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Saturday, July 31, 2010

How to Install Metal Edge on a Roof

Siding is hung and not nailed tightly. The slots are so it can move. With metal edging is not so critical but you can't put it on with a nail gun. If you hit it too hard with a roofing hatchet you'll cause it to bulge. If you use a smooth hammer you'll probably be cursing soon. "Got down inside the ditch!" Go ahead and say it loudly and watch you're kids expression.
1) Put the metal edge on the eave.
2) Install felt.
3)Install metal edge on the rakes.
4)StormGuard or other waterproofing maybe.
4) Word wouldn't let that happen
5) Starter and bleeder (starter on the rakes because it is not a starter but an alignment and beautifier so you don't see the lapping roofing from underneath)
6)Pick up sticks....
7)Back to roofing
Remember not be be a troglodyte when you install lifetime or designer roofing because you took a 20 year shingle and turned it upside down and backwards for a starter/bleeder shingle. For that matter don't even do it when you sell the cheapest roof allowable by man. Professional starter shingles help prevent blow off and troglodyte ladder damage to the first row.
The other wind susceptible place is the downwind side of the ridge. Just ask Bernoulli or any old wood roofer.
The nails need not be many. No more than five unless you live in a hurricane zone. Anymore more won't help. Prayer is the answer.
Do not over drive. Remember to pinch the top lap a little so the metal will have a little spring in it that keeps it flush when it laps over the previous piece.
Cut a triangle out of the corner to wrap it so a little piece is not hanging out to slice some roofers hand. As you go up the rake lap the metal in a waterproof manner. When you get near the ridge be sure not to put in a small piece. You can cur off some of the ten foot length and use a little longer piece.
Lap over the ridge by cutting the face of the metal edge but don't let it lap just a few inches or it will look bad.
Metal edge comes in various sizes and color ans well as shape. Different manufacturers make it either smooth or textured.
when I was a young man you could twill a stick of roof metal edge in one hand as we did in our marching band at The National Roofing College in Arlington. Now if you hold five pieces together and the wind blows, they will bend. Anyway you need to call the roofing distributor before your crew gets there and tell them the metal edge showed up all dinged up. That is a technical term in roofing for the driver threw it off the truck. It doesn't matter because it's the wrong color anyway and if you do not do your due diligence the roofers will put the paisley metal on the red roof. Not a good match in America but they do use that in Kabul and Tokyo.
The roof metal edge should not be installed over rotten wood. If there is a 1x2 shingle molde trim, a one inch face metal edge looks better. Most comes in a three inch stretch out with a one inch face and two inches under the roofing or an even 1 1/2" split.
I'm not going to discuss "D" style or "F" style metal in this forum.
If there is a gutter the edging may need to be larger. The edge should go inside of the back of the gutter even if the fascia is wrapped in aluminum coil.
I forgot to tell you, and I'm not going back to edit because roof blogs are boring and I don't read them, that the side with the beads is the top side. Those beads add strength and help keep water from wicking up and under the roofing by water tension. Come on, they are slapped together by gravity and the water will climb uphill as it can between two pieces of glass. Geese willikers.
The little kick on the face that goes down is a drip bead and strengthener too. The more brakes a piece of metal has the stronger it is. The good metal edge hems underneath to be stronger and keep blood off the fascia. But don't try to wrap two corners with one piece because it won't fit properly and building move may cause it to loosen.
In San Antonio they don't use much metal edge. They raise the shingle molde up to cover the edge of the plywood so it can't sponge up the water.
Plant cells don't know much and are not aware they are dead, even when sliced into thin sheets and glued together. The Spanish word for plywood is "thri-pli" unless you want to get technical. Then it is madera contrapachada but if you use that in a restaurant you might get lizard or frog.
Anyway, plywood wants to be wet so it will be set free. Here, we use metal edge to protect the fascia and plywood butt edge.
Older homes in Irving had three inch face metal edge but Allstate is not going to pay for that. Heck, they won't even pay for the smaller stuff so give up. They have been unbelievably cheap this year. They say the flashing aren't hail damaged so they won't pay for them. The roof and it's accompanying system need to be replaced as a unit and not piece mealed by cheap insurance companies. State Farm, Metropolitan, Farmers, and most others pay for every piece and part on a roof if you ask. Allstate won't.
Metal edge needs to be installed neatly band in a waterproof manner. Over the years I've come to believe that someone has a roofing manual, and not Manual the roofer, that states "banged up and twisted metal edge needs to be installed directly over the front door so the purchaser of the roof will not have a difficult time finding it." Diffy Cult Roofing went out of business years ago but some of their witchcraft and spells seem to still infest roofers. We got our shots.
Lastly, believe me, the metal should match the fascia and not the roof. It's up to you but if the metal is fairly close to the paint, refraction will make close colors appear the same. We have available white, brown, almond, tan, grey, black, paisley, and mill. if you want to paint it you must clean it with vinegar or lemon juice to remove the oils or let time, pollution and acid rain etch the surface so the paint will stick better.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Roofs and Foundations Revisited

Revisited with new knowledge: A home inspector/engineer told me while we were discussing the viability of a roof structure in Dallas near Mesquite in the vicinity of the Dallas Athletic Club, that the expansive clay used around the foundation acts as a seal to keep water from infiltrating under the home. So watering your foundation does help to keep the flood out during a drought. If the builder placed soil is kept moist the rainwater can't seep under the house in droves (water droves?). The foundation ventilation needs of a pier and beam foundation are similar to a roof's but slabs work on a system of near constant moisture underneath to keep the slab firm and constant.
I still maintain you really don't want your yard contracting and a dry yard might interfere with the natural migration and equalization forces of nature. The famous law of averages makes moisture and heat move to the nearest location where they are in lesser quantity. A dry yard must have some effect on the dirt under your home.
I wouldn't take a chance.
Another foundation nemesis is the dying/drying root. Sure roots can lift a building. But they'll try to take the path of least resistance to where they want to go until forced to rip the steel and concrete structure apart for the water they know is under your home. The conundrum is that not watering your foundation, which is not necessary if you water your yard, breaks the expansive soil protection and when the forty days and nights come, or just ten might do it, you'll get a pool under your home.
Years later, after the killer root who broke your home's base has met the end of its life cycle, the decay of this giant forbidding behemoth of power that lifted your home a half inch will start to return to dust. You know the dust left after you burn a big chunk of wood that might composed .005% of volume.
Welcome to Carlsbad Caverns, or is it Inner Space?
As the world turns and spins around Sol, this departed organic matter allows your home to settle up to a foot. You see, the root has buddies. Millions of them, from capillary size to the thigh of Lou Ferrigno during his prime after he pumped up or maybe double or triple that along side all the others, that could theoretically make up half the fill under the northwest corner of your home.
You'll never hear "crack" or "boom" but you'll feel the pain when you try to sell your home and the foundation, sheet rock, plumbing, roof, and structure of your home needs to be rebuilt before any mortgage or insurance company will touch it.
If you can't bring yourself to torch it, turn it into a rental and don't give the renters their deposit back. They might torch it for you I've heard.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Why I'm a Roofer, a short History

