Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Sunday, August 30, 2009 Stopped Up
On some level, I’ve known for a while that I was just going to have to rip out the entire bathroom ceiling and put up a new one. In fact, the only thing stopping me was that as much as I'm confident that I can do it, it's not something I want to do on an annual basis.
But let me back up. To June, in fact, when I first tried to call the contractor who built the addition to ask him, politely, why the fuck is water coming through the top of the piece of house you put on? After getting his voice mail a few days in a row, I simply assumed he was on vacation. When his vacation stretched into August and his office number got disconnected and his Web site disappeared from the Internet, I began to be concerned that he wouldn't be returning in a time frame that would work for me, i.e., before the house fell down.
By this time I had things in motion with our insurance agent, and was looking to hire another contractor to do, well, whatever needed to be done. Here's the timeline.
Monday morning: Insurance adjuster visits. Checks out the internal damage, climbs around on the roof, advises us to get a contractor this week or it might not be fixable. The good thing about something not being able to fix something is that then you don't have to fix it, but Trash doesn't see it that way. That day I rent a ladder that's tall enough to allow me to climb up and clean out the gutters, because I don't really have any other ideas.
In the afternoon I am felled by one of my rare but language-center-debilitating migraines, and take to my bed after I realize that I am needing to sound words out loud in order to understand them. Later regret not attempting to write an entry in that state.
Tuesday: Dude from contractor specializing in water damage repair shows up in the morning. Gives everything a very thorough inspection, including waving an infrared camera around the walls and ceilings to see how wet it is all up in there. Answer: saturated. He invites me up on the roof (using the rented ladder I haven't returned yet) to show me what he's found: of the four vents, pipes, stacks, and what-not poking up out of that half of our roof, one or two of them may not be sealed all that great. The path marked by the cool, blue-green areas of the infrared display seems to bear this out. Explaining how the infrared camera works, he asks of I've seen Predator. I lie and say I have rather than admitting that most of my experience with heat imagery is through the night-vision cameras on Big Brother.
He tells me to get "blackjack." "To hit my original contractor with?" I ask. No, it's basically roofing tar that comes in a tube you can stick in a caulking gun and then use to seal cracks in your roof. I go get two tubes of the stuff. That evening I walk around on the roof laying down neat lines of blackjack until my caulking gun breaks and the metal rod pierces the butt end of the tube. Fortunately the stuff is too thick to spill properly, and I'm able to use the rod to smear stuff where it needs to go. I lay on thick layers of pitch with a primitive tool. I feel like a pirate.
Better still, I'm 95% sure that I've plugged the leak. I'd haul a lawn sprinkler up there to be sure, but since the inside is still wet, that wouldn't necessarily establish the fact. I could give it a few days, but I have to have the ladder back before then. For the first time all summer, I find myself hoping it'll rain really hard in about a week. In the meantime, I climb down off the ladder. Fail to die. Wish the drying equipment would hurry up and work.
Through this all, even though it's a pain in the ass, there's the relief of knowing that I've finally taken steps to address the problem, even if I don't know where those steps lead. I no longer look at that wet, rotting area of the bathroom ceiling with a sense of helpless dread. In fact, I no longer look at it at all, because I've already torn it down.
What's that? Oh, did I not tell you about the "drying equipment?" I'll get to that next time. Hint: it's not a towel. posted by M. Giant 7:59 PM 0 comments