Week 11 and 12: Finishing the Roof

 

Weeks 11 and 12 were a blur of building, sweating, crying, packing, driving, trying to sleep and failing, visiting Portland, having food poisoning or maybe stomach flu, cutting myself with sheets of metal, racing against the oncoming rainclouds to get the roof finished, and generally losing my mind. I’m writing this now from the relative peace of my desk in Naknek, Alaska where I’m working 12 hours a day and just being able to sit and concentrate on one task is so relaxing, I might as well be reclining on a beach somewhere with a margarita.

But really, I’m wearing rubber boots and a heavy sweatshirt and it’s been raining for 4 days. Oh well. I don’t do beaches and margaritas very well anyway.

The actual process of getting the roof finished is blurry to me now as some time has passed but I’ll try to dredge it up from the depths of my nightmares where those memories have gone to rest.

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First came the skylight. I caulked the edge where it meets the roof and put on flash tape before we’d screwed it down into the roof. Just an oversight. But because it wasn’t screwed down tightly, there was a gap between the frame and the roof… maybe 1/4 inch. I filled it in with silicone caulking, really confused as to why there would be such a big gap. Well, derf. Now I know. Hopefully the caulking didn’t screw up the seal between the frame and the roof too much. When it came time to tighten down the super long, 1/8” screws, Uncle Jack and I found that the pre-drilled holes were at a slight angle and they came out just to the outside of the roof joists. We ended up going to Lowe’s to get a really long 1/8” drill bit and widening the holes just enough so we could get the screws to bite into the wood. The flashing kit was due to go on next, but the bottom layer of flashing goes on TOP of the roof panels, so I switched to getting the metal roof installed.

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I spent a few hours agonizing over the installation pamphlet. I had ordered eave trim for the long ends of the trailer, gable trim for the short ends, 24” panels and the ridge cap. There were a number of optional items, such as sidelap tap (a double sided skinny piece of tape that is used between the edge of the gable trim and the roof panels, it keeps water from being blown or wicking under the gap and can also be used to seal the seam between roof panels), stitch screws (I thought these were special screws used to affix two pieces of metal just to each other, but when I ordered some I was given the same screws I already had) and metal adhesive (again, to cut down on water or air seeping in under the edges of overlapping pieces). I also tested out the fit of the panels on one end of the roof and found that they weren’t long enough to bend the tops up to create a water barrier and an air gap, so I called Chinook Lumber and ordered foam strips to place between the ridge cap and the panels to block out moisture, as well as sidelap tape and stitch screws.

I put the eave trim on first, by myself; the 26 gauge metal is pretty light and it was easy to do. The regular drill with a magnetic nut driver worked just fine.

Originally I was going to start from the front end of the trailer, pretty much so I could get the skylight done first for my own satisfaction. But as I was considering sidelap tap and metal adhesive, I realized if I overlapped the panels from the back of the trailer forward, the seams would be on the protected side , away from the wind when the house is traveling. Mom helped and we started putting up panels. It took us awhile to get the first one square. I measured an inch from the bottom edge and snapped a chalkline, and we maneuvered bit by bit on each side until the overhang was even across the bottom. I figured that would make it square, and we had just a slight amount of wiggling to do as we made our way up the house and overlapped each panel so I guess I was right. Once we got going it took about 20 minutes. So satisfying to see half the house done!

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The next day Uncle Jack and I got most of the other side of the house done, and after he left I got to work cutting the panels out to fit around the skylight. All I had were tin snips. The afternoon ended with a lot of blood and tears and yelling, and I headed to Portland for the week.

When I got back, I had 4 days to finish the skylight and the roof. It all took longer than I thought it would, but I got the skylight panels cut out and all the flashing put on and the skylight looks great. Hanna, a friend from Bristol Bay that isn’t returning this year (BOO) came over to say goodbye and help out. I didn’t have much for her to do that morning, so she took advantage of the sunshine.

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Aunt Mary, Uncle Jack, cousin Maddie and her boyfriend Matt came over Sunday night and we got the gable ends trimmed and attached and then I climbed out through the skylight and scooted backwards along the ridgeline attaching the foam strips (we used the leftover sidelap tap to secure them down).

no f'ing way I'm climbing over the top of that ladder onto the roof
no f’ing way I’m climbing over the top of that ladder onto the roof

 

this was slightly better
this was slightly better
please note my handy foam holding box.  thank you family for all your amazing help
please note my handy foam holding box. thank you family for all your amazing help

 

Then I sat on top of the pieces of ridge cap and made my way slowly down the house, screwing down the ridgecap at every panel rib and adding extra screws on all the panels and through the ribs since I couldn’t reach the top with the ladder. The ridgecap is a very sharply pointed piece of metal. I was straddling it. It was more painful than I could have imagined and I couldn’t walk well for days after and still have bruises.

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work break
work break

All in the name of Tiny!

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Until August, my friend.

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2 thoughts on “Week 11 and 12: Finishing the Roof”

  1. awww man you got the roof up already. so let me think….. i know the people you work for in Alaska. i once did the same. snow birded it from college in Montana and up to kenia.. i was one of the 8 beach gang that traveled around to all the plants. including the one your in. in the day were we had OSHA, EPA, and the FDA, not to mention the state wildlife people breathing down our necks daily. we were building the massive cooling shed in the kenia plant and they invited me to make comment on and help out. the FDA told us if one drop of water got on the cans the entire stack was to be destroyed. so the metal roof we were building had to be water proof. we put a foam vapor barrier in between the joints of the metal roofing sheets to stop that possibility of water getting in through capillary reactions of the roof sheeting. to test out my theroys OSHA had me get up on top and pour hundreds of gallons of water on the roof. yup it worked. not one drop. back in that day you would think that the brindels would have thrown me a party or something. but noooooooooo. not even a thank you. so any way. had i got here sooner i would have recommended that you could have put a thin narrow strip of foam tape in the joints of your roof.

    oh yeah. also one of the solutions i made was to speed up the time it was taking for the others to cut the metal. they were running way behind schedule. so i told them to take a cross cut saw blade on there circular saws and reverse the blade. it will cut the metal like butter. problem solved.

    oh crap it just dawned on me. you should be up there right now. the rock cod and halibut season should be in full swing. that is unless there still crabbing.

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