Emergency maintenance, part 2: blogger on the roof

Concluding the house nightmares of my three day weekend: if you had been outside my house at 1:30 on Monday afternoon, you would have seen a wet, desperate man on our roof, swearing, with bleeding hands pulling muck out of a gutter.

No, I didn’t lose my mind, and no, I didn’t miss cleaning our gutters so much that I decided to do it in the middle of the pouring rain. But circumstances, alas, forced my hand.

We were sitting on our couch watching a video and waiting for the rain to let up, when I felt a drop on my head. I looked up and didn’t see anything, shrugged, looked down—and felt another drop. This time when I looked up, I saw a slight dark ring around the base of our ceiling fan. “Uh-oh,” I said. I thought a shingle had blown off, or maybe some of the high winds had thrown a heavy branch onto the roof and poked a hole in it. And this was in the new part of the house—the roof was only four years old.

So, swearing, I checked both attic spaces but couldn’t see through to the affected section. I pulled the blueprints for the addition out of the garage and studied the roof line. It looked like there was a ridge running right up the middle of the roof section on the outside, joining the main roof right above the fan. So I assumed there was a problem with the ridge shingles.

I grabbed a flashlight and headed out the bedroom window. Walking the roofline, I didn’t see anything obvious, just a few places where the high winds of the last few months had undone all my hard work on my gutters. I pulled a few clumps of pine needles free at the upper end and let some accumulated water drain down. Then I walked to the lower side, where a valley formed between the new roof and the old roof, and allowed water to drain off into a short section of gutter. Or should have. I saw a deep pool in the valley that must have been several feet long; plunging my hand in, the water covered my thumb knuckle. I cursed, and started rooting around trying to find the blockage.

About ten minutes, and several barked knuckles, later, I finally found that if I applied slight upward pressure to the shingles from the new roof that sloped over the bottom part of the valley, I could slip a few fingers inside and scrape out the foul swampish muck that was blocking the water from draining. The pool emptied, and I came back in. I think the pool had backed up far enough that the water rose above the protective rubber seal in the valley and came into the inside of the roof, where it meandered until it found its way down around the ceiling fan.

So far there have been no repeats of the problem, but I won’t be messing around. We’ll be hiring someone to come out and cover the gutters, and have a good look at what can be done to prevent the valley from blocking up again.

So much for great days off. sideways smiley