The Roof

The roof was one of the first really big jobs I did after we bought the place, and it was the most physically demanding.

We bought the place in winter, and there was snow on the roof when we went to look at it, but I was pretty sure it needed a new roof.

And when the snow melted, I could see I was right as there were a few bare spots of plywood showing through a few places and the shingles crumbled off in small pieces as I took them off.

I remember when the guy delivered the shingles and asked if I wanted them put on the roof.

I said “No” because I wasn’t sure what shape the roof was in, and if it would support a lift of shingles up there.

It wasn’t quite that bad, and I only had to replace maybe three sheets of 1/2″ plywood once I got the shingles and tar paper stripped off.

I’ll never forget the queasy feeling I had once I had stripped one side of the shingles off the roof.

At that point I was fully committed, and it was on me to get it done.

Overall, it took me a full week to strip the roof off, repair the rotted plywood, install the peel & stick roll roofing, lay all the shingles and ridge vent.

And as I was doing it, the Elephant Hill forest fire was getting closer to the house.

Depending on the day and which way the wind blew, the skies were either clear and blue or they were hazy with smoke.

I remember wondering if all the work I was doing was going to go up in flames, but thankfully it didn’t get to our place.

Lugging those bundles of shingles up onto the roof was a bit of a grunt.

Thankfully I bought some used scaffolding and a couple sets of stairs. Once set up, I could walk up the stairs with a bundle of shingles on my shoulder and put it on the roof.

When I got to that point, I usually started the day by dragging up 7 or 8 bundles on to the roof while I was fresh and it was cool before the temperature climbed beyond 30 degrees Celsius.

Here I’m installing the peel & stick roll roofing before starting on the shingles.

Those were long, hard days with the smoke, heat and moving all those bundles of shingles.

At the time we didn’t have a bed in the house so we were sleeping on air mattresses.

Of course, mine sprung a leak.

It would keep just enough air to let me fall asleep, but by the time I woke up in the morning I was sleeping on the plywood floor.

My wife offered to switch mattresses with me, but I didn’t want her to have to wake up with a deflated mattress like that.

Between working on the roof all day and waking up on the floor, I could barely move I was sooo stiff and sore those mornings.

But what could I do?

I didn’t have a choice – I had to get up and get going before it started getting hot out, and I had to get it done before I ran out of vacation time and had to go back to work.

I’d start up the air compressor at 7:30 am, hoping that my neighbors wouldn’t find it too early.

I felt horrible because the whine of the air compressor and the pop of the nailer was the ONLY thing you heard on those silent mornings.

Thankfully the neighbors were really good about it.

I put the finishing touches on the roof at 6pm the night before we had to leave.

For the record, the grey you see in the skies in the photos is haze from the smoke – not clouds.

It would have been nice if it was cloudy as it would’ve been a little cooler out, but instead it was hot and humid with the smoke.


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