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/

A Door Makes It A House

First of all, I want to make it clear that my door isn’t the best.  It’s a bit wonky, and I have to tug on it to close it.  There are some gaps that I’d prefer not be there.  It’s kinda beat up and scarred.  But, it’s on, it closes and locks, and it’s mine.  I made it happen.  In a year full of not-great things, this is something good.

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Applying weatherstripping to the door

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Exterior door trim

With some helpful ideas from a friend, I hid the siding mistakes today.  I had just enough cedar trim left to do it so I guess it was meant to be.  My friend suggested it be painted, but I don’t want to take the time right now.  Hey, it’s cedar, so it can wait, right?  So now the only thing left on the exterior that really needs to be addressed is the portion under the door.  I’m letting ideas marinate and will finish that part when a good idea shows up.  For now, it looks funky but eh, ok.

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Using cut-down cedar trim to hide siding mistakes

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Closeup of unpainted cedar trim

The skylight is nearly complete enough for now, as well.  I went with white EPDM sealant for the corners and edges instead of trim, and I think that was the right choice.  That stuff is MESSY!  By far the goopiest, stickiest, glueiest glop I’ve used yet….and my hands were (and still are) covered by the time I was finished.  I really hope I can sand it smooth/er as I wasn’t able to make a nice bead with it.  It blends so well with the white paint that it isn’t too obvious, so I’m not letting that bother me.  One clasp is on, and I’m going to get another for the other end to ensure a tight seal against wind and rain.  No pictures because the window panes are still filthy.  So much light comes in from just that window!  I love it.

Tomorrow I’m going to start working on the interior again, starting with the ceiling.  The seams in the plywood should be easy to fill with putty, and then it’s getting a white paint job for now.  I definitely think a super-glossy color is in it’s future.  Once the ceiling has a decent paint job, the upper kitchen cabinet is going up.  I’m not sure what will come after that ~ perhaps the walls.  Sitting there looking at them this evening, I decided to fake-plank the walls with painted plywood strips.  I’ve seen that done on floors to a really attractive effect, and I see no reason why it won’t look just as interesting on walls.  It’s a quick and cheap solution, and I already have spare plywood I can use.  The wool is finally settling so I can’t let it stay up with just netting to hold it in place, dang it.

Leo is again in the habit of coming in and hanging out with me while I work.  I love that he is so comfortable in the space, and that he climbs the ladder to come inside.  It’s very cute and gives me another reason to smile. 🙂

The Drama Is Over ~ The Sheathing Is Up.

The last bit of sheathing on the northern side only took four hours to put on.  I felt so much relief to have it finished!     I think this last bit looks pretty good.  Had to sit down and drink a blueberry beer to celebrate.

 

Sheathing up all around!

Sheathing up all around!

Look at that sad and lonely little window.  It’s the only window on the north side because I’m trying for passive solar, but it is so plain on this side!  I’m worried about making the exterior look good.

The floor is now totally ripped up to allow all the pooled up moisture to evaporate.  I know what mistake I made ~ I shouldn’t have layered the rigid insulation over the wool.  It kept the water that leaked in from the exposed edges from having a way to dry.  I should have known to trust the wool ~ after all, it’s ability to drain and dry and stay great is well known.

So it’s all out now, and there is an immense pile of mostly dry, fluffy wool that has taken over Oliver’s Nest.  It looks like a herd of sheep exploded in there ~ in fact, there is more insulation than floor now.  I think all the fluffing has expanded it greatly.  I wonder if I was supposed to fluff if this much before I put it in?  That would explain why there didn’t seem to be enough wool left for the rest of the house…I just put way too much into the floor.   I’ll have to start stuffing stud spaces where no wiring or plumbing will go to handle the overflow.

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Mid-excavation. The wool hasn’t expanded to it’s full potential yet..

I took the day off today to rest my knee again.  It was really hurting by the end of the day Thursday, I’m not sure why.  It feels better now, here at 1:45 am, so it looks like I’ll be able to get started on hanging the felt paper.  I’ve read how-tos online and watched videos, so hopefully this will go smoothly.  It is recommended that you have two people work on putting up the wrap so it will be tight and secure, but with my house being so small, it might be OK.  We’ll see.

Plywood Sheathing Almost Complete

Once again I change my plans.  I’m free to do so as no-one else is inconvenienced by it. 🙂

I was going to skip hanging the building felt paper altogether.  I forgot, though, what my favorite website Building Science has to say:

“The drainage plane in this assembly is the building paper or building wrap. The air barrier can be any of the following: the interior gypsum board, the exterior stucco rendering, the exterior sheathing or the exterior building wrap.”

Since Oliver’s Nest will live in a very cold climate, the air barrier should be to the inside and  latex-painted barn board attached to thin plywood will serve that function.

