Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Garage Roof Update #5 (The race is ON!)

It's Monday morning and the weather reports still look dismal for the afternoon/evening. There is a storm coming to Seattle out of the Gulf of Alaska. This is bad because at this point the roof doesn’t have the ridge cap shingles installed. This means rain water would get under the sheeting and shingles that are already up there.

On Sunday night I put up a tarp and black plastic to try and protect the un-shingled areas of the roof.
So, I head to work on Monday with plans to finish the roof after work. The race against the storm is going to be very tight.

At about noon I get a call from Tina (who is at the house) that the storm winds have picked up and blown off the plastic and tarp... oh well, so much for my safety net. So, I call Bob and he volunteers to head over to the house early and finish the roof before the rain starts (did I mention this guy is awesome!).  On my way home I get a call from Bob. We have run out of nails with 4 ridge cap shingles left to install (8 nails needed). Grrr.. this job is always so close, yet so far..
So, I pick up some nails on my panic drive back to the house.

After 4 days, 4000lb of disposed waste, 17 sheets of plywood cut and installed, and 17 bundles of shingles nailed down; Bob drives the last nail into the roof and we are finished. We have won the race!

Bob and I head to King's Hardware for burgers and beers (well, Bob had a lemonade... who's the man now Bob??? Ha!)

The rain starts within 2 hours of us finishing.

You can see the rain clouds rushing in acoss the Puget Sound.

Update: I climbed up into the garge attic during the heavy rains this week.  It is dry as a bone up there!  No drips, no moisture.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Garage Roof Update #4 (Shingle me timbers)

Sunday morning starts with a delicious scramble (a la Tina) and a strong cup of joe. Today we are ready to start the most exciting and satisfying part of the job: laying down the new shingles.

First things first. A bundle of PABCO Premier shingles weighs ~70lb each. They are somewhat awkward to carry because the are flimsy and bend into a U shape when you pick them up. So, I was curious as to how Bob planned on getting these bundles onto the roof.

So, I asked... "Hey Bob, should I start planning to build a ramp so we can rope these bundles up onto the roof?".

And Bob replied.. "Awwwe you're so cute. Now, be a man and carry them up the ladder".

With this, he slung a bundle over his shoulder and scurried up the ladder. So, I tried to follow suit. Wow, these things are heavy... You droop one over your shoulder and start a shaky climb up to the roof. I am now half way up the ladder and I can't decide which is burning more; my shoulder or my quads.

Luckily Bob gave me plenty of opportunity to practice this technique. I carried 15 of the 17 bundles onto the roof. I realized today that, if you are a roofer... you don't need a gym membership.

As I carried the shingles up onto the roof Bob began installing them. First he started by installing the drip metal and the starter shingles (just simple tabs installed at the edges). Then he began to show me how to "cut a book" of shingles to start your pattern properly. It's amazing, but the entire system is based on one "gage" dimension (in this case 5 5/8").

All of a sudden I could see the patterns begin to take shape... it was an amazing feeling.  These shingles have such a beautiful "slate type" look with 3-D shadows etc (hence the architectural designation).

Actual image from the garage roof

We worked until 2pm, when Bob had to leave, and finished about 90% of the roof (only things left are a few shingles and the ridge cap (very top line of shingles).  Here is a sneak peak:

Tina and I were left with the rest of the day to clean up the old roof debris that had fallen around the back and side edges of the building (the front pile was already transfered to the dumpster).

Roof Update #3 (Saturday)

So, we have the old roof torn off and moved into the dumpster by 1pm on Saturday. Moving the rubbish pile took about 5 hours and countless wheelbarrow loads.

We are now about mid-way through this endurance race against the winter rains. According to the forecast the rain was going to start Monday evening (and not stop until May of 2010, this is Seattle after all). This gave a little bit of extra motivation, because I would have a huge mess on my hands if it started raining in the middle of the job.

Right about the time the rubbish is all cleaned up, Bob shows up to start installing the new materials to the garage structure. Also, a few other friends came over to show off their carpentry skills:

The crew

The first step in the process of installing a new roof was to lay the foundation. Because the old roof was originally cedar shingles the roofing support structure was composed of lath or rib type boards. Modern roofs use CDX (plywood) or OSB (chip board) as the support structure.

So, we had to cut CDX panels to fit the stud spacing just right. The idea is to make sure that you drive all of your galvanized 8 penny nails through the CDX sheet and into the studs. This creates a very stiff sub-structure to lay the roofing materials on. Unfortunately nothing about these old buildings is straight, so we ended up making some pretty crazy cuts to get the panels to fit.
Here you can see how we install the CDX to the old structure

This process of installing the sheeting took us approximately 6 hours to finish. As it started to get dark, Bob installed the 30lb felt paper onto the roof using a tack nailer (like a hammer and a stapler combined). It has been a long and laborious day, time to enjoy a delicious cold beer from the cooler.

