Saturday, September 1, 2012

Adventures in Home Ownership

Monday morning, Mark said, "I think I'll fix that leak around the skylight."

Dangerous words, my friends.

"I think I can have it done in two days," he said.

Always double your estimate.

I told him to just take out the skylight. It's a cumbersome thing, installed by a previous homeowner in the 70s. It's always leaked from time to time. It's over a small bathroom (downstairs). It's nice to have the extra light, but not worth the pain of dealing with links.

"I think I'll put in one of those SolaTubes," he said.


So his brother Greg came over, and they ripped into the skylight. In the photo below, you can see the skylight frame behind Greg. The black triangle leading up to the skylight frame is called a "cricket." The cricket is supposed to funnel water away from the skylight, so it won't build up behind it and leak. Operative phrase here: supposed to.

 See how Greg is standing on a part of the roof that tilts to a lower level? The roof over the kitchen (behind him) is actually higher than the roof over the bathroom (under his feet). The roof was designed with a slant down from the kitchen to the bathroom area. Bad idea. It funnels even more water to back up behind the skylight. Mark decided the slant was going to have to come out, which was going to mean structurally rebuilding that section.

 Here's the room minus the cricket. A bunch of the shingles have been removed. And the tarpaper. And what was beneath the tarpaper? Uh-oh. Dry rot.

Mark spent all day Tuesday uncovering dry rot. And more dry rot. Amid all the bad dry-rot news, he did uncover one piece of good news. The problem with the slant? No rebuilding required. The proper roof pitches were already in place under the tarpaper. He just had to take out some triangle supports someone had put between the two levels years ago, to create the stupid unnecessary slant area.

By Tuesday afternoon, we were feeling a little anxious. It was taking waaaay too long to take everything apart. Mark had a commitment to be gone all day Wednesday, and there was a 20% chance of rain in the forecast.

Phil May to the rescue! That's him--the blur--in the orange shirt in the photo above. He came over after he got off work and stayed till dark. He and Mark were able to get the new particle board down (Mark's sitting on it), and cover it with new tarpaper. You can see some of the nasty dry-rot area in the roof above the kitchen in the foreground of the photo. Ewww...

After a fun all-day fishing trip on Wednesday, Mark spent all day Thursday (again) on the roof. It's starting to look better here. The dry rot has all been removed, and the particle board is down in all the sections. The old skylight is completely gone and the hole is covered over. The 2x4 in the middle of the photo is where the roof level changes; Mark is getting that area ready to install a new flashing.

Thursday evening Phil May (center) and Mike Forkner (right) came over to help again. Phil works in a lumber yard and Mike used to do remodeling as his full-time work, so they brought some great skills with them. Not only that, but they brought fresh energy and comaraderie to a project that was beginning to feel never-ending. In the photo above, all three of them are checking out the new SolaTube they just installed.

 Friday: steady progress. Getting ready to install the flashing between the two roof levels...

...and the SolaTube (round thing in the left of the photo) is installed. There were also two vent pipes that had to be dealt with. One of them had to be changed to a different location. That work is finished by this time.

We had some other commitments this morning, but Mike Forkner came back over this afternoon and helped Mark get almost all the shingles nailed in place. Now the big thing left to do is install the flashing between the siding (side of the upstairs) and the roof. It's hard to tell in the photo because Mark is standing in the shade (thank goodness for the maple tree in the back yard - made the roof project bearable), but Mark is grinning ear to ear.

Come to find out, the cause of the skylight leak and all the dry rot was the piece of flashing that butts up to the siding of the house. When we had our new roof installed by a contractor about 10 years ago, that flashing was installed incorrectly. (Too bad we didn't know about it then.) For years, instead of guiding the rain water out over the shingles, it has been funneling water underneath the shingles. Some years the leaking is worse than others because more water backs up behind the skylight all at once during heavy rains. Other years it's not so bad.

Unfortunately, the contractor has moved away and we don't have current info, so we're not able to have him come back and correct the problem.

Mark should be able to finish the project completely on Monday or Tuesday. He still needs a few more supplies, so it depends if the roofing store is open on Labor Day.

Ah, the joys of living in a farmhouse that is over 100 years old!

In other Laurel Lane news today...
 Kat and Sarah came over to pick blackberries in the back yard. Great idea! Every berry they pick means one less berry to try to grow and take over my yard.

They really wanted to make jam. That hadn't been on my "to do" list for the day, but why not? I sent them back out to pick more berries so we would have enough for the recipe.

They picked 6 cups of blackberries, all on their own. We cooked the berries and made 3 quarts of jam. They were so tickled. Thanks for coming over, Kat and Sarah!


Julia - Finding My Way Softly said...

What a lot of work! I am glad that you figured it out before the dry rot got worse. I assume that was the reason for the problems in the downstairs bathroom when we stayed with you. How far over the kitchen was the dry rot?

I am sure the twins loved Grandma time! As a bonus they made a great memory, and yummy jam!

Kathy Haynie said...

The flashing problem sent the water under the shingles for about 3 feet of the higher roof. Approximately over the pantry. None of the water dripped down into the house itself except around the skylight, and then only during heavy rains. It was definitely a problem last winter.

Yes, the twins and I had a great time. One moment of hilarity - we had Hunter in with us for most of the jam-making because Max & Maleena showed up to pick blackberries after the twins. Hunter was getting into my box of backpacking supplies that needs to go back out to the garage. He got ahold of the box of powdered egg-replacer and dumped it on the floor, with part of it over his head. White super-fine powder everywhere in the kitchen. Oh, my. I made Maleena come in and help clean up. Meanwhile the jam was boiling away.

Randell Jeffries said...

It’s a good thing that the dry rots were removed, Kathy. I actually considered them as silent destroyers of the roof. As you can see, they thrive in the roof space which is not often seen. And if undiscovered, it might worsen the situation of your roof. I assumed your roof is back in good shape now. Congrats!

Randell Jeffries

Mariam said...

“Always double your estimate.” – I agree with this. This applies to any kind of home repair. Anyway, the previous skylight was installed more than 3 decades ago. So, the leaks were just probably a call for a

Mariam Freame ^.^

Joann Winton said...

Really? That skylight was installed way back in the 70s? It surely does need some repairs, but if you think it can’t be repaired, just go buy a new one. The best and safest way to install everything properly is to hire reliable roofing contractors to do the job for you.

-Joann Winton