Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's OK, Mom - I didn't fall.

Every time I have ever mentioned that I wanted to go onto the roof of the House of 42 Doors, my mother has called or e-mailed the next day to tell me to be careful. To be fair, a fall from the roof would most certainly be painful, and could be fatal. In a worst case scenario, it's a 22 foot drop to a concrete sidewalk and even in a best case scenario it is a ten foot drop to another roof. Either way, her concern is justified.

Still, curiosity killed the cat as they say. Last week I put on my boots and headed out the dormer window to see what the world looked like from on top of my roof. What had really sparked my curiosity was a comment by the previous owner that from the roof it was possible to see the river. Somehow in my mind that meant a great vantage point.

The roof currently has Sharkskin underlayment and some tar paper with granules where the flashing is going to go. Now you might think this sounds like good footing, especially since Sharkskin is touted as having a slip proof outer layer, but what has happened is that the granules from the tar paper are very loose and they have gotten onto the Sharkskin underlayment. If you take thousands of little granules (which are shaped like little marbles) and put them on underlayment, guess what? It get's verrrry slippery. In the interest of not giving my mother or wife a heart attack, I will only say that I made it to the top of the roof and back down again without falling off the roof.

It was good that I had made this little exploratory foray though. In the interest of saving some money I told the carpenter that I would demo the cedar shingles from the sides of the dormers. I had some serious second thoughts about this after a short ride on my overly large playground slide. After a few days of consideration, I hit upon a safety mechanism that was functional, if perhaps a bit simplistic.

I took a rope, tied it to a stud in the attic and threw it out of a dormer window. Then, doing the most dangerous part, I climbed back on the roof with the rope in hand. Taking it over the roof to the other dormer, I climbed into that window and tied the rope off on a radiator. Now I had a rope that went across the roof and was tied at both ends. With that rope I was able to give myself a handhold/foothold/beltloop so that I could comfortably demo the cedar shingles. It took about a half day to rip off the shingles, throw them down and then clean up the mess, and there was no slipping or sliding.

Our masons Larry and Howie are fantastic. Howie shows up every day at 7:15 and even worked on Saturday. The work they do is first rate. The mortar they are tuckpointing with matches almost perfectly and the job also includes caulking and cutting drip edges on the window sills. Really great work. When they are done, the house should be sealed up from the elements. I don't know how much it will help with the heating bills, but it can't hurt. They hope to be done by the end of the week.

Our gutters though are a different story. I was expecting Roger to be out last Tuesday or Wednesday. Friday, after days of calling with no answer, I sent an e-mail asking when he would be on site for installation. His response was, "We have had a few set backs but we are back on track. I am hoping to start on Monday, Tuesday for sure!!!! Sorry for the delay." No word on what the set backs were, but I hope to find out soon. We are now officially a week off schedule. I'm hoping this won't mess up the schedule for the roofing crew.

MHH adds: Here is a slightly easier to see version of the above picture. Yay for Picnik!

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