Shingle Ripping

Making a time-lapse movie with the help of an iPhone, a tripod and a big clamp
Making a time-lapse movie with the help of an iPhone, a tripod and a big clamp

[UPDATE MARCH 2016: since this post was written, Leanne and I have entered into a contract dispute with Ridgewater Homes. For more details, click here.]

I’ve been having fun preparing for the renovation. It’s an amazing feeling, after 5 years of planning, to finally be doing something.

Anything we can do ourselves, of course, should save us money with our contractor, Ridgewater Homes. They have told us that, before the house is lifted by Nickel Brothers so that we can dig the basement deeper, the shingles around the bottom of the house will need to come off. They will be replaced in the same style and pattern with identical cedar shingles.

Can we re-use them? No, they are too brittle.

Can we burn or recycle them? No, they are coated with several layers of paint, some of which is probably lead-based. (I suppose we could cut off the painted bits and burn the rest, but yeesh what a lot of work!)

It looks like they are going to the landfill. And just when Dave the father-in-law and I were wondering if we were really going to have enough waste to need a skiff, guess what showed up in our backyard: a skiff! I thought Chuck from Ridgewater was waiting for us to tell him we wanted one, but here it is.

It looks like we won’t be hanging our laundry out to dry for a while. Now the goal is to put as little as possible inside that monster!

I started removing shingles at the north east corner where the wall will be removed anyway. That’s also where the most carpenter ant activity has been over the years.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed that I didn’t see more ants. I like ants, but not when they are chewing through my house. I was ready for a fight, especially after what I saw just a few weeks ago in the same spot:

I guess it was nesting season.

This is what that part of the wall looks like now. I saw some ants using their little super highway in there, but not too many. Just the tip of the iceberg I guess. All that sawdust is from the ants home construction projects, not mine!
A couple of days later with the sophisticated iPhone time-lapse rig I took this:

Shingle-ripping is cool! Here are some fun things I discovered under them:

1. Three carpenter ant nests, not as big as they used to be before we had the house treated 6 years ago, but still there;
2. Cute little wasp nest start-ups;
3. A pretty pathetic result of blown-in insulation–that’s the yellow stuff in the photo.

Half-pound, open-cell insulation that was supposed to fill that wall.
Half-pound, open-cell insulation that was supposed to fill that wall, not wasp nests and sawdust!

If this is indicative of the insulation that is in the rest of the exterior walls, why did we have it done in the first place? However, I remember something about this section of wall not being like the rest. Perhaps this is the only spot where the insulation filled so little of the cavity. We’ll find out!

If you would like to join in the fun, I’m thinking of holding a shingle-ripping work party on Sunday, July 19th. Please come out and join the fun if you can!

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James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

4 thoughts on “Shingle Ripping”

  1. The yellow stuff? Is that “blown in insulation” or just expanding foam? I. Which case no wonder it didn’t do much for you.

  2. Have a few part rolls of building/roofing paper at the end of the driveway. Frreebees if your interested.

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