This week was all about re-roofing half our house. Next week will be too, it seems.

The first thing to know is that the roofers started on Tuesday, and I am writing this on Friday. As of Monday when we were told they were coming, we had several clear days in the forecast, and thus plenty of time to get the roof watertight before it rained again. (As my friend Steve once said: That’s called foreshadowing. Look for it in quality literature.)

The other thing to know is that nothing goes as you expect with any kind of construction. Things are fine, but these jobs never go as planned. This one is no exception.

Here’s what we started with:

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Two views of the old tar & gravel roof dating back about 20 years or so. It’s got some moss growing in it, but not too much according to the roofer. But it was definitely pushing its end of life. As you can tell they had already started removing some flashing when I took those photos.

We had no idea what to expect in terms of construction. The interior has beams on the ceiling, but also drywall and everything is painted white. As a result the actual framing and insulation situation was a mystery, and could have caused significant issues.

Here’s what they found when they started to tear off the old roof system:

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That’s tar & gravel over two layers of lightweight particle board. Below that is solid tongue & groove wood. In a place where it had been patched we even found stamps on it telling us it is about 1.5" thick. Eventually they exposed a place where an old vent had been, and discovered the drywall is directly attached to this wood. It turns out that two layers of particle board take up a lot of dumpster space. On the first day the guys were here they tore off about half the roof and basically filled the bin that was here.

Then Vancouver weather happened. We started getting chances of rain combined with heat — enough heat that working on that roof in the afternoons was awful. And after three days the chance of rain climbed to 60% and it actually materialized. Not a downpour (so far, anyway) but a couple of short, light drizzles and one cell that rained big, fat drops pretty heavily for several minutes. Fortunately we were all secured against just such an event, and had no leaks as far as we can tell.

In addition, the guys had to go back to the previous job to finish up something they had not been told to do when they were last there (or at least that is what they tell me, anyway) and that cost us Friday morning. Admittedly, though, that hardly mattered given the rain.

For the curious, here are some more photos of the ongoing roof work:

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In the upper right is a small amount of insect damage of some kind, but no bugs were home, and the damage was so limited we’re ignoring it. In the bottom two photos everything in black is watertight. Not finished — multiple layers of stuff will go over that membrane — but watertight regardless. And they’ve done a lot of interesting stuff to keep the water out of the gap you can see between the old and new roof sections. Lots of material stuffed into gaps so water can only roll off into safe places.

Here’s one more roofing related photo I think is interesting:

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That’s a supply truck with a crane extending out horizontally, delivering two pallets of stuff up to the house and over the bin. Sadly they couldn’t deliver directly to the roof itself. (The house is two stories in the front, so they’d have had to send a bigger crane to lift it all up and over the upper floor and set it down on the roof of the first floor beyond. But the bin was already in the way, not to mention the power lines. The roofers are carrying supplies up the ladder as a result.)

Thus far we’ve seen some delays, and had a couple of minor plan changes as we discovered things about the previous downspouts, but nothing has been particularly bad. I hope the job is finished sometime next week, weather permitting. As I write this, there is another chance of rain on Monday, but that’s a holiday — BC Day — and they won’t be working anyway.

Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes well and we get this all wrapped up without a major downpour!

I have two fun (not roofing related) things to share as well.

First, because BC Day is almost here, the grocery stores are stocking snack foods for those who are celebrating. In my shopping run this morning I tripped over these:

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Red & “white” corn chips — a decidedly Mexican food, if you ask me — in the shape of maple leaves. The packaging is in English and French, as you’d expect for Canada, and they are a product of Canada — made by El Comal Mexican Foods Corp in Burnaby (a suburb of Vancouver). Something about this particularly odd combination of traits made me laugh out loud in the store. I had to buy them just to share this photo here.

Finally, today’s XKCD strip also made me laugh out loud, but it’s obscure enough that I expect many will not grok it:

It’s an astronomy joke, and the mouse-over text makes it even funnier. A few of you will have enjoyed that, and I am glad. If you didn’t get it, here’s a link to help you learn what is going on.

Written by

Sculptor/Artist. Former programmer. Former volunteer firefighter. Former fencer. Weirdest resume on the planet, I suspect.

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