The 10-year late 15-minute fix


Here’s one for the “Oops” department. For years, an aluminum roof vent has been sitting on its side on my roof. It has been there for so long that I didn’t remember where it came from. Until last week.

Remember all that rain and hail that pounded us in a single day? The next morning, my wife and I noticed a wet spot on the carpet at the end of the hall. Water was dripping through the ceiling.

Hail damage, I thought. It’s got to be hail damage. I climbed to the roof expecting the worst. There was no hail damage.

What I found was a four-inch round hole where the roof for the new addition meets the original roof. I could look down and see the attic below.

Hail? Raccoons? What could have caused it? I felt around beneath the torn shingle. Maybe the wood had rotted and broken away where the two sections came together. I had visions of major repairs – and it was supposed to rain again the next day.

Quickly, I checked my supply of shingles, grabbed my tools and returned to the summit. I opened the hole and what I saw was a complete surprise. The hole wasn’t round, it was square, just about the size of that roof vent that’s been sitting a few feet away for more than a decade.

Then I remembered: When joining the new roof to the old, we removed the vent so we could tie the two roof sections together. We planned to reinstall it when we shingled.

There were six of us roofing that day. One of us absently nailed a shingle over a hole in the roof, and no one ever thought of it again.

Until last week. The fix took a dozen nails, a slather of roofing compound and 15 minutes.