Slipper Logic

I discussed working with our Spanish tile roof and installing the new skylights in my last post. But there were a few other details on the west-facing roof that needed to be addressed. First, there were several cracked or broken tiles that just needed replacement. Luckily, when the roof was tiled, the company left a small supply of extra tile on site for future repairs. I also salvaged a few tiles from the skylight project, but I only got about six full tiles. Most of the tile that came up for the skylight ended up getting reinstalled.


A few tiles cracked just like this. When the roofers drive the nail too tight, the tile has a tendency to crack over time.


The nice thing about broken tiles is they slide out of place pretty easily. You can just make out the nail hole along the edge of the crack.


The bonus of getting to this point, is now there is a flat surface to safely stand on without causing further damage.

This brings me to “slipper logic.”

Because I was concerned with breaking more tile when walking on the roof, I had to get creative. The experts had told me to walk in the “troughs” where the tiles overlap. If you walk on top of the barrel, you are going to break tile for sure. Problem was, my shoes don’t really fit in the trough. I was still putting too much pressure on one tile or the other. Or, I was walking on the sides of my feet, which led to some leg cramps. I’m sure that if anyone saw me crawling on my roof and then trying to fight off a cramp was laughing their head off.

I found I could distribute weight between my feet and hands, but it is kind of hard to hold tools and do any kind of meaningful work when they are busy supporting body weight. It’s like a giant game of Twister. Put your right hand on tile A and your left foot on tile B. And don’t break anything.

The solution: slippers. These boiled-wool slippers are the most comfortable footwear in the world. They are thin enough that my feet don’t get hot and sweaty and they are warm enough for winter in Minnesota. They have elastic over the top of the foot and around the back of the heel so they stay on. And with just a thin, felted-wool sole, they gave me enough tactile sensation to “feel” if I was stepping in a safe area or a spot prone to breaking tile.


My Reine Schurwolle slippers. Awesome.

Laugh all you want. They worked. I was up and down from that roof at least a dozen times over the course this project and I only broke four tiles.


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