Friday, June 15, 2012


In 1987 I put a large addition on my house and did the roofing myself. Including the old part of the house it was about 1600 square feet at three levels. When you put down 25 year shingles you don't think about redoing the job. You know they don't last forever but it's hard to imagine that you will be involved in their replacement.

Well here we are 25 years later and though there are no leaks that we know of the roof is pretty funky in places, covered with moss and lichen. So this summer we determined it was time to do the job. I briefly considered hiring it out but decided I had one more roofing job in me.

It's interesting revisiting this task. Same job, different body. Two long weekends and I am maybe 1/3 of the way. Each part takes longer than expected though I can't say I remember how long it took the first time. I'm holding up OK though Advil is my friend at the end of the day. I bought a "fall kit', OSHA approved body harness and ropes, to be on the safe side. I'm doing this to save money and that just doesn't hold up if I go and hurt myself.

With good luck I will be here the next time this needs to be done. I hope someone will roll me out where I have a good view and the crew will humor me as an honorary supervisor. I will scoff as they levitate their materials to the roof and tell them how it used to be, how we would hoist an 80 pound bundle (aww hell I'll tell 'em 100 pounds) on our shoulder and muscle them up a ladder to the peak. And how we'd nail them down one at a time with something called a hammer. They'll smile and shake their heads. And I'll marvel at the lightweight, eco-friendly, seamless roofing they'll fuse in place with microwaves with little effort in half the time.

And if I'm feeling spry that day, if I've eaten well and my meds have kicked in, I'll say with a smile, "Say son, do you know what dog-tired is? Well, I'll tell you it's a lot like bone tired. It's when you have done physical work for a very long day in blazing hot sun and when you are done all you can do is sit there with your tongue hanging out, just like a dog. Yeah roofing will do that to you. At least it used to."


Art said...

Hey Steven,

A bit of a coincidence.... Yesterday I just finished re-roofing the garage with a new metal roof. (I had to rip off the old 'onduline' roof - about 1500 ring-shank nails holding it down). No plywood decking, just purlins up there under the old stuff. I was several days into it and had been feeling pretty comfortable up there. Then I read your blog and about your fall protection equipment. Of course, having read that, the next day I felt a whole lot less comfortable up there...... but I knew I'd finish that day (and I survived). When I have to re-shingle the house in a few years I think I'll be smarter and safer and get protection. THAT will be the last roofing job I expect to do.

Hope your job keeps going well and I'm sure you won't have to test that fall kit.....but, must be nice to know it's there.


Neil Hirsh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neil Hirsh said...

Haha! I now have my newest idol. I’ll give two thumbs up to you, my friend. You got serious talent! You managed to succeed in doing your roofing 25 years ago and today. You know you’re going to get tired, but still, you did your work. It’s good that you’re keeping the maintenance of your roof. Keep it up!

Neil Hirsh

Elizabeth said...

Very impressive how you managed to do the roofing yourself 25 years ago, and now, you are doing it again! What I like about the whole thing is that you did not forget to buy a fall kit. Others would have gone through the process disregarding safety measures. But you, my friend, you are smart, and you being precautious will do you good! How’s your roof now, by the way?

Elizabeth Hoffnung

Kermit Lukacs said...

25 long years? Wow, those materials served you pretty well. I bet you had minor repairs during that span of time because you didn't bother mentioning them? That is really awesome.

Kermit Lukacs