Razing the roof


The house has a moderately pitched shake roof on the north side, which is in reasonable shape, given that it’s upward of 25 years old. But the south half is topped by a gently sloped tar and gravel roof. Four solar hot water panels add to the stress, and a musty smell had developed inside the house. That’s certainly bad news; better to take care of it now than wait for the roof to collapse.

I don’t have a picture of the before situation. The shot below shows the roof after the solar panels were lowered to the ground and the old roof stripped off. I asked the roofers to save the gravel for me; I used it to fill a drywell I dug for one of the new rain drains to be installed, and also to fill several other low places around the yard.


The ratty looking areas are places where water leaked in around the solar panel fittings over the years. Dry rot galore! Notice that the stucco below the clerestory windows has been broken out. We will also have a painting job in a couple of weeks.


Same view, after removing the plywood sheathing.


And a close-up of the dry rot. That ragged looking vertical surface is a rafter! Ewww!


Here’s how it looks a day or two later. As we see, the rotten sections have been cut out of the rafters.


… and replaced with reinforcement. This needs to be built up as strong as it was originally, because the solar panels will go back into the same place.


A couple days later, the roofers delivered the material for the new surface. A large truck with a conveyer belt boom, and they backed it carefully to the edge of the house, the boom operator steering the boom through the trees and past the corner of the house.


I shot pictures continuously, just in case I needed evidence of an expensive misstep. But there were no missteps.


Here’s the guy offloading hundred-pound rolls of material. He told me he was a firefighter in a previous life. Notice the harness centered at the middle of his back. Falling off a two-story roof would be seriously bad news without that.


The excitement was up top, but on the side, they also replaced the old and worn shakes on a couple of first-story extensions.


A view with the mounting blocks for the solar panels installed.


Here’s how they look, close-up. Seals all around, and the lag screw head covered with a wooden block.


A day or two later, with the flashing around the blocks. Yet one more layer of roofing will go on, the final layer above the flashing metal. And there’s another steel cap that goes down onto the whole thing.


The guys nearing the finish. The final surface is white again, but is not covered by gravel.


Next step: get the solar panels back up. Paint the new stucco. Relax and enjoy.

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