When Emergency Repairs Go Wrong, They REALLY Go Wrong!

My lil’ brother and I did some emergency (half-assed) repairs to the portion of the roof of the house which encompasses my office which is between 500 and 600 square feet. Since I don’t have a business going at the time, it sits vacant, longing for the days, no doubt, when I actually cared about it. Now it is home to toys, crafts in various stages of completion, plants, dust bunnies, spiders, and dead bugs.

Did I mention that we live in Florida, and that said office addition has a flat roof? Oh, yes. SwampMan and I have been fussing about there being a flat roof in Florida that happens to be located on a room adjoining our main house for YEARS, but haven’t actually done anything about it. When we had time, we had little money, and when we had money, we had no time. Then we had neither money nor time, and that is where things have stood until recently when I had time and absolutely no money. At all.

After damage to the entire roof by tropical storm Beryl last year, we had slow leaks. We also had one family emergency after another and had no time to do repairs even if the weather HAD permitted, which it did not. The damage continued while we waited for the dry season.

My lil’ brother and myself have been slowly reroofing as funds become available. We have finished the back half of the main house which involved repaired some rotted plywood and trusses and then reshingling and soon we’re going to start the front half. We did some emergency repairs around the chimney on the flat roof section which involved replacing wet insulation, spraying for carpenter ants, and replacing rotted truss sections and plywood ahead of a storm that was coming. We rolled some adhesive rubber gasketing roof material over the replaced plywood and weighted it down for good measure until after the storm when we could get back to do better repairs. After all, this WAS the dry season. We shouldn’t get much rain, right?

Except we got over 5 inches. And the stuff with which we weighted down the rubber gasketing material, which was never meant to be used without roofing material over it, formed a dam which held water over the top of the emergency repairs which turned out to leak like a sieve. I didn’t know about the leakage for awhile, for I rarely go into that room except to water plants, retrieve craft items, and fetch the grandkids’ toys.

After the second day of tropical rain, I was walking through the dining room when I thought I heard something dripping. I checked the kitchen faucet. Nope. I checked the bathroom. All quiet. Then I started frantically checking the ceiling in case we (well, I), screwed up somehow on the reshingling. Everything seemed okay. Then I opened the dining room door to the office.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek! Water was pouring out along the sheetrock seams in the fancy ceiling finish and cascading onto the sofa along the wall. The sheetrock in the ceiling above the fireplace was bulging alarmingly. I splushed on the carpet over to the sofa and attempted to drag that heavy waterlogged sumbitch away from the drippage as far as I could. Then I ran up to the roof to see what I could do. Water was ponded along the back wall where the leaking on the sofa was occurring, so I ran back down the ladder (in the pouring rain) to get the broom, scampered back up the ladder, and swept the roof.

In retrospect, I can only thank God or the Powers That Be that none of the neighbors could see me. Before that day, if I had seen one of the neighbors up on THEIR roof sweeping it in the middle of a torrential rainstorm, I’d have probably made some discreet phone calls to see if they’d recently had a change in medication and to mention that maybe they needed to change back. Now I’ll stop and help ’em.

I made a frantic call to my brother. “When we were up on that roof, we must have broken a seam in the rolled roofing. That thing is leaking ten times more than it did before!”

“I’ll take a look at it when it dries out.”

Then, of course, it turned cold. VERY cold. Too cold for any roof repairs to be done because the temperature has to be above a certain point for the repair material to be used. And the roof needs to be dry. The roof was STILL damp a week later, but the temps were warmer. I took care of the grandkids over the weekend, so no roof repair then! I walked into the room again on Sunday to retrieve a toy. A piece of sheetrock from the ceiling was laying on the floor revealing soaked insulation. I made another call.

“The ceiling’s falling down.”

“I’ll be there tomorrow.”

“Nah, I’m taking the kids to school in Jacksonville tomorrow. How about Tuesday?”

