Razing the Roof
Razing the Roof
The day for re-roofing had finally arrived. Seventeen months ago, Hurricane Irma had struck South Florida, doing considerable damage to many structures in the Spring Run complex, ours included. After prolonged negotiations with our insurance company, facilitated by a hired consultant, a settlement had been arrived at. With these funds, and an added four thousand dollars per unit assessment, the decision had been made to redo the roofs on our 19-year old buildings.
Bids were let. The Colonial Roofing Company had been awarded the job. It involved over forty structures, most having in the area of 12,000 square feet of roofed surface. It is a massive job by any standards. The roofers had started with the building across from us. It took them a week to strip the roof of cement tiles and lay down the protective blue water-resistant membrane. Then, it was our turn.
We had been playing “dodge the roofer” for four days. This entailed rising early and leaving our condo by 7:30 A.M. We usually stopped for breakfast at the New York Bagel Company on Rte. # 41 in Bonita Springs. Then, we either visited Mary’s sister’s condo in Naples for the day, hid out in the library on Three Oaks, or took a drive someplace along the beach. Eight hours isn’t a long time until you are forced to idle them away. Finally, we got caught on a late Thurs. afternoon. The roofers had been hard at work from 7:30 A.M until 5:00 P.M. That is a long day in the hot sun, for physical labor. We watched them finish up for the day and then talked with the crane operator, after he had put his machine away for the day. He said that the company owns four cranes. Each is rated for lifting differing weights, ranging from 30 to 60 tons. The machines cost new, from a low end of $350,000 for the lighter crane, to $500,000 for the heavier machine.
The roofers had stripped off all of the cement roof tiles, then chipped off the accumulated tar underneath. The crane then ferried the shattered remains of the roof, into a rectangular bucket, and deposited them in another dumpster on the ground. Considerable skill is involved in this seemingly easy transfer. The operator said that they did not work when surface winds had reached thirty-four miles per hour. The danger to both the crew and machinery became too great with a swaying load of material. When that was done, the men began replacing the rotten squares of plywood, that cover the 2x4 joists of the roof. The one-inch thick sheets were needed. The roof must have been rotten for years. The original builders, for whatever reason, had not used galvanized nails when constructing the roof. After ten to twelve years, the nails had rusted out, leaving pin hole leaks across the roof. The moisture had rotted out the underlying sheaths of plywood and dripped down, to the wallboard ceilings beneath them. We had needed to have several sections of our ceiling replaced during the last few years. We were pleased that we were about to get a new roof and end the problem.
When the wooden surface was completely bare and the plywood replaced, the men ran an air dryer over its surface, to remove particle accumulation. They then begin applying the first, blue-colored, impermeable barrier to the plywood surface of the exposed, wooden roof. The barrier is a two-sided stickem. The men just peeled off the back of the barrier, to lay it down. They then smoothed it over, until it was flat and even. It sounds much easier than it was to accomplish. And, if you are caught underneath during the application, like we were on Thursday, it is somewhat akin to sitting on the inside of a drum, in a marching band, on St. Patrick’s Day.
Apparently, the next step is to add a layer of a second, white-colored, Tyvek- type of heavy paper coating, that is also water proof. When that is completed, this crew’s job will be done. Yet another roofing crew will start laying down the symmetrical rows, of the cement tiles, at a later date. (unspecified as of yet.)
We appreciated the men for their hard work and thanked them for their efforts. It was another day of education on the planet.
Joseph Xavier Martin