Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mending the roof

I have mentioned before, many times, that when it rains, our roof leaks. Not in the bedrooms, thankfully, but over the stairs. It's been doing so for four years, although last winter it seemed to be worse than before, but I was pretty much used to it. A nuisance, but the stairs are hard tiled - no carpet to wreck - and it's easy enough to put buckets to catch most of the leaks, and mop up the rest later on.

We did have a builder come and fix something, the first winter we were here. The leak was slightly better subsequent to that, but then gradually got worse again. Richard spoken to one or two other builders since then, but they're all very hesitant even to come and look at a roof that isn't flat.

It began to worry me last winter that the leaks were so bad - or maybe it was just that we had more rain. We found we had to take photos of the walls by the stairs, as well as placing buckets. And the last couple of times, there was a rather unpleasant smell which lingered several days after the leaks had dried up.

So, Richard's sailing buddy suggested they take a look at it. Not during the summer when it was far too hot to be out on the roof in the middle of the day. I wasn't too keen on the idea - it's a long way to the ground, but they thought it would be safe enough. And today, with pleasant temperatures but no threat of rain, they decided to come and take a look. Two sailing friends came. They promised that if there was any danger at all, they'd go and fetch some ropes from King Malu. However, Richard was pretty certain that the worst of the problem was right over the balcony attached to Daniel's room, and pointed out that the angle of the roof is very slight.

So they crawled into the space above the bathroom, where Richard had seen some light. They crawled onto the roof, and discovered the hole, as well as some cracked concrete, and a couple of cracked tiles. And large amounts of pigeon dung, much of which had spilled over onto Daniel's balcony in the last few months.

They had some coffee and cake, then went away, and returned armed with various bits and pieces. Something to mend the hole, some special sealing paint and canvas to seal the cracks, another kind of mixture to mend the cracked tiles (since replacing them would have been a huge amount of effort, and would have required a specialist roofing person).

I suppose it took about an hour. Everything should have dried by now, and tomorrow Richard will put on another coat of the sealing solution. He'd like to find some way of scaring the pigeons away too, since it seems that part of the problem was that the rain was splashing down onto the piles of dung on the roof, and towards a cracked tile, then leaking through. That probably accounted for the nasty smell, too.

We won't know if all the problems are fixed until we have some heavy rain, and there's none predicted at the moment. But I'm very thankful to know that several holes and cracks are now sealed and watertight.

Richard and his friends have now gone out for a short sail.

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