Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Roof Progress (the continuing story)

This saga has been going on for quite some time but the reality is that I have actually only worked on the place for 14 days. Six of those days involved tear down of the front porch and fire escape and one day was spent forming copper gutters. After rebuilding the structural elements and filling the gaping big hole in the roof, it left about 4 days of actual work on the roof. Here is the progress.

Tar paper on one side of the chimney.

Tar paper on both sides of the chimney.

Faux slate on one side of the chimney.

Faux slate on both sides of the chimney.

A close up peak at the composite shingles.

This stuff is made by Tamko and is called Lamerite. It is a composite material that is warranted for 50 years and comes in assorted shapes and sizes. It is easy to cut and can be applied using a nail gun which makes attaching them so much easier than original slate.

They look good too and from the ground, they look like slate!

The bad news is that I suspect that I will run out of daylight and time before I run out of roof to replace. The good news is that I can apply this and the gutters in sections. The flashing around the windows and chimneys is a bear to do and there are two chimneys and 5 windows total. Currently I am one chimney and one window down. I forsee plenty of roof work in my future!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

About Copper Gutters.

I have never done copper gutters before. I had no idea what I was getting into when I decided to line the box gutters with copper. I didn't choose copper because I wanted fancy gutters that no one would see. I chose copper simply because I would be able to solder it 30+ feet off the ground while kneeling on an 18 inch gutter ledge using this soldering iron.

Here is a section of the copper gutter. I had to make these (with the help of a friend) from 10' X 3' sheets of 16 ounce copper that cost $160 a sheet. I have 17 sheets. I hope it is enough.

Well I have some spare copper, so I am using it for various channel drains and flashing. This is a channel that I had to construct that lies in a very narrow gap between the chimney and the window. This channel has been one of my major sources of leaks for the last nine years! This copper should more than do the trick. That yellow stuff is "Great Stuff" expanding foam. I am using it as a filler to reduce the amount of tarring that I have to do.

And here is some chimney flashing that I had to make from scratch. This was another major source of leaks. The original metal flashing had rusted out after 120 years.

While I haven't mastered the art of soldering, I am getting better. The flat parts are quick and easy. The slopes are a pain because gravity causes the solder to run and pool in the trough.

The copper is 10X better than the original sheet metal which was quite thin and a whole lot better than the tar covered gutters that still encompass three quarters of the roof!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Roof Progress

Progress on the roof is slow. I still have to home educate my daughter and I have had to attend many meetings this month. Both can mess up a construction work schedule. Still, I do what I can. Last Saturday I had around 14 people show up to help move this

to this

We managed to get the bulk of the pile in the front yard cleaned up as well. We also hauled 120 bundles of faux slate to the third floor. We all celebrated afterward with pizza and beer.

The roof went from this

To this

Then it rained for a day and a half! Now I have to finish recreating a frame for the gutter so that I can walk on it and remove the rest of that slate. I can then get tar paper down and then, hopefully, I can put the water buckets away.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes .....

Day three photo of the fire escape tear down.

Every time a section gets cut out I have to stand back and calculate the order in which i have to cut wood beams so that the entire thing doesn't collapse on me. I got the roof off with some help from a neighbor. Day two and three were solo. Today I got help from the neighbor again and here are some photos of us before the final showdown. These were taken just before the final two cuts were made in case they were to be the last photographs of us alive! This really was a scary project. Doing the roof and gutters does not scare me. Tearing this thing down did and I don't scare easily.

The entire structure had moved about an inch away from the brick wall over night. I wouldn't walk out on that top platform today whereas yesterday I was standing on it cutting wood. My neighbor in position as far away as possible holding a rope to pull down the remaining structure.

Here I am making the final cut.

Here are some more after pictures.

When done with this we threw a bunch of crap out that door onto the pile below. Now I have room for the 119 bundles of shingle that I have to get up three flights of stairs. I am hoping to get the layers of tar out of the gutter and the wooden part of the box gutter re built this week. I have already removed a ten foot section of tar and rubber membrane from the gutter. Some of it was so thick I had to use the sawz-all to cut it out in sections. Each small section weighed about 30 lbs.

What is amusing is that it rained today after we got this thing on the ground and my roof leaks less with this thing down!

How's That Roof Coming along, Mayor?

Slowly! In fact I haven't got started on the roof because I have been busy tearing down the fire escape so that I can rebuild the roof and a 10 foot section of gutter. The fire escape was put on this place way back in 1962 when the third floor was turned into an apartment and the building was zoned commercial. It was made of wood and had corrugated fiberglass nailed to the sides for protection against the elements.

I thought it would take me two days to tear this thing down but it is in worse shape than I thought so I can't work off any of the platforms inside the structure for fear of the floors collapsing. The steps have all started to collapse as well. I have to work off of a ladder for the most part.

The top of this is about 40 feet off the ground and cutting wood with a saw-zall while standing on a ladder this high up is a little scary. Especially if you cut the wrong piece of wood.

