Monday, June 4, 2018


My Neighbor the Tailor is roofing his house. I don't say re-roofing because this will be the first time the house will have tiles. Like our house, It's about 40 years old. Instead of a tiled roof, it has had corrugated fiber-cement boards that come painted in a terracotta color. They have about a 30-year lifespan if they are exposed to the weather. Here's a similar roof across the street:

Eventually they will leak and need to be covered or replaced. The direct sun and thin air is tough on them. It's very common here to build a nice house, and postpone the rooftile expense until the deck is so worn it needs protection. On my neighbor's house I'd say they replaced 25% of the deck as it was too beat-up by the elements to serve as a reliable substrate. I can hear the workers cutting out old deck right now.

Here's some of the new roof:

Viewed fullsize you can see each tile is an s-tile, i.e. each tile curves like an s in section. Its makes for a very clean appearance.

This is a roof on our house, built with traditional tiles. There are drain tiles and cover tiles, they don't install as easily as the more modern s-tiles, but I like the irregular presentation and glazing variations. Plus the draintiles aren't glazed, which adds some interest.

Tremors have caused some of the tiles to shift (most of them are friction-fit); those I can safely reach I've pushed back in place and sometimes applied some silicone to keep them there.

Here's the underside of our roof, semi-modern with small fiber-cement boards and rough lumber. A lot of light leaks in through the roof, but water doesn't. A full-on trad roof has no decking and a lot more wood, very labor-intensive. Plenty of older buildings have that, along with wattle-and-daub walls. Oddly enough, there's one a couple of doors down from me, it's the oldest structure in what's a relatively-new neighborhood. The wattle shows in places, but it's not bad enough yet to fix.

Even today this kind of semi-dimensional lumber is readily available along with bamboo. About a mile away there's a lumberyard that sells both.

The nicest trad roofs are heavy timber construction with cathedral ceilings. They tend to be small-span with no bottom chords. One of the additions to our house is like that:

Ours is the only heavy-timber roof I've seen with skylights. BTW, these aren't factory-made units, but panes of tempered glass built into the roof. Yep: no leaks.

BTW: τέκτων, tekton, Greek. A builder, especially a carpenter. Tectum, roof, Latin. Tetto, Italian. Toit, French. Techo, Spanish.