(Quote and pictures copied from from  http://www.buildingscience.com/documents/digests/bsd-106-understanding-vapor-barriers)

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In Oliver’s Nest, substitute ceder siding and metal roof panels for the painted stucco with paper bond break.  They act similarly.  Then the thin rigid foam panels, which were going to serve as the drain field.  But the author recommends building paper (ah-ha!) as the drain field.  Then, plywood sheathing and the wool inside the wood stud cavity.  On the interior of the wall will be a very thin layer of plywood and latex-painted wood boards (fastened to the thin plywood), which act like the “Kraft facing on a fiberglass batt or a “smart vapor barrier membrane” combined with the latex-painted gypsum board.  I researched and it’s a very fine substitute. The big change is that my drain field *was* going to be the water-impermeable rigid foam panels, instead of the more water-permeable building felt.  This change allows a much easier exit for water vapor inside the wall assembly.  It’s important.  I’m glad I caught it.

As the rigid foam panels I have are very thin at a quarter inch, my walls are more like the above than the below illustration:

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If I were able to use much thicker foam insulation, I would go with the above design, but I’m limited by house width and (mostly) financial constraints.  If I had the funds, I’d go wide.  After all, the roof is almost 10 feet across.  In fact, now I’m wondering whether to use the foam panels at all, as they won’t provide a thermal break as much as the drain field does, rendering them pretty much unhelpful.  They are a process I think I can safely skip.  Very nice.  I have a future project on my property that they were originally intended for anyway.

I went ahead and finished with the plywood sheathing across the South side.  It ended up looking like this:

Yeah, there are wider gaps...I know.

Yeah, there are wide gaps…I know.

Ugly but functional.  Now just the upper part of the North side and I can go forward with the building felt.  I had a couple rolls from the Restore that got wet in a sideways rain storm, so went back and got a couple more for $5 each.  Not happy that the originals got ruined, but so it goes when you don’t have an indoor space to build and store supplies.  I’d recommend one.
Based on my past performance, it’ll take a couple to three days to finish getting up the plywood.  I have no idea how long hanging the building felt will take. Hopefully not more than a couple days.  We’ll see!

Oh! And the wool?  It’s drying so fast that I’m fluffing a couple times a day instead of every couple days, so the whole process is going super quick.  It’s looking like I won’t need the dehumidifier.  Unless it starts raining again before I get this baby weather-tight.  My poor knee.

Taking a break

My knee kneeds (hee) some time to heal, so now that the roof is mostly on, I’m going to stop working for a little while.  My doctor had told me to stay off of it for a couple months and knit or something, but I just couldn’t til now.  Weather and building a house trumps comfort sometimes.  It’s apparent in the photos how the edges are still loose ~ I have a fascia idea I want to try still before it all gets affixed.

EPDM sealed down except at the edges.

EPDM sealed down except at the edges.

A LOT of my rabbits got free from a hidden burrow of their pen.  They like to come down and hang out with me.  Please ignore the drying laundry, LOL. Seriously, this is long-term camping these days, complete with wee beasties at my door.

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What’s up?

 

I got the underlayment cut out on half the interior and made some interesting observations.  First off, it definitely looks like a more recent water incursion (thank goodness).  I’m sure that it got wet this past spring after I took off the tarp ~ I should have waited for drier weather.  It’s hard to know in these parts when that’ll happen, though.  The tarp I had over the floor didn’t cut it, and leaked around the edges (I’m guessing).

The underlayment underside, showing how the water got in at the edges.

The underlayment underside, showing how the water got in at the edges.

The house appears to have settle slightly to one end and more slightly to one side.  The great part about that is the water settled there, too.  Well, mostly.  The puddle was there, but higher parts were damp to quite wet.  I cut down through the layers to the insulation, and removed some sections of it to dry and to allow the structure to dry.  I just stir the wool up every couple days to help it.  The wood is all ok, even the parts that were somewhat underwater.  It’s drying out well.

Because of an oddity to my joist design, most of them weren’t even wet.  I used a sort of box idea to hold the wool and built it 6 inches deep.  To allow a thermal break, I only hung 2x4s for the joists, leaving a space between the bottom of them and the floor of the box.  This worked well except in the middle of the house, where I didn’t get them fastened in tightly and securely enough (springy floor!).  I haven’t decided whether to wait until everything is dry to fix that or if I should just go ahead and pull that part out now and redo it.  It will hasten the drying if I do it now, perhaps.

The rigid insulation is holding up well, even wet.  It’s drying too.

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Rigid foam board under the wool revealed to allow it to dry.

Plywood underlayment cut and pulled off to expose the wet wool.

Plywood underlayment cut and pulled off to expose the wet wool.

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Wool is wet and still fluffy! The space below the floor joist is visible in this picture, too.

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The brown is just sawdust from cutting the plywood. On the left is a joist and rigid foam boards underneath.

