Dec 30 2010

Instrument panel is back

I did get the instrument panel for the plane back from Aerotronics.  The new lighting label looks fabulous.  Now I can get started on the final wiring if I could only find the plane in the mess of the work shop….


Dec 30 2010

Roofing Day 36 Shingling is done.

This morning I started on my my last two roofs.  I am really excited as I should be done with the shingling today!

I wanted to get  the dumpster removed today as tomorrow is new years eve and a lot of businesses will be closed.  I didnt want to have to deal with the yard mess over the weekend.

Fortunately, the weight of the dumpster did not damage my sidewalk.  Careful preparation with lots of wood seemed to prevent any cracking.  The truck tore up the yard again, but whats new.  I would rather fill the ruts with top soil than to have cracked concrete.

WoHo! the yard is starting to look normal again!

The shed roofs are done.   The last of the shingle work!

Tomorrow I’ll start work on reinstalling the vinyl siding.  By this weekend, I’ll be raking the yard and early next week cleaning the shop to get back to work on the plane.  Cant wait.

Dec 29 2010

Roofing Day 35

The porch roof has been completed.  Yaaa!  I Had to carry 3 square of shingles (10 bundles from the roof to my truck.  A lot of work, but I would much rather carry them down off the roof than to carry bundles up onto the roof!

I really like how the color of the shingles complement the brick and the colors I had painted my deck  last year. 

I also started getting ready to have the construction dumpster removed from my yard.

Dec 28 2010

Roofing Day 34

I sent all day Monday working on the two light tubes in the kitchen.   They were a major PITA to install mainly because of the double roof rafters in the attic (from repitching the roof).    Unfortunately, the rafters were not lined up so I had to work in between them.   

After finishing up the wiring the fluorescent lights in sola tube, it is on to the porch roof.

I was able to strip it down and start clean up the mess by COB. 

Dec 24 2010

Roofing Day 23

Today is a day to celebrate!  Not only is it Christmas Eve, but roof 1 of 6 has been completed. 

The second story is now done.   It has 4 hips and 4 penetrations and a chimney is certainly the most dangerous and complex of house.   I did a hearty Ho Ho Ho after the last nail went in, and even had time to start on one of the storage sheds (almost finished 1/2 of it) .   I can now see can see just how quick and easy flat roofs can be covered (3 of the 6 roofs are flat).   I’ll easily be able to bang out the remaining 3 flats roofs in a day.  

You know it is kind of a shame that now that I REALLY understand roofing, hips,  valleys, vents, flashing, etc  and how quickly and easily it is to do master level work, I will never roof a house again.  Period.  I spent a LOT of time visiting websites talking to roofers to figure out the absolutely best way to accomplish this job.  

I can see how easy it would be for a “professional” roofing company to bang out a house in a day or two.  It all comes down to having a large group of workers (lots of man hours) and  grunt work.   Roofing is just repetitive manual effort.  Now I can also see how easy it is to do a substandard job and take short cuts.   All I have to do is drive around my neighborhood and look at the roofs.  Talk about poor quality workmanship.   The errors just jump right out and smacks you upside your head. 

Maybe it would be best for me to just work with Habitat and teach others what I have learned.  

After finishing another hard day, I just spent ???? amount of  time(I think it was over an hour) in the hot tub with a drink relaxing, listening to Pandora and stretching my sore muscles.   I feel great knowing that the next two days (Christmas and a Sunday is a rain day) will be a vacation for me!   LET IT RAIN!    I DONT CARE!  I’ll hit it again on Monday.

I absolutely  love the rain and I haven’t been able to enjoy it for over a month.  I even replaced the aluminum vent cap on my bathroom exhaustfan with a bigger one becuase I love to hear the first drop of rain fall in the night.  Sort of like when you used to sit at grandpa’s house in a tin metal barn on a hay bale an  listen to the rain .

I really have been freak out by this job and constantly watch the weather shows check the weather website many times a day.  What is the temps doing?  When is it going to rain?  What is the wind direction?  Cloudy/Sunny?   How many layers do I need to wear for the cold?  I guess that’s what happens when your freezing your ass off and have water dripping from every light and vent opening in ones ceiling. 

I even used my cordless drill to drill holes in my plaster ceilings to let the water out.   I figured if you could let the water out immediately there would be less possible damage.   Besides it easier to put the buckets, pans and plastic containers under the holes to collect the water.

At night I couldnt hardly get a good sleep at because if ONE drop of rain hit the roof I would wake up.  Weird sounds like the traps flapping in high winds would keep me up.  Most nights the earplugs would go in and when I woke up, check for damages, and move on.

