Friday, August 31, 2007

Friday Quiz

You just send the wife and kids away camping with friends for 3 days - what do you do?

A. Max out the credit cards (before they do the same on camping supplies) on strippers and booze.
B. Get rid of a full 20 yard dumpster.
C. Find out if what they say about German porn is true.
D. Use the free time to get rolling on the living room renovation.

Answer? E. All of the above, obviously.

The dumpster was picked up a short three hours after I called, which is about 72 hours faster than I expected them since they didn't know if they'd have somebody in the area before Tuesday due to the upcoming holiday. Again, this company has earned my repeat business and I'll recommend them without hesitation.

I'm starting on D after I get the living room cleaned out a bit of all the extra stuff I won't need in the way. Should be fun..... lots of fun.....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Let There be (a Velux 10") Light (Tube)

A few months ago, I picked up a Velux 10" light tube for our hallway. The hall has no windows, and since we usually keep our bedroom doors closed to keep the pets out, it's always dark. Even during the brightest part of the day we can't see if there are any dog toys on the floor. It's a painful problem - guess how I know this. Below is what it has looked like without the light turned on. Pardon the blury picture, the camera didn't like trying to get a pic in this low of light.

Step one of the install was determining where we were going to put the light tube. I cleared away what little insulation we have and marked the hole. I had to offset it slightly to make room for existing electrical wiring. Pay no attention to the crappy light fixture. It'll be replaced when we get around to renovating the hallway.

My biggest concern with this job was cutting a hole in my brand new roof. The flashing process is straight forward, but it's still a bit unnerving cutting a hole in the roof in an area which up until now has been watertight. In this picture, you can see the trim ring which is visible in the hallway and the polished tube connections at both ends. These ends rotate allowing you to line them up. In between will be a straight tube of polished metal.

From the outside, the light tube is pretty low-profile. Instead of using the standard felt that the instructions call for to help create a water-shed under the shingles, I used some left-over ice & water dam from the re-roofing. This material is thicker and has a sticky back. As you stick nails through it, it seals around the nails. From the road, this dome doesn't stand out anywhere near as much as I thought it would. Normally I would have put this on the back side of the house, but there wasn't enough open space due to a roof vent and plumbing vent. On the plus side of having it on the front of the house, it's got a southern exposure so the light tube brings in more light.

Once it was done, it brought in as much light as I had hoped. Here's the hallway with all lights turned off and no flash on the camera. Still not enough light in the camera's opinion, but good enough for me. Now we really get a good look at the crappy skid-mark brown carpet. The project took about 4 hours, and wasn't nearly as difficult as I had expected it to be.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

A&E's Flip This House, San Antonio Scumbags

First, let me say that I have less than zero respect for that raging piece of crap Armando and how he conducts business. With that said:

This week's episode (and I don't know if it was a rerun or not) had the previously mentioned shit-bag flipping a house which should have been condemned and bulldozed. It was filled with cat crap, rats, roaches, debris, etc. Just plain freakin' horrible. Bad enough that the neighbors called the police due to the smell.

Well, Armando figures he can just clean out the garbage and paint using some odor-neutralizing paint and he's good to go. Typical cheap-ass-don't-worry-about-who-may-actually-end-up-living-here-in-the-future attitude from him. His brother had the balls to quit on him so he wouldn't have his name on that project. Good for him.

As they get deeper and deeper into the flip, they end up having to replace drywall, plumbing, etc., all of which cost this cheap SOB plenty more than he expected. Since all he seems to care about is money, this made the episode fun to watch. I mean seriously, how could anybody with even a small slice of intelligence walk into a house that is literally caked in cat crap, urine, and worse, and figure that it's NOT going to cost a ton to clean it up correctly? Better yet, how could anybody figure the house could even be saved?

