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This is the archive for May 2008

Saturday, May 17, 2008

We do things a little different here in Arizona. Worked on a new roof today, and got about a fourth of it done. I'll do another fourth each weekend, and that should get it all done before it rains.

OK, it's not really a new roof. It's just another of the odd things I've had to get used to here. For instance, there's no insulation in my house, except for a thin layer of fiberglass above the ceiling. Don't really need it, though in the summer it would probably help some. There's no screen on my back door, so at night we get the occasional moth or other flying pest, even a mosquito once in a while, if we leave the door open after dark. Most houses and even businesses are cooled by blowing air across a wet sponge. Works great until the humidity gets above 50%, which it does - with temperatures remaining in the high 90's and 100's - from late June through late August. And you have to spend a hundred bucks on new "pads" every four or five years, plus the annual ritual of cleaning winter's accumulated algae and cruft out of the pads and reservoir.

Then there's the roof itself. Mine is just raw plywood. Sure, a lot of the fancy new houses those people from California are building have Spanish tile, but thats just for show. What keeps the rain out here is a giant rubber sheet over the roof. It comes in 5-gallon buckets and is applied with a regular paint roller. The buckets cost about $80 each (I'll be needing four of them), unless you buy the cheap stuff. And by cheap stuff, it means that it wears out in two or three years instead of five. Oh, and it's not as white. See, one of the big selling points is the reflectivity. Some of them even have titanium flakes in them to make them even more white and more reflective. It's probably enough to blind passing airplanes in a giant solar oven made from all those reflective roofs all over the city.

So my new roof, or one five-gallon bucket's worth, took about an hour before breakfast to put on. And since we're expecting rain in six weeks, I need to stay on top of things like that.