Roof tear off

When we bought our building in 2009, our roof got a clean bill of health by the inspector. It had a fairly new membrane that was estimated to be good for another five to 10 years. And it was.

But the most recent membrane was not the only one that had been installed on the roof. In fact, there were seemingly endless layers of membranes and other roofing systems that had been installed on our roof over the last century, probably going all the way back to the very first roofing system in 1902.

It amounted to a roofing system sandwich of about two and a half to three inches. The weight of all this roofing material was considerable. Rather than adding another layer to it, it was time to tear off all those layers, take off the weight, and have a fresh start with a new roofing system.

Removing the two and a half to three inches of roofing amounts to about 12 to 14 cubic yards of waste. In preparation, our roofer, Pablo, organized two 10 yard dumpsters and a trash chute.

The trash chute was important to me, because it prevents the waste from flying all over the place on its way down from the roof.

The tear off had to happen rather fast. You don’t want to be in the middle of a roofing project and have rain storms moving through. Ideally you get the tear off started and the new system finished while the dry weather lasts.

Pablo arrived at 7 am with his crew and a selection of brute force tools. By noon, all the layers of the old system were gone and in the dumpsters. We were down to the original roof deck, which was old 7/8 inch pine boards.

To my great relief, the boards were in excellent condition, except for one spot that had water infiltration at one point. I noticed the damaged boards when I installed the insulation under the roof deck. So we were prepared, and removed and replaced the damaged boards.

Related posts:

  • Roofing materials – delivery
  • Parapet extension
  • Front parapet re-building – 2nd step
  • Cornice repair
  • Front parapet re-built – 1st step
  • Front parapet demo
  • Bracing for the cornice issue
  • The roof project

About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

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