I am amazed at how he can disregard the potential health-issues like this. To my knowledge, they didn't remove any subfloors on the place (they could have been concrete, but they didn't really show). The odor-blocking paint probably helps, but that only covers the surface - the problem is that the urine is soaked into the wood. Anybody who dislikes cats (like me) knows how bad cat piss smells and how difficult it is to fully remove from a house - especially when it's hot & humid. Last I checked, Texas gets that way occasionally.

The condo I renovated a few years ago (here, here, here, and here) had a cat-piss problem, but it luckily localized in one area which we could daily wash with bleach. After a dozen washings it got a heavy coat of primer and paint. All molding was removed and replaced. New carpet tack-strips, padding, and carpet was installed over the concrete floor too, and we could still very faintly smell the piss if we got right down on the floor.

At the end of the show, they accepted an offer on the place from a lady with two young kids. I was happy to see that the sale fell through. She had two freakin' kids and they were going to sell her this polished-turd of a house. Nice ethics you got there, Armando - it looks like they've never been used. Shit-bags like you who are only interested in making money have a special layer of hell reserved just for you.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Fishbowl, Part 2

Woo hoo, I fixed the water problem (for now?) and there is no longer standing water in the window well. The rain has also really died down, but I like to think that what I just did took care of most of the problem. That would only be fair, since I probably caused the problem to begin with.

Back a few months, I replaced the old sump pump. At the same time, I installed a check valve at the pump because there was not one previously, and a large amount of the water pumped out would drain right back into the sump well. This was done at a time when we still had freezing weather, and once I added the check valve the water became trapped in the discharge hose since it couldn't drain back into the well like it had always done before. Well, the water in the hose froze and I had to cut the discharge hose to get the ice cleared so the pump could work. Once it was cleared, I just placed a larger diameter hose over it and directed it towards the low ground next to the house. What I didn't notice until now is that the thing was blowing water out right towards the house - about 1/3 of the water being discharged came right back to the house, right at the window well. After rigging up a temporary "much better than I had before" fix, it's now discharging over 99% of the water away from the house as it should. Within 20 minutes, the window well was empty. As we are expecting more rain over the next few days, I'll keep an eye on it.

Anybody else want to man-up and admit a major fvck-up which could have really turned into a disaster?

Living in a Fishbowl

Well, I asked for it in a previous post by calling Mother Nature out to test my chimney flashing, and although she didn't bring her A-Game, she did remind me that she wrote the rules and will enforce them at will. I've been checking my basement for signs of water during the plethora of rain we've been getting, to make sure I keep boxes and other stuff out of the water if any gets in. This afternoon, I went down and found a pretty healthy stream running from the back wall to the drain. It was coming in around one of the window wells, specifically the one by our patio. The same patio which is old, cracked, and which drains towards the house instead of away from it. You can see in the following pictures how much water is in the well - that dark line across the glass is the water level. There is easily 6" of water in that well, but none in any of the other wells. As long as the glass holds, we should be fine. If the glass fails, things could get a little messy. I'm heading down now to put a few layers of duct tape on the glass just in case.

From outside, it's not quite as evident thanks to the leaves and debris floating in the water.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Cheap Tar is not Always Good Tar

So yesterday, I mentioned that I found a small leak around the chimney. It wasn't enough to get me on the roof at night during the rain, so I put if off until today.

Today, I went up to take care of business, and found a couple of potential areas which could have been letting water seep in. I don't blame the guys who did the roof for me, as they used the material I purchased for them. Part of that purchase included $.99 tubes of roof tar on sale at Menards. Although it might have been good for certain roof work, it wasn't up to the job of filling in small voids around the flashing. It was actually very thin and runny tar, although that may be because it was well over 100 degrees when it was being used. The stuff I used today to go over all the flashing was $3.49/tube from Ace, and was noticeably thicker. In fact, it looked like tar mixed with small fibers. It did a great job in filling the voids and creating a smooth surface to keep water out. At least that's what I say now, since it's not raining and I can't prove otherwise.

I also added a cover for the chimney top which should keep water out. Previously, all I had was some chickenwire formed over the top to keep out birds and debris.

Come on, Mother Nature, bring it on!

