Now That I’ve Fixed The Roof

The rain won’t come to let me test to make sure no water’s coming in.  Not that I see how it could, as the entire roof surface, including up the base of the skylight, is completely covered in rubber….  It took about a week to remove the old roof and finish applying the new one.  This is another picture-heavy post to try and illustrate the steps I took. Here goes!

Day 1: Removed the metal roofing, with an assist from my ever-so-helpful neighbors.  The caulking I’d used to try and waterproof it is so sticky, I couldn’t get the front piece out from under the drip edge to the slanted portion.  I needed more muscle to tear it away.  That damaged the drip edge badly enough so that it needed to be replaced.  The new solution works, but it’s not as cute.  Oh well.

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EPDM caulking is applied and hopefully the roof leak is cured (not true, as it turned out)

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Caulked metal roofing

Days 2:  Painted underlayment plywood with an oil-based primer (I used Zinnser, which is awesome, and very versatile) to allow the liquid rubber roofing a good adhesion.  It took me a while to get used to this stuff, as it doesn’t spread easily, instead needing to be “dragged” by the brush and forced to go where I wanted it.  Each piece took almost an hour to paint. It does dry quickly, so if I hadn’t run out of energy I could have dragged the panels up and started installing them the same day.

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Thin and smooth, the underlayment I used to cover the original roof sheathing should be easy to handle by myself and also make a good base for the new roofing.

Days 3 and 4:  Glued and screwed down the wood, and covered each hole and crack with butyl tape and polyester cloth.  Working with the butyl was fun, like being in an art class at camp.  It’s like a sticky clay..sort of.  It’s often used on boats, as it’s unbeatably weatherproof, and even holds up if underwater.  It’s also recommended for use with EPDM.  You CANNOT use anything with silicone or that asphalt-impregnated stuff with EPDM.   The polyester cloth wasn’t necessary for the flat surfaces of the roof, but does give the liquid rubber something to grab hold of.  I bought it primarily for the vertical surfaces of the skylight base, which is where the pesky leak was.  I thought it might also be useful for the edges of the new roof, to allow me to cover them and yet keep the stuff from dripping down the new flashing.  It mostly worked.  I did have to wipe off (with mineral spirits) a very few drips.  I also think I’m going to reinforce the edges with uncured EPDM tape, as I want as much protection from low-hanging branches as possible.   This is seriously sticky stuff.  You’ll want to keep it in the fridge before using it on a hot day, trust me.  It cures in the sun over time, just like the liquid EPDM does.

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Primered underlayment is secured to the original roof sheathing, and now I’m using the butyl tape and polyester cloth to cover any and all holes, cracks, gaps, and around the edges and up the base of the skylight. The roller is necessary to smooth down the butyl.

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Filling in the cracks between sheets of underlayment

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I took a piece of butyl and rolled it in my hands to make a “snake”, then used the polyester over the top and rolled it smooth

Day 5:  This is really where I needed to take deep breaths, as it was time to open the cans of liquid rubber, and start applying it.  No turning back once the catalyst is added!  I need to warn you, this is potentially very messy.  Especially if you tend towards clumsiness as I do.  I ended up tossing out all the clothing I was wearing that day, including my shoes!  See, you have to use a special mixer on your drill, because liquid rubber is thick and gooey, and it takes a lot of mixing to get the catalyst fully blended in.  What happened to me was, I was standing over the can, mixing away, when suddenly the can itself started twirling on the ground, creating a good-sized geyser of rubber.  That’s how thick it is.  So, wear old clothes, and make sure the can is on a non-slippery surface.  Little insider tip.

Applying it was pretty easy, as it turned out.  You have up to four hours working time. First, dip a brush into the mixed EPDM and cut-in around anything necessary. Then, pour the stuff onto the area you want to cover straight from the can.  Take a squeegee (which you will have to toss afterwards) and spread it as best you can, and then use a good-sized paintbrush and smooth it level.  You will have to toss the brush afterwards, too.  Then, repeat the steps in the next area.  Each gallon covers between 40 and 46 square feet, so it’s recommended you pencil in lines on the working area so you know how far to spread it.  I found that helpful.  You want a finished depth of about 20mm.  I wasn’t working on completely level ground, but it still went OK for me.