When I was a young man my chassis was a lot sturdier than it is now. My parts have begun to wear out with 53 trips around the sun but in those days of immortality I loved the sweat, the sun, the tan, and the money. Eleven cents every time I nailed down a shingle. At sixteen I was less than my current mass but I was still heavier than a bundle of GAF Sunseal or Masonite Sun whatever.
When I went to college I could nail down about $150.00 per full day of roofing and in 1976, 77, 78, and 79, that was great money.
Plus up on that roof the weather was beautiful. We had our own world. I started selling my own jobs after I got my liberal arts degree form the University of Dallas and I put them on too. I could contemplate Aristotle when I achieved a type of runners bliss from the automatonic motions we carried out like well rehearsed karate kata. I only awoke when I had to slow down to flash something.
Next thing you know I had asphalt in my veins and many years under my belt. I was older and didn't want to go out and learn a new way of life like Ponzi schemes or derivative dealing even though many of my competitors semm to be doing just that. Not all though. There are many fine people in this business and bad ones in all, but, as you are well aware, we roofers have a stigma. It comes from working in all that bright north Texas sun.
I roofed a new house everyday I worked in Grapevine. Remember that old PDQ on Northwest Highway and Dove. Well it's still there. Sold cold beer then as it does now but it hasn't got my money in 25 years.
My old boss, also a Jon, shot his partner in the back in Pioneer Valley in south Irving and I quit. We called it the "Shoot Out at Double Oak." Guess the name of the street it happened on.
There's that preposition again. I'll endeavor to persevere, as that old Indian said in "The Outlaw Josey Wales."
Wives have come and gone but I've roofed many people's homes two or three times or several homes for the same people in different locations. Recently the sucking sound in Irving has been the people fleeing to Coppell, Southlake, Colleyville, and yonder.
Anyway it has been a good life and I've made a lot of friends. I drive around meeting people and look at their homes for windows replacement, iding, and solar energy systems too. We help a lot of Realtors too by putting into good condition what needs to be so the homes can sell, get a new mortgage, and be insurable.
I train one technician at a time from scratch. He has to carry my ladder and listen to me incessantly talk about roofs to customers or look at and listen as I point and gesticulate at the roofs we pass by at 30 miles per hour. I'll let them keep a commission on some of the sales but they have to help.
we have a hard time with experience help because they only know how to close. Designing roof systems in order taking. We are technical yet funny.
My existing bevy of roofing professionals, Don, Jody, Ryan, Nathan, Jerry, and the trainee James, know more about this than guys that have been doing this for a lifetime.
Those that don't read are no better off than those who can't. for Don we make an exception. He gets film. He can read but he likes film.
Juan, my foreman has been with me since he was 17 and is now 36. He is the third brother to run the crew.
Jose, who runs the repairs, has been with us since about 1989.
Alejandra, the even keeled office assistant, has been with us for over three years. This is her first real job and since her uncles have worked for me for decades I probably watch her raise a family.
Mike, Chris, and Jose help out with the windows and siding.
There are others that come and go with the work load but these people are always here. They're glad I decided to stay on the roofs and in the roofing business.
So in 1979 the roofing began. Siding was added in 1987. Windows became a staple in 1995. solar was began and run by Ryan in 2009.
Skylights, gutters, framing, carpentry, and unfortunately, n occasion, a little landscaping gets done.
Hey. Try pulling tens of thousands of nails out of a two story steep roof, removing thousands of pounds of torn up debris, loading new stuff on, and having ten men run around all day for days with their equipment, dump trucks, and supplies with semis and forklifts, and see if a pansy doesn't get crushed on occasion. We don't complain. We just fix it better.
I love my flowers and I know you love yours.
My first roofs were in Dallas and Irving but soon we were in every town banging away. Well, just I was, but soon I had a helper and the rest is history. Thirty one years of it with hundreds of seminars.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Roofing and Animals

A customer called with a leak on his five year old Jon Wright Roof. When I climbed up on the roof I found my second bullet hole that came from the inside of the home and not an old Cinco de Mayo vertically launched celebratory lead party favor that ran out of gas and fell to earth. We used to see a lot of bullets in roofs but not anymore. Whatever happened to tradition. Qué triste. (Did you know I was bilingual?)
He acknowledged his crime but never told me who the victim was but I knew. The roof.
When I was leaving I noticed a manufacturing defect. Little slits on either side of the cut out, or key way as my uncle used to say, were new to me. Those slits weren't supposed to be there. As my repairman and I reached the ladder I noticed the neighbors roof had the same strange defect. The rub is the neighbor had Owens Corning shingles and mine had GAF. I know because of the color and the shape of the cut out. Sherlock knew it was not a defect but some strange third party from a fifth column.
The homeowner and I started to play "Twenty Questions," whatever that is, and soon I discovered that Peacocks were using the roofs for a highway. They can fly a little and the 25 plus feet between the homes was no obstacle for the birds or my eyesight.
I turned to my helper and played the question game with him in order to learn Peacock in Spanish. Jose is a citizen and speaks English but I'm hungry for words. No clues in our game of Jeopardy worked until I asked what the NBC symbol is. "Pavo Real," which sound like real cooked turkey to me. Pabo is a cooked guajolote , or Turkey, like pig and ham or lamb and veal.
Off the table and back on the roof, it was a miracle we found this out. Usually it takes fecal evidence to distinguish who or what vandalized the roof.
Raccoons wait until right before a storm and then tear a hole near the eave, where the flow of water is greater, because it is close to the ceiling and they won't need to fall.
Squirrels eat lead flashing because they are sweet. A little paint will slow this down.
Rats and squirrels chew holes, really nice round holes. I had a customer in Grand Prairie, a State Farm agent, who had rats carve out part of the rafters so they could run faster between the rafter and the concrete tile roofing. They actually made home improvements.
Wasps and yellow jackets hibernate between layers of roofing. One cool early spring day in Frisco, when it was a little town in 1980, we were tearing off the multiple layers of a very old home that was a brothel over 100 years before. There was still red velvet patterned wall paper in the closet under the stairs. I guess this area was the discount quickie mart of it's day. Yuk!
The critters started their warm up and one guy started trying to hit them with his hatchet. Mistake! They rolled off the steep roof to complete their flight preparations. I stopped him and retrieved the poison gas. We chemical Ali-ed them but the escapees came at us the rest of the day after they had de-hibernated and warmed up.
Ants go to water and you can follow them to the source. you know I mean a roof leak. That's the topic. Some are carpenter ants. They make home improvements too. Termites start on the ground and work around but I've never seen many on a roof. Just scouts. Ants, they're another story. As my grand pappy said:funny things about ants is they don't start biting until the last one's on board. They don't wait when you shove a roofing spade into their queens bed chamber.
Carpenter bees are pretty destructive too. Sometimes it's just some random bee of one of the tens of thousands of species and they don't eat wood. But they do make honey and it'll make a mess of everything. Besides honey attracts a crowd.
Once a cat attacked a roof near Towne Lake in the vicinity of Esters and Conflans in south Irving. The homeowner though it was a wild animal and it was. The neighbors cat was hallucinating. He went up this 12/12 pitched two story wood roof and the owner wouldn't have believed it if he hadn't seen it himself.
I figured from the poop evidence that it might be an opossum. It was too big to be squirrel and too small to be raccoon.
I've seen dogs on roofs too. These angry sounding beasts had a way up there via balcony and were up there defending their zone.
You should see the startled look on the cat, who thinks of the roof as his refuge, when I come over the ridge. They sleep on the back side because everyone is passing in the front.
Jose says he's seen birds, probably grackles, picking at the lead flashings. I've never seen that but there is plenty of bird stuff on the roof to prove they've been near there.
On another occasion I was watching the Dallas Cowboys and I saw something in the corner of my eye that moved in my back yard. I waited and saw nothing. Then again I saw movement. I stared like a fool out the rear window until I saw a piece of my neighbors roof fly into my back yard. When I went outside I saw his two little roof rats up their cutting the rug. I coaxed them down and when he came home I informed him. He was a jerk but his kids were just kids.
Have you noticed that the stains on the north sides of roofs are not to be found beneath stacks, turbines, chimneys, or anything with galvanized metal. Zinc stops stains. The zinc helps with sore throats because it is an antimicrobial. The stains are air borne fungus come to eat your asphalt or algae after wood or asphalt. Just because you have one cell doesn't mean you can't be smarter than a roofer or roofing manufacturer and more destructive than hail in the long term. Remember in "Jurassic Park," "life will find a way." Metal roofs can be attacked too on the coating level. I've seen ferocious algae eat the paint grip, the stone coating adhesives, slate, and flat roofs. In Preston Center, when the Lobellos still owned it, we fixed some Conklin Rapid Roof products. The algae was redder than a baboons eyes. Ha, fooled you.
Roofs can have entire ecosystems and garden roofs are not new. The guy who never cleaned his gutters or the four foot wide chimney without a cricket that was never swept out were the first.
Improperly vented homes have more roof mildew and so does the siding. Heat, humidity, and organic material always makes spore-adic situations. Hear your kids wheeze?
The ultimate roof predator has yet to be named. Can anyone guess what it is?........multi celled, invertebrate, acid rain?

