Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Latest DIY Dare--A Nearly Dispassionate Recounting of the Experience

I wanted my roof to stop leaking so that i could repair the ceiling in the sunroom. It's starting to really look like crap.

I didn't know if i could repair a roof. I've never repaired a roof before. I have vertigo.

I did very little research but read something about flashing, had already heard of shingles, and tar paper. I knew you could buy roofing nails. And cans of tarry stuff and caulking. Even though we don't have a tall enough ladder, there is a clump of cedars or something that conveniently grow right up beside the roof edge.

None of it seemed very mysterious. I hypothesized that i could do this roof repair.

I told my husband that i was going to do this roof repair.

I went to Lowe's and bought some flashing, some shingles, some tar paper, some roofing nails, and a can of tarry stuff and a tube of roof caulking.

I tested my hypothesis by conducting an experiment. I climbed the tree and after some patient help from an agile and fearless teenaged son, got myself onto the roof. I began removing shingles from over the spot i guessed was the problem area.

During this experiment i found rusted out flashing under cracked shingles and tarry stuff, and some ineffective caulking. I also found out that getting from the roof back to the tree produced a lot more trepidation than going the other way had.

Over the last three weeks (you would think it never rains in New Mexico), i have spent approximately 3 hours staring at my problem area, which turns out to be called a horizontal valley, and about 8 hrs actually doing stuff.

What have i learned during this DIY project? I learned that a 50-yr old woman can learn to climb trees to the roof, and climb back down again with hardly a flinch. I learned that she should wear gloves when working with old shingles if she doesn't want her skin full of fiberglass spines. I learned that she can rip up old roofing material and stick a bunch of new stuff down on it. All are skills that may not be very useful taken in themselves. But even here in the dessert, it will eventually rain, and IF that sucker holds and the leaking has stopped, i acquired the very cool skill of Roof Repairing during this DIY dare.

I stoically hope that my next DIY dare project will be gyproc/plaster repair of the sunroom ceiling.


  1. Wow, you really made it, Lisa! Even though you have vertigo, you had the courage to repair the roof all by yourself. Who knows, maybe someday you can become DIY queen!

  2. I wish I can do that myself! Usually, when we "spot" our roof, I do so with my husband... who mostly does the spotting anyway. I join to learn what I can, of course, and to enjoy the view!