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EPDM is on and drying. Don’t walk on it for at least 12 hours!  The seams show but are just as strong as the rest of the roof.

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Dried EPDM now needs hot sun to fully cure. This takes weeks, and depends on the weather conditions. It will continue curing whenever the conditions are right.

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Rubber-coated skylight base.

So there you have it!  If I could have done this earlier, I would have.  You do need warm, dry conditions, and fully dry materials.  If your area (like mine) offers that rarely, then try to find a workshop or garage to do this in.  It’s worth it, being that it’s relatively inexpensive, easy for a DIY-er, and should last years.  Any rips or tears are extremely easy to fix with either EPDM caulk or uncured EPDM tape.   Oh, and it comes in white and gray, too.  Plus the company will special-order colors for you if that’s your thing.  Good stuff. 🙂

I’m off now to hopefully finish painting the interior.  More on that later. o/

Windows and Glorious Light

This post consists mostly of pictures, as I actually remembered to take shots of most of the major steps.  Maybe this will help someone…who knows?

Neither window leaks, and for that I am grateful.  I’m OK with using them now instead of the wood windows, and in fact I think they look pretty cool.  They were so easy to install!

I did take the time to CAREFULLY drill holes in the plastic bottom, to allow water to drain more easily, as especially the slanted one could otherwise overflow and start draining into the interior.  Several heavy rains later I can attest to it working. 😀

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Cutting the test hole for the window in the loft.

I wasn’t sure where to place the loft window exactly, as originally two very large wood framed windows were going to fill the entire space.  I didn’t want it to be too high so as to hit the trim on the outside, nor too low for esthetic reasons on the inside.  Hence, the exploratory hole and a lot of measuring.

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After measuring inside and outside for a good placement, I used my circular saw to cut out the rough opening.

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View from outside.  The placement is good both inside and out.

The front is so ugly and boring still….

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The RO still needs to be framed. Yeah, I did it backwards.

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Framing and flashing is in

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Loft window installed!

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Loft window viewed from the outside

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Janky window trim

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Aaaaand, the finished window. Please ignore what’s happening up with the white drip edge.  It was fixed later.

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Finished back window from outside. Metal trim is for protection from water, but I’m not sure I like how much of it shows.

So.  Water intrusion is a huge bugaboo for me.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, water gets into simply everything, and then causes rot, rust or mold.  I do NOT want any of those in my new home!  Since I have so very much unused metal flashing, I decided to try to utilize it to keep water on the outside.  The way I installed it, water goes from the roof, down the outside of the flashing, into the window flashing that sticks out, and then out the sides.  Since neither window (nor the door, which I did the same way) leaks, I guess it worked.

The only thing is, there is so much metal above the rear window!  I’m considering cutting some of the left-over T1-11, painting it to match the body, and cover a good portion of the upper metal. I don’t know…anyone have any ideas I can consider?  I don’t want it to be too different from how I did the other window and door. Whaddayathink?

 

Plywood Plank Walls

Here’s the thing.  Originally I was going to use the old barn wood somewhere in one of my builds, but after years of being stacked out in the weather it is all too far gone.  Plywood cut into planks (like you see on floors sometimes) seemed like a reasonable substitute, cheap, and easy to use.  Turns out this is all true.  It also turns out that if you use really really low-end plywood, the end result is not the sleek look I was expecting.  Instead, I’ve ended up with a rustic, cottage-y looking effect, which actually looks interesting.  So instead of this look found on http://www.domesticimperfection.com/2012/09/painted-plank-walls-finally/:

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Smooth and lovely plywood plank walls

we have this:

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Interior walls up. The corners will have molding to hide the spaces!

