Roofing

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The other day Drew and I were walking up some stairs. My dad, who was nearby, took one look at us and laughed.

“I recognize that tiredness. I’ve been there.”

We just kind of blearily stared back at him.

We recently started work on the roof, and we were pretty exhausted.

Indeed, it’s been a tiring week. But luckily the roof is moving along nicely. The biggest challenge that stood in our way was modifying our roof plans. It all goes back to our trailer: it was two inches wider than the plans called for, so our house had to be two inches wider to fit onto the trailer. Because the house was two inches wider, the slant of our roof had to be more shallow to keep the same amount of headroom in the loft we wanted. That was kind of the whole reason we bought Tumbleweed plans in the first place.

That meant we had to modify ALL the plans, including the roof rafter angles, for both the dormer AND gable styled roofs.

And neither of us remember much trigonometry.

So we turned to the internet for help. Luckily there were several triangle calculators that made it incredibly easy to muddle our way through the roof. It wasn’t exactly easy getting the measurements we needed because we couldn’t know the measurements of our rafters until we knew the angle of our rafters– however, to get the angles of the rafters, we needed the measurements we didn’t have and couldn’t get. See our problem?

This was where we had the idea to make a mock-up model of the rafter; if we just made a model of what we wanted our rafters to sit on, we could theoretically just hold up a 2×4 and mark a line where to cut, right?

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Our model rafter contraption.

We took our ridge beam (two long pieces of microlam nailed together) and attached two 2x4s at the correct height were the floor would be (we’re basically switched the microlam and floor 2×4 for this model). From there, we figured out how wide half the roof would be, and moved our ridgebeam that far away from the edge of the table, where we screwed a 2×4 that represented the wall. Then we calculated the angle of the rafter in the highly technical way of put-it-there-and-draw-a-line. And it worked!

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We field tested our first two gable rafters, and stuck a 2×4 the same dimensions of the ridgebeam in between to ensure it fit.

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Then it was on to installing the ridge beam.

This was a challenge. First, this thing is 19ft long. It took a while to figure out how to maneuver it in through the door and up onto the sleeping loft, especially without scratching the floor. Once we got one end up there, we put the other end in the storage loft over the door. Slowly, carefully, we turned it over and stood up the beam and nailed screwed it into place. We left the supports on it until we put in the rafters.

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Next, it was on to building the dormers, which are the mini walls around the sleeping loft.

Luckily, that went relatively smoothly. As did the installation. It actually started looking like a house!

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The hardest part has been the rain and the insane humidity it is creating. We’re still receiving occasional torrential downpours, and our plastic sheets loves frolicking in the wind. Recently we were working on sheathing, when out of the blue rain started coming down. We quickly raced to cover our work (luckily our friend Evan was helping) and by the time we had finished, the rain had stopped. We called it a day, because it was also 95 degrees outside and we were working in direct sun.

That day was also the day we started on the gable roof sheathing. It’s been a lot of juggling ladders and games of who-has-the-nailer and where-is-the-hammer. The process was similar to that of the subfloor, in that we would cut a sheet of plywood, put glue on the beams, and then attempt to put the piece of wood on the ceiling, get it exactly where we need it, and then nail it in.

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The fun part was that the more of the roof we covered, the harder it was to get up into the rafters to work. We finished gluing the gable roof, but are having a hard time nailing it, since we can’t reach it. We considered straddling the roof and trying to work our way over to the spot to nail it, but we decided that was too dangerous, at least until we have some kind of harness system. We’re still in the process of trying to figure out a way. It will be especially hard once the roof over the sleeping loft is on. I have no idea how we’ll get up there then (especially when it comes to pulling the tarp over that part, ugh. That’s hard enough to do as it is, and our tarp is starting to fall apart. Again). I know there is a way of screwing in 2x4s on the side of the roof for support, but I need to look into it more. It seems like there’s always some new blockage we need to battle through. I think the trick is doing it frugally, safely, and timely. We’ll get there eventually, we always do.

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