Sunday 19 February 2012

Extension Roof

There's a job we've been keeping back; not 'saving for a rainy day' but the opposite, saving for a warm sunny day. That is to replace the 'flat' roof of the extension. Not quite flat, it does have a bit of a fall on it away from the house but the tar-felt flashing and wooden structure at the join of extension roof to main house roof has broken down over the years and wet has got in causing rot and damage. The roof was only made of cheap fibre board anyway, so this has all puffed up like wet Weetabix and the water squeezes out between the roofing felt layers when you walk on it (carefully). But roofing is no fun in the wind and rain, so we'd been keeping the job back till a nice one was forecast.

Sparks arrived back on site Tuesday morning declaring that he had heard just such a forecast on the radio and we were green for go. We looked rather dubiously at the ten-tenths cloud and miserable sky, and the wind pushing the tree tops about and decided to risk it. Needless to say the forecast was wrong and the boys spent the day up there freezing and getting regularly doused with drizzly rain but once they'd broken through the old roof they didn't have a lot of choice but to carry on to the bitter end, or the bad rain now being forecast for later in the week would get in. Dad says it was the coldest and dampest, rawest work day so far but still not as bad as the clay-shovelling days! Sparks says "Oooh... I dunno... Give me shovelling any day!"

Anyway, these few pictures give you an idea of the task. Breaking into the roof was easy - just stab it with a crow bar in the middle till you have a hole and then make it bigger. Carefully lift and prize up the slates (These are man made modern slates, not the split-out-of-rock ones, but are still a bit brittle so we have bought 5 spares in reserve in case we break any). In our case don't take enough notice of the fancy jig-saw puzzle arrangement around the roof-join so that you have a good head-scratching conundrum at re-assembly time! Pull up and toss down into the yard all the old rotten roof; later square away to bonfire for evening warmth.

Wrangle new 8 by 4 sheets of modern, waterproof ply up stairs and through between bathroom roof joists while ensuring Sparks does not take off like a para-glider across the fields. Nail gun new sheets down, cut and fit bits of complete roof. Make bit that runs up the roof rafters under the slates. Paint new roof with gloopy black bitumen primer. Lay strips of underlay tar-felt (no green sand) long-ways down slope overlapping, heat with flame thrower so that it melts down onto primer and neighbouring sheets for good seal. Lay top-coat sand-covered green colour tar-felt at 90 degrees overlapping up the slope and torch this down to previous layer and itself. Make edges good where they lay down onto facing boards, leaning precariously over the edge and using heavy nail-gun back towards yourself. Now "simply" (ha ha!) remake the join between new roof and old by solving jigsaw puzzle of removed slates.

All this to be accomplished in the gaps between the drizzle showers. If you can arrange for Mum to call you down for a bacon sandwich when the worst of the rain hits, so much the better. You may have to squeegee the rain off the roof between flame-thrower activities. Never believe a weather forecast again, especially if it says warm bright sunny day in February in Roscommon. Never mind. The job got done and the boys all warmed up eventually, especially once the bonfire was lit.


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