Thursday, November 3, 2011

Raising the Roof...Or Attempting To...

My uncle had to return to his campsite to finish setting up Saturday evening, but David and I were back on the job site Sunday morning to raise the rafters.  While the circular saw was able to cut straight lines for the wall framing rather accurately, it was a bit more challenging to make the 45 degree rafter cuts with it.  Uncle Jim cautioned us that we wanted to make every rafter as close to identical as possible so that the roof would be flat and free of twists and dips.  We went about doing this by cutting a template rafter, and then comparing the others to it.  With the circular saw, we had to re-cut almost every rafter to get the angle just right, which was fine, but we wouldn't have made it very far in the sawmilling business with a remanufacturing cost that high! 

To raise the first rafters, we needed the 17 ft. long ridge beam to be in place approximately 4 feet above the walls.  Initially, we attempted to just toenail a pair of rafters on each end and man-handle the whole thing from the ground onto the top plate of the walls.  We got it up there, but wood started splitting and nails popped out, leaving us with a ridge beam barely sticking half-way in the air.



  Going back to the drawing board, we decided to attach some of our hurricane straps to the wall top plate to hold some rafters in place while we lifted the ridge beam into place.  This worked tolerably well, although there were a couple of minutes of cursing, sweating, and straining to nail each end while holding the beam at the same time.  Looking back, it may have been easier to hold the ridge beam in place with some posts and pre-attach some fastener plates that the rafters could be lifted into and tacked.  While we didn't complete the roof, we were able to at least get something to drap a tarp over to waterproof the progress of the weekend!

4 comments:

  1. The good thing with roofing a small structure is you can do so without a crane! I actually like it when roofs are built the old-fashioned way. Congrats, by the way! I know it took a lot of muscle strength, which makes the art of roof framing craftier, considering the physical limitations. How’s it?

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    1. That is a good point! The roof turned out pretty well. The sheathing didn't line up exactly, but, most of that was covered by trim work. All in all, it feels very sturdy and has been weather tight! If I had to do it over again, I would definitely use a miter saw, and I would try to find a third person to help- its amazing what an extra set of hands can do!

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  2. Why is the sheathing not lined up exactly? Isn’t it important to strengthen the structure of the roof? Well, good thing it was covered by trim work to make it sturdier. I looked at the finished tiny house, and I can tell you did a pretty good job.

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    1. It was just the result of some of the end rafters not being attached exactly perpendicular to the ridge beam. The misalignment was pretty minor and inconsequential. It didn't affect the strength of the roof at all (that's achieved by the strength of the plywood, nails, and glue) and was easily covered by trim, so I'm satisfied with the end result :)

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