Yesterday I climbed on my roof to fix a leak. Mind you, I’ll be 62 in two months and I’m a bit out of shape for climbing on top of my house! However, with the economy the way it is, I figured I’d give it shot and maybe save a few bucks; not the deer type, but the greenback folding type.
Although I had a good idea of how to go about doing what needed to be done, I first checked all the relevant information I could find on Associated Content, before I decided on doing this patch job myself. After all, I learned a long time ago that there are a lot of people smarter than I am about things like this. I found there are some very knowledgeable people that write for Associated Content. Not that I doubted that, but I was amazed at the really good, practical information that was available.
During my life, I have walked around (or scooted on my behind) on the roof of one house or another a few times, but it has been a good many years ago when I was about half my current age! Needless to say (but I will), I was a bit nervous about getting on the roof.
My problem wasn’t so much actually being on the roof. The roof is solid, even if it is slanted. My issue was getting from the ladder to the roof. What some might consider a small issue. However, I could visualize myself stepping from the ladder to the roof and accidentally kicking the ladder away from roof in the process. Mind you, this is a one story house and I might have been able to slide off the edge of the roof and do a semi-controlled drop to the ground, but the ground is hard and the patio surface, where the ladder would be placed, is even harder!
I decided that if I was going to do this roof patching thing myself, I should probably call a friend over to watch. If nothing else, she could laugh at me if I got stuck on the roof, without the ladder. So, I called Kathy. If I fell off the roof, she could call for the ambulance. Kathy is a really good friend and we’ve done some home demolition together before, but that’s another story. In any case, with Kathy holding the ladder, I climbed to the top and stepped onto the roof. The ladder stayed put. Kathy was also very helpful when I needed things (broom, mastic, tools, etc.) that were left on the ground.
While I was on the roof, I was surprised to see that it was in pretty good shape. Considering I live in Texas and we get some really big hail storms during the early spring season, I was happily surprised.
I found what I thought was causing one of my problems, which was a small leak in the corner of my bedroom the last time it rained. The problem was debris from the nearby cottonwood tree. The debris had stacked up about an inch high, forming a small dam where two roof angles joined. The dam was causing rain water to not drain properly from the roof, which could cause the water to running under the shingles and into my bedroom. After Kathy handed me a broom and I swept the roof, I applied some mastic under and along the edges of the shingles in that area. I was careful to keep the patch as smooth as possible. I didn’t want more dams to build up because of a rough surface that would catch and hold more debris. One patch down and one to go.
The next trouble area was on the other side of the house, over the peak of the roof. Not being especially adept at walking on a slanted roof, I choose to carefully scoot on my behind to the top of the house and down to the skylight where my other leak was located. I’m sure any experienced roof repair person would have been laughing so hard they would have been rolling on the ground! However, never underestimate the capabilities of a determined woman!
When I got to the skylight it was easy to see what the problem was. The frame for the skylight rises about four inches above the roof surface and entire roof area along the upper side of the frame was filled with tree debris. There was probably 15 years worth of cottonwood tree debris stacked along the frame. No wonder there was a leak! There was no place for run-off water to go except over the edge of the frame and into my bathroom. From the looks of the roof-side of the skylight, I was surprised the leak into the bathroom had only effect one corner and wasn’t worst. Luckily on the inside it was a straight shot from the skylight to the tiled floor of the bathroom, so no major ceiling damage was done.
Using a nearby stick from the same cottonwood tree that created the problem, I scrape most of the solidified stuff away from the skylight. I then swept the entire pile of dirt and tree debris off the roof. Even though the shingles and flashing looked good after the debris was cleared, I decided a little mastic wouldn’t hurt anything. I applied mastic under and along the edge of the shingles and made a smooth transition between the shingles and flashing.
With the job finished, the next task was to get off the roof without breaking any bones. So, back up over the peak of the roof and down the other side to the ladder. With Kathy holding the ladder in place, I found it amazingly simple to step on to the ladder and descend to the ground level.
Although my adventure on the roof was fun, I hope I don’t have anymore leaks when it rains! However, if I do, I know what to do.
Now it’s time to fix the ceiling in the corner of my bedroom. It is a small patch job, but I think I’ll let my sore muscles rest a bit before I tackle mudding and painting.