Day 1 got the roof off. This took a few hours to do.

Day 2 Got it this far.

Yesterday was day 3 but I don't have pictures yet. I expect it will be down by this evening.

I have only been able to spend a few hours a day working on this due to meetings and numerous phone calls. This is more than the trivial roofing project that the local paper wanted to portray it as. I think they are realizing that because they sent a photographer out to to take pictures of me working.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Die Fledermaus

I always thought it was mice leaving poop in the middle of my floor in the "attic." Every so often I would catch one in a mouse trap. These things come back every year and I witnessed one climbing up the fire escape once so I knew how they were getting in. Well, it isn't mice. We have a resident bat. Here is proof.

This one bat left this much poop in a week!

I haven't been bit by a mosquito in a while ......

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Let the Sun Shine In!

The work on the roof project has begun. The first phase involves removing the front porch in the front of the house and the fire escape in the back of the house. Yesterday the front porch came down and today I ripped up the floor of the porch. I also have to get the roofing supplies from the back yard to the third floor of the house.

Here is a picture of the house without the front porch. It hasn't looked like this since around 1906. That was the date on a piece of newspaper stuffed into a cavity by the window trim that was covered by the porch. I found it interesting that the porch was put on before the house was painted red.

The pile of wood from the demolition.

After the fire escape comes down I will rent a dumpster and invite all those people who volunteered to help me over for pizza and beer so we can transfer the piles into the dumpster! The work on the gutters and the slate will begin after that.

I am going to be installing the faux slate shingle instead of real slate. The main reason being that it can be installed with regular roofing nails instead of copper or stainless steel nails and I am less likely to break the tiles. They also come pre-shaped so there is no specialized cutting to be done. The total cost so far for the tools and supplies has been about $8200. Remember, I was quoted $43,000 to do the job. I predict that the total cost will be between $10,000 and $12,000 after renting a dumpster and buying a few more tools if I can't borrow them or rent them.

This is going to be a tough job and probably time consuming. I will know in a week or so as I start to work on the back section of the house. It could be worse though. Last week we were in Belfast, Maine where I took this photograph. I have to admit, we have our fair share of abandoned property in Dayton but this is proof that someone, somewhere is worse off than you!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Saga of the Roof

The local newspaper reporter contacted me last week because they want to run a story about me having a light schedule for the month of September as the mayor. Here is their story;

The rumor that the reporter got was that I would be on vacation for the month of September. This is not true. I will be fixing my roof! I will be attending commission meetings, school board meetings, attending my regular morning news appearances and doing a few community related events. Weather will dictate if I attend the office but I have worked from my home for so long, I really don’t need to be in the office in order to much of what my job entails. I can communicate by phone from home and I can access my office computer from anywhere in the world and so email communications can be addressed.

Now for the real story that needs to be told. The slate part of my roof and the box gutters need to be replaced. The slate was put on in 1890 and has outlived its usefulness. The dormers and aluminum windows that were installed in the 1960s were not installed properly and the shingle that was used for flashing has deteriorated. This is specialty work. Box gutters and slate roofing is an art form that requires craftsman skills. We had five companies look at the roof and gutters. Four refused to do the work because it was too specialized for them. Including one guy who employs Amish workers! The fifth company quoted me $43,000. Not being a person who is put off by hard tasks I did the research and calculated that I could do the entire job myself for about $10,000 and still have some really cool tools to show for it at the end.

Since the newspaper plays on the aspect that roofing is not as specialized as mayoring let me describe and show for you exactly what I will be doing since, after all, it has been indicated that I will not be working hard.
Firstly, this fire escape has to be removed. It is already in very poor shape and removing it is likely to be more dangerous than replacing the roof.

This porch needs to be removed. Once gone I will make the decision to either replace with a smaller porch or to not replace at all.

Here is a view of the gutter from the back of the house. It is fortunate that the trim is actually made of metal. As you can see it is failing and the wood has rotted out.

Here is an interior view. I have been jacking up this part of the roof for the last three weeks so that I can put some struts back in. The original posts were removed about 40 years ago and since then the roof has been sagging.

People don’t know what box gutters are. Here is a picture of ours. You can see they are in bad shape. I will be replacing the tar, rubber and rusted metal with copper. Making copper gutters from sheets is an art form that I am willing to learn. Of course there are some areas where the wood base has rotted out and needs to be replaced. That is an art form as well.

I am posting this article because I want people to realize that this is no vacation. In fact, given the choice between being in an air conditioned office working the phones, meeting citizens, making speeches at dinner events OR doing hard physical labor 40 feet above the ground in hot weather crafting a roof that should withstand 100 years of brutal weather, most people would chose the former. However, I am not like most people. I am not afraid to do what it takes to get a job done right for the least amount of expense. Fixing this roof myself is worth $33,000 in real money to me. If you add income taxes that I pay out, it would have cost me over $50,000 to pay the only company willing to quote me a price. That is more than I make as mayor.