Give up?
The crooked roofer who damages your roof to get an insurance claim or make himself a repair job.
If you think it's a great deal to let him do this just remember that when you dance with the get liens, leaks, blow off, lack of service... I never thought he was a crook.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

How to Repair a Built Up Roof

So that darned old gravel roof is leaking? I don't know what you're talking about because roofs are not made of gravel. Some have gravel or chat covering for UV protection and beauty but they are not gravel roofs. They are built up roofs. Layers of one or two different types of roof felts held together with a bonding agent called asphalt or coal tar pitch.
The repair methods for built up roofs vary in adhesives used but the procedures are basically the same.
First you look for the leak point of entry. Usually the sun can find it for you by causing the water to take a peek out of its hole when the sun heats it up. It won't be for long so if you use this method be observant. Anyway there may be more than one culprit here.
The gravel might need to be pushed out of the way if the proper amount is on the roof. With the location of the leak determined the surface needs to be cleaned down to the roof and not the gravel that you thought was the roof.
New asphaltic built up roofs have a unique problem in that if they leak the roofer was probably a bad roofer. Nevertheless, adhesives won't stick to new asphalt. It is a migrating frozen liquid, like glass is. Glass cannot be successfully caulked. It is glazed by Koreans in the wee hours of the night and then filled with jelly.
The old asphaltic roof either had a hole put in it, the felts de-laminated due to poor workmanship, or, most likely, the roof shrank and split. This shrinking is why flashing MUST be placed on top of the roof in plastic cement. If not the roof will pull off them. The frozen bond of asphalt is not metal friendly even with the required primers.
To alleviate this tearing and shrinking process the tear should be assisted to grow longer. Then a "T" cut should be made at both ends like drilling a hole at both ends of a windshield crack.
Add thin layers of plastic cement with a membrane that will hold the cement together when it dries. Thin layers because thick globs crack when they dry. Think sheet rock tape and bed.
The gravel makes further repairs impossible.
If the roof system has insulation and it is wet, it is best to cut it out and replace it. A one way exhaust vent might do the trick too, depending on how much water there is. If the insulation col apes and the system has fasteners, they will come up through the settling roof.
The one way vents open during the heat of the day to allow gas out and close during cooler times to keep it out. If I have to explain that then you can go now.

Pitch Changes, Additions,Roof Leaks.

When I wrote about valleys I mentioned valleys with two sides with different slopes. When the valley makes a transition from a higher pitch to a lower one and the water applies the Theory of Gravity to it's itinerary, the roofer should consider this nexus a completely different valley. The top/cut side might need to be reversed because water quantity is out voted by water speed.
For example, a steep but small cricket behind a chimney should be roofed last. Water, no matter if it is 10X's in volume, will not crawl up a steeper slope. It will immediately turn and follow the low slope. Pronto.
At these pitch changes the underlayment, the valley metal, and the roofing must terminate and the new underlayment, valley metal, and roofing begin anew. If you're not using metal then you need to sign off right now because I, nor anybody else, can help you. One little poke by a stick and you could lose your family. The amount of water that enters a valley poke qualifies for "irreconcilable differences" in every state but Louisiana.
The other problem encounter at this nexus is the workmanship of the carpenter. At minimum, the deck of the low slope is on top of the steeper slope deck because the framing was done on the steep part first. When the low slope is an addition to an older home the problem is exacerbated by the old roofing. You know the carpenter put his new decking on top of the old roof too causing a bulge on the lower slope.
Now the happily moving water that passes the nexus finds a low spot to converge in. The water will move sideways. Nobody knew this when they left because the dip showed up after the hot Dallas sun softened the roofing and it settled.
The leak now continues down the old roof and leaks far away from the "tie in." Look as he may, the carpenter will never find it.
Again, our old friend Mr. Metal Flashing, comes to the rescue. If a width of metal were placed on top of the shingles on the low slope and the roofing continued on the high slope leaving the bottom of the metal exposed, the leak would not occur. The roofing felt should also be under and above the metal respectively.
Recently I sold a roof repair on Amherst in Dallas, near Highland Park but west of the North Dallas Tollway. I mentioned to the homeowner that he might also develop a leak where his roof was added onto. He climbed onto his roof and saw what I was talking about. He asked me to look at a roof, gutter, and soffit leak repair but I surveyed his entire roof.
I drove for twenty minutes, set up my ladder, sweat, and diagnosed what he wanted me to but I went a step further.
We'll do the additional work for very little but it helped secure the repair and a new friend who has already recommended me to a co-worker in Dallas.
Different slopes for different systems too. A lower slope add on might not be able to handle the Timberline or Certainteed Trilaminate Presidential big boy. The slope is not enough and the water comes to visit inside. The cheaper three tab over the International Residential Code requirement of two ply felt for slopes between 2/12 and 4/12 made be the soup du jour. Any less than a 4/14 pitch and the magic disappears. Now you need a low slope or flat roofing system like an SBS, a TPO, an EPDM, or any other alphabet soup at the industry's cupboard.
Sure the customer will howl that the roof don't match. Challenge him to see for himself, from the ground, because the only ones who drink soup on a roof are roofers and a few French weirdos that have no idea how hot it will be up there in thirty minutes. And I've moved the ladder. Their soup won't get cold.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Other Type of Chimney, The Zero Tolerance Chimney