Bob installs the felt paper at the end of a long Saturday

Monday, September 28, 2009

Garage Roof Update #2 (Our new trash can)

Who would have thought a 20 yard dumpster would have fit in our little driveway perfectly?

After doing the math to calculate the cost of different waste disposal options, it turns out the dumpster is the best combination of reasonable price and convenience.  Also, it will afford us the opportunity to dispose of all the other rubbish that was left behind by the prior owners.  I figure it will be 6000lb of waste by the time we are done.

6000lb Disposal = 6 dump runs +405$


6000lb Disposal = dumpster + 489$

I am willing to pay the extra $80 to not have take 6 trips to the dump.  The nice thing about a dumpster is that you only have to load it... which makes it about 1/2 the physical labor when compared to making trips to the dump.  Probably a time savings of 50%+ as well.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Garage Roof Update #1 (I am all that is man)

In the last lap of my race against winter I have decided to re-roof our detached garage.  The inspector that we used during the house purchasing process made it clear that the old roof was leaking and needed to be replaced.  Luckily I have a friend named Bob (no, not Bob the Builder) who did roofing for many years and is willing to lend a hand and show me the ins and outs of roofing.

So far I have:

1)  Sourced the roofing materials.  I did a bit of shopping around and it became clear that Stoneway Roofing was the best place to buy all the materials.  They have great prices, good quality materials, and are very knowledgeable and helpful.  The total bill for 450 sqr ft of 30 year PABCO shingles (nice achetechural type), plywood sheet, nails, vents, starter shingles, etc, etc.. is ~$650.

When I ask Bob if I should just buy the stuff at HomeDepot he said: "You have TWO choices: Stoneway or Stoneway. That's it. If you buy any other shit I'll make you return it with a pink dress on."

2)  Cleared the roof.. The old roof was sooo covered in mystical backyard sludge.  It was horrible.  Also, many of the overgrown trees and bushes were resting on the roof.  It was a mess.  I spent about 4 hours cutting all of the branches back (don't tell my mom that I used a chainsaw while standing on a roof) and shoveling the scum off the roof.  I should say about 1000lb of stuff hit the ground (branches + sludge).  I tried to get pictures.. kinda hard to see the extent of the change



3)  Torn off the old roof.  Luckily a co-worker of mine had a roofing spade that I could borrow.  This is a special tool used for tearing up roofing materials.  Bob came over at 5pm on Thursday evening.  I had a cooler full of beer, coke, and bottled water waiting.  That's what every roof job needs.. a wet bar.

Once we started tearing up the roof we found that there where actually 3 roof surfaces over the garage.  The people before had been cheap/lazy and not tore off the old roofs before laying down the new stuff.  The bottom layer was the original 98 year old cedar shingles.  After ~3 hours of intense labor we had the 3 roof surfaces torn off.  4000-6000lb of material came off.

Bob was very good at using the roofing spade.. he had a technique that looked easy, but was actually very difficult once I tried it.  Bob is master roof-er tear-er off-er.

 I am not sure what I was thinking.. .but I didn't really consider the problem of disposing of all this material.  I now have to figure out the best way to get rid of 2-3 tons of waste.  This could actually end up costing me more than it did to buy all the new materials.  I have to weigh the cost of having a company come and take care of the waste vs taking 5-6 trips to the dump.....

....... to be continued.

Monday, September 21, 2009


All day on Friday I left the cover off MV Miss Behaven so that she could dry out a bit. At 4am on Saturday morning I awoke to the sounds of pouring rain fall, floating in through the open bedroom window. Ah crap!!! I jumped out of bed, into a house coat, and out to cover up the boat.

The good news is that I was able to watch my hotrod gutters work their magic. For the first time in 10 years, the down spouts actually flowed water off the roof and to the intended drain off spots. It rained pretty hard, and I was only able to find one spot that was leaking (a rusty guttering junction).

The neighbors must have thought I was out of my mind.. standing in the rain at 4am proudly inspecting my house's gutter performance with a flash light.

Well, later that morning (once the sun came up) I walked around the house to find an 18" "border" of dry soil all the way around the perimeter. And, there wasn't even a hint of moisture in the basement!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Get your mind out of the gutter...

This weekend was our chance to get caught up on all the preparations for a long wet winter. The ol' cottage gets a wet basement when it rains hard and I believe this is due to poor roof run-off management. (As we all know from our days in pre-school... there is nothing more embarrassing than a wet basement!)

So, I decided it was time to clean the gutters and make sure that all the down-spout routing would get us through the winter without any sump pumping. This should be easy right?? HA!

7:30am: Head to Java Bean and use one of their lattes to wash down a delicious jalapeno bagel with mounds of cream cheese.

8:30am: Pull out the ladder and climb onto the roof to take stock of the situation.

