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MikeL's re-roofing job!

For those of you who heard about all the fun I had this year (1996) over Labor Day weekend re-roofing my house, house your chance to live through it vicariously!

We had 7 friends volunteer help for various intervals over 9 days. I owe these friends some big-time favors! In total the job cost about $4,500, which is mostly materials, dump fees, taxes, and food for the crew. Glenn guessed that it would've been $10k - $11k by the pros. It took 21 "squares" and 40 sheets of plywood. We made no estimate of the garden damage, and we were a lot more careful than a typical crew would be.

[Click on any image for a larger picture.] We didn't plan the photos, a friend just took a few pictures, so this is not exactly a neat chronological presentation. There are only photos of the large topmost roof work (we did 4 seperate areas), and there are also no photos of the days that it rained; one of those days it rained REALLY hard--about an inch in under an hour. Yes, part of the roof was open at that time...

My advice is "never buy a house that needs a re-roofing done". If you do, plan on doing the work before you move in, it makes a horrible mess of the house, it ruins the yard, and if you do it yourself it's grueling work. Cumulatively, the crew destroyed 7 pairs of gloves, 4 pairs of blue jeans, and 5 t-shirts!

"after" picture:
Me sitting on the edge of the dumpster (five tons all told) with a glass of champagne to celebrate the job's completion! Doesn't that roof look nice?
MikeL, king of all I survey!

The house is on a slight hill, about 12 feet above the street, with no alley access. The city doesn't allow the disposal people to put the dumpster on the sidewalk, so we had to slide all the old junk down a chute we slapped up on the stairs, then lift it back up again at the bottom to get it up over the side and into the dumpster.

The small area right in front of the front door was as far as the delivery truck could reach with the new roofing material, so we had to carry all of it through the house, upstairs, then pass it out onto the roof through a window we removed.

The teardown:
A side yard with some of the old layers after tear off.

Our house was built in 1907 which is pretty old for Seattle. We had to pull off all 4 of the old layers as it's only legal to add new layers for three deep. This teardown process is the messy part.

The discard chute taking over the front steps.

And remember, that 10 inch wide space between the rock wall and the chute was the only way in/out of the house for 9 days!

5 tons of old roofing (partially full dumpster).

We filled it to the brim, and over the next month picked another half pickup truck load out of the garden. Note cans at left for lifting junk from chute into dumpster.

Front view:
Open roof.

This is what it looks like with the old layers torn off, and all the little teeny nails pulled out or pounded in. This was probably day 6.

Partially done.

Here's roughly the same view with the plywood on, and the tar paper and new tile layers visible. Probably day 7.

Glenn and Will nailing down new plywood.

And none of us have ever done mountain climbing!

Glenn showing Mike how to do those pesky ridges.

Pretty much the same shot again, it's easier to tell that it's a 30 foot drop off that right edge!

Looking up to the chimney.

Partially done, you can see a "valley" a really sharp strip of metal.

Glenn working under a dormer.

Doing the teardown under the two dormers was truly a pain. I did most of it!

The happy couple:

My wife with a bucket of tar and a knife -- danger!

Mike and Beth at the peak.

If we look happy, it's because we knew we were nearly done!

Copyright © 1995-2023 Mike Lempriere (running on host pedicel)