Monthly Archives: December 2011

Of roofing hitches and ever changing floor plans…


My dad and I got the off-side standing seam roofing on this sunny afternoon in fine time, like we knew just what we were doing, and feeling very chuffed indeed. But the feeling ended abruptly when we reached the last panel as reality politely informed us that we mostly don’t know what we’re doing.

This being the case, the plywood roof sheathing is not square at the front of the house, so instead of the panel’s edge running parallel to the edge of the roof deck, there is a very-much-not-straight 2 inch discrepancy that will really muck things up when we try to put the eave closures on.

This will likely result in another bout of house sawing, but then I suppose with the amount of first hand house sawing experience we’ve had, you might actually say we do know what we’re doing in this particular part of the process. I didn’t photograph the current conundrum, but I’m sure you can imagine.

I have realized that I have no set floor plan (wishy washy as I am) and with electric and plumbing looming not so very far away, it has come to my attention that I had better stop changing my mind so I don’t end up with an outlet in the shower or pipes running through my closet. I came up with one the other day that I think I could live with after laying it out in the house with scraps of 2×4’s and 40lb boxes of sheep wool insulation. For the record, they make an excellent visual for prospective shelving.


More roofing, more ladders…


After another day’s roofing, we have almost half the house covered in shiny, purple-y panels and it looks very nice indeed. I was keen on getting to the other side but the cursed screw gun batteries got us again and died before we’d even thought to recharge them. There are 3 going for different applications but when they go out, it’s kind of the end of the joy ride.

It also appears that my roof is going to be an obnoxious 2″ longer than the last of the 15 panels we thought would do it. Luckily, I have actually learned something from my previous mistakes and ordered 2 extra panels, so we’ll just have to perform a little surgery with the spiffy metal cutters. I say ‘just’…

On a brighter note, I am feeling slightly less terrified about the ladder situation. This may have a lot to do with the fact that my dad spent most of today standing on the bottom to make sure it didn’t get into it’s mind to go anywhere, but I can at least move up the rungs now without a 20 second pause between each to mentally prepare myself.

I’m quite liking this standing seam stuff, each panel gets screwed into the roof deck at one side before the next clicks over it, which leaves a lovely little ridge and hides the fasteners brilliantly. The only part I don’t like so much are the fancy, colour coated screws that go on at the top and require standing one step higher than I can reasonably justify on a ladder. That plus the angle of leaning that ensues make for a sort of general awkwardness that doesn’t get much better after 10 panels.

A bit of metal roofing…


My beautiful blackberry standing seam roof has finally gotten started today! Granted, we only got 3 panels on but we did start late after a trip to the hardware store and a very long instructional video on the process. There’s nothing like a swank construction fellow with that ‘boy, I sure am great’ appearance to tell you all about your metal roofing needs.

Of course this fellow had a far easier time of things because his roof was practically flat and he was able to saunter quite conveniently across it. My roof is a 12:12 pitch, and any attempted sauntering would be very short lived so I’m afraid the installation of it brings us back to those darn ladders. My dad was pretty concerned we wouldn’t be able to reach the top section of the panels without some form of scaffolding, but we managed today alright so it looks like we’re in the clear. I really don’t know how it’ll all work out come the ridge cap stage, though that’s a trouble for another day. 

It is bitingly cold here right now so we didn’t work after the sun went down, but the roofing behaved very nicely and I think we’ll have a good shot at actually getting the rest of the panels on the next full work day. My dad is just starting a period of 2 weeks off so I have high hopes of early starting, hammer weilding, knock-your-socks-off house progress in the coming times. It could happen…

The arrival of cedar siding and an unexpected visitor…

I ordered the beautiful cedar siding at 18 and 20′ lengths in the hope of minimizing waste, but it was a bit much for the old pickup so the lovely hardware store folk delivered it. They had said they would bring it Monday, and bring it they did without dally. I was very much asleep when the holler came up the stairs just after 8 this morning and madly ran for matching shoes to help unload (luckily the driver didn’t mind my rush to clear ground space or half awake bumbling).
Actually, this driver was keenly interested in the house and an acquaintance of my parents so we showed him around. Halfway through the grand tour, my mother casually mentioned that there was a bird in my house, and by jove she was right.
In my sleeping loft window was a tiny black and gray bird looking rather confused that this section of sky seemed much more solid than usual. He smacked into it another few times during the process of my attempts to show him out so we set him on a fence post to recover from the shock, which he did after a few minutes and flew off.
I’m almost certain the door was closed so I’m really not sure how he managed to get in there or for how long he was, but he did appear pretty relieved to be out of it. Hope he didn’t get too bad of a headache from the experience…

Roof wrapped and ready… and a banjo


Today we (me, my dad and one of my sisters) started none too early with the goal of getting the synthetic roofing underlayment onto the plywood roof sheathing, and the most miraculous thing happened: we actually did. On! All of it! In one day, and this is extremely unusual. It isn’t to say that the task of putting the stuff on is very complicated or should require more than a day’s work, but for us and the project at hand, everything sprouts extra, unforeseeable issues that drag even the simplest things out. 

