“The next steps are pretty easy…”

Hahahahahaha.

So, Attic Work pt. 3 took 6 hours. It also took 3 months for me to find the time to do pt. 3 after pt 2.

I did call the roofing company back in April, but the fellow I spoke with sounded a bit perplexed about what I wanted him to do. He wasn’t confused because it was too difficult, but rather because it’s so easy that he didn’t know why I would pay him to do it.

That prompted me to watch some YouTube videos and decide to do the work myself. I bought the tools I needed… and 2+ months passed because I was busy with travel and family things. Or, on the rare Saturday when I was available, it was raining.

Anyways, I was able to do the remaining work yesterday. This was comprised of:

  1. Crimping duct connectors to fit them into the insulated 4″ ducts I had bought.
  2. Getting everything up into the attic (requisite tools, foil tape, ducts, etc.).
  3. Crawling back to the tight spaces where the fans are.
  4. Taping and clamping the ducts to the fans.
  5. Driving two nails through the roof (from the attic) to mark where I wanted to install the ducts.
  6. Repairing the air return (which had a huge gap in it due to damage I had caused months ago from crawling over it).
  7. Repairing the vent pipe from the hot water heater (which had a huge gap in it due to something a previous contractor had done).
  8. Climbing onto the roof and schlepping all the tools up there.
  9. Cutting back some shingles and then drilling two 4″ holes in the roof where the nails were (a few feet apart).
  10. Reaching down into the attic through what turned out to be a super hot hole in the wood to grab the duct and pull it up.
  11. Cutting some tabs into the duct to nail it down (see a video of what I did on This Old House).
  12. Popping the roof caps into place.
  13. Sealing the roof caps with tri-polymer caulk and doing the same to the shingles.

I thought it’d take around 2 hours. It took 6 and, by the time I got to the roof work, the roof was so hot that it melted the soles off my shoes.

It’s also worth remembering that a chunk of that 6 hours was driving to get things I was missing. For instance, I had bought 6″ duct connectors instead of 4″. And 6″ roof caps when I needed 4″! I don’t know what I was thinking, because the exhaust fans were clearly 4″ and I had 4″ ducts. And I realized all of these things in stages: first to Ace immediately for the connectors, then about 4 hours later to Matthew Epperson’s to borrow a drill with a 4″ hole saw (because the mandril I bought for the hole saw I also bought for this project won’t fit in my stupid drill). And then I cut back the shingles and drilled the first hole, only to realize that I had 6″ roof caps instead of 4″! So I had to go to Home Depot about 5 hours into the project to exchange those. The best laid plans… ah well.

Anyways, the roofer wasn’t wrong. The part of the work that I would have paid him to do took maybe 15-20 minutes. It would have been less with 2 people (one to pass the duct up through the hole in the roof instead of trying to reach down through the 4″ burning hot hole in the wood to feel around and find a duct).

It may rain tomorrow, so we’ll find out then if I did a good enough job sealing everything. If I didn’t, we’ll have a leak in either Simon’s bedroom or the master bedroom, and I’m not going to bother and try to fix it myself. That was miserable yesterday. I’m just going to call the roofing company to come and patch it.

All of this work up in the attic required wearing a respirator mask while working in the heat, and at one point (after the first two hours of non-stop work), I had to come down, sit on the kitchen floor, and just catch my breath. I was soaked through as if I’d been sitting in a bathtub fully-clothed. Summer is not an ideal time for this, but it is what it is.

Anyways, barring a roof leak, the work is done! I also wrapped some insulation around the repaired air return and I’m hoping that this combined with repairing the gap will have a small but noticeable impact in our electricity bill.

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