Thursday, March 28, 2013

71, Flashing.

With the summer fire season setting in and after having completed much work in clearing hazards around the property, I could see that the biggest threat to our safety would be from ember attack. Most major bushfire's, in this part of the world, are fanned by strong, hot northerly winds. These normally change to blustery south westerlies when the cool changes arrive later on in the day. Fuelled by the oil rich eucalypt vegetation, the firestorms also create their own updrafts drawing all manner of burning material higher into the atmosphere and depositing it up to tens of kilometers in advance. I have vivid recollections of the Ash Wednesday fires, on the 16th of February, 1983. At that time, I was working on a car at my parents house in Torquay when, without warning, the sky suddenly turned black and burning embers began fluttering to the ground. This was one of the most terrifying moments of my life, I had no prior warning of the situation and it seemed like Armageddon had arrived!. That moment was when the wind changed direction, the fire had already been roaring in a southerly direction for a few hours and was still some 30kms distant, south west from us, near Lorne.
The temporary roofing, which I had installed over the ground floor, was originally only for the purpose of keeping the rain off the framing timber and to provide a dry work area. The gaps around the perimeter were sheltered by the higher roof sheeting on the scaffold. Now, with the ground floor near to being fully sealed following the installation of the windows, flashing's were moved to the top of the priority list. Wind blown embers, entering any internal cavities would spell disaster.

Being the bowerbird that I am, I had already accumulated a large assortment of odd flashings and sheeting. My supply, however, proved to be only barely adequate, I had seriously underestimated the amount required, not to mention the work involved in installation.
The job entailed the fitting of double folded flashings over the sheet ribs and up the inside of the stone walls, which were overlapped by apron flashings set into the horizontal mortar joints. The recessed door and widow openings, with their angled reveals, proved to be the most fiddly. The majority of these were formed to suit on my home made sheet folder, after being cut (and flattened) from the myriad of pieces I had collected.
More than a month was to pass before it was finally completed, but at least now I had some peace of mind. I can only hope that it ultimately proves to have been unnecessary!.

Stepped flashings were also fitted where the roofing on the original house abuts the "extension". Later, these will need to be replaced with permanent colorbond ones, once all the stonework is completed and the scaffold is removed.