I never thought I would need an electric winch, until I bought one. Now I'm thinking of all the things I can do with it.
I just did a really cool thing with it, but first some background on how this all came together.
We have a flat torch down roof. Here is a technical explanation:
Its core is a strong, resilient non-woven polyester mat that is coated with weather-resistant, APP polymer-modified asphalt.
These roofs are great, but you can extend the life of your torch down roof by painting it or sealing it. If you paint it white or silver, you also keep the roof and your house cooler. Our roof is painted silver, but the paint is starting to crack and flake off.
I researched the best material to apply my torch down roof, aka a modified bitumen roof. I found that you get what you pay for. (This is a running theme here on Gardenfork) I opted for an elastomeric roof coating made by Henry. It has a 12 yr warranty. To me, that means the sealer will probably last at least 10 years.
Calculating the coverage I would need for a 1000' sq ft roof, I ordered four 5 gallon buckets of the sealer. Then it occurred to me:
How do I get four very heavy 5 gallons buckets of white sealer up on the roof?
There are no stairs to the roof, only a metal rung ladder that you climb up 11 feet. Fun.
So I do as I always do, I just started thinking about how to get this stuff up there. I thought about using three 2x4s in a tripod configuration with a pulley and rope. But that would not be the easiest thing in the world to use, I thought. I had also been thinking about putting beehives on the roof as well as new air conditioning units, and to get them on the roof would require something more involved. If you want to take this even farther, you could use this to install a solar space heater rig.
Talking to my neighbor one day, he had hauled AC units onto his roof with an electric winch he bought. Lightbulb moment.
I originally set out to somehow hang the winch from the original idea of a tripod of three 2x4s, but it wasn't working in my head. The winch is long and narrow, and the tripod setup wouldn't be the best thing. Then the idea of using four 2x4s and build something similar to a kid's swing set came to me.
I cut down 8' studs to 4' and scrounge around for some scrap wood as footers that would hold the angled stud in place. I then set about looking for a pipe or angle iron to hang across the 2x4 supports to hold the electric winch. I had recently been decluttering and had recycled a lot of angle iron I had laying around. So I could not find anything to hold the winch across the roof hatch. Then a trip to my neighbor's basement yielded a piece of a metal mattress frame, aka, angle iron.
A little right angle grinder work and we are good to go.
This hoist system to get stuff on your roof works best with two people, you need someone to guide the material you are hoisting from below.
The electric winch I bought is quite good for the price. It has 30' of cable and will lift 660 lbs on the single cable, and if you use the supplied pulley/hook to make it a double line, it will lift 1300 lbs. more than I will ever need. My only issue with it is the length of the cable for the controller. Its only about 3 feet long and I need it to be about 12'. I will order some 14/4 wire cord and extend the cable myself.
Now you are thinking, "What can I use an electric winch for?" Right?