There’s always something. Call it learning. Call it vigilance. Sometimes the universe gives the test before it delivers the lecture, just to see if we are awake. So pay attention!
The guys who built the insulated roof over our patio did a super job at a very reasonable price. But for some strange reason they removed the drain covers which I had installed last spring – perhaps so they could hose off the old roof where they were mixing cement. And of course the covers weren’t put back in place at the end of each workday. (Would you? Neither would I.) So who would have noticed when the wind blew an empty plastic cup into the beckoning scupper?
What’s a scupper? Glad you asked. It’s a hole in the wall. Or a hole in the topside hull of a ship, allowing heavy seas to drain back to where they belong. I had fashioned some crude filters for these holes in the parapet wall which usher rainwater into the tubing and downspouts so plastic bags (and cups!) and leaves wouldn’t clog the drain, like happened last year. Being away from a dwelling for any length of time requires planning. So when a cloudburst choked the downspout shortly after the new roof was completed, I wrongly assumed that the increased area of roof now exceeded the carrying capacity of the tubing. Wrong.
I had not factored a red cup into the calculations. It had jammed itself into a 90-degree elbow. NB: such corners should not be used in gutter systems. Also note that slope is required for good drainage, and our installation had none. Yep, the major drain tube was perfectly horizontal for over 25 feet. It had silted up with sand and crud, and become very brittle in the intense sun. So the cup was a gift, a perfect invitation to correct a badly configured system before a hurricane parked overhead and really tested for pain in the drain. Now we’ve got 45-degree corners and new tubing with proper slope, and a redundant pair of downspouts. I also excavated the backyard, adding French drains which are merely gravel trenches covered with separation fabric to keep topsoil from clogging the space between gravel. Let it pour!
Our alvañile (mason) is José. I would certainly hire him again. He and his dad, and sometimes a small crew of muchachos, are very capable contractors. They speak almost no English, but they are fluent in the language of stone and concrete! These guys also rebuilt our patio wall which blew down in a store earlier this year. José may be reached at 999 992 1939. (Tell him Eric sent you.) They are looking for work, now that so many snowbirds have gone north for the season.
Thanks so much for that informative post, Eric! I will save it for future reference, as I myself have a lot of difficulties understanding all this roofing, and drainage stuff.
Drainage is easy, Alinde, when you think like water, asking yourself what you know about gravity. ~eric.