Tuesday, November 13, 2018

no plumber required for these leaks

If you live in the Atacama Desert, this story is not for you.

But the rest of the world has felt my pain -- with roof leaks.

I moved into the Barra house in October 2014. Within a month, the rains came. And with them, leaks in the kitchen and the library. Even though the rooms are on opposite sides of the house, they are exactly the same shape. And the leaks were in the same place in both. Right in the center of the room.

I called the former owner to ask if she could recommend a local contractor. She did me one better and told me she knew of the leaks and had already arranged for the original contractor to fix the leaks. At no expense to me.

Free always sounds like a good deal to me. By January the job was done (i got rhythm). But there was something about the surliness of the workers that made me feel a bit uneasy about the work.

When the next rains arrived, new leaks traveled right along with them. So, I had a contractor friend, Tracey Ross, look at the previous work. Because water tends to find access where two different surfaces join, she thought the water may be seeping in at the base of two pillars. So, she modified them. And the leaks stopped.

They stopped, that is, until last year when the leaks in the kitchen and library returned -- with the additional problem of a leak in Omar's bedroom. I needed a better solution (beauty and the breach).

Tracey read read that essay -- about the two contractors who failed to show up after I accepted their bids. Last week she stopped by to offer some suggestions. She was the person who had originally proposed re-designing the terrace drainage system. My concern with that approach is that it would restrict the use of the terrace as a living and exercise space.

She suggested a different course. It was obvious where most of the water was leaking through the roof. The mortar that the surly workers used for the 2015 had dried out and was breaking away -- on both sides of the terrace. As a result, at least two tiles were loose.

Early yesterday morning, a full crew showed up to begin work. They deftly removed the loose floor tiles and a line of mopboard tile pieces without breaking them. They then re-sealed the cement underneath, cleaned the tiles, and reinstalled them.

By the close of the day, everything was in place. With the exception of the new mortar.

After letting the roof cure overnight, Pancho, the foreman, returned on his own this morning to install a high-quality mortar. He is dong that as I chat with you.

Will the fix work? I don't know. But it does rhyme with my prior roof problems. When my roof in Salem leaked, I did not need to replace the whole roof. The roofer looked for the place the water was gaining access and patched the problem.

That is what is happening here. And I have a lot of confidence in Tracey and her crews from past experience.

If it leaks again, we will try something different.

Or I will move to the Atacama Desert.

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