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Top It Off!
By Charles Reuben

       It all began with a postcard.
        The postcard claimed that a hailstorm in October of 2004 caused significant damage to some of the roofs in the Albuquerque area. It went on to say that my roof may have been damaged in the storm and that a representative from Doyle Roof Masters would be happy to come by and inspect it for free.
        If my roof had been damaged, the text continued, then a representative from Doyle would be delighted to meet with my insurance company and negotiate a settlement for my property.
        Now, I have been up on my roof countless times in the past year and never noticed anything unusual, aside from the usual wear and tear. Sometimes I go up there to work on my air conditioner. Sometimes I go up there to repair leaks, but never had it occurred to me that there might be anything as traumatic as storm damage. And even if there was, I wasn’t able to recognize it.
        I vaguely recall a violent hailstorm last year. It definitely caused damage to my 1984 Volvo: The hood of my car was pitted with a multitude of little dents caused by all that hail. I suppose a fragile asphalt shingled roof would sustain damage, as well.
        I called Doyle and they sent a nice, polite young man named Curt Panfil to inspect the roof. Curt is a large fellow whose years of hauling around massive rolls of roofing materials had enhanced his impressive stature.
       Curt arrived at my house one hot summer day in an enormous diesel truck. Curt’s gigantic figure, his colossal truck and his sincere politeness projected a sense of power that was hard for me and my checkbook to resist.
       One glance at the roof told Curt that the house had indeed sustained hail damaged and he advised me to arrange a three-way meeting between my insurance company and the two of us.
       Curt had me sign a contract that obligated me to use his company to repair the roof, should they arrive at a settlement. Although I did not know anything about his company, I liked his style and particularly liked the microscopic Chihuahua that kept him company in the cab of his behemoth truck. When it comes to signing on the dotted line, there’s nothing like a cute little dog to close a deal.
       I rarely make insurance claims on my house but the prospects of getting a brand new roof for the cost of a relatively small deductible seemed irresistible. Furthermore, my 10-year-old roof was definitely showing signs of wear and tear and its flat portion, over the laundry room, leaked horribly during a big downpour. I telephoned my insurance company, concerned that I might be committing fraud and was surprised when they practically begged me to make a claim because they said if the roof were indeed damaged, it would be in everybody’s interest to have it repaired as soon as possible.
       When the adjuster showed up, the three of us used a ladder to climb onto the roof. Curt began to speak the language of roofers, throwing around terms like “pitch,” “square,” “deck” and I just kept my trap shut. I felt like I was in a court of law and that my case was being argued by a brilliant attorney.
       Within a matter of days I received a call from my insurance company that said a check for $3500 was in the mail. I called Curt with the good news and we arranged a date to replace the roof. Jennifer suggested that we hold off the work for a few weeks to let the weather cool down a bit.
       In the meantime I did some research and discovered that a new kind of underlayment had been developed in Canada to replace the traditional felt that is usually placed below asphalt shingles. This material is virtually indestructible and totally waterproof. I told Curt about it and he said he would be glad to use it but that I would have to pay for its cost out of my own pocket because the insurance company was not paying for it and neither was he. I happily agreed to pay the difference.
        When the day finally arrived to replace the roof, the weather could not have been more perfect. A crew of six Mexicans arrived at about 10:30 a.m. and began to dismantle my swamp cooler and solar panels. They stripped off all the old t-lock shingles and all the old felt. They replaced broken wood and made sure everything was in good order.
        When they began to work on the flat roof that covered my laundry room, they discovered that a two-square foot area of decking was entirely rotten. This is the area that had caused the leak in my roof and they repaired it with fresh wood. The entire house was then wrapped with the new high tech underlayment, paying particular attention to the ridges and other places likely to cause problems.
        I worked alongside the roofers, helping them remove debris so that they could concentrate on the roof itself. I worked so hard that by the end of the day every muscle in my body was crying out in pain. I do believe that my efforts inspired the workers and they did not cut any corners, which is why a job that was projected to take six hours took 10 hours and the roof was finally completed when the sun set.
        I’m delighted with my new roof and pleased that I only had to pay about $500 to have it done using that high tech underlayment and a truly superior roofing company. Now that the roof is in place, I am ecstatic to say that the inside of the house is 20 degrees warmer than the outside of the house, so I do believe that the new underlayment is proving to be an outstanding insulator, as well.
        Being a homeowner can be a stressful experience, especially when things go wrong. But when everything works properly, a homeowner can feel like a king within his castle.
       This whole experience brings to mind the beginning of a poem I once wrote that went like this,
        “So long as it is warm and dry and you are by my side, I shall know peace beyond compare . . .”
        A sound roof is truly an amazing thing and although it is a stressful thing to replace, it definitely enhances one’s quality of life.

Thank you for visiting Chucksville.

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