It might be difficult to discern in the picture, but the walls are far from smooth.  Instead, each of the planks show what I like to call “personality”…bowing, sticking out a bit, and different textures.  Visitors and curious bystanders tell me it looks fine, so we’ll go with that.

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Caulking the plywood planked walls

A cool thing happened during this part of the build.  Those metal bars that angle up the walls?  In the way the entire time I’ve worked on this place.  I was more than pleased when the planks slid behind them and into the small space between them and the studs perfectly.  As in, I couldn’t have planned it better if I’d actually tried.  Lucky, lucky.

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Walls going in behind the metal bars.  And yes, that’s Leo photobombing.

I used 3″ screws to attach each board to the studs.  This house will be bouncing and jouncing on rough roads and tracks, and I don’t want anything popping loose.  I did my best to sink the heads and cover them with a silicone/latex caulk to hide them, but I wasn’t always successful.  Likewise with the ceiling.  Normal caulk like you would use in your normal house, didn’t cut it.  There was too much shrinking and cracking.  The caulk I used works better under these circumstances, and is relatively easy to smooth, and to build layers as needed.  It paints well, too.  Overall, I’m happy with the results.

OK!  Here’s the rub:  I wanted to mirror the colors on my favorite skirt, a lovely combination of oranges, pinks, yellows and greens.  It’s very summery and cheerful.  However, translating those colors to this space is not going as I envisioned, and here is the current look:

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OMG PINK

Yeah.  not what I was looking for.  Pepto, anyone?  The lightest pale yellow on the ceiling and upper walls just looks like old, yellowed white paint.  Argh!  What to do?

To start with, I’m going to paint over all the yellow with a bright, shiny white.  I realize glossy paints bring up imperfections, but this whole build is one giant imperfection so that really doesn’t matter.  Glossy paint reflects light, and in such a small space, light is very important.  Even that pale, pale yellow has visibly reduced the amount of  light I perceive.  I’ll paint the white down the walls to about 2/3s down, covering much of that pink.  At that point, I’ll start blending in the yellow.  Below that, I’ll blend in the oranges with a touch of red, and blend those down into the pink area.  I’m hoping for a sort of sunrise effect.  We’ll see how that goes!

Feel free to share your painting horror stories if you like in the comments.  We’ll all understand and sympathize.  🙂  I’m off to work some more on the new roof now, so talk at you all later. o/

 

Still Here, Just REALLY Busy

Things on the house are changing nearly daily, so I keep putting off posting anything.  Which is silly, because now I have a huge backlog of things to put up!  I’m trying to document what I’m doing with the build both for myself and for anyone out there who is crazy enough to attempt to do what I’m doing (only hopefully in a less janky manner..).

I *plan* on posting each project up separately, but here’s a quick and not-at-all complete update on where things are at:

  • Windows installed (and don’t leak!)
  • Metal roof caulked and then removed completely when I realized I have a leak….
  • Wet ceiling portion and insulation have been taken down, dried out, and are  re-installed.  I once again have to say that going to the extra work and expense of using wool insulation is totally worth it.  That stuff is pretty much indestructible
  • Leak has been located, exposed, and the area is almost completely dry
  • New roof sheathing is primed and ready to be installed, tomorrow I hope.  It will go on top of the original, absolutely fine except for lots of screw holes from the metal panels.  This will make it even stronger for when I can afford some solar
  • A second gallon of liquid rubber roofing is on it’s way.  I didn’t realize I didn’t have enough :p
  • The interior walls are all up, primed, and starting to get paint on them finally
  • The ceiling is almost finished with it’s multiple coats of paint as I bought a cheap brand.  I’m cool with that since a gallon is a lot for such a small space
  • The exterior of the house is nearly finished, and I think it will look pretty cool 😀
  • The interior design in sorted out and I’m looking forward to putting it together!

So that’s a bit of what’s been happening here.  Thanks for sticking with me through the long silences.  Not many of you comment (which you should, if you have any questions or thoughts on this whole thing) but I know you look at the posts.

