They did it! In one sunny day the roof that has sheltered me was ripped off and replaced. And no, they didn’t find a giant bee colony or termites or rotten wood. All went smoothly and well. Of course, it is traumatizing to hear the hammering, the crunch, the small bits of debris grumbling down the air shaft. Fortunately I had an appointment made months before that forced me out of the house for a couple of hours. Otherwise I think the feeling of insecurity might have done me in.
The afternoon before the big job a charming young lady named Valerie dropped by to set up ” No Parking” signs. The whole block was blocked off for the heavy equipment that came early next morning. I had made the decision to go with white gravel but you still need tar to cover a flat roof in Montreal. White gravel or white membrane is required by law now in the city to reflect the rays of the sun. At last we are waking up! Too little too late? Let’s hope not.
The guys worked from 7 am to 4pm and during the day a crane brought down material ripped off the roof and hauled up hot tar and buckets of gravel to make the new surface. Of course ventilation hoods and flashing around the building were put on too. Most emblematic for me is the big barrel of hot tar warmed by a flame that roars under the belly of the barrel. A generator chugs along all day feeding the gas flame. For all the modern crane and the environmentally correct colour of my new roof, it is still pitch, tar, goudron….heated by the eternal element of open flame that holds the roof over my head.
Who does this work? Old guys, guys with wild beards, men who have put on hundreds of roofs in the drowning humidity and heat of Montreal summer. I salute them and thank them as I thank plumbers, garbage collectors and all those who work hard to maintain my ‘ civilized’ life. They deserve a good tip at the end of the day so they can go have a nice cold beer.
Charming Valerie, minus her hard hat and construction boods but armed with a dazzling smile, dropped by a day or so later to relieve me of a hefty cheque and to present me with an impressive guarantee worthy of an ornate frame.
” Are you happy with your roof?”
” Well, I can’t say I’ve been up there to inspect the job but I must trust to your skill and reputation. “”
In this hurricane season I am grateful that I am safe under the new roof. Come on blizzards, do your worst!