Plumbing Tips for the Day, Learned the Hard Way

Two plumbing tips:

1. When the directions say "finger-tight" or "finger-tight plus 1/4 turn" or something very specific like that, they probably say it for a reason.

2. If you're going through all the trouble of replacing a toilet (or sink for that matter) and supply line(s), replace the old shut-off valve at the same time. It's $3.49 for a new 1/4-turn shut-off valve people, spend the freakin' money.

I bring these items up because I didn't bother listening to my own advice, resulting in a toilet replacement which took twice as long as it should have. I decided to replace the last remaining original toilet in the house because I'm sick of wasting water with the old one. I had the new one sitting here waiting for the past three months, but the bathroom remodel is still a month or two away. Might as well get rid of the old crapper while I have the dumpster! I decided to "save time" and re-use the original shut-off valve, even though it sprays water unless it's fully open or fully closed. Well, with the new toilet in it drips water through the packing. Ten minutes later, the water is off, the new valve is on, and the water is back on. That problem is solved. Now it's dripping water at the braided-stainless supply hose where it connects to the valve. Damn, I just tightened it down with a crescent wrench, well beyond the 1/4 turn recommendation. Off it comes so I can check the rubber washer. It looks OK, so I re-install and tighten the recommended way and it's finally done.

For now.

It'll have to come out soon so I can gut that bathroom for the renovation. At this time, I'm planning on moving the toilet location to help open up some room in there, since it's kind of a small bathroom in it's current configuration. We'll see how that goes.....

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Drip, Drip, Drip

We're getting some much needed rain. Finally.

It's helped me find the first (and hopefully ONLY) leak in the roof. It's a drip every 10 seconds by the chimney, so I figure it's probably the flashing. Since the rain is supposed to continue through the weekend, I should be able to get some quality time on the roof with some tar to seal it up. For now, a 5 gallon bucket in the attic will cover me for a while.

The House is on a Diet

Remember this crappy old laundry sink from an earlier post? Rusted out legs, leaking faucet, and slow drain? It was junk and needed to go.

It was replaced with this new unit from Menard's. It's about 400 pounds lighter, since it's not reinforced concrete.

The crappy old sink has been taking up space in the basement long enough, and since the dumpster is here, it's time to get rid of it. Out comes Mr. Sledgehammer and the old sink is now reduced to rubble. That trailer was really not liking carrying that much weight. I probably should have hooked it up to the tractor, but I didn't want to screw around with it since it was raining. If there wasn't so much wrong with this sink, I would have found a way to re-use it. Busting it up and hauling the debris up the stairs in buckets wasn't a whole lot of fun. At least it's done...

It's all your's, Nate. Come get it! It'll be in the dumpster next to your shed for a few more days.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Support the Locals

All aboard for the Going-Off-On-A-Tangent Express!

For this rant, I'm not talking about Home Depot and their "We can help" slogan which is a complete load of crap. Many of you are on-board with me on that one, so I won't kick that dead horse again for a day or two.

This time, I'm talking about one of my favorite pastimes - food. There are national chain stores for food, just like there is for home improvement. Home Depot, Lowes, TGI Fridays, Outback Steak House, etc., are all examples. It's getting harder to avoid the chain restaurants these days, but if you can look past the glitz and advertising of a popular "Australian" restaurant (which has as much in common with Australia as a pair of my dirty socks), there can be some damn good food to be found.

My focus is directed in this case to a new Indian restaurant near by. Prior to it opening, I had a 20+ minute drive to the closest place for Indian (Taste of India, in Brookfield WI - damn good food, but too far for a quick meal or take-out). Now I'm nice and close to the Taj Mahal which also has excellent food at very reasonable prices. Unfortunately, Muskego Beth and I are two of the few people who actually eat there. We're there often enough that the owner knows what my wife will order before we even sit down. Hell, I don't even know what it is, but I know it's not on the menu and they happily make it for her.