All that being said, the end is in sight and the job is everything I had hoped for.   I just love the color and texture of the roof.    The new roof line over the front porch exactly what I wanted.  The porch looks straight for the first time ever.  I think I’ll paint the trim a deep maroon color to match the brick and roof.   Would I do it again…..hell ya.  I would certainly have been smarter about buying LOTS of tarps and choosing a different month to work in, but yes, I am very pleased.

Strangely, I am already looking forward to doing the porch.  Cant wait but have a plane to complete first.   I am planning to engineer the entire porch design in ACad so I know visualize exactly how it will look and what needs to be done.  Good planning makes for fast work.    I can even render the design and print it out on the color printer to have a photo of the finished product.  

The pouch will be lots of brick and I’ll expressly use Hardiplank (concrete board) and cast concrete.  I want NO maintence and the materials will totally eliminate rot and deterioration.    Hardipank is actually very soft (but extremely durable) so I can cut thin sheets of it into anything I want (decals, reliefs, house numbers) and use construction adhesive to permantely bond it in place.  How cool is that. 

The tooling has already been imagined for casting the concrete.  I am sure there is a lot of information on the Internet for casting concrete kitchen counter tops, so I’ll be able to easily learn the basic casting process. 

Well it is time to eat.  I must have lost a lot of weight these last 3 weeks.  I bought some new jeans at a right (maybe a bit snug) size of 32 inches before I started this odyssey from hell and now when I put the jeans on they are WAY too big.  I must be a 31 or a 30 waist now (the same as my 1971 High School wrestling team) .   It will be nice to start going to the gym again where I can check my weight on their scale.   As Tony said, “roofing a house is better than going to a gym”.   He was right, I am am positive I’m in better shape and can work much harder than I could a month ago.

The good news is I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want and as much as I want.  Won’t last long, but am enjoying the teenage boy eating pattern while I can. I am hungry and have no guilt about stuffing myself till I explode..

Let the Christmas dinner feasting begin!

Dec 23 2010

Roofing day 22

It is day 22 now and I can see the end in sight.  It was not all that cold temp wise today (52f) but the wind was howling so the wind chill was probably in the low 40’s.    I find it interesting that this December has entered the Charleston record books as the coldest EVER recorded since record keeping began (in the 1800’s). 

Yesterday, I completed the upper front and side roofs.  This side roof was the most dangerous part of the project.  It is 2.5 stories up and the with a 6 pitch (30 deg).    I purchased and wore a safety harness the whole time I worked in this area and carried my cell phone just in case so I could call 911.  Talk about slow going as the safety line and air hoses were constantly getting tangled up.  Back when I built the house (1993-1994)  I just worked close to the edge and never thought much about it.  I must have been total crazy to take such chances back then. 

Today I completed the most complex area of the house..  The upper chimney side if the roof.

There is a lot of flashing to be done around the chimeny to prevent leaks which I am totally obsessive about.  One item about the chimney I didnt like was the HDTV antenna wires (which was originally  for two satellite dishes).  Tony even commented on how bad the wires looked running under the sofits.   


I decided to weld a custom flashing  out of aluminum for the wires to travel through. 


I also removed the orginal flat flashing on the inside face I installed years ago to properly flash the chimney with a cricket.  I think the only reason it didnt leak years ago is that I double flashed it.    Heck I didnt know any better back then.

The cricket is like a mini hip ridge which directs the water around the chimney instead letting the water slam into a flat surface and then having to find a way aroiund it.

The chimney roof was completed today.  Tomorrow I’ll finish off the remaining upper roof and install the ridge vent and the ridge caps.  At that point I’ll be totally weathered in and should be leak free. Just in time as on Saturday (Christmas Day) I am taking off and there is a prediction of 40-70% rain with the possibility of snow.  

Hell, I might even treat myself to an entire 2 days off in a row!

Dec 21 2010

St Nick the roofer…

Twas the week before Christmas and all over the house,
The blue tarps were flapping, the soffits in place.
Up on the rooftop, could be heard a click, click, click. 
Could it be Santa reindeer or homebuilder St. Nick?

The pitches had been changed, the rafters redone
all without help of warm Charleston sun.

Late one night, the rain, the wind made such a clatter
With a start,  he sprang from his bed to see what was the matter.

The drips and the drops, they damaged the ceilings
soon the project became much less appealing

Through cold and rain, and frozen toes
the project’s challenges seemed to grow and grow!

