Tag Archives: roof

Roof Matters

This post has been really difficult for me to write. It has been sitting in drafts for almost two weeks.

Two Fridays ago, the contractor I hired to install my roof arrived and started the installation.  Friday was a pretty stressful day.  I chose this contractor because they had done really good work for my parents and I left message after message with several other roofing companies who never called me back.  I knew they hadn’t done many metal roofs, but because I knew the quality of their work and they were familiar with my tiny house, I hired them.  Perhaps I should have pushed harder with other roofers, perhaps I should have… Hard to say, what’s done is done. 

The roofing panels had been dropped off that the house in December and the installation had been delayed a couple of times over the course of the past month due to weather and other commitments on the contractors part.  Each delay was  stressful as the weather got colder, the winds stronger and my tarp got weaker.  Before the snow started falling, the tarp had started loosing grommets and it was attached at fewer and fewer points.  Over the past month we have also had some really wicked wind storms.  So by the time they came to do the roof, I was anxious to get the roof on.

They removed the tarp and as soon as the roof came down one of the guys had to leave because they didn’t have the right tools on hand to cut the panels.  I stayed calm.  They marked out the positions of the strapping on the roof for the placement of the 4″ screws.  Once the team was back together they started installing the roof, but they repeatedly asked me questions about the roof that concerned me, I hired them to install the roof and trusted that they knew what they were doing.  They debated as to which end of the panels should sit on top of the overlap, how much the panels should overlap.  Panels were bulging as the screws were put in.  I was a mess at the end of the day.  They had also not finished to roof by the end of the day, and promised to return to finish it the next week as the weather looked promising.

I debated with the contractor about what he called the finishing elements of the roof, which I found confusing, because those elements went under the roofing panels so how could they be the finishing.  He kept insisting that those elements couldn’t be determined until the roof was installed. I felt uneasy.

Saturday and Sunday were construction days with Stefan.  When asked, he confessed that the roof didn’t look right.  So, Monday I called one of the roofing companies I had originally contacted because they were in my city and asked if they would take a look at my roof.  The owner of the company was over within the hour and took a look at the roof and then sat down with me for the next half hour letting me know what was missing, what mistakes had been made and what my options were moving forward.

So here is what I learnt… when installing a metal roof, there is quite a bit more flashing involved than with metal shingles.  Although Stefan installed flashing under the siding of the dormers, there were pieces of flashing that will have to be added (we have to redo the siding on the sides of the dormers). I learned that my roof can stay as is until the spring when it will be warmer and easier to work on the roof.  I learned that I have good instincts and that I should allow myself to listen to them.  I learned that I have a couple of good options going forward to repair the roof.  I learned that the contractor is willing to look at how to remedy the situation.  Nothing much has happened since that Monday when I sat down with Paul, who inspected my roof.  Paul writes a very helpful blog on roofing – please check it out if you are looking into roofing options, I wish I had.  Here is a link to his blog http://consulting.prsroofing.ca

Please note:  this post has been written not to bash the contractor, but because I hope that someone else can learn from my experience. 

Siding Completed!

The exterior siding on my tiny house is done!   This weekend we finished up the siding on the dormers and it is really satisfying to see the house with all of its siding completed.  Unfortunately, the roof wasn’t able to be done this past week because the 4″ screws weren’t delivered.  So, fingers crossed, the roof will get done this week.

In order to put up the siding on the dormers, the flashing had to go up along the front and two sides of the dormer where they meet the roof line.  Aluminum flashing 4×4 L flashing was cut to size and nailed into place with the roofing nailer and then strips of  weather guard  was installed on the side of the flashing that was on the roof.  All of this to keep water out.  After the flashing was installed, the trim was put up and then the siding.

The angled sides of the dormers ended up going more quickly than expected.  Getting the angles for the slope of the roof took a bit of time, but once that was done, it was a matter of getting one piece cut and checking that the angles were right (there angles were not the same for each dormer – some of that due to the insulation, the flashing, etc) and then cutting it to size and then using that piece as a template for the piece above it.  I was rocking the mitre saw, changing the angle of the saw and making some simple notches.  I then would run the cut pieces to Stefan, who was up on the scaffolding or a ladder and he would check the fit, get me to adjust the size and then install them.  The last couple of pieces on each side of the dormers were the trickiest, requiring lots of different angles.  There wasn’t much waste and I should have enough siding left over to build a small utility shed on the tongue side of the house.

Once all the siding was up, we moved the interior siding that was delivered back in October into the tiny house.  I started to move it early this week with the help of my aunt and two of my cousins. It became clear  that my original plan for getting the interior siding into the tiny house was not going to work out.  So we left the job half done and Stefan and I finished it this weekend. Stacking 16′ long boards inside a 20’10” house takes patience and delicacy.

Next step, a roof (everyone send good thoughts out for a delivery of 4″ metal roofing screws on Tuesday), then getting the electrical and gas lines roughed in, so that the spray foam insulation can go in.  Once that is done, the interior can begin.

A dormer with all of the siding up.
A dormer with all of the siding up.
Stefan installing the flashing.
Stefan installing the flashing.