There is nothing wrong with the food or menu, and it's in a decent location with plenty of vehicle traffic. It's also gotten decent scouting report here by the local food critic, just prior to him dying and before he could go back and finish his review. They've also got a kick-ass buffet at lunchtime, which is just within my time limitations during the week for lunch.

For those of you not paying attention to what the problem is, they're getting no business while people line up around the block for a fvcking Bloomin' Onion. They can't go on like this for long, and I fear that next time I go there for dinner, they'll be out of business. That will suck.

I'll be second (behind my brother) to say that this part of Milwaukee isn't filled with the most worldly of people - probably part of the reason he got the hell out of here - but come on people, get out and live a little before you die. Next time you're going out to eat, try something different. Try some place which doesn't have tens of thousands of dollars to blow on advertising. Hell, try a local pub or brewhouse if nothing else. Try Indian food, or a Mexican place other than Taco Bell. Speaking of Mexican, there is a local place in a somewhat dumpy looking building which serves kick-ass food. The inside is very nice, and the owner/chef has some serious credentials in the area. Word spread and the place does good lunch business and gets packed for dinners. Yeah, it costs more than a Nacho-bel-Grande and you won't be served while you sit in your car, but the food is top shelf. Every city has places like this, get out and find them!

* This isn't mean as a knock against Outback - I like their burgers and cheese-fries. Given the choice, though, I think local-owned places like Kopp's has better burgers for the money. I've only had Outback's steak once, and was far from impressed.

** Note to my brother - Taj Mahal is in the same strip mall as George Webb's in Hales Corners, across the street from A&W. Since those places were there before we were born, you'll know where I'm talking about.

*** Warning to everybody else, my brother's blog is filled with vegetarianism stuff and info about commuting by bike. You've been warned... or informed, if you like that kind of stuff. On the good side, it's also got plenty of beer reviews.

Since Google will eventually crawl this post and anybody looking for a review of the Taj Mahal Restaurant in Hales Corner may find this post, let me just say again that the food at Taj Mahal in Hales Corners Wisconsin is fantastic. 5 out of 5 stars. Thumbs up. Gold Spoon Award. Just go try it. Hopefully the owner of the place finds this and gives me a free meal for the effort! :)

I'm done ranting now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

An Easier Way to Read Blogs

I know this may be old news for many of you, but for everybody else this could be useful (after re-reading a number of my previous posts, even I don't believe this blog has provided anything "useful" in the past).

Up until a few days ago, I bookmarked about 7 or 8 blogs which I liked to read. There were more that were of interest, but I didn't have any easy/quick way to check all of the individual blogs to look for updates. Anybody who's tried keeping up with a dozen different blogs knows what a headache it can be jumping around looking for updates.. Somewhere along the line, I read about the Google Blog Reader, which made keeping up to date with dozens of different blogs quick and easy. What I really like about it is how I can now track a couple of dozen different blogs, and each time I log on it tells me which blogs have updates. It'll also pull those updates right into the reader so I don't have to jump from blog to blog if I don't want to. It doesn't have the "charm" of the individual blogs, but I can live with that. If I want the charm, I just click on the link which takes me to the original blog. Try it if you haven't seen it. Now. I'll wait.

Google Blog Reader

Here's a picture of the program in action. As you see, you get the graphics from the blogs along with the text. If any of the blogs I'm watching had updates, they would be listed in bold on the left along with a number telling me how many new posts are on each blog. If you're completely anal retentive you can even put the blogs in folders to classify them - ranch houses, Victorian, east coast, milf, etc.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Note to Self

Old unfaced insulation itches like a mo-fo. The carpet is out of the attic, but I'll come back in a few days to remove the excess planking. It looks to be only held in with 1-2 nails per 4' length. Hopefully the Benadryl kicks in soon.

Aww, Hell No.

