Friday, February 13, 2009

My roof nearly flies off, I only get 2 hours of sleep

We have a patio in our backyard and in is partially covered by a wood frame with corrugated fiberglass for a roof. Its a bit worn down and loose in spots, and when the wind blows it makes banging noises.

But with the very strong winds yesterday and today, one side decided it wanted to leave. It completely detached along the windward edge and was making even louder banging noises all night. I got two hours of low quality sleep between 5 and 7 AM.

At around 1:30 this morning I thought I had a brilliant idea (we'll call it idea #1). I went outside a lobbed a ball of twine over the corner of the fiberglass roof. I tied it up tight thinking it would not make as much noise. Instead the twine cut through the old and brittle fiber glass and was not much use.

Upon waking in the morning, the whole panel on that edge was flapping up and down in the wind. I figured I had to either secure it or cut the whole panel down so that it would fly into a neighbor's yard and do some damage, or worse.

My patio roof blowing off

I should say at this point that we don't have a ladder tall enough so you can see over the top of the roof. Any work I would do would be over my head.

Idea #2: Secure the panel with galvanized nails I found in the basement. I first had to use a broom to get the panel to flop down. Unfortunately these nails don't have much of a head. After I put one in straight and let go of the panel, and it blew straight up in the air again.

Idea #3: Hot glue this damn thing. I didn't do this. It was still very windy, plus I would be on a ladder working over my head, even if I tried to glue the underside.

Idea #4: Tape. The panel was so brittle it seemed like no nail would be able to hold it down. I had just a little 3M packing tape and I applied it at several points, moving quickly so the wind would not rip out what I had already done. Fixing a roof with tape would normally fall into the "WTF were you thinking" category, but this seemed to be working and would hold it until I could figure out something else.

Yeah, that's tape

Idea #5: Hot glue this damn thing. Nope, still not worth facial burns and falling off a ladder.

Idea #6: Any other kind of glue. Right now you're thinking "Tape and glue?", but remember, I already tried nails. I found some Gorilla glue and put in on in a few places where the roof touches the frame, but even with my tape in place, it was still flapping and there is no way this glue is going to do any good.

Idea #7: Demolition. I don't have too many tools at the house yet, but I found a couple of saws, a big weird wrench and some kind of prying tool. Up on the ladder on the inside (non-taped) edge I try to make a little saw mark in the fiberglass through a crack. But I realize it is surprisingly strong (stronger than the flapping edge), and I also don't feel like cutting out a big chunk above my head while standing on a ladder in high winds. Maybe with a few more people, better tools and a taller ladder I could have gotten the panel down in mere minutes. But for now, it needs to be secured.

Idea #8: Dry wall screws. I did not try this. For all the effort of operating an electric driver above my head, it would probably rip out just like the nail I tried.

Idea #9: Bend nails over when they are half way in. This actually seems to work! I hammer in a bunch over my head and move the ladder quickly to do some more.

Toe nailed

That is where this situation is now. The roof panel is being held on with packing tape and 8 or so bent nails. I need more sleep.



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