Archive for the ‘Roof deck’ Category

Our other houses, Part 2C (After North Howe roof deck)

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Please click through — these are some of my favorite pictures. (Except for the last one — not too flattering of me, I’m afraid, but feeding people on our deck was something we really enjoyed. Our last summer on Howe, we had a big crowd over for the Chicago Air & Water Show, and that was FUN. Only problem with roof deck entertaining was, if you forgot something in the kitchen, you had to go down 1.5 flights of stairs. And back. Maybe I’ll be able to track down those Air Show photos some time and post them — the planes whooshed right overhead. Don shot something like 6 rolls that day, and I lost my will to put them into albums. Which means that the Little One is sorely lacking in albums of her extreme youth.)


Our roof deck from the top of our stairs (the second summer)

roof-deck-at-dusk.jpgThe view from our shed looking east (and down), the first summer

looking-sw-on-roof-deck.jpgLooking southwest on roof deck

ne-corner-of-roof-deck.jpgLooking northeast

Roof deck dianthusRoof deck dianthus

mosquito-copper-sculpture-in-columbine.jpgColumbine and copper mosquito (garden art)

pots-near-center-chimney-on-roof-deck.jpgPots near center chimney

roof-deck-with-family.jpgFamily on deck (niece, father in law, me).

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Our other houses, Part 2B (Building the North Howe Roof Deck)

Thursday, July 26th, 2007

The roof deck was the thing I liked best about our townhouse. We were in the middle unit of a three-unit building, and we had the only roof deck. Very private despite being in the middle of the city. However, it was a big expanse of worn out decking surrounded by exceedingly dull benches; the roof leaked; and the sole water source was via a hose connected to a faucet 2.5 stories below in the “front yard.” (The “front yard” was maybe three feet deep by 12 feet wide. It had a pink dogwood and some tired ground cover. The dogwood was lovely, actually.)

Roof deck before

First we demolished the roof deck and replaced the roof.

This was complicated by our townhouse neighbor. He didn’t want our roofers to use the easy access side for moving roofing materials on or off the roof. He preferred that they haul the materials on the south side of the house — the side that was less than three feet from our neighbor’s house — the side that was so narrow that Don could climb up the house by placing his feet on our wall and his back on our neighbor’s house and shimmying up — chimney climbing. (He worried that they would damage the dogwood. He didn’t care so much about the three gas meters on the other side.)

He also objected to our roofers not speaking English. (In point of fact, they did speak English fairly fluently. To me. A ploy that I hope someday to be able to use somewhere, but probably won’t since I don’t have a second language.) The chief roofer called me about the problem, but I was in a meeting I couldn’t leave so I sent my secretary. (She was a good friend and tougher than I was, anyways. She was married to a cop and didn’t take any nonsense from anybody.) I’m not sure what was said, but the roofers continued to work and to use the sensible side for accessing the roof.

hanging-compressor.jpgAfter the roof was replaced, the deck guys came. They hung the air conditioning compressor from the rafters so they could install new decking. (When we bought the place, the compressor was inside a shed on the roof. Yes, inside. So, when it was blowing hot air, the hot air just stayed there. Forever. Or at least until winter. Periodically, the compressor would stop in protest. We improved the design by putting in decorative arbor-like rafters over it, which allowed it to be shaded and ventilated, and removing the front wall. Couldn’t do anything about the wall behind it or beside it.)

Roof deck with sleepers The deck guys put sleepers across the roof to nail the flooring to. (You can see the gap around the roof drain. They built a removable tile to cover the drain, yet allow us to access it for maintenance.)

Chimney framingThe deck builder was something of an artist. He suggested laying the cedar decking on an angle (or two angles so it was v-shaped). He routed the edges of each piece so they were slightly rounded. He sheathed the two chimneys in cedar, as well.

roof-deck-window-box.jpgHe was nervous about the height of the side walls, and suggested putting a fence on top of the walls. I suggested the window boxes. I think we both had good ideas.

As for the water supply, we had the handyman who did our bathrooms the next year run a supply up to the roof. Complete with a winter shut off valve, it was perfect for us. I had it split so I could have a permanent drip irrigation supplying my window boxes and pots, and still have a water source for hand washing or whatever. It was on an automatic timer, and watered the pots several times a day. (Repeated shallow watering was necessary because I was container gardening up on the exposed roof — I wouldn’t water that often if I had a reservoir of soil for the plants to hold the moisture.)

Next entry will be the after pictures.


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