If you look up the definition of "zero tolerance" in the Urban Dictionary, you'll see why I abhor this type of chimney. Don't look up abhor please. I have little tolerance for these unforgiving structures.
A zero tolerance chimney is a stick or frame construction that is used to box in a large metal chimney flue.
At the top there must be a cap, collar, and chimney cap. It's like the base on a hot water or furnace flue set up. The cap turns up the base of the flue and needs to be caulked with a metal caulk or soldered. If the cap, which is not over a solid surface, is not properly braced, it can sag, and water can work its way in.
The framing needs to be waterproofed with some sort of water barrier like felt or Tyvek. I prefer GreenGuard but that is another storey.
Then the plywood structure with waterproofing needs to be clad. Here is the rub. This is where you can die or, at a minimum, be crushed and maimed by falling masonry. The plywood framing and waterproofing need to be clad with something.
If the cheapest cladding is used, wood or hard board, you are in luck All these need is periodic painting.
Many years ago, I encountered chimneys in Valley Ranch and Hackberry Creek, as well as large parts of Las Colinas and Carrollton, with zero tolerance chimneys that were either four sides Masonite or three sides masonry and one side Masonite. I thought the builder was being cheap. Nobody knew the back side had siding and when the house was painted or sided with vinyl, aluminum or steel, the back side of the chimney was neglected. When I showed up, the back side was potato chips at best.
Then came the four sided brick zero tolerance chimney. I didn't know what it was called but I did know that the mortar joints were braking when the stick framed chimney swayed in the wing. We would seal the mortar joints and then water seal the chimney.
when the back side had Masonite, the 1x4 trim where the siding met the brick on the sides was pulled loose. When vinyl or other siding was installed over the wood like covering, the warping and gaps allowed wind driven rain to enter.
Then came the catastrophic four sided masonry zero tolerance chimney. You see, the normal chimney has masonry all the way from the top to the bottom and vise versa. The zero tolerance one has no such ankle bone to leg bone to hip bone support. The tremendous weight of the masonry, if just on the one side over the home that has masonry on the three sides of the exterior mounted chimney can cause the chimney to list and fall over.
Usually, when the zero type, and not a WWII Japanese flying chimney bomb, has masonry on four sides and the chimney is located within the confines of the home and not on an exterior wall, the heavy masonry clad zero is supported by steel post. The three sided outside wall type that should have wood like or vinyl siding type surfaces on the interior wall but has masonry instead, can be a serious problem. For many years the municipalities of Irving, Colleyville, Southlake, Trophy Club, Flower Mound, and anywhere large amounts of homes were being built in the 1980's and 1990's, allowed zero tolerance chimneys to be built with masonry on all sides, including the inside wall, without steel reinforcement bracing.
These chimneys listed, fell over, and did massive damage. Many insurance companies have adjusted this "Leaning Tower of Pisa" effect as wind damage. It might be but the origin is ignorance.
If you start on the ground with brick or stone and continue all the way up, you have something to support the weight. If you build a wood structure and put masonry on top of it, you or succeeding generations will pay.
These swaying masonry structures also crack. Mortar is not very pliable and before the tumble they will leak and crumble.
These cheap builders of the late 20th Century and beyond build these fake structures like zero tolerance chimneys and EFIS siding, leave property owners under the impression that they have masonry or stucco exteriors when they have cardboard and plastic trash.
There is no way I can explain to you how bad these systems are and how screwed you are if you have one of these products or structures on your home. We roofers get blamed for what these jerk off sociopath builders puts on your home that fails and allows water in just before they crash and hurt you. You might think it is your roof leaking but it not.
If you buy a home in the Dallas Fort Worth area, the roof is not the only concern above the ceiling. These trash chimneys and siding systems that achieve the absolute minimum available by building standard codes, can really cause you a lot of money and grief.
Just look at the word:zero tolerance. That should be enough.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chimney Masonry Repair and Chimney Caps

