Yeah. That tree.
Well, the tree and the incompetents who built the former porch (now entryway and sleeping nook) on this house.
Contractor Mike showed up today to cut a 3 x 6-foot hole in my lovely (but collapsing) beadboard ceiling so he could see exactly what’s going on in the crushed-looking part of the roof.
Shortly thereafter he started laughing.
Laughter is right next to “Whoops!” for things homeowners don’t want to hear from contractors.
Nevertheless, after he invited me to stick my head up there among the spiderwebs, I could have laughed, too. I won’t go into the gory details. The short version is that the roof of the former porch was not only way, way underbuilt and mal-built, but it was never adequately attached to the house. Just toenailed in with 8d (too short) nails. Which over the years had rusted.
That tree — you do remember that tree? — not only yanked the metal electric stanchion out. It yanked the whole roof forward, removing the last fragile connection between former-porch roof and house wall. The collapse started then though it wasn’t yet visible. The roofers staging their stuff on it a week later just completed the job.
Nothing’s broken up there, far as anyone can see. And not much is rotted. Which is amazing and good. The whole roof just kind of lost its moorings and “slud” a foot down along the wall and a inch or two outward.
After he quit laughing, Contractor Mike, who’s a generalist and generally a “lite-duty” guy, called in Contractor Joe, who knows roofs and roof problems inside out.
Contractor Joe is also a perfectionist for whom the term “good enough” doesn’t exist. He stood around for an hour smoking cigarettes and proclaimed that if I didn’t immediately spend another $4,000 to rebuild the entire roof (even the non-collapsed portion), my walls would fall outward (which they’re already doing, but slowly), my windows would shatter, and the ceiling would fall on my head and kill me.
I stood around not smoking cigarettes and insisting, “$4,000? Ain’t happening. No way. Surely there’s a means to stabilize this, bring the walls in, and keep the rain out without a total rebuild.”
After Contractor Joe went away Contractor Mike detailed a “make-do.” Which I’m thinking about. It involves removing the whole ceiling, pushing the “slud” rafters up and supporting them against the house. That will hopefully pull the walls back in (or at least enable the walls to be pushed back in and held in place with long, long screws.
Dunno yet what to do. I’m still in shock. For now, I just had Mike put a big brace against the most out-of-kilter wall and I stapled plastic over the hole in the ceiling. I already moved everything out of the imperiled space and am sleeping on the couch in the living room.
Murphy has definitely struck again. But as Mike says, that tree may have done me a favor. That roof construction was so bad and already so fragile that if the tree and the roofers hadn’t displaced it during good weather, a snowstorm or a high wind could have displaced it at a much worse moment in a much more catastrophic way.
So … I’m considering myself lucky now???
But for sure, I am lucky that, with you guys having covered so much of the cost of the good roofing job, having a bad roofing job right on top of it is less painful than it would otherwise have been.
Well, for anybody who’s actually interested in the gory details, here’s one for ya:
The support running from lower left to higher right across the photo is a mere 2 x 4 that somebody decided to use as one of the roof’s supporting hips. A 2 x 4, did I say? No. When they didn’t have a stick of lumber long enough to form the entire hip, hey, they just cut a 45-degree angle at the ends of two 2 x 4s and sorta-kinda stuck ’em together — then used that shaky contraption to support that entire end of the roof.
You can’t really see it in this photo, but the two rafters attached at the point of that 45-degree cut don’t even come within 1/2 an inch of actually touching the hip board. From the spidery stuff in the gaps, it appears they’ve been that way for a long time.