On Tuesday, we stared into the ceiling at the soaked insulation that was exposed. “You need to take that out and replace it.”

“I ain’t sticking my arm in there until it’s dry.”

“I can’t do it! I’m allergic to that shit!”

“Maybe it will dry by itself.”

“It will MOLD.”

“And maybe it will dry!” Well. I don’t really believe it either, but it isn’t like we can afford to replace it AND the ceiling AND the freakin’ roof repairs AND shingling the rest of the roof! First things first. Stop the leaking.

Back to the roof. We examined the problem. We went along the seams looking for places that might leak, which neither one of us could find, along the area where the water had ponded. Nada. Then we tore up the makeshift roof patching materials. AHA! The rubber gasketing material had NOT completely bonded, and had instead funneled water underneath to the raw plywood and the gaps between. The roof underneath was soaking wet. The new plywood had buckled and was partly delaminated. (Have y’all noticed that the plywood we’re purchasing now is real shit compared to 20 years ago? I have!)

My brother did not say “I told you so!” one single time which must have cost him dearly. Using the rubber gasketing material temporarily was my idea. He wanted to use rolled roofing but I didn’t think it would have time to set up before the storm and the cold weather with plummeting temperatures coming afterwards. Maybe we were both right, I don’t know. The rubber gasketing material would probably have withstood a lesser rainstorm. I don’t think rolled roofing with wet adhesive would have withstood 5 plus inches, either.

We went to a big box home repair store and got $263.00 worth of roof patching materials. Then we came back and went to work. “I need you to stand on this buckled plywood so I can nail it back into place and get the hump out.”

“So what you’re saying is that my part of the roof repairs consists of being a fatass that can weight things down.”

“Well, yeah, sometimes having a fatass around to stand on things is an essential part of a roofing repair crew. Every crew needs one!”

So, there you go. I am an essential part of a roofing repair crew. I stand on things.

We got our repairs done as the sun went down. We cleared the roof of tools and equipment and hoped like hell that the forecast rain in the night and cold spell the next day wouldn’t happen.

We got rain, but not 5 inches. And cold weather, but not record low temps. The adhesive for the rolled roofing is still wet two days later, but no further leakage has occurred. And no further repairs can take place until the temperature rises this weekend but the kids will be here, so it will have to be next week.

The insulation actually appears to be drying. The sofa is drying without any sign of mold. The carpeting? Well, I dunno. I don’t care.

My mom asked how in the world I was going to get rid of all that carpeting and the sofa. She said that I’d need a dumpster. I told her not at all! My little brother had mentioned that he was going to put in some raised bed gardens, and I was going to generously donate that carpet to HIM so that he could keep the weeds down in the paths. “That sounds like a good idea!” my little brother said. “Is it green, to blend in with the grass?”

“Uh, sure!” I replied. My little brother is color blind. Green, blue, red, it’s all the same to him.

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8 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    no2liberals said,

    I was always an essential member of the ice cream making team.
    It was my firm and ample ass that got to sit on top of the cranking assembly.
    It feels good to be needed…I think.

  2. 2

    swampie said,

    Um, yeah. I need to start an exercise program again ASAP. Well, as soon as roofs stop falling in and grandchildren stop needing care, I suppose.

  3. 6

    kae said,

    Thanks for the chuckle at the colourblindness.

    Good luck with the roof repairs!

    • 7

      swampie said,

      My lil’ brother has painted his houses some “interesting” color combinations, to say the least! His daughters buy and send him shirts because they don’t want him to do it on his own.

      I tried to get him to wear a jacket I had at the house to the beach when the temperature was in the 40s (F) (which is not that far above freezing) with 40 mph winds blowing. He was alarmed, because he didn’t want to be seen wearing a “girl” jacket in case it was in a color traditionally associated wtih females. *sigh* It was an olive drab hunting jacket.

  4. 8

    Green looks nice. Careful with the painting 🙂


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