The Roof

Oh no
Don't let the rain come down
My roof's got a hole in in
And I might drown

      Brothers Four

By Dominic Vautier
03/2002


Earlier this summer I decided to strike up a conversation with my favorite vizla dog Pumpkin. As near as I remember the conversation went something like this:


Me:  Well Pumpkin, it looks like its time to begin my summer projects.  Letís see.  Iíve got the shed to empty out, the roof to clean, and my van to sell, as well as all that other stuff Cyn wants me to do.  So where should I begin anyway?  What's your suggestion?

Pumpkin: Woof.

Me:  I was afraid you would say the roof.  Iím not looking forward to that job at all.  Thereís lots of things up there: brush, sediment, and debris of every imaginable description, andÖandÖ

Pumpkin:  Bark!

Me:  Yes. you're right; there's plenty of that too.  Iíll just bet that itís not going to be an easy job cleaning that roof off.

Pumpkin: Rough.

Me:  Right on, Pumpkin.  Itís going to be a real rough job.  Not only that but itís dangerous too.  There's all kinds of things that could happen to me.  I could twist my ankle, or fall off, or hurt my back.  So what do you think is the worst thing that might happen?

Pumpkin:  Arf.

Me: Youíre so right my friend.  Falling off is the worst thing possible.  Of course I could fall in the grass where itís soft or in the rocky gravel.  What do you think anyway?

Pumpkin:  growl.

Me:  Yah.  That gravel would really mess me up.  Well thanks a lot Pumpkin for this nice little talk.  Iíd better get to work now.

Pumpkin: Rough.

Me:  OK.  Donít rub it in.

 

 

 

A little history:

Back around 1955 several ambitious contractors decided to develop East Lake Hills, an area which because of its many hills and rocky terrain was considered as quite unsuitable for suburban development.  East Lake Hills was the area lying between NE 8th and SE 16th. and bounded on the east and west by 148th and 164th.  The road structure that the city engineers constructed attempted to follow the terrain and consisted of a confusing conglomeration of cul-de-sacs, dead ends, and roads that often ran back into and onto themselves.

 

But out of this hodgepodge came some cool well built structures.  The houses had similar floor plans but after 50 years, many of these houses had morphed into different styles, shapes, landscapes, and colors.  One thing that had not changed were the roofs.  They tend to alternate between flat and inclined.  You can go for miles and the roofs all alternate between flat and pitched.  Everywhere you look it's that way. 

 

A gravel roof consists of layers of tar material covered  with about 1/2 inch of pea gravel,  The gravel protects the tar material from the suns UV rays and heat which can easily destroy a good roof in a few summers (even in the northwest).

 

I'm not sure it's just destiny or the Gods at work but we wound up with a flat gravel roof which had a pitch of about 5 degrees.  It can't use three tab or tile because there's not enough run.  So I began to study flat roofs.

Our roof used to look like a forest because moss just goes wild on gravel roofs.  A gravel roof consists of layers of tar material covered  with about 1/2 inch of pea gravel,  The gravel protects the tar material from the suns UV rays and heat which can easily destroy a good roof in a few summers (even in the northwest).

The moss eventually will destroy a roof. It retains moisture and restricts air circulation.  The moss roots will work themselves into the roof fabric itself.  The weight of wet moss on a roof can also become immense.

I began developing a procedure to remove the moss.  First  had to to remove the surface moss, and then get rid of all the roots that had worked themselves into the gravel. I began developing a procedure to remove the moss.  First  had to to remove the surface moss, and then get rid of all the roots that had worked themselves into the gravel.
 

Here is a portion of the finished roof looking north after debris had been removed

I selected an area of about 10x10 feet and carefully raked off surface moss collecting it into barrels.  Then I began moving the gravel around with my blower.  In this way I hoped the debris would blow away leaving the pea gravel (most of the time it worked).  Afterwards I carefully redistributed the gravel over uneven spots.

Here is a portion of the finished roof looking north.

When I was done I had a pile of moss about 4 feet high in the back yard.  This was just the moss that I collected in tubs and dumped over the side.  Believe me, there was a lot more moss scattered all over the back and front yard.

This entire job took about two weeks.  After it was done I again asked my dog pumpkin about the job and she replied, "rough!".

When I was done I had a pile of moss about 4 feet high in the back yard.  This was just the moss that I collected in tubs and dumped over the side.  Believe me, there was a lot more moss scattered all over the back and front yard.

Here is the finished roof looking west.

When I was finished I sprayed the roof heavily with moss killer.