Thursday, September 13, 2012

Up On The Roof!

Life is full of little coincidences.  While we were in Illinois this summer, exactly 1 year after we had our cottage roof replaced, we got a call from our house sitter in Tucson.  A monsoonal storm with straight-line wind of over 50 mph had blown off part of our roof nearly 2,000 miles away!  If you want to experience some frustration, try dealing with insurance adjustors and getting estimates and arrange repair from 2 time zones away.  Complicating things is that with all the summer storm activity, we couldn't even get roofing companies to come give estimates for weeks - about the time we returned to Tucson.  Fortunately for us, Jason, our house sitter, played puzzle master, got the pieces of roofing reassembled, nailed down and covered by a trio of tarps while we were away. 

Once returned, we added another few hundred pounds of bricks to hold the tarps down so the wind wouldn't send them to the next county.  I finally got 3 estimates (one was over twice the other two!), and chose one of the two reasonable quotes. The insurance adjustment (to cover just the damaged part of the roof), covered about half the full replacement, so we chose to replace the 22-year-old roof - about time!

And finally, today was the day - about 2 months after the damage was done!  I had removed the tarps last night, eyeing the damage for the first time, pics shown above.  Shortly after 6am came the sounds of circling trucks in the neighborhood - it took them a while for them to find us in our little cul-de-sac off the dead end.  But in short order they were down-to-business, the dump truck backed up to the house for the discarded old roofing, removing rotted and questionable plywood decking, replacing the pair of skylights and flashing around all the plumbing vents of the house.  After we installed central AC a few years back, we've never used the swamp cooler, so they removed that as well for us and sealed off that duct work.  After a few hours of pounding it suddenly grew quiet - lunchtime was called as they waited for delivery of more plywood...
The crew worked as a well-oiled machine as everyone had their tasks.  Soon the pounding stopped as they started applying the new roofing layers.  Unlike the shingle roofs of the Midwest, in the moderate temperatures of the Southwest, a built-up roof using multiple layers of fiberglass felt layers bonded with roofing tar - a petroleum product that is solid at normal temperatures, but liquid when heated for application.  In the pictures here, Carlos, the foreman of the crew, applies just the right amount of boiling hot asphalt on the fiberglass layer with a mop, and another crewman helps position it before they move on.  This roof has 3 layers and will be covered with a reflective coat in a couple weeks after some of the volatiles evaporate.
They did a fine job, and our little roof was a "short day" for them, only taking them about 6.5 hours, just a little longer than our shingled roofing job in Illinois took 14 months ago.  The house looks weird to me now with the profile of the swamp cooler missing.  It will regain its white coating in a couple weeks, and we should be good for another decade or more!  In the meantime, even though the weather forecast had a 0% chance of rain today, we had sprinkles and a sunset rainbow to christen it...

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