• November 1, 2003

Halloween Horror

Nothing to give you a fright like a thunderstorm when your roof is being replaced

Restoration Diary,

Back porch ceiling doing its best Niagara Falls impersonation.

When Heather and I left tonight to go visit some friends, the first drizzle had appeared – signaling in the fall season in southern California. We were a little worried since our new roof is not yet complete, so we put a tarp over some of the boxes we had in the upstairs sun room which was exposed to the outside since the siding had been removed. We then headed out expecting a nice evening with friends. { Heather: Stupid or just optimistic? }

In the middle of dinner, after I had consumed my first martini and was well into my first beer, the rain started to really come down pounding on the streets and the rooftops. Heather started to get really worried because she was afraid our ceilings would get ruined. I shrugged the whole thing off thinking that there wasn’t anything we could do. After a couple minutes of debating the situation, Heather decided that she wanted to leave to check the house. I decided that I would go with her. So we cut our evening short and left.

Rain poured down from the sky on our drive home and the windshield wipers had difficulty in keeping a clear view of the road. The roads themselves were slick and the divider lines blended into the asphalt under sheets of water.

When we arrived home we quickly checked each room. The living room was ok. Our renovated dining room was ok (what a relief). Then I heard Heather yell, “We’ve got a huge problem!

See that blue bucket on the top shelf just filling up with water?

I went into the kitchen and to my horror saw water dripping from different parts of the ceiling. Heather opened up the cabinets and brown water was dripping all over our clean dishes and glasses.

No, the horror isn’t how ugly our back porch is…it is that waterfall gushing down the wall!

We moved to the back porch and discovered a small waterfall flowing from the ceiling on the back porch and in the bathroom. We went upstairs and found water dripping in the upstairs bathroom and in the second bedroom as well.

We had a small disaster on our hands.

We scrambled around the house for buckets and I climbed up into the attic to see if I could contain the water up there. When I was in the attic I found water dripping from the roof, but not in huge quantities. Heather handed me paint trays and I put them under the leaks in the roof.

Crawlspace above the kitchen and back porch. Look at all that water! And that is knob and tube wiring!! Egads!!!

Heather told me the problem was actually in the crawlspace that was above the kitchen and back porch. As I was investigating the problem, Heather yelled “The ceiling is coming down in the kitchen! Get a bucket quick!” I ran downstairs with a bucket to find that the dripping was turning into a steady stream of brown water pissing from the ceiling.

Kitchen ceiling. The only thing still holding it up is the wallpaper.

At that point I decided I needed to get onto the roof and cover the unfinished roof with plastic. Heather called our contractor.

Heather wanted to get into the crawlspace with buckets to contain the water. I wanted to go out the second story window onto the unfinished part of the roof. I quickly moved boxes out from the crawl space and we put buckets in there to catch the water. Then I dismantled the window and tried to put a big piece of plastic on the roof. I was going to nail the plastic down but Heather didn’t want me out on the roof since it was raining.

Bathroom on the back porch flooded with water.

After some time our contractor and his father showed up to assess the situation. They then proceeded out the window and onto the roof with a big piece of plastic. They nailed the plastic down and told us they would be back tomorrow to finish the roof installation. They were very kind. They had even called earlier when we were out to tell us it was raining.

So now we have a HUGE mess. The ceilings need to be replaced in two rooms. They had to be replaced anyway, but now the need is more urgent. All our dishes need to be washed and the cabinets need to be cleaned and dried out.

Fun. { Heather: Not so much… }

Comments { 3 }
  1. Kevin


    I feel for you. The rain’s coming down into my roofless 4 plex. I’ve lost some more sleep, but there’s not much I can do until the place is tarped tomorrow.

    Just have to do another round of mop up.


  2. heather

    Oh, Kevin! I haven’t checked the site for a while. How did your 4-plex hold up to all the rain? Hopefully, you have a roof on by now. We will need to replace 3 plaster ceilings…

  3. Susan

    Hi Heather,

    My husband and I are restoring a bungalow in Old Torrance. Last winter we had a leak in the living room…to the point where the wall above the fire place looked like it was crying. My husband, Keith, patched the roof and so far this year no leaks. Best wishes with your restoration, Susan

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