I look at this way. I am saving a piece of history by fixing this house properly. I am investing in my future stake in the city and I am showing people that I am not afraid to get my hands dirty trying something new.
One day the editors at the local newspaper will realize that. What is that old saying? Extra ordinary people achieve extraordinary things ....

Monday, June 21, 2010

Life on the Edge!

I have been doing some garden work lately. Albeit rather slowly since I no longer have a life outside of work!
I went and bought some metal edging. Couldn't buy it in Dayton. I had to drive to Lowes in Springfield, Ohio. None of our local big box retailers carried the stuff. Any way, I have been at this project for at least three weeks. If it would stop raining on the weekend I might finish it.
Here are some pictures of the progress.

The cool thing is that we figured out what to do with all those surplus sign stakes now that the campaign is over.

I didn't have to buy any tomato stakes this year!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Kitten Saga

The saga of the kittens is both happy and sad. The sad news is that the mother had 6 kittens and only two are left. The mother cat was too young and inexperienced we figure. This was probably her first litter. She divided the litter after we found her in the attic.
At one point all but one kitten had been removed from the attic. We found two on the ground in the fire escape at the back of the house. Both were in poor condition and covered with flies. We managed to save them though and energize them with this

Who would have thought you could by formula for kittens? We removed the one from the attic and had this trio for a day.

Deborah and Elizabeth took it upon themselves to be feeders of kittens. At one point hey had the little black and white one on the grass in the yard and the mother cat came up and swiped it away.

We don't know what happened to the first three kittens of the litter but we found the decapitated body of one of them under a bush about ten feet from the opening of the fire escape. A day later we found the decapitated body the black and white one in the same spot but the former body had disappeared.
We can only assume that the mother or one of the father cats had killed the litter off. I don't understand the ways of cats and don't plan on studying them at this point.
There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth but Elizabeth got over it. She got her first dose of how cruel life can be.

The two remaining kittens were fed every morning and evening and any time in between if we were able to. They really needed attention every 2 hours but that was impossible. They weren't going to die though. After about a week our mail delivery person rang the doorbell and told us that her neighbor fosters cats for SICSA (Society for the Improvement of Conditions of Stray Animals). After a phone call we were also informed that the neighbor was currently fostering a nursing mother with four kittens. Within a day or so after that our two abandoned kittens were placed in a home where they could learn to be cats. I would like to thank the federal government (via the USPS) for their support in relocating these two orphans. When and if we ever catch the mother we are going to get her fixed and release her. Maybe I should issue a Mayor's Proclamation. I certainly need to cover that hole in the roof of the fire escape before I have a case of Deja vu!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Things That Go Bump in the Night!

We have had a little bit of excitement here in the last two days. It certainly explains some of the nocturnal sounds emanating from our third floor in recent weeks. Yesterday I was up in the attic area because I needed to measure some things relating to our roof (which is an entire series of posts that will be forthcoming) when I heard some unusual ruffling sounds. Walking towards the noise I heard a hiss and found myself looking into the eyes of a black cat that isn't one of ours. Upon a little bit of investigating, in a nearby box standing on its side there were a pile of kittens. They are about a week old. The cat is getting into the house via a hole in the roof of the fire escape. Don't ask me how it gets on my roof. I can only assume it climbs up the fire escape. We left the cat some food and water in the hope that it doesn't abandon the kittens.

Of course Elizabeth is excited. The wife and myself are not.

This morning Elizabeth and I went up to check on the kittens. There was only one in the box. This meant that the mother cat realized the box was not a secure location and was moving her litter. Possibly outside the house.

The wife and I were excited. Elizabeth was not.

A few hours later Elizabeth and I went up to see if the last kitten had been moved. It had. Now I was really excited .... until we heard a ruffling noise on the other side of the room in an area that is pretty inaccessible. Upon closer investigation I could see the mother cat with her kittens in a spot that I don't even want to try to get to right now.

Elizabeth is excited .......

Anybody going to need a kitten in a few weeks?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Selling Dayton

Now I am a tiny bit bias but, I believe Dayton, Ohio has more to offer than many other places and I have been to or through quite a few of them. We have some of the most affordable housing in the nation. Our cost of living is below the national average and we are sitting on the largest aquifer in the United States if not the world, so we will never run out of clean fresh water. With as few posts as I have been making lately I still average 150 hits a day on this site. So I am using it to make a sales pitch to the world with our Greater Dayton Plan which was unveiled this week.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

More Steam Punk Light Fixtures

Click on the image to go to the web site.

I got an email solicitation from this evening. Guess they thought I might blog about them!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Steampunk Your Light Fixtures

Those wonderful people at Rejuvenation Lighting sent me another catalog on Saturday. I grabbed it and took it with me so that I could look at it in the car as the wife drove us around to the various places we needed to go.

They have some new lighting fixtures! The most interesting to me were these. If you click on the picture it will take you to their pendent fixture page showing this and several other fixtures.

Industrial Victorian caged pendents. I'm thinking one of these might look good in the stairwell to the basement!