A thank you! for my gaming buddy who donated to help me get new roof sheathing when he heard about the leak.  You’ve been great support, and I appreciate it very much.

Tired, going to play a game, listen to some Leonard Cohen, and pass out. Take care! o/

Bad Juju

I know it’s 7 years bad luck when you break a mirror, but what’s the penalty for breaking a window?  Dammit.

So!  Change in plans.  After the shock and horror wore off (could have been minutes, could have been hours ~ time stopped. JK)  I went in search of the new-fangled plastic, double-paned windows I’d purchased for the original TH.  Confronted with using either huge 3′ by 5′ suckers or more reasonable but smaller than I’d wanted windows, I went with a 31″ by 21″.  Now, here’s the thing:  I’d already cut the rough opening in the wall and flashed it, not to mention having to redo the framing.  Nooooo…..

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Rough Opening ready for the large wood window. Yes, that’s copper sheeting.  I was going to put that on all the window openings for a bit of style 🙂

Patching went ok, but now the back of the building doesn’t look nearly as good.  The patch is really obvious right now, and I don’t know if all the caulking and painting necessary will change that.  Plus, water entry is now more of a risk.  Such a bummer!  At least restructuring the framing went quickly.

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Restructured and patched Rough Opening w/o the copper sheeting, as it won’t show in this type of window install.

The upside of this huge change in plans?  Installation was a breeze, and I immediately had an opening window complete with screen.  That was cool. 🙂

Then the snowball effect kicked in.

As I stood there looking out my new window (yay) I contemplated the other two windows that were going in next to it.  No way.  Two old-fashioned (but cool) wood windows inches from a modern plastic window?  Nope.  I looked at the stack of double-paned choices and compared them to the framing already in place.  Nope again.  I just didn’t want to do it.  The single, smaller window surprised me with the amount of light it let in, so right there I decided one was enough.  This decision opened up changing the interior layout I’d planned on, so I spent the night obsessively redrawing plans.  Because of course.  And that wasn’t all, as now that I wasn’t using wood windows in the rear, I got really hesitant to use them in the front…and after checking to make sure double-paned plastic framed windows can safely be installed at an angle I’m going to do that.  So much less light, so much reduction in views.  A hell of a lot easier installation, so little risk of more breakage.

So a lot of changes, a bit of heartbreak, and much work later, here’s what things look like now:

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Framed, flashed and installed.

Before I go, here’s the latest pictures of Leo hanging out in the new place:

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Leo barely fits through the door opening, but likes to look out.

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Leo on the ladder outside. Doesn’t he know not to stand on the top???

 

I’m still working hard on the walls, and painting.  Stay tuned!

I’m Doing Stuff. Really.