I started removing carpet from my attic this afternoon, since it is in the mid 70's outside and it should be tolerable if I run a box-fan to get the hot air out of the attic. I knew there was some planking in the attic, but with the carpet in place I couldn't get a good idea as to what was there. I removed one large piece of carpet and found that the PO planked a LOT more of the attic than I had expected. Plus, the planks had no spacing between them for me to check the depth of the existing insulation. I'm working on the assumption that the area between the joists under the planking is fully insulated, but I think I'm going to have to pull up a lot of the planks just to make sure. Plus, I need to install some recessed lighting in the kitchen and wouldn't be able to easily run the wiring if I leave the planks in place. I'm not really looking forward to this, but if the attic is cooled off a lot tonight it shouldn't take more than an hour to get most of the planks removed, along with the carpet. I do plan on leaving a small section of planking to get from one end of the house to the other, but since I'm not going to store anything in there other than insulation, the excess has got to go. There is about 4' of clearance between the plans and the peak of the roof. Being 6'3", I'm expecting this little adventure to suck.

By the way, the PO did have a nice way to get into the attic without going through the living area in the house. There is an access hatch in the wall of the garage. I'm not sure how safe it is as far as fire barriers go, but it's handy for getting crap (carpet and padding, for instance) in and out of the attic. There was a pulley attached to the rafters in the garage, so I just attached a small rope and it worked like a charm. Here, I've got a fan running to force as much hot air out as possible before I spend any quality time with the planks and insulation.

Hey Nate, here's your shed. I even left all the original nails in the wood for you. UPS didn't want to come pick it up for you for some reason. So much for "What can Brown do for you?"...

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I Love the Smell of Sawdust in the Afternoon. It Smells Like. . . . Victory.

After a week of hauling the old shingles, I'm finally done with that project. The roof still needs a little attention at the gutters and I still need to install the light tube, but the heavy work is done (finally). It still surprises me how much room the old shingles took up in the 20 yard dumpster. It's almost half-filled already! The trailer in the dumpster is what I used to move the shingles from the yard to the dumpster. Every effort was made to keep the debris as far forward and stacked as high as possible so I wouldn't be walking over nails. I also wanted to make sure I didn't waste room since I don't want to rent another dumpster any time soon. With the shingles done, it was time to destroy that crappy old shed.

Nate, these pictures are for you! The wood siding was in decent shape, but there was a lot of rot because the builder of this masterpiece didn't use pressure-treated wood. I started with the sledge hammer and knocked the siding off of two sides. The area with missing framing was heavily rotted and took almost no effort to remove. I was going to cut the shed into pieces, but found it was easier to just dismantle it with the sledge.

Here's why you should use pressure treated wood for the sill plates. The entire corner was rotted away and filled with bugs. It didn't help that the roof leaked heavily. I was surprised with how well the shed was built, but that they went stupid and used a flat roof and a swing-in door. The more I look at it, the more I think this wasn't really a shed, but more of a garden shed for potting plants. Size-wise, this shed would have been useless for lawnmowers or other lawn-care tools.

Did I mention the roof leaked? Black isn't a good color for roof supports. This beam was rotted, as were the ends of the roof decking which were above it.

Here, most of the roof has been taken apart except for the last bit which was above the shed door. The roof was covered with 4' x 4' shingles. Well, they weren't really shingles, but were made from the same material. There were plenty of nails holding the "shingles" in place, but none of them were caulked or covered in tar. The seams (and there were a LOT of seams on this roof) were also not caulked or tarred. Gee, I wonder why it leaked? Bad choice of roof design, no slope to the roof, and poor execution. This might have worked if they had used a one-piece rubber membrane of some type or at least slopped the whole roof with tar.