Here in the Dallas Fort Worth area I've been observing chimneys for a long time. It may not look like it but they are ready to pounce on you at any given moment.
When the mason, and not a Shriner, and not a beer, builds a chimney he starts with the flue. Fire brick, I hope, are laid up and the outer bricks are placed away from it to make the outside perimeter of a chimney. The void between them is used to clean up the job site. Broken bricks, bottles, cans, and mortar are used to fill up this gap until you've gotten somewhere about two feet higher than any roofing within ten feet. I'd go three for a better draw, not a Shiner, and some go two feet above the highest point.
Then comes the technical point. The mason searches the trash for the best plywood scrap and lays it over the top leaving the flue open. Then he dumps a big pile of mortar on top of that.
Yes Virginia, plywood. Yes Texas, plywood. Santa is supposed to get past this and we all know Santa has nailed on a few roof to keep from being sued for crashing into the roof.
Then Father Time comes in. The mortar pile, and that's not a cache of small hurling projectiles for the new Marine who joined yesterday, begins to crack up and sand starts to erode from the mortar.
In the summer, after a deluge, the ground can dry in a day, but in the winter it might take over a week. The same is with the chimney. Hundreds of gallons of water can remain suspended in the mortar for weeks.
The water enters fairly slowly so it doesn't matter if it's a hard rain or a drizzle. Slowly the saturation point is reached and for every drop in a drop must fall.
It never leaked before!
Now comes Old Man Winter. That suspended water becomes ice and H2O is the only substance I am aware of that gets bigger when it freezes.
The brick begins to spald. That sounds bad doesn't it? Bricks become cookies and those top rows have already come loose. Some brick are just gone. Algae is growing out of the mortar. We have an ecosystem. Birds, bats, bugs, and algae in predominately green but with brown, yellow, and black accents.
Now you've done it. No vacation this summer. If you can get a mason to come out at all he's going to charge a fortune. You see it's hard work on an incline and everything is messy, heavy, and hotter that heck. No less than three thousand dollars to put it back in the same ridiculous manner that the previous brick guy did.
We can rebuild it too and we charge a lot less but it would have been even less if you had taken the time to crane your neck upwards to see all the chunks of brick laying on the roof. Remember that thud on that windy night?
We just rebuilt the top of a chimney on the southwest corner of Brookhollow Drive and Annette Drive in Irving near our office in 75061. We repaired some decking, damaged white three tabs, and remove a lot of mildew from the roof also. We were able to supplement the missing bricks from inside the chimney. It had a honey comb type construction and you could see way down in it until the passageways or flues turned. He got out with the cap, three or four feet of rebuilding, various leaks, general roof repairs, and a beautiful "New style 2" for $1800.00. The work took two men two long days, materials, and driving all over Irving, Dallas, and Plano to gather up supplies.
A beautiful full (as opposed to that wimpy little thing in the first photo that does nothing in terms of waterproofing) hip roof chimney cap with bird screen to keep the smell of burning baby birds (bats too) is a lot less expensive. Hip roof metal caps really aren't necessary because, as I have been saying for decades, it'll never snow a foot here. See this beauty.
With time that little puddle on top of the cap becomes a mosquito basin. The cap rusts, the water leaks out. And you got rooked again.
What is it with you anyway?
The caps are relatively light and if you fasten it directly into the top courses the weight is not sufficient to hold it and the mortar cracks anyway. That cap is vibrating in the wind and therefore so will directly fastened anchors.
Did you ever notice that mortar, the non exploding kind, is brittle? If the mason built the chimney on a hot day and didn't compensate with fresh wet mortar, the process of erosion is even quicker.
The cap must be wired down with wires and anchors placed several courses down. The vibration of the cap, and humming of the flat roof cap, will be absorbed by the cap itself and the wires. Wiggling is better than breaking.
There is no such thing as a square chimney in Dallas, Irving, Richardson, Plano... anywhere...The sides can be out of square several inches. All faces must be measured, allowance for clearance made if the sides are bowed, mortar mounds need to be evaluated, and a general hmmmm... done before ordering the new cap. Then you need to transport it upside down with a ballast and roping system or it will go airborne on the LBJ on its way from Plano to Southlake. Don't worry, you'll know when it comes out. You'll hear horns, screeching, booms, sirens, and loudspeakers calling for you to get out of the car and drop to your knees.
I hate that part even more than not keeping a schedule and having to buy a new cap from the sarcastic fellow who fabricated it and told my salesman to secure it.
We haven't lost one yet. Knock on wood shingles.
The erosion further down the chimney needs to be addressed. If you use mortar to tuck point the holes you'll need to wet it until it drys.
Yes, I did say that. I also get funny looks when I tell people that soap makes water wetter, that glass is a frozen liquid, and that heat goes where heat isn't. sometimes I get them for no apparent reason and other times I give them back or just look dumbfounded. It's the sarcastic humming that gives me away.
Back at the ranch, where the partially repaired chimney awaits the return of the roofing roofer repairman that is acting like a pseudo mason, we are about to learn another lesson.
We re-counterflashed (spell check really hates that jargon) a chimney once and used mortar caulk to seal the metal flashing. Actually we've done it thousands of times from Garland to Aledo. Then my tech Thompson water sealed the entire chimney.
Rain came, as it will again some day, and the somebody had stole our mortar caulk. Mr Thompson ate it. He hates dry hard mortar caulk so we now wait a spell, like 24 to 48 hours depending on climatic conditions, to seal a chimney.
The advantage of mortar caulking is that it is more neatly applied, no wetting, brushing, mixing, and clean-up is needed. And it does a much better job.
In memorium, I had some readers call me up personally to complain that the last posting was flat and humorless. Let me tell you that this is not comedy central. This is a serious place discussing serious issues above your home and if you find something funny then you must be warped.
Let's get this straight. There is nothing funny about a leaking roof. If you have anything to say please post it in the comment section. It's lonely at the top. Hot too. We need to clean up this mess and go fix the next roofing problem.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

How to Install Step Flashing on a Roof

Whenever a roof meets a wall, skylight, or chimney the need for flashing arises. When the water runs parallel to the wall, step flashing is required. If the wall or chimney is at an angle to the flow of water a top or bottom pan should be used. The reason is that in heavy rains the flashing could be submerged and water, not knowing that it is moving or standing still, will move sideways or upwards, whichever is the path of least resistance. In layman terms, if the water runs into a wall the pan must go under the shingles and if it runs away, on top of them, just like the top and bottom of the chimney.
Step flashing is run like a laced valley. The first step is to place the started shingle on a wall or use the first shingle on the side of the chimney or skylight as the starter. The first step flashing lies on top of the top part of the shingle called the selvage. The selvage of the selvage is called a head lap. It is the very top of the shingle that extends past the course face that lies above the first shingle. When two shingles butt side to side on a row of shingles, there is no leak because the shingle below passes pass that joint.
The fist step of flashing covers the unexposed part of the roofing. Usually we use a 4"x4"x8" step flashing that more than covers the blind or unexposed part of the shingle. On a wood shake with a 10" exposure you'll need 12" steps of flashing to cover the 10" exposure plus some head lap. The nails are placed high on the step flashing so when the next shingle and step flashing are installed the nails are blind.
The flashings are bent at a right angle and should be opened or stretched greater than 90 degrees so the memory keeps them tight against the roof floor and the wall lumber. The nails can be installed on the roof floor near the top or to the wall as high up as you can but never on both. If both the top and bottom are nailed the flashing can't slide when the roof deck and wall migrate with wind and ground caused movement. Settling over time will cause flashings to warp id they are attached to both.
The mail process is put a flashing on the top unexposed part of the shingle covering all of it or more. The step flashing should not be visible except for the first one on the sides of roof penetrations like skylights, chimneys, and cupolas. Nail near the top with two nails or on the wall to keep the flashing from moving. Place the next shingle over it and trim it back more than 1/4" so water can flow and debris won't dam gravity, the theory we use for most of our waterproofing.
Make sure that no end laps or joints are near the wall. Trim some off the roofing so a larger that 8" piece can be used to counterflash the step flashing. If you consider a chimney may block out ten or more feet of surface falling rain and concentrate it on the windward side of the chimney, you now have a waterfall on that side of the chimney. The momentum will cause the water to hit the roof and go sideways. The inertia of the water will cause it to continue sideways and not downward until gravity overcomes it and pulls it down the slope. The great mass of water will also push it sideways until gravity wins. If an end lap is close by the water will be pushed into the lap and might leak. Roofing hopes that the water will flow downward and not sideways. The same holds true for valley. No end laps in or near a valley. Open "W" valleys eliminate that concern a lot but if a roofer is determined to put a small piece next to a valley only his paycheck can prevent him.
Shingle, step flashing, nailing, shingle, step, nail, shingle, nail step....
If you nail low the water coming down the wall that goes under the roofing will find the nail and the nail might be depressed causing a small depression in the flashing. Nail high, flash low.
I highly recommend that an ice and water leak barrier be installed before the flashing is installed in case of snow and ice. Freeze/thaw conditions change the rules and ice dams defy gravity.
Don't use plastic cement because it will crack and any water that gets behind is trapped. Imagine a vase buried up to its top with water entering in the top. It'll take a long time to dry out.
When step flashing meets a top or bottom pan on a skylight some lapping and caulking must be done. Remember that on the top side the water is being pushed sideways and the first course over the top pan should be a full shingle. This leaves room for the water to build up and not meet the nails of the first row above the skylight/chimney obstruction.
The wood siding that counterflashes the step flashing or any other roof to wall nexus must be above the roof plane a reasonable amount. If not it will rot as a result of staying wet. Many carpenters install pre-primered wood or cement board but do not primer the cut angle above the roof.
The fist piece of step flashing on a stuccoed or wood sided wall can be a killer. It will dump the water behind the wall if it is not cut, bent, and caulked on the roof plane so that the water is kicked out and not allowed to flow there. On lap siding the first step flashing is inserted between two pieces of siding and show on the face of the wood.
Roofers work hard and fast. They become good at the mechanics of tearing off, felting, loading, and installing shingles. It's here in the details that lives the roofing devil. They need to slow down and run their flashing right, keep the joints or end laps away, and properly nail. Little things like opening the "L" shaped flashing a little wider will make the roof look nice and flat and keep the flashing from raising. When it raises the water being pushed across it sideways may not just flow across the shingle below it but might return following the metal back towards the wall.
Have you ever heard the mantra"skylights leak?" If they were required to leak nobody would want them.
If the roof is slate the flashing must be copper or stainless.
Stone coated steel tiles and shakes are bent or doubled up a wall and act as their own step flashing but the shingle varieties of these products sometimes aren't.
The straight flashing or "c" curled flashing that many builders use so the siding can be installed before the roof are down right dangerous. Build up of debris or the squashing of the "C" can result in a leak. Heavy duty rains or snow can also leak with this type of flashing. You know that when it pours in Dallas/ Fort Worth it can be blinding. Plus it'll never snow a foot in McKinney or Arlington.
You can't run the step flashing before the roofing unless you are very careful in your measurements and you only nail to the wall. Most wall have no blocking other than intermittent studs to nail to.
This was the most boring thing I ever wrote and I'm not going to read it. I'm sorry for the grammar and punctuation. Step flashing is not very sexy of a topic.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How to repair plywood on a roof.

