June 10, 2015

This is the starting point. A Tiki bar with no roof. Seems simple enough to put a new one on, right? You just find the material (thatch, staples, twist ties), make sure you have plenty of ladders and plenty of help, then measure out the material and get to it. But therein lies the problem, because it is simply not as easy as it sounds. Having never done anything like this before, and hardly being what you would call a handyman when it comes to “weekend warrior” projects of this type, putting a new roof on the Tiki bar has become quite the challenge.

It wasn’t for the folks who built the original bar: the roof was thatched on a very large work area table and then bolted to the frame after it was delivered onsite. And besides, I’m sure they had been trained in this sort of thing so they could put these roofs on in their sleep. But having to do this work up in the air, and for the first time, well, let’s just say it’s the worst kind of “on the job training”!

I ordered my thatch material (more than enough so I thought, because the stuff isn’t cheap). I’d learned the hard way about how the kind of staples I was going to have to use and was kind of annoyed that I didn’t understand when renting the gun from Home Depot that I had to also rent the compressor also; but hey, shame on the counter clerk for not asking me if I needed a compressor as well. But that’s OK, consider it a lesson learned!

Actually, putting the first layer on was a breeze: I measured out my first 76″ of thatch, threw it up on the south-facing side, and started stapling away with my compressed-air power stapler. It was after getting the first layer up that things started to go a little awry – well, actually, a lot awry. I had purchased these so-called “panels” supposedly designed specifically for the four corners – the idea being, they drape over the corners and then you lay the second main layer on top of the first layer and the panels. But I spent more than an hour trying to staple those suckers into the wood but they wouldn’t stay under any condition. And worse than that, they really looked crappy, as if they didn’t belong. And you know what? They didn’t:

It became rather obvious that these panels were made for another, much larger, style of thatch roof – they didn’t look the same, and they were obviously too big for the humble little roof I was trying to put on. So it was back to cutting my other thatch material to try and create an apron around the corners that would look natural. But I couldn’t figure out how to do it. I went back to the original measurements I took when pulling off the old roof and discovered they had some different-sized material specifically for the corners that I simply don’t have access to. So this was something that would have to be figured out on the fly.

After wasting valuable time under blistering heat, the twins finally returned from their own Saturday activities and were able to make a valuable contribution. Tracey helped me maneuver some cut-down thatch around the corner sections to make it look like it at least somewhat belonged, and Tammy helped with the “that looks good” or “that looks stupid” commentary.

We spent a good couple of hours ever-so-carefully positioning thatch and seeing how it looked from all angles that we finally decided to call it a day (and a weekend). First and foremost, because we found out I hadn’t ordered enough thatch to make up for the panels that couldn’t be used. Secondly, because I had already lost five pounds working in the heat (even after drinking two half-liters of club soda and two bottles of Simply Lemonade) and we were all just so tired of fighting it. At the end of the day this is what it looked like:

This weekend it will be once more into the breach: a Friday stop at the Home Depot equipment rental counter, and Saturday attacking the roof for what we hope will be the last time. I already checked on the internet to see if there are any Tiki roof professionals in the area specializing in roof repair and didn’t find a one. Maybe a little more searching might turn up someone before I have to do this all over again in another ten years. Who knows? Maybe I’m on the cusp of a new, post-IT career: after all, with 2+ million people in the Valley of the Sun I can’t be the only person with an outdoor Tiki bar that needs its roof replaced.

Of course, there’s always the option of burning the thing down when this roof needs replacing and putting in a barbecue!

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 02:43 | Comments (2)
  1. this is hysterical…..only you can create a bad hair tiki bar roof.

    Comment by Jana — June 10, 2015 @ 3:54 pm

  2. I know – I think it looks like something you’d see on a ’80s hair band member, doesn’t it?

    Comment by The Great White Shank — June 11, 2015 @ 3:18 pm

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