin and one side that seems to have been replaced after a fire. The entire west third of the roof has 'plywood' instead of the older boards and the center third seems to have been added sometime after the east third. Either our building was two that were combined at one time or it was enlarged on two different occasions. We'll have to examine the rafters and such later for more clues, make that Tom will, I'm too much of a fraidy-cat about spiders to go near the attics or basement LOL Seeing the different layers of roof covering has also been interesting although also majorly aggravating. I would so love to tell some of the past 'roofers' a thing or two! The second picture in this post will give you a look at the different layers btw.

If you're Tom you slide the roofing shovel - a narrow bladed shovel with wide teeth - under the entire mess, shove it as far as you can and then push down to use a built-in wedge on the shovel back to lever the chunk up. Of course Tom's tall and has muscles while I've been sitting at a desk for more years than I'll admit. I have to pry up the top two layers of paper and then pull them off - a process that has left me on my fanny on more than one occasion - then remove the several layers of shingle by prying followed by cracking off the bottom layer of tar. Yep, tar! That's the guy I'd like to dig up and give a piece of my mind too! LOL The stuff is great when it's in the 50's or below, it just cracks right off the wood. Once the sun hits it though it gets just the slightest bit sticky and stubborn. And the dang stuff is heavy! When Tom and I are working together I get spoiled and only have to get the stuff off and Tom shovels it all into the truck two stories below. With the weather closing in though I've convinced Tom to let me work during the day and the combination of prying off the old roof and then carrying it to the edge and dropping it into the truck is kicking my fanny. Plus my aim isn't too good so I end up picking up a good part of it up a second time as I keep missing the truck LOL

To date, a month into the project, we're almost done with the second story and I'm seriously hoping not to be shoveling snow off the thing to finish it LOL To be fair we had our annual vacation during this same time and lost a bit over 2 weeks work. And it's not a job you can do in the rain although sometimes you have to. Twice we've been soaked down by showers while we worked to cover open roof. When we started we suffered under broiling sun while this past week I was shivering in ear muffs and hoodie. I'm guessing we're saving roughly $5000 per story doing the job ourselves, perhaps a bit more since there's been several areas needing new wood and repair. Surprisingly I'm holding up to the work pretty well although I wish I'd bought stock in Bayer aspirin before we started the project LOL I've had a few blisters, some pretty constant although the fabric self-sticking tape works pretty well to prevent such things. If you've got lots of shoveling coming up wrap the lower half of both thumbs with it. Back strain is pretty a daily companion and my wrist complains just a bit but there's also been the benefit of loosing a few pounds and getting rid of some excess jiggle - just in time for vacation too! Tom hasn't fared quite so well though and the heavy work on top of his physical job caused a flare up of tendonitis in his shoulder that required shots. Recently he's been bothered by a fairly serious as yet undiagnosed wrist problem which has really hampered him. Friday we worked most of the day putting down insulation and gluing the new rubber roof on a large section and much of the work was easier for me to do that to strain his wrist. I learned how to place the insulation board, space out the fasteners and even spread the glue although pulling the rubber into position is too heavy for me to manage. It was a long day but I think I made a pretty respectable roofer's assistant LOL

After all this though can ya believe the hard part is still to come? The first of many roof vents have been removed but there's still two chimney stacks to deal with plus the 'end' of the roof. We can't stack materials on the new rubber so finishing things off will require the insulation boards and any tools to be hauled up the ladder from the lower roof. With the vent and chimney stacks being removed it's also time to work on replacing the apartment heating systems. We plan to separate the heat sources so each apartment has it's own furnace and this will require new vents to be cut through and new furnaces to be installed during the roofing project. Nothing like adding a second budget busting project LOL

If you're interested in numbers the second story roof is approximately 50 foot by 50 foot, give or take. One section of the back extends out about 10 foot further for a bit over half the width of the roof so it's hard to guesstimate exactly. Materials for the second story have cost us between 3 and 4 thousand dollars and we'll need just a bit more to finish out the area that extends. That section also needs to be built up and leveled out to match the rest of the roof so we'll be buying lumber for that as needed. Usually I'm able to remove one section 50 foot long by about 7 foot wide at a time before the truck is full and a dump run is needed. That's anywhere between half and a full ton of stuff pried up, carried to the edge and dumped! The first story roof is about 2/3 the size of the upper story and has the same basic shape with one section lower and extending further out which will also need leveled out. I'd estimate the cost for materials on that to be about the same as while we'll need less rubber roofing we'll need flashing that we didn't need on the upper story. Estimates from local builders came in at $6000 for just laying new material, tear off and repair wasn't included, so you can see that while the job is difficult it's definitely worth it financially.

And, as I said earlier, the past month hasn't been all work and no play. We made our yearly pilgrimage to the Easy Rider Rodeo Finals down in Chillicothe for eight days of motorcycle events and parties. While there we caught up with long time 'Chilli' buddies, met a few new ones and generally spent the time eating, relaxing and thinking of anything but the roofing back at home LOL Those hot and sunny days at the rodeo seem a long way off now but overall I have to rate it as a great summer both at the Cauldron and away from it.

I've been asked a few times recently if I would take on the roofing project again or what I'd say to someone facing a similar task. Yeah, I think overall the roof has been a good experience although I could wish we'd begun earlier and not been so pushed for time. Tom and I have worked well together and learned to rely on each other just a bit more in the process and the learning and physical benefits have been many. To recommend it to someone else though, that I'm not too sure about LOL Any project of this size, especially one involving hard, physical labor tends to wear you down and it takes a lot of determination to stick with it. Starting and then deciding mid-stream to quit and hire it out could prove fatal budget-wise or drive a project/partnership past the proverbial last straw. For most people I wouldn't think the attempt would be worth those risks but then again, if you're into challenges or just plain crazy, as Tom and I have been called on more than one occasion, it just might be for you LOL

Hopefully our next post will contain pictures of a completed project and I'll be able to share our celebration of not having buckets catching water all over the place. It'll seem strange without the sound of dripping heard everywhere LOL Until then, if you're in the area be sure to look up and you'll likely see one if not both of us working roof-top = )