Heat wave or not, roofers toil on

RICHARD K. LODGE / Staff Photo. Members of the Refined Roofing work crew shown atop 3 Water St., Newburyport, nailing down new shingles while another worker carries a bundle of shingles over his shoulder.

NEWBURYPORT — It's a hot job and somebody's got to do it.

Gino Spero, the owner of Refined Roofing in Hampstead, New Hampshire, and his nine-man crew spent Monday and Tuesday working in scorching heat on a commercial roof replacement on top of 3 Water St.
  
 "Sweltering is an understatement," Spero said. "A roof is just a big black mat that we are working on. This is tough work. It is hot, it is labor intensive, and it is just a long day."
  
 According to Spero, brightly colored and loose summer clothing are not a good idea when you're working on a roof.
  
 "Believe it or not, long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hood actually help us out," he said. "People think this is crazy but this actually shades you from the sun and doesn't allow you to get all that burned up. If you went up there without a shirt or a shirt with short sleeves, you would burn to a crisp and then you would be no good the next day."
  
 Constant hydration is the only real secret to success when laying shingles in the summer, according to Spero.
  
 "We ate three watermelons Monday alone," he said. "I can't even count how many ounces of water. We were just drinking cup after cup."
  
 Spero also said the workers at Souffle's coffee shop across the street did make Monday and Tuesday go much better for him and his crew.
  
 "They were giving us water and iced tea," Spero said. "They are just super nice people over there and were sending things up all of the time. To be honest with you, that doesn't happen all of the time. More or less, you get a backlash. People are asking 'why are you here? Why is the sidewalk closed? Why do we have to walk on the other side of the street?'"
  
 Refined Roofing has been a family business all of Spero's life.
  
 "Every work-related memory I have has been in the roofing industry," he said. "That being said, it doesn't get any easier. The days are still really hot and long and the work is still very hard."
 Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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