Tarred, But Spare The Feathers

May 03, 2011   //  Posted in: DIY, Garage   //  By: Emily   //  2 responses

By feathers, I mean maple tree helicopters and pine needles. Trees overhanging my garage: please hold on to your goods this week so as not to disrupt my newly patched garage roof.

A damp garage is no fun. I figured there were some holes that needed to be patched and nails that needed to be sealed in, but still I only rated the situation orange on the “girl, you need to fix this now” scale (self-defined, but noticeably similar to the recently abandoned homeland security terrorism scale). I haven’t had enough moisture come in to seriously damage anything yet (but I’ve been on heightened alert like the airport security checkpoints). I knew it would only get worse, but was fighting mother nature and my work schedule on when to make the move and tar up the roof where it was needed.

It was sunny over the weekend, so we did a little assessment. During this time, Pete marked every slight hole in the existing tar paper while I confused the dog by talking from the roof and snapped a few photos of the backyard, which you probably haven’t seen from this vantage point before (messy, but that’s because we were busy organizing the shed at the same time, true multi-taskers at work):

There's Cody. And yes, I own two lawn mowers because they were both free and one's super powerful but hard for me to start (hence I keep the puny easy-to-start one too)

Side note unrelated to tarring: I love my pergolas even more from above. Wondering if I should add another layer of latticing on top going perpendicular to the 2x4s.

And the deck, also messy. Can you believe that I also have 5 bags of charcoal in the basement? Permission to grill more this year.

Even though we’ve been more diligent to climb up to the roof and sweep it off from time to time to help keep leaves from holding moisture over the weak areas, we knew a real tar job was in order to fix the issue before it got worse. And it’s not that I didn’t get around to buying the tar; it’s been in my garage since last year when I bought it to tar to paint the pressure-treated posts supporting my deck 48″ below the surface of the earth (hello future owners, that deck is s-o-l-i-d). I actually wasn’t even sure the rest of my 5-gallon bin would still be good to use after it spent all winter (presumably) frozen out of sight (and out of mind). Fortunately, the tar was still usable, and fortunately the weather was perfect-o so we didn’t have to deal with it being 90 degrees or windy (which only would have blown more of the tree shiz into the fresh mushy tar).

Pete performed a final sweep-down to prep the area, and I hauled up the 5-gallons of tar and found the worst-of-the-worst paint brushes from our collection (ones we knew we were OK throwing out after the job was done). Here’s the roof before we got started:

Garage roof: before.

We thought it wouldn’t hurt to go over the tar paper seams again, just incase they weren’t overlapped well by the folks who originally installed the roof (a complete tear off in 1997, according to an etching we found inside the garage).

Pete tarring the first seam.

After I took that photo I promptly put my camera far far away from potential sticky danger. Once we were done, the roof looked more like this:

Tar applied. Looking good. Spotty. As far as time is concerned, this was a very quick afternoon job. I had put it off for a year thinking that I’d need a full day (that was also not too hot, not cold, not windy, not rainy) to dedicate to the project (and a pair of shoes that I never wanted to wear again), but it was reasonably fast and neat too; I was even wearing ballet flats — which was pushing my luck + totally inappropriate but I walked away tar-free. It only took us about an hour from sweeping to cleanup. And, I still have about 2.5 gallons of tar to put towards future holes if need be. Any top-of-mind uses for leftovers?


  • Shelley
    7 years ago - Reply

    Wow! I’m impressed you took on this project by yourself… we hired a charlotte roof repair repair company to do a similar project a few months ago. I hope one day I can be as DIY ambitious as you! Nice job!

    • Emily
      7 years ago -

      Thanks Shelley! It was really much less of a pain-in-the-you-know-what than I thought it’d be. I had even considered doing the whole thing with the big ol’ mopping technique but fortunately it didn’t seem to need a whole new coat at this point (And if it did, I probably would have needed a second 5-gal container).

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