It was an odd request. The old man had fallen on hard times, but was too proud to ask for what he really needed.
Could the charity worker have someone stop by his home after the hurricane to help empty his buckets? His numerous roof leaks filled them so fast he simply wasn’t strong enough to lift them anymore.
This was a project assigned to me several years ago when I worked for Crowther Roofing, which is the biggest roofing company in Fort Myers, Florida. We got requests for charity work from time to time, but I had never seen anything like this.
There were bowls, buckets and trash cans standing ready in every room of the house. All the ceilings were damaged far beyond repair. I didn’t know what I would find on the roof, but I knew it wouldn’t be good.
The big old Australian Pine provided great shade, but it had been dropping it’s needles on the little house for decades. Under the pine needles which were nearly a foot deep, I found that the roof had a slope of just 1:12.
I expected to find a proper low-slope roofing system, but this roof was covered with asphalt shingles, which have a minimum slope requirement of 2:12. It was a soggy mess and the wooden roof deck had deteriorated to the point where you couldn’t even walk on it without falling through.
The old man needed a new roof and needed it fast… the hurricane forecast said we had less than 48 hours.
Lee Crowther is known as a tough businessman, but he has a soft side that shows up occasionally. This was one of those times. The next morning he had a crew tearing off the entire roof, right down to the rafters. By noon, when the charity worker dropped off pizzas for the crew, a new plywood roof deck was in place.
By sunset, the little house had a new roof that would outlive the old man. He put away the buckets and was so choked up he could hardly talk.
This story demonstrates two important lessons:
First off, if you are thinking about installing roofing, be sure to check the slope requirements for the roof system you are considering.
Second, once you have your new roof in place, don’t let leaves and pine needles accumulate on your roof. They can cause any roof system to deteriorate and fail prematurely.