You have to tear the roof off first and if you're not up to that, go home. Determine the thickness and if it's on an open cornish, be sure and buy a BC grade, which is good on one side.
Whether you use plywood or OSB, it doesn't matter. The following rules apply to both.
The new decking must span across a rafter, joining three, or it will sag. When you cut out the decking, make sure you don't leave a piece next to the repair that doesn't meet this requirement or it will sag.
Sometimes, when repairing a roof and not replacing it, you might want to replace as little as possible. So if you only cut out the decking between two rafters, you need to install 2x4 blocks to support the new wood.
Don't forget to make sure the decking has gaps on all sides to allow for foundation movement, and humidity and temperature changes. When new decks are applied we use "h" clips not only to strengthen the decking between the sheets but to space it.
Don't forget to nail it down with coated nails that won't back out. The nail head heats up first and then along the shaft. The reverse happens when the day is over. The head cools last. This makes for an alternating wedge, growing and shrinking daily. That is one reason nails back out. The other is the movement and heaving of the home. Have you noticed how fence nails back out so easily.
Have you ever seen a redecked home where the roofer didn't space the sheets? He thinks the bows forming in the roof are either defective plywood or foundation movement. He's an idiot.
Bet you thought I wasn't going to do that.
If the decking you want to replace is bowed, don't try to machine gun it down with a lot of nails. Won't win in the long run. The memorized torque in the wood can lift a bus. Cut it out right now.
The rough side of the deck goes up and the waxy side goes down so you won't slip and break your neck. Or my neck for that matter.
OSB is superior in my humble opinion. It is not wafer board. It is Oriented Strand Board and has a superior glue and move of it. It does gas a little longer but if you vent, like I do from time to time, it will be okay. That's formaldehyde I'm referring to.
It is heavier, harder to drive and pull nails out of and burns hotter. The last trait I have not verified yet.
If you need to repair the deck on an open cornish, you'll need to match the wood. It won't be as wide as what's up there now. It just won't be. So use your eyes to make it look as good as possible.
In the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, most older homes have plank decks while in the suburbs like Richardson the homes have plywood. Newer residences as in those of Colleyville and Southlake have OSB. In Grand Prairie I've seen black sheet rock that was installed after WWII.
One pet peeve: bend over the nails on the wood you've pulled. Whether it's on the roof looking for my foot or has fallen down and can't get up, bend the nails over. The homeowner is an NRA member and his barefoot granddaughter can't quit screaming because her foot is impaled on your board.
Time to run a away. Hear that cocking sound? It's not an attorney.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Roof Forum Readers

Let's get this straight. I'm not a nut. At least not as much as you think I am but I do know roofing. I try to make this site entertaining so that in the dissemination of good roofing practices you won't be bored to tears. It's not like roofing is an exciting topic to anyone but me.
Even we roofers have a hard time reading roofing magazines. Those periodicals are so lame that you can't do it unless the content is something you're really interested in. Besides you have to wake up to finish the article.
Roofing literature is even worse. Do you like reading the instructions on how to set up your new TV or stereo?
I didn't think so.
I ask one thing of you my friend. Please hit the "follower" button so I'll know you're out there. If no one is reading this I'll go write about something else like politics or migrating wildebeests. Oops, I already have.
To you roofers who read, hook your wagon and you'll see your SEO go up and so will mine. You don't know me because its a large planet, or town, and we might cross paths only a few times anyway. If my SEO goes up .01% in your town and 2%in Irving but yours goes up 2% in your town, then you are better off. It's all about addresses, content, followers, and luck. Never forget lady luck. That's how you met your wife.
I know this site comes up in a lot of searches and I pay for that in a number of way, the primary one being hard work. You see I'm a hunt and peck kind of guy. There weren't computers when I was in college and my mother typed my term papers for me.
So let's become friends. You can even e mail me questions or comments and I'll be glad to discuss things with you. Don't be afraid to post comments and if you disagree I encourage to comment even more. Just keep it clean.

An Open Letter to Oklahoma

Stay away from them darn out of state roofers.
Check their car plates, check their drivers license, ask for local references for your salesman, get out the bones and shake the chicken claw.
These guys are lying and don't give a hoot about your family, your home, or even their own family, that they have abandoned thousands of miles away. If they're sooooo good, why did they go to your town? don't they have any customers to service back home? How will they service you when they are gone.
Here, when I go to a restaurant or a store I see my customers. They see my signs in the parking lot and come find me. Hugs and hand shakes.
Do you think this will happen with you and the guy who lied and said he was local. There are a lot of ways to make yourself look local. Buy or rent and existing company for a short duration, keep a one line listing in big cities in case of hail so you'll look local, lie, cheat, and, er, steel roofs.
Window replacement is a perfect analogy. If you buy from a local manufacturer and a problem arises, a technician will come very quickly. If the manufacturer is out of the area it might be six months.
But lets get down and dirty, honest, to the point. These unemployed vagabonds print some signs and promise the moon. "Hurry, sign now, knock, ring, HEY! I know you're in there."
If you need an answer now, the answer is no.
It may not hail for years, if ever, and you'll be stuck with the so called roof you bought. Think about the day you go to sell it and the home inspector said that the roof is scuffed up. The installers followed the same migratory path that the contractorbagger did and they care even less. They haven't even learned to speak English. Who is controlling them?
You have two years, at least, if you file for an extension, and if it leaks the insurance will pay for a temporary repair.
This is your home. Your kids live there. If the migratory animal knows not what "The 300 Rule" is, then he'll make your kids sick, he cost you a bundle in utilities and HVAC repairs, and scar your home.
The Red River should become a DMZ.
Please be careful and don't get in a hurry.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Global Politics of Roofing.