Friday, August 10, 2007

You Will be the First Against the Wall When the Revolution Comes

Days later, and I'm still schleping shingles from the yard into the dumpster. Who'd have known there were so many shingles on one roof?! The front, back, and one side are 100% done, leaving one small side to do tomorrow. The 20 yard dumpster is closing in on being 1/2 full - it's pretty much one solid mass of shingles now. If the old shingles weigh as much as the new ones, I'll probably end up with around 10,000 pounds of shingles in there (based on the weight of the 71 bundles which were just installed, coming in at around 5,400 pounds). The more time I spend in the backyard removing shingles (and lots and lots and lots of nails) the more I can't wait to get rid of the old shed which came with the house. It's got a swing-in door, meaning that about 1/3 of the room inside is wasted since you need to leave room for the door to open. It's also got a flat roof, which is pretty much the polar-opposite of a good idea here in Wisconsin. The 2 x 4 roof framing is rotting from years of leaks, and the thing is painted a wonderful shade of red which matches absolutely nothing else on our property. Well, that burning bush in front of it matches the shed for a few weeks a year, but that's not a good enough reason to keep it. After the shingles are all loaded up and we take a last sweep for nails, I'm going to break out Mr. Reciprocating Saw and cut that fvcker up. We'll be stuck with the old concrete pad from it until we get money to replace the patio, but at least we won't have an ugly shed 15' from the back door. Oh yeah, it was built 15' from the house instead of way back in the corner of the yard like normal people would do. When I look out one of our bedroom windows, the side of the shed is about 75% of my view. Nice....

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Soft hands. And a manicure. Never done a hard day's work in your life, have you?

From Trading Places, by the way.

I am one with the pitchfork. Unfortunately, I'll be one with it for the next few weeks. Couldn't somebody design a lightweight 25 year asphalt and gravel shingle which will hold up against snow, ice, and summer sun? Is that too much to ask? I think I'm getting blisters on my blisters. At least today was overcast, which kept the temps around 80. Pretty humid, thanks to yesterday's rain, but since we need rain so much right now I won't complain more than I already do.

That rolling magnet has so far been worth every penny I paid. My son has been "playing" with it and has found hundreds and hundreds of nails so far. My shoe found two, but luckily they were short nails and my delicate foot is safe. I'm probably about 1/3 done with the clean-up and expect to bleed before this is over. The 20 yard dumpster is about 1/4 full - I'm just hoping I have enough room left to throw out the crappy old shed, the old cement laundry sink, and all the human heads I've been collecting for years. I think I've finally outgrown that obsession.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

WTF Moment of the Day

Alright, so the roof is done (except for cleanup, which will probably go on for a couple of weeks - yay...). Just in time, as we're getting some of the only rain we've seen in over a month. Not hard rain, but enough to wet things down a bit. I figure it's a good time to check things out in the attic, although a real hard-rain would be the best trial-by-fire for it. Below is typical of the 45 year old decking - nice and solid. I didn't mention it before, but there was absolutely no rot or noticeable water damage found during the roofing.

The previous owners, who had lived here at least 30 years, installed some wood decking which goes from the opening into the attic all the way to the garage where there is an access hatch as well. You can barely see it on the wall to the left. This is the first time I got a look into the attic and it was "interesting". I had wondered about the venting and where the stove and bathroom vents exited the house, which I now know. That's not what was "interesting", though. The "insulation" is what I'm referring to.

I don't know if it's "Yankee Ingenuity", just plain cheap, or the first signs of Alzheimer's, but the previous owners used old carpet and padding as insulation. Seriously, WTF?!? Over the living room is this egg-crate style padding surrounded by REAL pink insulation. Yeah, that'll work well.

Even higher on the Lame-o-Meter is this old carpet and pad which matches the carpet in the hallway and the bedroom we tore carpet out of. What I really like is how it has compressed the real insulation, thus ruining what little R-value it originally had. Most of the attic has at most 6-8" of insulation, nowhere near enough for Wisconsin. I had planned to blow in some insulation this fall, but didn't know I was going to have to remove carpeting from my freaking attic before I did so.

Before anybody asks, my home inspector did mention carpeting in the attic, but I thought me meant that they rolled some up and stored it in the attic, not that they actually tried to use it for insulation. I did look briefly while he was up there checking out the decking, but I didn't want to climb up there as I was still in my work clothes. I'm really interested in seeing how much easier the house is to heat & cool once this is done correctly. I'll have to check out the venting around the soffits when I do this to help the airflow. That should be loads of fun, so I'll wait until cool weather before I do it.

