Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Home Repairs: The Continuing Saga

I'm busy. Read this.
Since nearly the beginning of this blog I've been regaling you with periodic tales of this man's struggle with home repair. Well I'm gonna do it again.

Last Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday the weather realized it was sorely behind in providing DC's rain quota for the year and tried to make up for that shortage. Friday in particular was a soaker. So Friday night, as I was contemplating sleep, I heard a familiar drip-drip-dripping coming from the ceiling above my couch in my first floor living room. I realized now that I had really opened up the ceiling in my former geek room and torn out the sheetrock covering the ductwork and other half of the chimney. I should now be able to see the leak that has plagued me these last three years.

Sure enough there was a steady drip-drip of water coming from the darkness above. Sometimes it hit the ductwork I was trying to remove and sometimes it dropped onto the sheetrock of the ceiling in the living room below.

I grabbed a flashlight, leaned a ladder against a ceiling joist, and proceeded up into the shadows. I could see water marks where it had been running down the outside of the chimney and down the plaster that covers the shared wall. Up and up I went stopping several times at places I thought the leak should have been coming from but wasn't. Finally, I found the origin of the drip coming not from the chimney or the brickwork but one of the boards that makes up the actual roof. It could be the water running down the roof until it hits the chimney where it hesitates long enough to come through. But the drip was from the lowest point on the board which means that it could be coming from nearly anywhere from there to the front of the house and running down to that point.

Of course, up on the roof the next day I could see where my previous expeditions had tried filling holes and applying patches. I got everything that looks like it should be got. There's no visible reason that water should get through. But isn't that always the case? Even in programming you sometimes have to retype a faulty line character for character to fix a problem that has no visible cause.

So I guess I'm gonna call up Eric, the handyman, again. I'm good at a lot of stuff but slopping around hot tar is not on the list. I'm expecting the old surface to be torn up and a new surface put down. Any water damages and/or rotting surfaces to be replaced in the process. Not a complete replacement. Just problem places. And since Eric knows he'll be putting the mythical deck up there eventually he can have any modifications to the room that he'll need to make while they're there.

So I've replaced one whole surface of the house, I'm having another one stripped and resurfaced, and I'm personally routing out and repointing part of a third surface. Any bets on when I do the front wall?

If I had more money stuffed away I'd spend the next year getting my house rezoned and have them put a third story on.

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