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See Pictures of Tornado Shelter Installation

Good Ideas . . . Gone Bad

Could it be that a ‘good idea gone bad’ is some how related to ‘Murphy’s Law’?   That is to say when you have what you think is a really good idea, but it turns out at some point down the line it wasn’t such a good idea after all . . . and, I might add, there are no rules governing the timeline for ‘bad’ to kick in. This turn for the worse may happen quickly or it may take years to show itself. Such is the case with the sky lights in the garage . . . it literally took years.

While they were wonderful (at first) providing enough light so that we never needed any other light source, they were horrible at letting in rain and the summer heat. The garage felt like an oven in the summer –  but putting up some sun screen fixed that.   And, why is it that you can NEVER  keep a sky light from leaking? I will not go into all of David’s attempts at ‘fixing’ this problem – just know that over the years he tried just about everything imaginable. Nothing worked.

The leaking made little difference before we had the concrete floor or before the hail storm of a couple of weeks back. But since then, we knew those two skylights would have to be replaced. And in all honesty, we’ve known this for quite a while but have been putting it off because we knew before we even got started that it would be a major ORDEAL. And it was. Took two full days of hard work.

The last heavy rain we had put lots of water in the garage, on the cars, etc. not to mention we thought the plastic might come crashing down due to the weight of the rain water. So when this past weekend turned out clear, cool and breezy, we decided to tackle the skylights. Fortunately David had 2 heavy gauge pieces of tin that would just fit the holes left when the skylights were gone (4′ x 14′). And, since we had installed the tin on the carport, we weren’t totally ignorant of how to do this – we just weren’t sure how hard it would be to get the new tin to ‘fit’ once the old skylights were gone.

We started on this little project right after breakfast and I’ve listed our process below for anyone curious about the replacing a garage sky light or maybe a damaged piece of tin. Two words to remember when doing this – slow and careful.

1.   David first removed the sun screen we had placed over the skylights to help keep the heat down. You can see it hanging in the second photo.

2.  From inside the garage, he cracked the brittle plastic with a hammer and removed it bit by bit. (Surprisingly, this took quite a while.)

3.  Next, he had to scrape all the tar, fillers, tape, etc. he had used over the years from the surrounding tin so the replacement piece would lay flat. In addition, he would need to remove the existing screws so he could slide in the new piece of tin and then refasten the two pieces together. (Bummer – in a few places  he had ‘gooed’ over the screw heads.  Another long, tedious part of the project.)

4.  All the while, I’m cleaning up the falling debris, trying to keep as much of the sticky, black tar off the floor as possible so we don’t track it into the house, and keeping the bits of broken plastic picked up so we wouldn’t trip.

5.  We then carried the replacement sheet of tin into the garage ( …can you say ‘ant with rubber tree plant?’ – what a job!!!!!)

6.  Next we lifted the tin (if you can picture  that) and slid it through the cleared opening onto the roof ( …another HUGE job!!!!!!!!)

7.  David then went onto the roof and set the new piece of tin into the opening.

8.  He put double-sided sticky sealant along the edges to help prevent any rain leakage and then screwed the new tin in place. (Not hard – just time consuming.)

Rinse & Repeat:  We went through this same process for the second skylight!

This is such an over-simplified explanation of the whole ordeal, I’m inclined to go back and make it sound harder – because it really wasn’t easy. David got some really big scratches on his arms from the plastic, and we’ve both got some pretty sore muscles from all that ‘heave-ho-ing’  of the tin through the roof hole.

But it’s done, and have to say we’re pretty proud of ourselves. Not an easy task for anyone – let alone two retired grandparents.

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