During the last People's Congress of Roofing....Well I lied. As Tip O'Neill used to say "all politics is local." And that is true of the political side of the roofing universe too.
Take our national organization, the NRCA. Try as it may it cannot bust through to the issues dear to us. No Department of Roofing exists in Washington D.C., yet, but many states regulate roofing. We do fall under OSHA and EPA rules especially lead removal and containment regulations for homes older than 1978.
Texas does not regulate roofing. Dallas, Irving, Plano, Farmers Branch, Ennis, Richardson, Grand Prairie, Highland Park, University Park, and Colleyville require registration and permit fees. These so called licenses are no more than taxes. The check clears the bank and you've passed the test. You have to have a license to be a plumber, to install sprinkler systems, and tow cars but to fix foundations or roofs you don't need squat. Don't fix those two things and who cares about the plumbing. You have no home.
Believe it or not, it's about the money. The insurance board is staffed with insurers and they want to keep the cost of roofing down. Your carrier may tell you to be careful and pick an insured reputable roofer but the insurance claim pays the same per line item unit to professionals and carpetbaggers alike. Not fair! Life's not fair either and no matter how hard politicians try, they can't make it fair. They only know fares.
Why would a roofing contractor in Dallas, who pays his registration, has insurance, keeps a full time office and staff, is a member of the BBB, Angie's List, and is a Master Elite Roofer for GAF get the same price from State Farm or Allstate as Pick-Up Bob's Roofing (be careful, the ink on the card is still wet)?
Many contractors will go to their grave hoping and having believed all their lives that they could bring state regulation down upon them even though they hate these sort of things. These types exist throughout the political spectrum whether they want the border to be controlled (by someone other than coyotes) or Maryjane to be legalized. Ain't gonna happen.
See, if the state tried to protect the citizens from the massive hordes of migrating roof putter-oners, the price would go up. This would cost the insurance companies more money.
We used to say the quality would go up and that would save insurers some of their hard earned cash but the insurers beat us to it. The day of the $250.00 deductible is way back in the rear view mirror and has been replaced by 2% milk. It looks like milk but it tastes like water. We'll just buy some out of habit and go on like nothing has happened. Soon the roof will not even be covered. Some policies have non-recoverable depreciation and an 80/20 plan is coming down the pike to finish off what the deductible and depreciation haven't.
Here's your check mam.
Next thing you know the gov will tax this to.
Whatever political roof problems others states have, I'm not quite sure but I have heard that Oklahoma has sealed its borders so that roofers act like real people or leave.
They even started concentration camps and have started summery executions. What a fantasy for Texas.
The Red River should be a DMZ.
It'd take the Lieutenant Governor getting ripped off by a roofer before that would happen here but it's pretty hard to rip someone off when their roof is free. No one in Austin has paid for a roof since Texas Independence and it ain't about to start happening now.
Today's lesson is clear. The powers that be will not tolerate the possibility of lesser profits.
The same is true of solar. They look so magnanimous starting funds, that remain empty most of the time, to subsidize solar equipment and passing out tax breaks, but if anyone messes with the benevolent electricity providers by suggesting net metering, the one thing that would make solar investments truly an investment, he might start swimming with those Oklahoma fishys.
The electric companies pretend to be green but if you try to take away their money you better go hide. The oil companies only wish to be so ruthless.
Why can't the electricity that my solar panel makes while I'm away at work just go into the grid and let my meter run backwards. Why not? What would it do? Keep them from building a new coal fired plant? A dam, that catches you know who in Oklahoma?
How about lowering pollution in Dallas? How about stopping tar balls, which are really more like asphalt, from inundating the beaches of Texas to Florida. Tell those guys to put their pants on. Nobody dares say, Cuba? War! Where's Teddy "the tar" Roosevelt" when you need him. He might have encircled Cuba with tar for the heck of it. Guess where he got his nickname?
If my meter could run backwards I'd dance in the backyard until the cows come home. And that will never happen. I mean net metering.
Those greedy basters are going to leave us out in the cold in order to protect their fat wallets.
Yes I'm ranting. I'll calm down now.
It is a crime against man and nature, besides Texas and all her citizens ( and the immigrants too) that we have to give the electric providers money, breath polluted air, build huge nuclear power plants (which we haven't done in decades exacerbating the problem) and digging up huge deposits of coal that destroy the topography and, in the end, the air your darling little baby daughter breathes, because these selfish tyrants won't let me throw a few photons into their grid.
Politics is local. Some roofers are too but not many. Until we band together as one we'll keep on destroying the planet with senseless (as opposed to intelligent) greed.
Does anybody want to install a solar electric system on their home and help with the environethics of their neighborhood?
I'll edit this later when I have some time.
One request for those who take time out of their busy day to waste time here. Please become a follower so my SEO rankings will improve. I'll try to do better if you join.
And that's the way it is. Goodnight.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Thar's a lot of space out there people are paying taxes on and they're doing nothing with it. My last blog was on not letting your soil dry out but if you have an acreage that is being irradiated daily, why not harvest photons. Create a little shade, have us build a portable building with solar roof panels glazed together for a roof. Put up some shade for Betsy and have a happy cow. Collect the rain water on the drain side and have a happier cow.
We'll soon be installing photo voltaic curtain walls for patio enclosures. These double pane windows will help with your low environmental ethic standard that others are talking about right now.
If you have a remodel need, think how solar might fit in.
Plus the lowering of your home or business energy usage through energy efficiency will lower the number of kilowatts you'll need to offset with a PV system. New windows, attic ventilation systems (and not randomly placed holes), better appliances, and so on will not only save money, they'll make you healthier, safer, more comfortable, and blah! If you didn't read my earlier ditties you missed these points.
Make yourself happier, intrinsically, internally, by being a better environethicist. If not for you, for your grandchildren.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dry Lawns Make Roofs Leak.

