House of Fun/Horrors

I live in an older house that was originally a Cape Cod style. One of the previous tenants/owners was a musician who, I am informed, took his own life. But before he did so, he undertook a lot of alterations, modifications and up- down- or side-grades to the house, including raising the back portion of the roof so that the attic could be a useful space. The chief problem with this is that the insulative protection the house might have got from a real attic with fans, etc., is lost when you no longer have one. Plus, the roof has only a slight grade, which makes it ineligible for traditional shingle roofing. It has a membrane roof, which is black, and during the summer months, or even warm, sunny spring months, that roof transforms the lovely, radiant energy of the sun into heat, causing the upstairs to get very hot very fast.

I had thought of buying a window air conditioner with the idea that it might help supplement the (older) central air, but that would have been an experiment that could have been costly if it had just resulted in a higher electric bill.

And then I read an article in the Times about green roofs—which included some interesting information on white roofs. So I did a little research and found that for about the cost of a very small “window shaker” AC unit, I could get 5 gallons of “elastomeric roof coating.” So I made a trip to Home Depot and spent some money on a 4.75 gallon bucket (which weighs about 800 pounds) of white roof coating.

So, now, the first step will be to power wash the roof. The second will be to put on some sunglasses and paint. Apparently the stuff is such a bright white that you will go blind if you don’t wear sunglasses.

There are many other little and large things that the house needs. But right now, as June closes in, money is tight and this seems like a smallish thing I can do to make a largish difference.

More when I actually get this in gear.

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About Steve, i.e., him

Stephen Stark is an award-winning novelist and bestselling ghostwriter. His fiction and nonfiction has appeared in numerous publications, including The New Yorker, the Washington Post, and the New York Times, Poets & Writers and in many other journals. He has been a fellow and taught at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, and won an NEA Literature Fellowship in fiction. His novel, Second Son, was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book of 1992, and a New and Noteworthy Paperback of 1994.

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