Letter from the Publisher: Stay Off the Roof
By BOB HUNT, Publisher
When I was building our place in the mountains, I was young and capable.
I had some skills that I learned from high school one summer while working for a contractor. I got the basics from a German builder in Pentwater Michigan.
Karl Standfuss taught me to measure twice, cut once. I’ve learned how many shovels full of sand go into a batch of mortar. All day long 11 shovels of sand and three cement.
Or was it 21 and 5? I forget.
I still remember feeding this guy with mortar in buckets when a chimney grew in the air. Karl lifted 12-inch cinder blocks with a steady hand as he artistically placed them one behind the other.
All with the mud that I mixed.
I think Karl was in his early 60s at the time. He was as tough as they came.
I was a generalist in building things, you could say. When I started the house building project I had a new wife and not many responsibilities. We had a dream of a safe house in the woods.
Together we worked on this place that started out as raw land – steep enough to be affordable and far from the city.
We bought materials from the local Pamida (long gone), or we picked them up from demolition projects in the city.
We started with a free, relocated cab, taken apart and moved to our home site on a low-loader.
I knew how to make cement so that part seemed easy. We ended up bringing in water for 10 months before our well was drilled.
The weather has been brutal at times for the past 30 years. And wind events are now a common occurrence that tests the mettle of my former rooftops. Or lack thereof. I now mostly use metal roofing for improvements.
I’ve used shakes, three-tab composite rolled fiberglass asphalt, and even recycled aluminum newspaper sheets to cover the tops of structures.
Wind can destroy any roof. We got through two major wind events this past season. The first dropped about seven trees on the 16-acre property. The last event came from a different direction. What came off the first time, came off completely during the second time.
It was very windy. Both outbuildings lost their top. The metal roof panels came off. They started hitting things like the house.
It took a while, but I was able to repair all the damage. No claims – only repairs.
But now I am Karl’s age when I worked with him as a child. Lately discovering that getting up ladders is not for our audience or for me. My best advice for you this summer is to stay off the roof. their