Monday, August 31, 2009
Trolls On The Roof !
Ok, they aren’t really trolls, but an entire army of roofers! When they said they’d bring a “crew” I figured maybe 4 men at most. Well there are at least 8 of them up there, but they are moving along so fast I’m having a hard time trying to count heads! Turns out I was pretty close; there are actually 9 of them.
They promptly arrived at 8AM and after moving my car out of the driveway so they could place their collection bin there, they had a group laying out tarps on the ground to catch the old and nails beginning the process of removing shingles at the ridgeline. For those of you who don’t know what the ridgeline is, it is the upper most top of your roof and then they work down to the edges. They use tools that actually look like a farmer’s pitchfork and then a shorter hand version as well. With the pitchforks they are able to remove reasonably large patches of shingles all at once. They work in teams, one loosens up the shingles with the pitchfork and the other gathers up these loosened shingles and takes them and dumps them into the collection bin.
While outside visiting with the roofing contractor and the general contractor, we learned that the decking on the house was 3/8ths of an inch whereas current standards are 7/16ths of inch plywood. They have totally removed all old shingles from the house and are now working on the patio and garage roof. A true testimony to how well the old roof was installed is that the house decking looks good, there is no water damage at all. They were quite surprised to say the least. Now the patio roof might be another story.
By 9:30 the scraping sounds of the pitchforks had stopped and I begin to hear pounding. There’s no way I think that they can already be laying shingles, so I walk out onto the covered patio and gaze up to the roof top to see what is going on. They are now in the process of either pounding in loosened nails or using tools to pop off nails that were holding on the old shingles in preparation for the new roofing felt paper and shingles. I learned that the name for these tools is called a roofing hatchet. One end of the blade has a chiseled hatchet end and the other looks like the business end of a hammer.
Next came the installation of a metal flashing strip on the small piece of wood that forms the edging of the roof decking. The proper name for this piece of wood is the drip edge and the metal strip is called the drip cap. It is here that you often see rot and mold damage where water runs off the roof into your gutters and if gutters are not kept free of debri and water doesn’t run off properly, you will find this type of damage and in turn causes damage to your .
At 10:20 AM some of the workers were already laying the roofing felt paper on the front of the house. The paper is put on starting at the bottom edge of the roof and working up to the ridgeline or the peak of your roof. .This paper is secured in place with staples and I am listening to the rhythmic sound of their staplers as they move across the roof. After the paper is laid, they mark plumb lines for the shingles. Now the house is completely covered wit the roofing felt paper, as well as the patio and the garage roof.
Time is now 10:57AM and I am hearing the thud thud thud of bundles of shingles being laid up on the roof. They are strategically placing them in different areas of the roof to enable the roofers to easily open the bundles as they progress along. I should start hearing nail guns going shortly.
Break Time 11:11 AM and for my cats this is an opportunity to come out from their hiding places under my bed to get up on the window ledges to see if they can figure out what all the noise was about! Bradley, my parrot is actually handling this pretty well (he is the one I worried about the most) only letting out a few high pitched squawks when he heard them using the staplers directly above his head!
12:20 PM Lunch break is over and once again the sound of staplers is echoing above my head. I also hear the sound of the air compressor being started up.
One of the things that have to be watched carefully when using a pressurized nail gun to install roofing is that you need pressure gauges on both the compressor unit as well as on the nail gun unit. If too much pressure is used, then when the nails are shot into the shingle, it will go right through the shingle and you will get leakage at some point in time.
Shingles are now being laid! There are certain areas that require being worked on first before all the straight run pieces are laid in place. The “valleys” of your roof as well as around vent pipes and wind turbines. Valleys should be covered with a special mineral-surfaced, .First, a wide strip of metal flashing is placed down the center of the valley, from the eaves to the top of the ridge and then this special is placed on top of it.
I watched as several of the men were putting the shingles up on the front of the house. You start at the very lower edge of the house with your first row of shingles with what is referred to as a starter strip. Once the starter strips are in place and shingles are run up the exterior edges of the house they begin filling in the rest of the shingles. It is too difficult to try and explain all of this to you but I found this fantastic article http://www.doityourself.com/stry/h2shingle which you can use as reference.
Expect The Unexpected
As in all projects, you have to always expect the unexpected. In this case, they had already been forewarned about what we considered a “soft spot” in the patio roof. I let them know the approximate location and advised them to be careful; I didn’t want anyone falling through! Sure enough, they found it and luckily no one fell through or was injured. The decking was rotted and upon pulling it out, they found that an entire rafter was basically gone! I truly had expected that they would find more roof damage than what they have found. Upon inspection of a piece of the wood that “was” the rafter, it appears to be water damage that caused the problem. I was fearful it might have been termites but upon inspection of the wood, there were none in there. They did find some wasp nests though!
Off to the lumber yard to secure an 18 ft rafter board before they can continue roofing that section of the patio and garage. In the meantime, the men are picking up debris from the yard and throwing it into the dumpster bin, while the other team continues roofing the backside of the house. The front is entirely done and as I stand back and look at it from a distance across the street, I am so glad I chose the slate color that I did. There is just a hint of green in with the gray and it is really pretty. I have chosen a very dark charcoal gray paint for the eaves, soffit and fascia boards and will continue to have the light mint green as my accent color on my shutters, front door, the louvered panels on my patio, garage door and fencing. There is just enough of a hint of green in the shingles that this should be a very striking combination of colors.
New rafter is now in place along with the decking and they are finishing up that side of the roofing.
I went outside to check on the progress and they are pretty much done with things at least for today. It looks all that is left is to return my TV antenna to the roof and that is about it. Most of the yard has been picked up with just a few plastic wrappers that shingles came in and their personal tools that need to be gathered together.
It is now 5:30 PM and I am very impressed by the speed and professionalism at which they completed their work. All tools have been picked up, trash removed, the yard checked thoroughly for fallen nails with a magnetic device and a courtesy knock on the door to say we are done and thank you for using our company. If you live in Oklahoma and need a good roofer, I would highly recommend them. They offer you state wide service on roofing, siding and windows.
Robert Maurer, Owner