First observations:
- the pitch of our roof is very steep
- the gutters are hopelessly clogged.. my suspicions have been confirmed.
- the shingles are overhanging the gutters too much (75%) making it impossible to get a tool in them to clean out the gutter butter

9am: Realizing that it is suicidal to walk around on the steep roof (I tried three different types of shoes with little luck) I decided that the job will have to be done via the ladder... moving it along the perimeter of the house (blah, this is going to take a long time).

Well.. looks like this won't work either. When I put the ladder up against the side of house, top resting on the the gutter, and climb up the force of my manly girth bends the aluminum gutter closed making it even more difficult to clean. As my friend Jared once said... I refuse to apologize for my manly build.

10am: It's starting to get hot out... I am sweating like a fat kid in a cake eating contest. I decide that because the ladder won't work I will have to make due and risk walking around on the roof. But, to be safe I will tie a rope to the chimney and use it as a safety line.

So, I grab an old piece of anchor line from the MV MissBehaven and start the climb. The roof is steep enough that I am on my hands and feet trying to climb. I finally make it to the crest of the roof and tie the line to the chimney. Then, I realize that this is the dumbest idea I have ever had... untie the rope and sssssssllllliiiiiidddde down the roof slope back to the ladder (I was praying the entire way..). Our roof is way way up there and a fall would guarantee broken bones if not death.

If you have not tried to walk on a roof that is too steep to walk on... it inspires a special kind of fear.

11am: My shaking has subsided from the scare of trying to get off the roof. I am stumped.. can't get the job done from the ladder and can't get it done from the roof. No wonder the gutters haven't been cleaned since the first Great Depression (seems fitting that I clean them during the second one).

So, I start doing the one thing that always fixes any problem... call all of the smartest people I know and see if anyone has any ideas. Fortunately, my dad has this same problem at his house and came up with a solution... a ladder accessory from Home Depot.

12pm: Drive to Nana's and use a large steaming bowl of delicious baked potato soup to wash down a turkey melt on panini. Then, off to Home Depot.. buy the ladder accessory and head home.

1:30pm: 6 hours into the job, and I dropped my first scoop of gutter muck to the ground. Notice how the ladder accessory allows me aviod crunching the gutters:

I am scared of heights, but Tina told me there was chocolate cake on the roof.. and up I went

Now, don't forget... the shingles are covering too much of the gutters for me to get any tools into them... so, I used a pair of tin snips to slowly trim the shingles back enough to expose the gutters and then scooped out the muck.

7pm: I have been slogging away and have about 5' of gutter left before I can crack a few poor unsuspecting Rainier Beer cans. AND, just when I thought I had this day "in the bag" I stumble upon a wasp nest in the last section of gutter. I have never climbed down a ladder quicker.

7:30pm: Spray wasp poison foam on the nest and wait until tomorrow to finish. Take a shower and two Rainiers. Then, head to Zak's and use a few more Rainiers to wash down a delicious cheese burger and fries. Then, Tina and I head to Bob's B-Day party at Ballard Loft.

Bob: "I won't do any shots unless you do them with me"


6:30am: Where am I?... where is the bathroom?

8am: Head to Salmon Bay Cafe for an old fashioned breakfast (made the old fashioned way). Mmmm chicken fried steak.

9am: Back to work! I finish up the gutters now that the wasps are dead. Then, I route drainage pipe from all the down spouts to move the runoff water away from the house. For this winter they will have to stay above ground, but once we start our yard refurbish next year they will all be buried.

12pm: Head to Taqueria Tequila and use two Coronas to wash down a plate of asada (steak) tacos.

Tina decides that she wants to make an indoor garden that we can use for fresh herbs. So, we head to Swansons and put something together. Swansons is, by far, the coolest nursery I have ever been too. Very very cool place. I recommend you check it out if you are in the Seattle area.

There is the final result:

7pm: We meet up with friends @ Big Time Brewery and I use a few pints of Atlas Amber to wash down down some special meat pizza.

9pm: As I sleep in my bed, I dream of rain...................

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

It's a monster

So, we have started to clean and organize the basement. It has been a huge mess due to all of the ongoing projects that we have been cranking on (with minimal cleaning time).

I picked up a pair of overalls and this giant monster fell out and ran away at about 58.7 mph. I screamed like a little girl...

Once my crying subsided, I grabbed a can of the most caustic chemical I own: gasket remover. This stuff is crazy.. you can see it bubbling on the cement.

I kid you not... this spider was ~3.5 inches in diameter (legs included) and it was fast.

I triple-dog-dare you to click on the above image.

(I can't shake the feeling that something is crawling up my back... I am going to have nightmares tonight.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

G Theif just sent a new photo... This one is boring.
Come on G-Theif, show me a photo of my Gnome speeding down the autobahn at 220km/h. Give me something interesting.

(P.S. does anyone recognize these shelves?)