Question: I have a flat-roof rental house at Big Bear that developed leaks in the roof. A tenant in the house said he knew how to reroof it, and I was naive enough to go down to the lumberyard, buy 90-pound roofing material the lumberyard recommended and let the tenant do the job in exchange for rent.
The tenant moved shortly thereafter.
Within a few days it rained, and I was appalled to discover something similar to Niagara Falls in the back bedroom.
I've called in a couple of roofers to see what can be done to repair the bad installation. One said the roofing material we used was not waterproof (something I've researched and found to be untrue) and even if it were, the roll roofing had not been installed properly.
Another says the roofing material is all right, but it has not been installed properly and is recommending cold tar be applied and then a 36-inch-wide roofing material that is overlapped 18 inches of the width and the remaining 18 inches is cold tarred and overlapped 18 inches by the next roll and so on.
The surface is about 750 square feet, and the estimate is $1,050.
I know nothing about roofing. All I know is I want a roof that won't leak for about three or four years, at which time I hope to add a second story to the house and then that roof won't matter. Can you advise me?
Answer: Don't be afraid to ask more questions of the roofer. Because you don't require long life from the roof, it is possible that with the cold tar and a second layer of roofing that the roof can last the three or four years you require.
I'd go back to the lumberyard and make inquiries about the product they sold you; I would question further what was wrong with the installation of your tenant. And most of all, I would ask the roofer you're considering hiring to give you names of homeowners for which he has worked. Go see or talk with these homeowners to see if their roofs have been satisfactory.
Get the roofer's estimate and contract in writing, and you should get a guarantee of about two years at least--a guarantee in writing.
Q: I plan to install a room air conditioner in my bedroom. I know the easiest way to do this is in a window, but I hate to cut off the possibility of fresh air when I want it. Are there other ways to utilize a room air conditioner?
A: If you own your home or can get an OK from your landlord, you might consider cutting through the exterior wall and installing the air conditioner on a permanent basis. If you do this, remember that warm air rises and cool air descends. So, you may want to install the air conditioner high on the wall and let the cool air drift down to the floor.
It isn't necessary to give up fresh air if the unit is installed in the window. Most room air conditioners have a vent button for bringing in air from the outside when you want it.
Answer to C.K., who has been in a wheelchair for about 25 years and wants information about a shower door that goes up and down instead of sideways: Yes, we did write about such a door some time ago. There's a miniature display model of one at Snyder-Diamond, 12825 Vanowen St., North Hollywood. Be sure to ascertain that you are physically able to raise and lower the shower door. If readers have knowledge of other up-and-down shower doors and where one can be purchased, we'll pass the information on.
Answer to J.K. about an Orange County store that sells drapery hardware to makes S-shaped pleats: Try Spring Crest Custom Drapery, 440 Camino de Estrella, San Clemente. A reader last fall suggested Graber Industries Inc. 12611 Hidden Creek in Cerritos, Calif. 90701.
Thanks to Mrs. S.G. for a letter regarding problems years ago with underground springs that would cause the basement of their Pasadena home to fill with water periodically. There are many stories of underground water in Southern California (even giant office buildings constructed on underground pontoons). It's something to keep in mind before you commit yourself to projects, such as spas or swimming pools, that require digging up the yard. Channeling an underground spring away from your project can be a costly endeavor.