Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Roofers, Day 1

Today was the first day the roofing guys came. The day started with a 7:30 am call from Jon telling me that they were keeping an eye on the radar, but they were still planning on doing the roof today. I expected my next call to be from Ms. Huis when she got back from school at 9:00 telling me that the roofing crew was there setting up. She called me at 9:30 to tell me that nobody was there. I was not pleased about this. As I said on Monday, I believe contractors should show up at 8:00 and go home at 5:00. Doing so shows a certain professional attitude. In any case, they finally showed up at 10:15.

I went home for lunch at 11:45 and was surprised to see this.

That's right, a huge crane in front of the house. They were using the crane to lift a large container up to roof height. They threw the asbestos slate into the container and when full, they lowered it down and dumped it into the dumpster on the ground. By the time I got home, they had about one side of the roof done.

I couldn't resist peaking into the attic to see what it looked like from the outside. It made for an interesting shot with all the holes and cracks in the roof deck.

I left to go back to work without talking to any of the guys. They looked really busy and like they didn't want to talk to me. On the way back to work I got to thinking about how I had considered removing the roof myself. I pondered this for a day or two when I was concerned about the rising cost of the project. I thought about how I'd take the shingles off carefully. Where I would drop them. How I'd maybe set up a slide to send them down. And finally what tools I'd need. Seeing what these guys had for equipment (a crane!) makes it seem like a comparison of the stone age to the modern age. I'm glad I had them do the work.

Each of the guys carries a small monitor that tracks the air quality around them. This is to verify that they are not breathing in too much asbestos as they work away. There are two huge ironies with this. First, the monitors are not real time. They are sent into a lab and analyzed once the job is complete. My understanding is that if they did inhale too many asbestos fibers, it's too late. It already happened. The other irony is that all the roofers smoked. I guess the good news is that they won't get cancer...from the asbestos.

When I got home from work around 4:30, the roofers were putting the underlay on. They had all the asbestos slate off, but everything was absolutely filthy with black dust (coal dust? 1921 roofing felt?) By the time they left at 6:00 pm, they had the roof covered with underlay and the roof is waterproof, barring hail or high winds. There's some clean up to do tomorrow and they still need to balance the bundles of shingles on the roof. That way when they come back to apply them to the roof deck, they won't have to lift them over my custom gutters (and accidentally wreck them).

I talked briefly with one of the guys before they left for the day and he mentioned that they found almost no rotten boards, just one small spot of a few square feet. There was also one rotten fascia board by a downspout. This is great news. It means that we're replacing the roof in time. I'm looking forward to getting up on the roof this weekend to look at the dormers and also to see what I can see from up there.

Here is a picture of house when we took possession of it last fall.

Here is a picture of the house after Roger removed the gutter.

Tomorrow I'll post a picture of how it looks after the roofers are done with their first phase.