Houses are heaving and mosquitoes are plotting an invasion. Soon the heat will return with humidity that rivals Manila's. The dry soil combined with sudden shifting of the mud jacking everybody just received not only cracks the sheetrock around the doors that are now not cooperating in their swings, it reveals leaks.
Leaks are like cars going down the LBJ. Some go everyday, others visit every once in a while, but sooner or later a new car joins the fracas. "It never leaked before?" Time for a little metaphysical explanation of how time began. Everything has an inception date. You're just not aware of it until things get bigger, like the bulge in your ceiling.
The sun parched roof where temperatures soar to 160 have sustained a nuclear barrage during the day with rapid evening cooling. Humidity stalks under your improperly vented attic and the thin plywood gets thinner. The house sagged even though you watered your foundation.
Ha! Your neighbor didn't water his yard, as apparent by the now giant shoots of Dallas grass protruding from the dead assortment of grasses encircling his shanty.
How can you lift your home by watering the two feet around it when hundreds, if not thousands, of square yards around your home are cracked up enough to swallow your dog? That's why he has four legs and a tail by the way. He's not breaking his ankle in the miniature canyons.
All this soil had departed a few inches from your home, a collection of concrete, wood, asphalt, and all your junk. Add a couple of cars and the daily junk mail and the tonnage is recorded in British Military journals or some place where taxes are figured.
And your house is higher than the surrounding topography retracting from it.
You see that you home has been moving for at least the last 30 days of bake and now it's trying to shake back in one. Not good for uncoated nails. Did you hear the creaking? Did it sound like someone was walking down the hall in the middle of the night? Besides the point.
I hate to say it but "WALLAH!"
I haven't heard from you in years. I thought you didn't love me anymore. We've got to stop meeting like this. It never leaked before.
Stop it. I've heard all this. Why didn't you call for your free roof check up? It's free. That's all the market can bear. Now you need a painter too, and maybe that old proverbial marriage...
We can fix your roof. We can put it back like it was except for the fading. We roofers drain the color with our skin making ourselves darker and your roof Energy Star.
Now remember to water your yard and slow down the attack of the cracks. Maybe your neighbor will see your pretty yard and try a little harder, especially after you tell him dry soil broke your home and wallet while you glare at his savanna. Show him copies of the bills and then give them to him. That will get him watering before Perry Mason shows up.
In case you haven't done the math, a free roof check up is better than an interior water damage repair. A water bill is cheaper than sheetrock, foundation, and roof repairs. Besides, the inside and outside of your home look better.
It is a civic duty to water your yard every once in a while. It is rather neighborly to keep a green lawn. And you'll need me less.
In finality, as if you thought this ditty would never stop rambling, the Ying and Yang of this and that is no water in the yard is water in the attic.

Revisted with new knowledge: A home inspector/engineer told me while we were discussing the viability of a roof structure in Dallas near Mesquite in the vicinity of the Dallas Athletic Club, that the expansive clay used around the foundation acts as a seal to keep water from infiltrating under the home. So watering your foundation does help to keep the flood out during a drought. If the builder placed soil is kept moist the rainwater can't seep under the house in droves (water droves?). The foundation ventilation needs of a pier and beam foundation are similar to a roof's but slabs work on a system of near constant moisture underneath to keep the slab firm and constant.
I still maintain you really don't want your yard contracting and a dry yard might interfere with the natural migration and equalization forces of nature. The famous law of averages makes moisture and heat move to the nearest location where they are in lesser quantity. A dry yard must have some effect on the dirt under your home.
I wouldn't take a chance.
Another foundation nemesis is the dying/drying root. Sure roots can lift a building. But they'll try to take the path of least resistance to where they want to go until forced to rip the steel and concrete structure apart for the water they know is under your home. The conundrum is that not watering your foundation, which is not necessary if you water your yard, breaks the expansive soil protection and when the forty days and nights come, or just ten might do it, you'll get a pool under your home.
Years later, after the killer root who broke your home's base has met the end of its life cycle, the decay of this giant forbidding behemoth of power that lifted your home a half inch will start to return to dust. You know the dust left after you burn a big chunk of wood that might composed .005% of volume.
Welcome to Carlsbad Caverns, or is it Inner Space?
As the world turns and spins around Sol, this departed organic matter allows your home to settle up to a foot. You see, the root has buddies. Millions of them, from capillary size to the thigh of Lou Ferrigno during his prime after he pumped up or maybe double or triple that along side all the others, that could theoretically make up half the fill under the northwest corner of your home.
You'll never hear "crack" or "boom" but you'll feel the pain when you try to sell your home and the foundation, sheet rock, plumbing, roof, and structure of your home needs to be rebuilt before any mortgage or insurance company will touch it.
If you can't bring yourself to torch it, turn it into a rental and don't give the renters their deposit back. They might torch it for you I've heard.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Corruption and Criminals

As I merrily left a home in Irving where I had just left my smiles turned to horror. Roofing signs everywhere by one company. I had just been on one of the roofs a couple of weeks ago owned by an employee of a large insurance company and it was hail dent free. The roll roofing I had just looked at was dent free and it had buckles in it. It was a poor 90 lb roof. I had replaced the roof on that house 25 years ago but about five years ago a stormer came through and got a lot of roofs totaled in the neighborhood. He got my friend a roof and did a redeck and a small patio. They left my BUR on the second story alone and it's still there in great shape. I fixed some bad spots on the roll roofing three years ago but a bad job can only be coaxed along for so long.
Yet, not a mark on the roof. I called the office and Alex said I was on the roof around the corner owned by Mr. Insurance on April 23 and it has not hailed in this barrio since then. It has hardly even rained. I know. I live just a couple of blocks away.
I called an agent friend of mine because the homeowner whose roof was replaced worked for the same insurance company. The fraud investigator called me and said the guy used to be his boss. He said the photos showed lots of hail.
I told the "victim," as the fraud investigator called him, that his roof was old but there wasn't even hits on the soft metal. The roof had no hail damage. Period. None. Nada. I also said that there is a roofer in the area getting roofs totaled but I don't know how unless he is fabricating the hail.
This roofer is fabricating hail. It looks like lots of it. The investigator said one of the roofs being replace in the area only received a small amount from the insurance.
Why would that be?
Anyway the detective said he was investigating at least forty companies for imitation man made hail. He calls it vandalism. Let me tell you, the Vandals never banged an asphalt roof with a hammer. They raped, pillaged, and burned baby. Like grandpa said:If you're gonna steal, do it big. Just kidding but it fit so nicely.
twenty $25,000.00 roofs is a lot of money. Spread that out amongst several companies and nobody notices.
I will testify. I really hate to look stupid at what I do. I told this "victim" that his roof had no damage. The photos contradict me so I look dumb.
I will exact a pound of asphalt from the wound. My reputation is at stake while these vandalitos pillage my town.
Edmund Burke said, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.’
What would you do if you found a wallet?...full of money?
Now I don't love insurance companies nor do I hate them. I argue with them all the time but many trust me to tell the truth. We fight over money. We fight over area and details and how much damage is on a roof. But when I go to a potentially big dollar roof, let's say about $25,000.00, and I say it has no hail damage, you better believe that it doesn't. I really want it to be damaged, even just a little. Something to argue. Straws to grasp.
Maybe more than that but enough to reasonable show that the roof cannot be repaired to its original condition.
For the last five years a different company has come through this area every year pulling several roofs out. When they got the roof that I had done before and am about to repair, they also got one of my old customers roof totaled. We did the roof. I didn't see much damage but it was bought. It had some but I think it was from repeated tree limb crashes.
Now the neighborhood looks like Dresden. I can hear the sirens roaring. Dogs and cats crushed. Cows turned into tacos. Lawns aerated. Building material shortages. Hotels filled to the brim. Out of state plates. Contractors furiously ringing doorbells and pushing homeowners to sign contracts because they're the best.
No, it's only Maxwell and his silver hammer:
Bang! Bang! Maxwell's silver hammer
Came down upon her head (roof).
Clang! Clang! Maxwell's silver hammer
Made sure that she was dead (totalled).

Come Judgment Day the triple scales are coming out and which circle of heaven or hell Dante's God is allotted to you might be determined by a couple of roofing granules illegally knocked from a roof. Whether you are the knocker or knockee makes little difference. Just don't get knocked.

What would you do?