Back when the last of the sheathing went up, I did some research and bought a roll of synthetic underlayment instead of the typical roofing felt that is generally used for the purpose. Being lighter, wider and marked with nifty “nail here” indicators all over the thing, I chose the synthetic despite its higher cost and am glad I did. I was surprised by how much I didn’t mind putting it up and I think if it hadn’t been for the return of the frighteningly tall ladders, I would have truly enjoyed the process. 

But oh, the ladders. They are huge, they are rickety, and they shift in the most disconcerting way when you inevitably lean a bit on one side. Have I mentioned that my house is actually very far off the ground? At around 13.5′ you really notice this when the support you’re standing on moseys. 

Little Yellow’s roof is gratefully small, and we covered it over with 4 horizontal layers, sufficiently overlapped to shed any water that may weasel itself under the soon-to-be metal roofing. The 1″ roofing nails with pretty green plastic caps we used were great and for the most part they went in like butter. Every now and then they don’t go in so very well and I smacked the crap out of my already brown spotted thumb again, but I’d call this a personal problem. 

Next it’s on to the roof!  We picked it up from the hardware store and it is absolutely THE nicest colour I could have hoped for, and is even better than the swatch I picked the hue from. A lovely, rich, dark reddy purple 🙂 

Two final, exciting things. 1, with the underlayment on we no longer have to cover the house with the massive, unwieldy plastic EVER AGAIN!!! 2. I bought a banjo. Unrelated, I know, but it’s damn hard to be unhappy when you’re pickin’ one 🙂 

Ten windows, a door, porch, and several other things…


I haven’t kept up on posting very well, but I have kept up on house building and last week has been extremely productive. This has been largely due to the help I had for a few days from a friend visiting from Scotland. This friend happens to be a carpenter (the best friends to have, you know) and I happen to have swindled him into building things for my house. The most exciting of these things is a simply lovely front door, but he also helped put in windows, widened the openings in the loft, and made a porch.

But really, the door. I’ve not much of a clue what kind of work went into the process of making it, but even with my limited time helping it seemed quite complicated so I’m really glad I didn’t have to bumble my own way through this part. And it’s such a nice door, I think my house looks much happier with it and all the windows in.

My neighbor has a bunch of lumber left over from his house and various projects so I bought some great 2×6 tongue-and-groove pine from him to make it with. It was previously used for decking and had a bunch of tar and nail holes but I got all I needed for $20 and it sanded down nicely. He also gave (!) me absolutely perfect hinges which are AMAZING, I wish I’d taken a picture of them before they went in. I’ve been wanting to have the door open out-the-way to save space inside and these let it do just that but, unlike most hinges, they stay on the inside. Very cool little brass buggers.

I also bought synthetic roofing underlayment, ordered my metal roof and the (frighteningly expensive, let me tell you) cedar siding this week so it’s all moving forward very nicely! Today my dad I put up some beautiful redwood boards on the eaves and it’s just about prepared for the roofing process now.

But back to my door. I love it. I love it and its characteristic nail holes. I love it and it’s not even yellow yet. I love my hinges that open outwards but reside inwards so nobody can just waltz up and take my door off. Waltzing door burglars. You just never know…


Mad winds, windows and house wrap…


It was frightfully windy the other day; blustery, wild and very cold. In short, it was a terrible day to be working with flimsy house wrap, but wrap house we did as it billowed and bucked and WRINKLED. Oh, the dreaded wrinkles… Considering the conditions, I think I’ll blame them on the wind.    

We now have a total of 5 lovely windows in! The first flashing installation guide I watched on youtube gave shabby advice and I ended up redoing two windows as a result. Though slightly annoying, it didn’t take up much time and I now feel confident in the correct process. Of course, now and a year from now when the house is getting pelted with torrential rain are different entirely; confidence is a much easier thing to have when it’s dry.

The 5 windows in thus far have been the easy ones. The 4 on the sides and 1 at the back were both easily accessible with the skilsaw, and quite small. The 3 in the bump out section at the front of the house are neither of these things, which is why we have purposefully avoided them. Today, however, my dad conjured up some brilliance and essentially solved the problem. It involves ripping out a lot of very determined ring shank nails (why, damn it, why did we not use screws…) and moving some framing around, but it’s probably faster in the end and doesn’t require the skilsaw.

We’ve been getting late starts and worked right up until dark the last few days, but hopefully we’ll get our buns out there a little earlier tomorrow. As dearly as I love my windows, I do not love their narrow rough openings and it’ll  be a relief to get past the seemingly counterproductive “lets saw off parts of the house” stage.