Roofing Disaster Part 1

by Lynne on December 14, 2010

Post image for Roofing Disaster Part 1

1 Table in the Living Room with Photo Project

Food Photo Project on a Table in the Living Room

First of all, I want to thank everyone for your concern, well wishes, prayers and offers of help. It has meant so much to me to know you are out there sending me your positive energy. Thank you, dear friends.

Friday, November 12th, was the day scheduled to start putting the new roof on my house. The week before, the roofing contractor had visited me, looked around inside my home, and said, “There might be a little dust.” Well, to me that meant there also might be no dust. I figured I might have a feather duster in my near future.

So at 8:30 AM Friday, when I left for work, the take-off roofing guys were on the roof with square-edge shovels, breaking up the old roof, shoveling it onto big squares of plastic, and walking them across an improvised walkway from the roof over to an immense shipping container on a big truck that was parked at the curb with the top open. There it was dumped into the container. The debris consisted of, not only the old roof, but 2-3 inch rocks, compost from a 4-inch layer of old leaves, bird droppings, fallout from the nearby oil refinery and LAX, and who knows what from the last 58 years. I waved good-bye and drove off.

When I got home around 3:00, the take-off guys and the shipping container were gone. The new roof supplies had been deposited on the roof and a new roofing crew was getting started. They were nailing rolls of what looked like thick paper across the whole surface. I waved, and they smiled and waved back. Three guys and lots of pounding.

I stuck my key in the lock, opened the door, walked in and gasped, Oh my god!! I walked around from room to room, wringing my hands, saying, Oh my god, over and over. Every surface in my home was covered with roofing debris, from black oily dust to crystalline black sand and rocks. Stripes of black debris ran across every surface and the carpet. It was beyond my ability to understand what had happened. Everything in my house had been destroyed.

2 Stack of cookbooks in my office

My house has slanted, tongue and groove, open beam ceilings which were popular in the 1950’s when it was built. This is Southern California and back then little beach houses didn’t have attics that were insulated. My ceiling is also the roof. The roofing materials are attached to the top side of the ceiling boards. Not only had debris fallen through the tongue and groove, but the take-off guys shovels had broken through the “tongue” and created holes open to the blue sky in every room. Big piles of debris had fallen through those holes. My bed. My desk. My grand piano. My antique white sofa. My kitchen floor was completely black. A big black stripe ran across the top of my refrigerator. My oriental carpet was black. My cookbooks had black dust and little pebbles all over them. It was a nightmare.

3 Top of my grand piano

I called the roofing contractor in San Diego and told him what had happened. He said he was sorry, that I should call a Molly Maids cleaning company to help clean up the dust and he would reimburse me. I explained it wasn’t just dust, but piles of horrible black debris. Everywhere. He said he would pay to clean it up.

4 Recording equipment on floor near piano

5 Arm of antique sofa

6 Food photo props on dining room table

(To be continued)

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Louise December 14, 2010 at 9:17 pm

oh my, i’m so sorry- this is just terrible… wishing you a better new year!

Adair @ Lentil Breakdown December 14, 2010 at 11:45 pm

I take it that’s not black pepper on your Penzey’s Spices catalog. What a horror story. But I’m glad to see you out in the blogosphere. Maybe you can breathe easier out here.

Nuts about food December 15, 2010 at 8:14 am

Oh no, that is horrific! So sorry.

Fran Varnadore December 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Lynn, so sorry to hear of your disaster – and at this time of year.

May your new year be brighter – and hopefully, the new roof will be on.

Love, Fran

Monet December 15, 2010 at 11:46 pm

Bless your heart. What a complete disaster. I’m thinking of you and your precious house. I’m hoping that things got resolved in a somewhat smooth fashion. I hope that you are doing better too!

Nancy@acommunaltable December 16, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Lynne, so relieved to see your post but so sad about the contents! Yuck!!! Ugh.. the black stuff got everywhere – I hope that everything was able to be cleaned and that nothing was ruined!!!

So glad though that you are ok. Hope you are having better days!!!

sippitysup December 17, 2010 at 9:55 am

I can’t even begin to say how horrified I am for you. When does your life return to normal? Soon I hope. GREG

polwig December 17, 2010 at 7:08 pm

Oh My…. I would have a mental breakdown right there and there. I hope the company is bonded b/c this is worse than a floor, actually I hope it doesn’t rain anytime soon.

Lynne December 17, 2010 at 7:15 pm

Hi Polwig ~ Actually I did have a mental breakdown, sort of. But don’t worry, the new roof got put on and we are all dry inside. Along with the roofing debris, that is.
Lynne xo

polwig December 19, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Hi this is Kathy’s husband, I am also an Architect. You may want to consider installing a 2-4″ layer of polyisocyanerate insulation board with a nailing face to insulate the roof, great way to conserve energy and if you have to reroof you wont face this problem again. Sorry to hear what they did, they should have taken precautions to prevent this.

Kim December 27, 2010 at 7:03 pm

Checking in and hoping it all got cleaned up???


Ann Kendall December 28, 2010 at 11:14 am


I just can’t imagine a worse thing to happen to your beautiful home. I hope they are able to restore everything for you. I know how I love “my things” and can only imagine how you feel.

I hope things will be better in the new year.


Magic of Spice January 3, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Oh my, that is terrible…Hope it is smoother going by now.

Grapefruit January 10, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Oh no! I’m so sorry! Once again I;m late catching up with the blogs I follow & didn’t read this until now!

Cas from Angie's List January 13, 2011 at 7:13 am

Oh my goodness! What a horrible thing to happen to a lovely home! They absolutely could have taken steps to prevent that mess, so I hope that contractor made good on his promise to pay for the clean up. Sending positive thoughts your way!

Linda October 2, 2011 at 9:55 am

Wish i had read this before hiring a roofer. Got a recommendation from an acquaintance and thought everything would be fine. We have the same black particles and dust all over. The outside of our house is white and has a lot of detail which is covered in this black dust and debris. Every window ledge, sliding door tracks, etc are covered.

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