Dateline: 22 May 2015
The weather has turned cooler here, which means it is an opportune time to shingle my roof. I tore off the old shingles (28 years old) and put tar paper on a few weeks ago.
This is only my first section of roof to do. There are three more sections after this one is finished. Total area to cover is 13 square (1,300 square feet). It will be a year-long project, as I have the time and energy to get it done. It might take two years.
You can tell I am something of an old timer by the fact that I'm hand-nailing the shingles. Most roofers now use a pneumatic nailer to get the job done quick. I've used pneumatic roofing guns in the past, but I'm not interested in getting the job done quick. Those days are behind me. The fact is, I happen to like nailing shingles by hand.
The hammer in the picture is one I bought back in 1979. The first contractor I worked for used such a hammer to hand-nail asphalt shingles. I got a lot of experience using it, and now I can't imagine not using it.
I've worked with several other people doing roofing over the years and none of them used such a hammer.
The beauty of the roofing hammer is that, if used properly, it ensures perfectly straight rows of shingles. Start with a straight row, laid to a chalk line, and use the hammer to gauge the exposure of every shingle and row from there.
I'm pretty certain the hammer was made for roofing with wood shingles (aka, "shakes"). The hatchet end would have been sharpened and used to split and shape shakes as needed. But the adjustable exposure-gauge works just as well with the modern Asphalt shingles I'm now using. In fact, the hammer has a maximum exposure setting of 5-5/8" which is exactly what the manufacturer of my shingles recommends.
When I (and my partner, Steve) had a home remodeling business, it was named, Bestbuilt Construction ("A company committed to excellence"). As I was working on my roof yesterday I thought to myself that if I were to go into the roofing business now, I'd have to name it Old Turtle Roofing. And the tagline might be, "Slow but sure."