It is raining today, and feeling a little bit like Seattle in this sleepy Colorado town. I actually really love a rainy day since they are so rare in the Southwest (provided I can stay inside and feel cozy). These days, the best thing about a little rain is that I no longer have to cringe every time I think about our house– because, after many years of neglect, we now have a proper roof protecting our house from the elements. (Okay, I still cringe a little because the kitchen addition is still without real windows or siding, but those aren’t quite as vital as a roof.)
We started our larger roofing project with a practice roof: the smallest piece of the project that we could find. This was a small hipped roof over the front porch. We thought the shingles on it were original to the house which was built in 1905, but then we found some paper labels on the back of a few of the shingles that had a date of ~1935 on them. The porch actually wasn’t original to the house, so perhaps it was added on in the late 1930s. The nice porch really is what makes the house work on the front side, and seems to be the only addition to the house that was done well and really complemented the house. (Quality, craft, and thoughtfulness all went downhill after the 1930s around here, apparently!) Our very first project on the house was to rebuild the rotting porch floor and columns, but like most projects around here, we never manage to put the “finishing touches” on things before moving on. So the porch still looked kind of shabby as a result of badly worn & shaggy wooden shingles, so it was nice to make the porch look a little better by replacing the roof. (Unfortunately, we still need to attend to several trim issues and scrape & paint the whole thing before it will start to look really finished.)
Once we ripped off the old wood shingle roof, we discovered that we needed to do a bit of structural work on the roof itself. There were some places where the original structure had not been built terribly well, we we did some reinforcing. Like the rest of the house, this roof had “skip sheathing” on it. In other words, the sheathing (or surface that spans the rafters and supports the roofing) was made up of 1 inch thick boards that had gaps in between them. Back in 1935, people didn’t have much access to sheet goods (like plywood), but there were lots of forests & sawmills around, where you could get hefty boards. We took some of the skip sheathing off to work on the structure beneath, but then we replaced it and and put OSB over the top before adding the metal roofing. While we were working on the structure, we added in several pieces of structure that we can someday use to attach our future porch swing to. I hope that we can someday be proud enough of our house to actually sit on the front porch!
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