The Roof – part 1: the takedown

Before putting up a new roof, the old one had to come down. Here’s a reminder of the state of the roof back when we first bought the house:

view from field
covered in holes and ivy

And here’s the ivy that was entrenched in the stones of the roof. This is after we had already removed the bits that we could reach.

attack of the super annoying ivy

We wanted to save as many of the roof stones as we could to use to make a terrace one of these days. The ones around the edges of the roof are taller than I am, which meant that I wasn’t much help getting them down. So T’s method was to slide them down the ladder.

Once most of the stones were off, we were left with the wooden frame.

blue sky
door frame
first floor 360+

Then the roofers came and the real work began. They had super heavy duty equipment so they were able to take down the remaining stones (that were too big for T to take down by himself) and all of the boards and beams. With the stones came the ivy, too.

ivy, stones and boards gone! scaffolding up
taking down the beams
our super duper father-son roofers

It took them about a day to take down the roof and put up the scaffolding. Here are some no-roof photos – the house looked even more like a ruin than before! Plus it was rainy and cloudy all week so it looks all ominous.

naked house
can’t tell if it looks bigger or smaller
beams and boards :/

Next up, the roof goes up!



Our house is built on a rock, as you can see at the bottom of the wall.

rocks and stones

Before pouring the concrete foundation, we need a nice level ground floor. So, a while ago, we started digging out the house ourselves, with a pickaxe and a shovel… Needless to say, we gave up pretty quickly and decided to call in the big guns.

We took advantage of the digger who came to do the trench for the water pipe and had him dig out the inside of the house. The week before, we took out as much as we could by hand, but what we did in an hour, he did in about a minute.

First, he dug out in front of the entrance to be able to get inside with his excavator.

the digging begins

Then he preceded to dig out about 2 feet of dirt and huge stones. He put it all right outside to extend the terrace.

a bit more efficient than a pickaxe

And here are the after photos! A little scary to see the bottom of the house just kind of sitting on the rock. Every time we go up, we cross our fingers that it hasn’t fallen down.

the wall is gone!
the rock
view from above
ground floor entrance inside
ground floor entrance outside

He also leveled out the path leading down to the ground floor. I could almost make it down in my Clio.


Now the main path is more or less passable (depending on how much it’s rained) and the roofers are doing their thing. It’s awesome having building professionals working on the house, because they get so much more done than we ever could on our own. Writing them a huge check is a little less awesome.

Up next, the roof!

In the trenches

Lots of goings on at the house!

We had the terrasier (digger, navvy??) around for a week, digging the trench for the water and then digging out the ground floor (which I’ll show you next time).  A super nice guy who has more or less worked for everyone in the village.

Google maps said that it’s 185 meters from the house down to the water tower where they put our hook-up. He started at the top and dug a trench 1 meter deep all the way down.

the trench! and the “garage”
hard at work
the hook-up

Then he laid the water pipe, covered it with a bit of sand, and closed it all up.

So it’s great having water, but we miss our nice little path up to the house! Now it looks like this:


But that means that the roofers can make it up in their truck, most of the time, anyways. It rained a lot the other day and the trail was super muddy. Hopefully it will get better over time!

Next time I’ll show you what he did to the inside of the house.