Finally when the shingling could begin,
St Nick’s face turned from a grimace to a grin.

Air gun in hand, he stopped for the night
from the high on the roof everyone heard him exclaim a hearty Ho Ho Ho
Merry Christmas to all and let the roof be tight.

Dec 20 2010

Roofing Day 19

It is now in December 20th, and I am in the 19th day of the roofing  job from hell.  This whole project has turned out to be a lot more than I expected, but it was something which absolutely needed me to do it.  I probably saved $10-20,000 by doing it myself, but it has it has taken a toll on me.   Unexpected freezing weather from an arctic front has frozen the east coast and I have been freezing my ass off.    The average temp in December here in Charleston is normally 65F.  Most morning is it has been in the 20’s with highs in the low 40’s if we are lucky.  We are having historic temperatures here with record breaking cold weather everywhere.   This has been a really crazy month weather wise. 

I’ll tell you what though, there is no greater motivator to getting up early in the morning no matter how you feel or how cold it is and work your ass off than having a completely naked roof and the threat of rain.  Speaking of which an unexpected rain came through (the weatherman prediction cant be trusted) and I now have rain damage in the ceilings in every room in the house (except for my study).  I had buckets everywhere to catch the drips.    After I cleaned up the mess I just thought, I built the house so there is NOTHING mother nature can throw my way that I can’t repair as good as (or better) than when I built it the first time.

Needless to say, after getting up at 6 am, starting work by 7:30 and busting butt until the sun goes down, then hitting Lowes or Home Depot to get more stuff for the next day, I have been totally exhausted every night and had no energy to write in the blog.  I didnt clean house for 2 1/2 weeks, piled washed clothes in the corner, and left piles of dirty clothes wherever I took them off.   I was just too tired to even care how I looked, if I ate, or how the house looked.  With my camera crunched up I have rely on my cell phone camera so I havent been able to document the work.   BTW, I just ordered a new 12 mp Casio camera from  from Amazon and cant wait to get it. 

I feel like I am now on the closing end of this project, things are looking up, and have the energy to write in my blog.  I’ll try do do a quick recap to catch you up.

 Day 6

After completing the stripping of the shingles and re-pitching the back roof of the house, it was on to the front side.  I found massive wood rot on the front porch.  I ended up just replacing the header beam of the porch and a number of roof boards.  Tony stopped by for a few hours to help me replace the beam.  He left to go home to bed as he was really sick.

 Day 7

Work was started on the re-pitching of the front roof.  I wanted to bring the top of the porch roof to the same height as the peak of the front bedroom.  It has always looked out of balance to me the way it was originally built.

The roof  rafters are going up.

Day 8

I removed part of the siding of the house to build a sofit on to the new addition.  The rafters are set in place and it is time to start sheeting the roof. 

Day 11

 This was a really bad day for me.  The rains came a day early than I planned for and there was nothing I could do about the fact that 1/2 of my roof had no protection on it at all.    Early that morning I bought some traps to cover the remaining roof up but it was too late for my ceilings.

 The house looks like a smurf house now.

The re-pitching on the back of the house so I can extend the structure of the the screened in porch over my exercise pool.  I’ll have to raise the brickwork to the new sofit in a few weeks.

Water coming out the ceiling vents, lights, smoke detectors.  What a mess.

My huge construction dumpster is nearly filled.  I am saving some room for the last and final roof the screened in room which I will strip and re-shingle last.


I have put all the extra wood trash on my trailer.  I plan to have a “burning up the house” part when this project is done.  I’ll invite my friends, get some beer and pizza and make a big bonfire in my back yard.  I plan to dig a big hole with the dozer, burn the wood and leaves in it and cover up the leftovers (nails) with dirt as I level out the land.


Day 12

Tony is back on the job feeling a bit better.  Now that that front roof has been re-pitched, we will be working on the sofits and fasha boards.

Day 13

The front front sofits are done.  This looks much better than what I had before.

Day 18

We FINALLY started shingling yesterday.  What a pleasure it was to be out of the really hard back breaking work and seeing something really getting done.   I think the sofits came our really nice and the shingles (called Hickory Red) gives a really nice look to the house.   Sort of a wood shake sort of look which really complements the brick.

Day 17  (Saturday)

It rained all day so I took a much needed day off.  I actually felt almost human again.    We had over 1/2″ rain, which allowed me to discover new leaks in my temporary roof covering visa-be my ceilings.  This time it was in my upstairs bedroom.  I covered the area with more tar paper and put out the buckets, drilled more holes in the ceiling to catch the liquid gold dripping down.    I cant wait for this shit to be over.