Cutbacks and Getting Ready for a Roof

During this past week, I was puttering around my sheathed tiny house when realized that I had not measured the width of my tiny house.  When the ridge beam was put in place, the height of the trailer was discussed – because the plans I bought clearly state that the house be built for the legal road height of 13’6″ (or 4.15m).  What it isn’t as clear obvious about is the width of the house.  The width of the house is there, but there is no obvious statement such as “make sure your house is no wider than 8’6″ (or 2.6m)“.  So I measured the width of my tiny house and it was 8’10” wide.  I have not done much research into building my house wider than 8’6″ because I have no desire to have to get a wide load permit, or move my house with a vehicle larger than a heavy-duty pick up truck as that would be a little more complicated than renting a pick up from a car rental company.   All this to say, we had to make some cut backs this weekend.  All of the rafters had to be cut back.

Hanging out on the roof, removing the fascia.
Hanging out on the roof, removing the fascia.

The rafters for the dormers already had the fascia installed, so that had to be removed and reinstalled.  I am very glad I didn’t have to figure out the math of how much had to be cut off each rafter as they are on an angle, and generally that kind of math makes my brain hurt.   Stefan made templates for me to mark off each of the rafters the appropriate amount.  He used a reciprocating to cut each rafter.  There was an experiment with a chainsaw, to see if it was the better tool.  The chainsaw was quickly abandoned, as it was faster, but not as friendly to the sheathing as the reciprocating saw.

After the rafters were cut,  the fascia was reinstalled and then a section was added to tie the 12/12 sections of the roof together as per the plans (12/12 sections are the sections of roof that are steeper than the dormers).  At the same time, we insulated and house wrapped most of the dormers.

This weekend was reduced to one day of building due to some fairly solid rain on Saturday.   Sunday was a beautiful clear and bright day.  It was also cold.  When we started in the morning, the ground was frozen.  I was showered with small pieces of  ice as the tarp was removed. Winter is around the corner.

Next week:  Windows and Doors! (weather permitting)

2nd Build Weekend

The second weekend of building with Stefan was really good.   We had hoped that my ridge been would be here so that we could start working on the rafters, but the sawmill was unable to deliver my 22′ 4×6 ridge beam.   Plans were changed – instead of rafters, we set out to finish the 4th wall of the house and the 4 walls ready for siding.  I ordered 4’x8′ sheets of 1″  extruded polystyrene insulation to put around the house to help increase the Rvalue of my walls.  Code in Québec calls for R25 in walls – in order to get that kind of Rvalue in my walls and keep as much interior space as possible, the exterior walls have to be insulated as well.

Before we insulated, we finished the 4th wall of the house which was different from the first three for several reasons.  I have chosen to almost create a bay window in that end wall of the house.  Doing so creates some interesting challenges in a tiny home.  The plans for the house call for parallam posts and beams in that wall along with a threaded rod  under the window and strapping around the edges.  I could not find the exact posts and beams required and ended up with slightly smaller posts (1/4″ smaller on one side) and beams that were almost 2″ wider.  Parallam is an engineered wood, quite beautiful to look at.  It is also heavy.   The wall went together pretty quickly and then we built the loft framing.

I am in the background ratcheting one of 6 8" lagbolts into the parallam beam to attach it to the subfloor.  That beam is not going anywhere.
I am in the background ratcheting one of 6 8″ lag bolts into the parallam beam to attach it to the subfloor. That beam is not going anywhere.
Stefan is measuring, I am daintily  ratcheting a lag bolt.
Stefan is measuring, I am daintily ratcheting a lag bolt.
The threaded rod that goes through the wall.
The threaded rod that goes through the wall.
Isn't the parallam pretty?
Isn’t the parallam pretty?
One end wall mostly sheathed.
One end wall mostly sheathed.
The view from what will be the kitchen
The view from what will be the kitchen.
The view from the bay window into the rest of the house.
The view from the bay window into the rest of the house.

By the end of Saturday, we had the 4 walls built and sheathed.  Sunday we only did a half day, we put up the insulation, wrapped the house with house wrap and then put up strapping until the nail gun ran out of nails.   Not bad for a day and a half.

I am generally not a morning person and yet here I am smiling early on a Sunday morning!
I am generally not a morning person and yet here I am smiling early on a Sunday morning!
The large loft is in place.  I chose to go with cedar 4"x4" for the collar ties for both lofts.  The plans called for my flooring to go directly on the collar ties, but Stefan suggested that we go with 5/8" plywood first and the put the flooring over top.  I am very pleased with that decision as that plywood has taken a beating.
The large loft is in place. I chose to go with cedar 4″x4″ for the collar ties for both lofts. The plans called for my flooring to go directly on the collar ties, but Stefan suggested that we go with 5/8″ plywood first and the put the flooring over top. I am very pleased with that decision as that plywood has taken a beating. For those who are interested, I am cutting the window out of the insulation.

My house all pretty in pink!
My house all pretty in pink!
Wrapping the house. Stefan used roofing nails to keep the house wrap in place.
Wrapping the house. Stefan used roofing nails to keep the house wrap in place.
At the end of the day, I went up to the loft to repair some holes in the tarp and ended up falling alseep in my loft.
At the end of the day, I went up to the loft to repair some holes in the tarp and ended up falling asleep in my loft.
Me still asleep and stored below me are my windows which arrived Saturday morning stored safely under the loft.
Me still asleep and stored below me are my windows which arrived Saturday morning stored safely under the loft.