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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.

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