22 December 2012

Budget ridge

The roof is done! After I did about 2/3rds of the shingling, Lemontree tried her hand and then ended up finishing. I was much happier fetching shingles and flinging them onto the roof for her than I was nailing them down myself.

Here I am, putting the ridge on. As you can see, we used "architectural" shingles, to match our house. However, the ridge shingles for architectural roofs come in a box for like $60 and one box contains enough ridge shingles for three chicken coops. Too rich for our blood! Instead, we just got a pack of cheap 3-tabs from the same manufacturer* as our architectural shingles, and in the same color. Then we cut the 3-tabs into thirds, making them 1-tabs, and used those to lay down the ridge. (I dunno if that's kosher for a human dwelling, but the chickens don't seem to mind.)

Both top rows of architectural shingles bend over the peak, and so do both top rows of tar paper underlayment, so even with a "cheap" 3-tab ridge it's gonna be real hard for water to find it's way in through 6 layers.

Even though we only bought 1 pack, we still have a ton of leftover 3-tabs, so there's plenty to re-ridge after 20 years when this ridge fails.

We also got the rest of the sheathing on. Lemontree will cut in a window on this side later.

* The shingle manufacturer, if you're curious, is Owens Corning. We got that kind because that's the kind Lowes carries, and Lowes is the closest place to our house. (We selected Certainteed shingles for our real house, because they seem to be the best and that's what the roofer with the cool German accent uses.) If the Owens Corning turns out to be trash, oh well, it's just a chicken coop. And since the coop was roofed by amateurs anyway, any failures are more likely to be due to the installers rather than the product used.

15 December 2012

Structural rigidity

We took a little break from roofing, because it was becoming obvious the whole thing was a little wobbly. The sheathing -- OSB in this case, but you could use plywood, particle board, whatever -- is what keeps those stud walls from racking or becoming a rhombus. Stud walls are good for holding the roof up, but can't resist sideways forces... such as the ones I set up when I crawl around on the roof. Good thing I don't get seasick.

The coop is now solid as a rock, as any building should be. Above, you can see a cutout for the egg door. Below, you can see the opening for the people door and inside past it, the two tiers of nesting boxes.

Without a ceiling, nasty chicken-eating animals like racoons could climb right up through the attic and down into a smorgasbord of fine dining options. It was all hands on deck to get that installed, the kids helped hold it in place while I zipped screws through it into the truss chords. Good thing we ponied up the extra $2 for 1/4" plywood vs the 3/8" OSB -- the plywood is feather-light in comparison.

12 December 2012

We have shingles

No, not that kind of shingles! This kind:

You can also see the cedar fascia. And if you think the fascia looks suspiciously like 3/4" thick fence pickets that have been ripped down to 5" and the dog ears cut off... you'd be right.

08 December 2012

Corwin, the roofer

Got the chicken house decked, tar papered, and edge-metal'd today. That sounds simple to say, but it took us all day to do that.

First, we used nails to space the sheets of OSB. Should they expand with moisture or temperature (for example, they were installed at 34°F but will see 120°F in in the summer sun), we don't want them to lift or buckle at the edges like the Rocky Mountain range. The OSB was attached with screws around the perimeter (to resist wind uplift) and nails in the field (cheaper, faster, and more fun to drive with a palm nailer. B-b-b-b-blat!)

Next we cut lengths of 15lb tar paper (sometimes called felt paper, for reasons unknown to me) on the ground and tried to get them on the roof without tears (either kind). A random website said to use the fewest fasteners possible, so I just used roofing nails on the corners of each sheet. This critical error revealed itself to us right after we finished the last sheet, when a gust of wind ripped it right back off, leaving little holes in the paper the exact size of the roofing nail heads. Apparently, using the fancy nails with 1" plastic caps isn't just something roofers do for fun. Stupid website. So, off to the store for cap nails, back to replace the torn tar paper, then go crazy sinking plenty of cap nails everywhere. Ugh.

Then it was time for fascia. Actually, we should have done the fascia before trimming the tar paper flush with the decking, because ideally the tar paper should protect the top of the fascia too. Too bad, we're newbies and messed it up. Fortunately, the edge metal will still cover the fascia top so no biggie. No picture of the fascia, we had to rush to beat the clock. Lemontree did a good job figuring out the compound angles to cut all the miters (where the gable fascia meets the eave fascia for example is complicated). Thinking about doing all those angles the right way makes my head hurt.

By this time the sky was getting dark and little snowflakes started to drift by lazily. I wished I could also drift by lazily, but we needed to get the edge metal up before the wind blew more of the tar paper off, cap nails or no cap nails. So we tried to shake feeling back into our frozen fingers and got out the tinsnips. In our house, tinsnips are normally never actually used to cut tin, but instead are used to open items in those stupid bubble packs. Today, though, we cut T-shape drip edge metal for the eaves and L-shape drip edge metal for the rakes (rakes are the edge of the roof over a gable wall). The T-shape eave metal goes under the tar paper, so that any water that gets under the shingles, goes over the tar paper and eave metal to keep it off the fascia. The L-shape rake metal goes over the tar paper, so that wind-driven rain cannot get between the tar paper and the top of the fascia.

So, our roof didn't turn out quite as pretty as Tom Silva does it on This Old House. Despite lots of care measuring and cutting our trusses, the rafter tails somehow still ended up at various heights so the decking looked a little drunk when you looked down the length. We also kinda sorta made the whole coop a bit of a trapezoid rather than a square (my fault) so the north wall is some 7" longer than the south wall... this required the installation of oversize decking, which was then trimmed with a circular saw. Ok so I can't cut straight with a circ saw, they didn't teach that skill in school. So now we have wavy decking edges up and down and side to side. Sigh. They say, though, that the difference between the master and the apprentice, is the master knows how to hide his mistakes. Well, I would never claim to be a master but we pushed and pried things a little straighter when we screwed the fascia on, then covered the remaining uglies with the edge metal. Once the shingles are on, I don't think you'll be able to see any flaws (fingers crossed).

At the end it was totally dark, sorry for no pic. But the roof is "dried in" with tar paper protecting the OSB so the OSB doesn't melt should it rain. Sadly though, we only get maybe 1 hour of light after I get home from work each day, so shingling is likely to take all next week.

I must say I have a newfound respect for homebuilders, and now I understand why houses are so expensive. Doesn't make me feel any better about making mortgage payments though.

01 December 2012

Chicken house

Chicken house is starting to look like a house. I don't think we can really call it a coop, since it's big enough for me to walk around in. At least, if I don't mind whacking my head on the truss chords. Every. Single. Time. Ow.

Here I am trimming the rafter tails with a circ saw in between rain showers. I bought the lumber for the rafters a little long, as we had not yet decided on an overhang size. Lemontree settled on 2', or thereabouts.

Note: Do not attempt to build a house based on what you see here. We've used 2x4s 24" on center, with wooden gusset plates to make longer lengths out of our reclaimed lumber. Of course that is not strong enough for human habitation, but I'm pretty sure it won't blow down in a strong wind, or collapse under a winter snow load. On the other hand, if there's an earthquake, I hope it happens while the chickens are outside.

Here's a little bit of fun. The ladder to the nesting boxes takes up a lot of room, which makes it hard for humans to get in periodically to muck out the... er, muck. So,

it hinges up. (The hinges are also reclaimed from the former hot tub.) Additionally, there is a carefully engineered, cantilevered 2x4 cut at an angle under the landing. It provides solid support for the dead load of the ladder as well as the live load of 7.3 average chickens... just don't let the kids sit on it.