 

The wool is the most interesting part.  One of the many reasons I choose to use it was due to it’s high insulating value even when wet.  It is still fluffy and thick and has no mold or weird smell.  It’s wet as a sponge in parts though, and I might need rent a commercial size dehumidifier to completely get it all dry, after the house is closed up.  I think I’ll do that even if it all “looks dry”….just to be safe.

So the floor is all torn up, but is fixable.  I admit to being scared to cut into it, afraid of what I’d find.  It’ll just take time and a bit of work, and nothing terribly complicated.  It’ll be nice to have a solid floor everywhere. 🙂

While that all is drying, I’ll finish hanging the wall sheathing, and then hang the rigid foam insulation on the outside of that.  It’s super light, so that part should go quickly.  I have some rigid foam glue that I’ll use at the corners of the building, and I’ll nail it up all over with these special nails with plastic washer-things I got at the ReStore.  I do not intend to use building paper as originally planned, as I want the entire wall assembly to be able to breathe to the outside.  Instead, I’ll just have the plywood sheathing, then the rigid foam boards, then some blocking for a rain screen effect, then the siding.  To allow wetness out at the bottom of the wall assembly there will be a small gap around the entire house, which I’m thinking to cover with a wire mesh.  The last thing I want is mice or other critters to get up in there!  I found a big roll of wire mesh at the ReStore the other day, enough for the whole house and only $10.  I’ll have to figure out a way to securely attach it to both the inner, foam and plywood section and the outer, sheathing section without it showing.

After all that, I guess the next part is weather-sealing the door and window openings, then installing them.  After that the house will be officially “dried in” and that’s when I’ll rent the dehumidifier to finish the floor.  The weather should hold reasonably well through the end of September (fingers crossed), which gives me a little time….I just want to get my knee to a less pained state and hopefully get it healed enough.  Living alone on a mountain will be challenging enough without being lame, LOL.

OK, off to play some Civ 5 or something!

I Buckle And Ask For Help (again).

It’s taken quite a bit longer than anticipated, but my roof is nearly finished!  An old boyfriend came to my aid and helped me haul the super-heavy roll of EPDM up the 14 feet or so to the roof top late Sunday.  I’ve been hassling with that stuff for days, and with help it took less than 10 minutes.  Thank you, Ray, hope you enjoy the wine!
Per instructions, I’d already smoothed out the roof decking and sanded down all the edges.  Before rolling out the rubber, I swept thoroughly and double-checked for sharp slivers.  Thankfully, I was able to keep the wood clean during it’s construction, so I didn’t need to wash it down.  Rolling out the EPDM was easy, and straightening it out was too.  A sprinkle of rain started right after the rubber was laid out, which was great timing, phew!

End of EPDM roll hangs off the end of Oliver's Nest

End of EPDM roll hangs off the hitch end of Oliver’s Nest and over the new sheathing

The rubber needs to sit and relax for at least an hour after positioning it, and it’s had a day now to do so.  The glue-down will be done today.  I got side-tracked yesterday at the local ReStore, and bought a bunch of stuff!  They had a big roll of 12 gauge electrical wire for $30 (woot!), enough in theory for my needs.  They had a huge amount of really pretty pine trim at .25 cents a foot.  I bought about 175 feet, which I hope will be enough…I want to use it throughout Oliver’s Nest for continuity.  There is still enough left at the store for another whole Tiny House!  There was a bunch of other good stuff, too.
While stewing over how to lift the roofing up, I put up more sheathing.  Both ends are done, as well as part of the south side.  I wish I could use full sheets of plywood, but they are just too heavy.  Instead, I’m using smaller pieces and getting it done.  It’s not the best practice, but it’s the one available to me.  I’m good with it.  I’ve decided to bolt the sections of pre-built studs together to make the frame stronger, since the plywood won’t be doing the job.  I still have to put more bolts through to the trailer frame.  I just don’t feel confident in the attachment as it stands – I don’t think it currently is strong enough.

Unfinished pine molding/trim which needs some cleaning up

Unfinished pine molding/trim which needs some cleaning up

Tetris-styled sheathing

Tetris-styled sheathing

Tail-end sheathing with edge of EPDM peaking over the new sheathing

Tail-end sheathing with edge of EPDM peaking over the new sheathing

I’ve also revisited the floor underlayment, which was the first thing I put together.  It got soaked through last spring, unfortunately, plus the middle has always been sort of “springy”.   I know that’s not right!  So to fix the water issue I drilled a ton of holes through to the wool insulation from the top, and a few, smaller holes to the wool from the bottom.  To solve the bouncy floor problem, I’ve started cutting out the plywood to see what I did wrong with the joists.  It’s giving the dampness another avenue out so that’s a good side benefit.  I haven’t finished taking up the plywood yet, so still don’t know why the floor isn’t solid there. It was interesting to note the wool is still fluffy and full, even wet.  Awesome!

