Where the Rubber Meets the Roof

There is a small, faint stain on the family room ceiling. It looks almost as if a mouse peed there. I say this as someone who has seen more than her fair share of mouse pee.

If only that unsightly stain were the urine of a ceiling-walking rodent. That would be preferable to what it actually is, which is water. Which means the roof is leaking.

So I called Kevin Mosley of Austermiller Roofing & Construction, who is a friend of my construction school instructor, and after my very small dog accosted his very big shoes, we climbed onto my roof to inspect it. The flat rubber-coated roof outside my bedroom window is where I will build a sleeping porch when I win the lottery. Until then, it remains a slanted and foot-searing elevated Tarmac where maple leaves and hackberry raisins go to die and where insidious rivulets of water penetrate the surface to leave mouse-urine-colored stains on my family room ceiling.

Good news: The rubber coating on the flat roof is intact. Bad news: Water is coming in some other way.

Kevin and his sidekick Joe diagnosed the problem quickly. Tugging on the gutter above the rubber roof, they demonstrated that the 1×10 lumber connecting the gutter to the rafter tails was sagging and rotted. Furthermore, there was no drip-edge flashing to channel water from the shingles into the gutter. In the recent heavy rains, water had probably sneaked up under the shingles, wicked behind the fascia and Hardie siding, and dripped down onto the decking above the family room ceiling, which was right below us.

About thirty feet of gutter and fascia needed to be removed and replaced. My heart sank.

But then Kevin said something that made my heart sing: “You can do this yourself,” he said.

I CAN DO THIS MYSELF.

“All you need is a Skil saw,” Kevin said.

“I have a jigsaw,” I said.

“That’ll work,” he said. Then he outlined a plan to unscrew the gutter, remove the rotted fascia, replace it with new 1×10 lumber, add drip-edge, and reattach the gutter at the appropriate slope. Then he added what might be the most important step: “Call me and I can walk you through it.”

So I’m keeping Kevin Mosley’s number handy (615-766-3151), both for my short-term fascia-gutter project, and for the long-term replacement of the rubber roof, which, I fear, is inevitable and bigger than a one-woman job.

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