Roofing is Done, and Now Cleanup Sucks

By noon on day 4, the roof was done. My mad-purchazing-skillz served me well - I was only short 11 bundles of shingles (I was trying to get away without having any extra, but that backfired a little bit) and only used one of the two 20' ridge vents. I didn't see any reason in using the other roll, as I could have only used about 5' of it and would have wasted the other 15'. Might as well return it and get the $50 back. Most of my running for stuff on this job was for stuff like tubes of tar, ice, Gator Ade, etc. The roof is done, but that doesn't mean my work is done. Now comes the el-sucko job of clean-up. Usually people put down tarps to catch the debris from the roof, but since there were only two guys working (and our tarps suck), I had the debris dropped directly on the ground. It is easier to pick up with a pitchfork this way, though. My only concern will be nails which the rolling magnet doesn't get, I figure I'd have those either-way, so I'm going to hope for the best and pay the kids to use the magnet every few days.

Ah, sweet, sweet, ridge-vent goodness, how I've looked forward to having you. 20' of Owens Corning with the top shingled.

From the garage side of the house, the last side to be done.

Remember how I said that the previous colors on the roof might have faded a little? Well, make that "a LOT". I found this little gem mostly protected from the sun, and it shows that the second layer of shingles was actually RED! How freakin' ugly can you get! Red roof, brown and white trim, and tan brick. Yeah, that'll look good...

Friday, August 3, 2007

Even When You're Not There to Hate it, Roofing Still Sucks

Lucky for me, I had to go in to work today and take care of some projects. Lucky for the guys doing my roof too, I guess, as without me the temp was only around 83 or so. I came back at lunch and brought them pizza and was surprised to see that they had the whole back side of the house stripped down to the planks. That's about as far as they got on a full day Wednesday with me there to "help", so the cooler weather really gave them a boost. Well, they're also leaving with the wives on Sunday for Vegas so they really kinda needed to move it along so the roof would be done. By the time I got home at 4:15 the felt was down and the roof was about half shingled. I made a run to Menards for another 10 bundles of shingles, as I didn't account for waste or ridge caps in my initial purchase of 60 bundles. I thought it was too good to be true.... By 7:30, the back side of the roof was done, as was the front and one side. All that remains is the other small end of the house and all the ridge work.

Old Lameness (installed about 25 years ago)

New Hotness (installed today)

The history of shingle colors at my place. On the bottom is the original plain gray 3-tab. On top is the second layer, a kind of sandy-tan type of color. Both may have faded over the years, but these should still be pretty close to the original colors.

Whoever invented the Shingle Shear deserves a big sloppy kiss. This thing works great at cutting shingles! My shingles don't come in pre-cut pieces for ridges, and I wasn't looking forward to cutting each shingle into three pieces and then trimming the top edges down. I pee'd a little out of excitement when Steve brought this baby out. It works like a paper shear you used to see in grade school, but it cuts shingles. Each shingle took about 30 seconds to finish cutting into three ready-to-go pieces for the ridge. (this isn't my roof, by the way - it's a stock picture from the internet)

The plan is to have the entire roof done by noon tomorrow. Clean-up of the old shingles will take me days, I'm guessing.

In closing, Your Honor, I humbly submit to you that roofing continues to suck more than any suck that's ever sucked a sucks suck.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Roofing Still Sucks, Day 2

Today was pretty much a duplicate of yesterday with regards to the heat. Low 90's and plenty of sun. Before the guys got here to get working, I took a few pictures of where we stopped yesterday. The front has most of the felt laid down and it's ready for shingles. I have a little bit of clean-up to do as well. Mr. Good-Judgment says shingles and nails do not make a safe path to the front door.