Professional painters of the world, I salute you.  Painting for hours at a time is meditative and relaxing, but your shoulders hate you for days.
I’ve decided to hold off showing the inside progress until after most of the basic interior is finished being painted.  I don’t feel the need to show half-painted boards.  I will post an entry showing the progression, just not individual stages.
Since I’m starting to see an end to this house-building thing (although does an owner-built home ever REALLY get finished?), I’ve decided to list a few of the necessary items I need to purchase.  Most other things I will either build or purchase second-hand at a ReStore.
Thetford SmartTote Portable Waste Holding Tank – 12 Gallon, 2-Wheel.  Some BLM campsites require a 10-gallon minimum septic tank to stay, and this meets that requirement, as well as fitting into my planned bathroom area.  At around $75, it’s also affordable.  It’s not the only brand out there, but it has good reviews and Thetford is a well-known brand.  This tank has a handle and wheels for portability, but the rear fuel port is right next to where it will go, so I’ll be able to run the hose through it’s door to allow easy dumping at stations.  If necessary though, I’ll have the option to remove it and dump it into a toilet, such as at places with no dumping station but with a vault toilet.
Thetford 31651 Aqua-Magic V Toilet, Low / Pedal Flush / Parchment.  At $135, it’s not the cheapest option, but it’s not too expensive, and meets requirements.  There is a tall version too.  I’m going with the low style as the toilet will be placed on a stand that goes over the septic tank.
16 Gallon RV Water Tank.  A good size to fit under my kitchen counter, and a good price at $40.  If this size doesn’t end up fitting, there are several alternatives that will.  I’ve decided at this point to use my current water tank for gray water, and it has it’s own designated spot planned out.  In theory, I can run the inlet/outlet hoses through the same hole in the wall as the septic tank hose.
I want a complete solar setup eventually, but for now will have to do without due to financial constraints.  Instead, I’ll use battery-operated puck lights under the cabinet in the kitchen, closets and bed area, candles, and natural light.  I’ll have to recharge my Kindle and phone at places like coffee shops and libraries, and will only be able to use my very energy-hogging gaming laptop there as well.  That’s going to hurt!  There is also the possible option for running power from one of my truck’s batteries, but I don’t know what all that involves, or how to keep the RV battery I already have from overcharging.  More investigation is needed there.  If it’s doable, it’s a great solution for my computer gaming addiction.  An example of a solar kit that would work is:  Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit for about $200.  This particular kit doesn’t include an inverter, so that would need to be purchased separately.

Since my hurt shoulder is hitting back from the painting, I’m taking a couple days off from doing anything that exacerbates the injury.  May your own days be free from pain. 🙂

Wall Experiment

I mentioned the other day ripping plywood into boards for the walls, and I thought I’d show some examples of what other people have accomplished using this idea.  The links will take you to their actual website to give proper credit.  Check em out, as there are some great-looking floors!

At Centsational Girl

A darker version at AllQuietOntheMidwesternFront

From DataCouch

And TruthsofaBlessedLife

Finally, DIYDork with a complete how-to

I’m once again using the cheapest plywood I can find.  The shop calls it “Utility” grade and it has a lot of flaws, which I think adds to the visual interest and a rustic feeling which echoes the exterior. The cost is less than $13 a sheet.  I’m starting with the kitchen wall section in order to hang the upper cabinet there right away. I’ll need to paint it before hanging the cabinet, but even with unfinished roughness going on, I like how it’s progressing.  Here’s what’s up so far:

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Slits in the insulation netting let me push the sagging wool up while attaching the planks.

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This section on the left is from old plywood I’ve had laying around all winter, which resulted in a darker color. Too dark for my taste, so it’ll get a pickled treatment or a full-on paint job. You can also see the scratch coat of white paint on the ceiling.

Even though the skylight window is really dirty and still needs the sealant trimmed back, I thought I’d post a couple pictures of how it’s ending up.  Here goes:

 

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The skylight well is looking much more finished, and seems to be waterproof. I admit to holding my breath and wanting to knock on wood while typing this

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Looking closely you can see the dripping nature of using EPDM on a vertical surface (not recommended by manufacturer)

The weather stripping applied to the skylight base and the door itself do seem to be keeping the weather out as it should, especially with the addition of the hasps when pulled tight and locked down.  There still hasn’t been a true rainstorm yet to test it, but it will come.  Hold good thoughts for me, ok folks?

Due to an unexpected and much-appreciated donation from a follower here, I was able to go out yesterday and buy close to enough plywood to finish the interior.  I’m about to go out and tackle that project today.

This house is taking shape.  The boost to my morale and feelings of preparedness is amazing!  The fear of being kicked out of my “safe place” is waning the more that gets done.  Leo is continuing to keep me company while I work, even through noisy sawing, drilling, and the occasional curse.  His latest hangout is on the bags of wool.  You can’t tell from the picture, but he starting purring when he noticed me snapping pics. 🙂

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Soft wool bed is the coziest place for a snooze.

One more thing.  Knowing that people are cheering me on from all over the world is an amazing thing.  It’s uplifting.  I appreciate you all, and encourage you to also tackle something new and intimidating.  It’s super empowering.

Be well o/