Day 18 Yesterday (Sunday)

I started work on the back of the house.  Putting down straight runs of shingles is very quick, but cutting around roof opening takes a bunch of time.  I am glad Tony took Sunday off to get ready for his trip to Los Angles, as he would have been frustrated about the time it took me to carefully cut the shingles and seal the various roof flashing’s.


Day 19 (Today)

Tony and I finished off the back of the house.  Moved the shingles off the peak and staged them for the replacement of the screened in porch. It look terrific now.  I also installed the flashing for my solar light tubes (two of them) which run down into the kitchen.  I cant wait to see how well they work.

We also completed the back side (1 of 4) of the upper roof. 

Well this catches you up to the present stage I am at.  Whats left? 

The remaining 3 sides of the upper roof
Build a cricket for the chimney
Installing the ridge vents and caps
Shingling the two storage building
Removing the shingles and shingling the screened in porch
Reinstall the vinyl siding.

I hope to have everything done by this weekend (4 days).    This is the LAST freaking time I will ever shingle a roof again.  Kind of a shame as I did a lot of research to do the best job possible and know a lot about shingling now.  With 30-35 year shingles I figure the next time this roof will to be done, I will be in a nursing home wearing a diaper and drooling on myself.    I would only help Tony if he asked, but for anyone else, you couldnt pay me enough money in the world to do this again.  Go higher a contractor.

Off to bed.  I have a 6 am wake up call for work.  It is going to be 31f tomorrow morning.  It will be so nice to not have to dress up with 2 socks, 3 layers on my legs, 5-6 layers on my upper body, gloves, hat, ear muffs just to go to work outside.    What fun…..

Dec 06 2010

Roofing Day 5

Today is supposed to be the coldest of the week with a high of about 45 f.  Tomorrow will be a bit warmer with a high of 47 f.  Actually, it wasn’t too bad to work in.  When I asked Tony what he thought of the weather, he just said, “In England it would be just this cold and rainy too.  You just work between the rain showers”.  I guess we are lucky because it is sunny here.

The back is coming along nicely.  All the rafter are up.  The walls are up and tomorrow it will have the roof decked.   Then we can move onto the side and front of the house.

Tony is doing the final stripping on the front side.

The shingles were delivered today.  The truck drove up the front yard because the driver was concerned he would crack my driveway.  I didn’t realize it but the truck alone weighs in at 40,000 lbs. It left 3″ deep tracks in the front yard.  I built the drive way extra strong to prevent cracking, but I dont think it would have stood up to this bruiser.

As soon as he pulled in the front yard, my water line sprung a leak.   Apparently the freaking waterline is buried 6″ deep where his tires rolled across and part of the line was on a root.  The weight of the truck caused the tube to crack right at the root (sheared it off).  It took about an hour to repair mainly because I couldnt get the water properly stopped.

The picture above was the last one my camera will ever take.  It was REALLY hectic with the shingle going on top of the house and my ruptured water line an apparently I set the camera on back of the truck.  I knew the camera was missing and searched everywhere for it couldn’t find it.   I eventually gave up, knowing it would eventually turn up somewhere.

I drove off to Home Depot for repair parts and 20 minutes later was in the front yard working on the leak an heard a crunch as a car drove by.    Hum, I wonder what he hit?   Walked over to check it out and there in the street was the remain of my beloved camera.   Surprisingly, the memory card was ok.

Another causualty of the roof job (along with the top of my attic fan and a broken broom.    I wanted to eventually replace it with a ultra compact camera.   I guess now is the time…..

Dec 05 2010

Roofing Day 4

I am now in day 4 of the roofing job.  What a PITA!  The only good thing about this roofing job is I’ll never have do it again.  With 30 year shingles, I’ll be in a nursing home drooling on myself the next time this roof will need to be redone.    I wanted to do it myself because I know it will be done right and will last.

The temperatures have been in the 50’s the last few days and surprisingly it has been great to work outside.  I thought it might be a bit too cold but have been loving it.    The next few days are going to be brutal though.  Tomorrows high is 51 with lows in the 20’s which is rare here.  Basically, late January-February Charleston weather.    Hopefully, by the end of the week temps should return to normal December 60F high and 45 lows lows. 

After completing the prep work on the upper roof, the repitching of the back of the house has been started. 

Getting ahead of the game.

Scaffolding is staged for the cripple wall and the work on the upper soffits.

Tomorrow the shingle arrive.  We are not totally ready for them, but…ready enough.