As I mentioned yesterday, I was considering getting a dumpster because loading the shingles into a trailer, taking them to the dump, and then unloading them by hand sucks. I got a couple of prices this morning, and of the two companies in the running, the one I went with was not only $100 cheaper for a 20 yard (they didn't have a 15 yard so I got the next size up for no extra cost), but could also deliver within two hours and I could keep the thing for 60 days. The other place would pick up in 5 days, didn't have anything the size I needed, and cost more. Not a hard decision to make... The car ramps at the door of the dumpster allow me to pull the trailer for my garden tractor into the dumpster so I can fill it from one end to the other. This work still sucks, but it doesn't suck as bad as taking the shingles to the dump. $290 well spent.

By around 10:30 they were making decent progress considering the heat. I think the shingles are a little darker than I had wanted, but it's too late now. It's hard to get a good feel for shingle color when you only have a 3' x 3' display to look at. It's not perfect, but it's good enough.

Anybody who is re-roofing their house or even if you're just having the whole thing done for you, if there is tear-off involved, buy one of these rolling magnets! I was amazed at how many nails I found a few feet from where the shingles were landing. I guess they make a run for it when they're finally free from the roof.

End of day, day 2. The front is done and the right side is about 70% done. Timing was pretty good, because just as we were getting the last bit of material down to protect against the 20% chance of rain, we had about 10 minutes of light rain. It was just enough to get everything wet, but not enough to do any damage to exposed areas.

I'm ending this post with a quick few words of wisdom. Roofing sucks. Roofing Sucks. Roofing SUCKS. Next time you get an estimate for having a roof replaced and wonder why it costs so much, it's because the work sucks. I honestly can't believe people do this for a living in hotter climates than Wisconsin. I'd sooner french-kiss a rabid badger than do this again.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Roofing in 93 Degree Heat SUCKS

Re-roofing the house started today as planned. By noon it was 93 degrees and sunny. No shade, no breeze. The two guys I hired busted ass until around 2:00, at which time they had to stop working until around 6:00. They were sweating like pigs, and that was a very reasonable request considering I'm getting a good deal on the job to begin with. I was very impressed with how they handled the heat, something I can't do. I was chasing shingles, doing clean-up, etc but I just couldn't handle the heat (I came very close to getting heat stroke a few years back and haven't been able to handle that kind of physical work in heat since then). Anyway, on with the pictures. First we get a picture of the roof as it was at 8:00 this morning. Two layers of old shingles. The top layer was at the end of it's life and there were a couple of small leaks, but nothing I had to worry much about. To the left of the chimney is the old antenna for the house. That's gone now, which should clean up the look of the roof a little. I was tempted to keep it to get high-def local TV, but I don't have a high-def TV. It's garbage now.

I was concerned with what kind of condition the decking would be in. The home inspector said that the inside of the roof looked like it was in great condition, but you never know until you get everything removed. An hour or so into the tear-off, we found the decking to be in as good of shape as I had hoped. Nothing other than a bunch of loose nails to pound down. This is the front, so I haven't gotten to the back side where the chimney is, which I know had a small leak. The back also has the vents which may need some attention. These guys have done a number of roofs and said this is in much better condition than the typical roof they see.

By about 2:00, most of the front exposure is removed, with just the edge around the gutter to be finished. We also took delivery on the shingles, felt, starter strips, and ice & water barrier. $50 for delivery via forklift to the roof. A boom delivery would have been a little easier, but we only had to walk about 15' max with the shingles to get them off the forklift to where we stacked them on the roof. Not bad - I saved around $50 this way. After the guys got back around 6:00, we finished the front and right side exposure and got the ice & water barrier down along with about half of the felt. Tomorrow morning we'll finish the felt on the two exposures and get those exposures shingled. There is a chance of rain tomorrow afternoon, so this will limit how much of the roof I have to worry about. Also tomorrow comes more hard labor. You can see in this last picture that I've got a trailer parked in front of the door. We're loading shingles into the trailer for me to take to the dump. If I were rolling in dough, I'd have rented a dumpster. I still might - hauling and unloading the old shingles by hand SUCKS.