1/2 inch holes drilled into the underlayment

1/2 inch holes drilled into the underlayment

Big day today!  The sun just peeked out and I’ll be going up to glue soon…eeeek!  Very excited and nervous!

I. Am. Exhausted.

Putting a roof on is so much work!

The sun glinting off the newly-fastened trusses is rewarding

The sun glinting off the newly-fastened trusses is rewarding

First, all the decisions to make: roof style (gable, gambrel, arched, flat?), whether or not to put in dormers (light and precious, precious space added, depending on what roof style), how much insulation, what type of insulation? What material for the outer skin? Metal? Asphalt shingles? Wood shakes? EPDM? hot or cold (vented) roof? I will use a wood stove, so chimney through the roof or through the wall?  Good thing I like to do research.  There are so many choices, so much information to evaluate!

Insulation going in as each truss is attached.

Insulation going in as each truss is attached.

Then comes the reality of putting that puppy together.  I find that this is the stage where flaws in my design really show up, necessitating on-the-fly changes and re-evaluations of my patience and ability.  I’m sure that with generous helpings of both, I could have fixed the initial roof trusses, but after staring at the darn things for a year, decided I lacked both.  Off with the cool gambrel trusses, and on with the “flat” roof.  Boring, yes, but also doable and gives a huge bang of space for the buck.   Even so, this is a lot of work.  Hard, sweaty, muscle-groaning work.  I never knew that sweat actually DOES sting your eyes until I started this project.  Maybe it’s partly due to my state of physical fitness (almost nonexistent), but more likely it just comes with the job.  I am handling heavy, awkward pieces of wood, really high in the air, alone, and without experience.  Yeah, I sweat!

Sweaty, frizzy, and dirty.  I'm quite a sight after a day up there in the sun

Sweaty, frizzy, and dirty. I’m quite a sight after a day up there in the sun

There are days when I’m tempted to just build a most basic box, and not worry about boring stuff like thermal bridging and moisture problems; or simply follow a plan developed by someone other than me… I can see the allure. Well, actually seeing as it’s me talking here, the truth is I like a challenge, and to try to do things as “right” and “perfect” as possible. In my own special way. In my own, special, really hard-to-do way.

The saggy middle portion of the roof makes the insulation look too skimpy.  After I go below and screw the lower sheathing to the trusses, the insulation looked much more impressive

The saggy middle portion of the roof makes the insulation look too skimpy there. After I go below and screw the lower sheathing to the trusses, the insulation looks much more impressive, but I forgot to take a photo

So. What stage is Oliver’s Nest at?  Well, the insulation “sandwich” layer is on, the trusses have been wrangled into place and tethered down by many screws and metal tie-downs, the Roxul insulation is tucked in and securely covered by the AtticFoil radiant barrier, and the sheathing has been cut to size and numbered so I will know which piece goes where without (hopefully) any mistakes. I would have liked to use full-size plywood pieces, but they are just too heavy and unwieldy for me. I don’t think even having my boy over to help would get them up. I don’t think it’s the strongest roof design, but it will work for now.

My 22 foot piece of AtticFoil, rolled up as neatly as I could, ready to be carried up to the roof top and placed over the Roxul

My 22 foot piece of AtticFoil, rolled up as neatly as I could, ready to be carried up to the roof top and placed over the Roxul

I lay the foil lengthwise along one half of the roof, stapling each side to ensure air can flow from side to side (Cold Roof style)

I lay the foil lengthwise along one half of the roof, stapling each side to ensure air can flow from side to side (Cold Roof style).  The foil will also make sure the insulation stays put, and might even add to the total insulative value

I want to  remember how much I messed up my knee doing this and yet continued on;  how sore my shoulders and back are.  Years from now I want to appreciate the work I’m putting into this little home. I often downplay accomplishments, and I’d rather not do that with Oliver’s Nest.  It is an important part of a giant leap-of -faith that I can make a happy life for myself, and hopefully leave a lovely space for my son some day.

Finally, something the closely resembles a roof! My water bottle rolled right off the edge to bounce on the gravel below, so I know there's a little slope ~ yay!

Finally, something the closely resembles a roof! My water bottle rolled right off the edge to bounce on the gravel below, so I know there’s a little slope ~ yay!

Edge Clips are helpful to beef up strength, and to guarantee perfect spacing

Edge Clips are helpful to beef up strength, and to guarantee perfect spacing

 

After having to balance on loose trusses for days, being able to walk across the roof deck is wonderful!  I’m thinking it’ll take another day to finish the decking, and after that a day to get the drip edges on.  It’s supposed to be drizzly for almost a week starting tomorrow, so my knee will get that rest the doctor ordered.  Booo-ring!