pictures of a roofing project.


One more post about the roof, and then I’ll move on to more interesting subjects.  Like our mini-house, which I’ve been intending to write about for a long time, but haven’t gotten around to because I still need to take proper pictures of the inside of the joint.  Somehow it has never quite happened…. I suspect it is the fact that there are numerous details which haven’t quite been finished ( a common side-effect of building for yourself). Anyway, hopefully I’ll manage to get that done soon, and in the mean time, here is a little photo album on all the fun that you missed out on during the summer!


This is the upstairs after the roofing had all been torn off. The light was actually quite beautiful coming in through the skip sheathing.

Another photo of our upstairs without any roofing.  We never anticipated while we were ripping off the roofing that the upstairs would become temporarily transformed, but it was.  It was sort of sad when we had to put the new roofing materials on, and the space once again become dark.

Conference on the roof.  You may be wondering why the guy in the “22” shirt has his legs cut off. That is my father-in-law, and in this photo, he is standing on a ladder in the attic, with his body protruding through the opening we were cutting for a new skylight.

In this photo, taken from the alley,  you can see the skylight framing next to the red ladder.

Here is the skylight framing from inside the house. The 2 new skylights we added are going to make all the difference in the world when it comes to making the upstairs rooms into beautiful spaces. Note the incredibly small rafters: rough-cut 2x4s, which are tiny according to today’s building practices…. but these things have actually done a pretty amazing job of holding things up for the last 100+ years.  The rafters are amazingly straight, despite some sub-standard structural choices– there is very little (if any) sagging in this roof. Of course, having a 12/12 pitch helps out quite a bit in that department, since it keeps too much snow from accumulating on the roof.  These rafters are probably as thrilled about the new roofing as we are:  the new roofing is considerably lighter per square foot than 1 layer of wood shingles + 2 layers of asphalt shingles.

Here I am re-nailing the skip sheathing on the rafters.  I nailed every single piece of skip sheathing into every single rafter, usually with several nails per intersection.  I’m normally well-suited to such repetitive tasks, which I tend to find sort of meditative (like knitting!), but in this case, I generally found the task to be incredibly difficult and annoying and seemingly endless.  But it was definitely a necessary step…. over the years, original nails had become loose, and were also in fairly short supply.  Since we were adding 2 inches of foam and then screwing a new sheathing layer of OSB into the original skip sheathing, the only thing holding our roof to the rafters would be the nails that hold the skip sheathing onto the rafters.

Here is a picture of the poly-iso rigid foam going onto the skip sheathing. You can see that the foam is in 1″ sheets, and thanks to the dedication of my father-in-law to such tedious tasks, every single joint is staggered in both the horizontal & vertical directions. On the right of this photo, you can see the intersection between the roof of the old house, and the roof of the “new” kitchen addition. Since the kitchen addition has modern-sized rafters (that is rafters with some actual depth), we didn’t need to  use the rigid foam on that section of the roof, because we’ll be able to get plenty of insulation between the rafters.  However, it took quite a bit of head scratching and  discussion and planning to get the 2 roof planes to come together perfectly.  And thanks to Curt, Luke, and Jim, it is pretty damn close.  After the roofing went on, the slightest bump between the 2 roofs was detectable by those persons who knew exactly where to look — and this was tremendously bothersome to certain persons who spent a great deal of time & energy fussing over that bump (Luke & Jim, I’m talking about you).  But in the end, we’ve covered said bump with solar thermal collectors (to be discussed in an upcoming post), and it is of no importance whatsoever. Plus, I challenge you to find a “professionally” built re-roof that is straighter or more bump-free.

Sheathing becomes a family affair.  Here, Jim hands OSB to the seated Kim, who is then apparently passing it along to Luke.

My brother-in-law, Olin, does his best Buddha impersonation on the peak of the roof during a brief break from the laboring.

Luke makes a cut in the roofing. Thankfully we had most of the pieces cut by the roofing supplier (Recla metals), but we did have to do some cutting ourselves.  This piece of roofing is in its pre-rusted state, clearly from the bottom of the stack. (see my previous post, where I discuss our decision to use rusting metal for our roof.)

Here is another photo of the roofing being cut.  You can see the uneven rusting pattern on the piece of roofing on the ground.  This all sorted itself out quite nicely once it got up on our roof.

This is a photo that sort of shows our scaffolding/ ladder arrangement. Having a row of scaffolding near the roof edge was truly invaluable for getting this job done.  As were our $40 ladder hooks, which we used to hang the big red ladder on the roof so that people could get up and down easily.

The beginning of the tear-off on the north side of the roof, on a picture-perfect summer day.

Lest anyone ever accuse me of claiming to rebuild this house myself– here is a sampling of the clan of folks who helped us with this project.  None of them wish to be seen in public working on such a shitty-looking house, which is why they are all wearing masks.

Here, all the old shingles have been removed from the north side of the roof.  It’s all downhill from here!

Another photo of the inside while all the roofing is off.  I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was to have the upstairs of our house be filled with light and airiness.  This place has never ever been bright or cheery or welcoming– at least not in a long, long time.  It has been a dirty, dingy, ugly space– probably since they day that someone put the first layer of shingles on about 100 years ago. While we did have to cover this over and darken the space, it made me excited to get moving on making this a lovely, inviting space.

Our stairway with light streaming in!

Brothers on a roof.

Here, the roofing is going on. Very exciting!

A long view of the roofing going on.  On the north side of the house, we first put roofing on the “old house”, and then we went back and put it on kitchen addition.  This order of working had something to do with getting the roofing straight on the roof, and getting all the lines of screws lined up.

Finally, a picture of Olin on the roof (I think he was putting in roofing screws), with our PV system in the background.  Sloooooowly, our property becomes less of a disgrace!


4 Responses to “pictures of a roofing project.”

  1. Great post and nice pictures. We get inspired from such stories. Hope you continue to share more experiences with us.

  2. Nice Photo diary.

  3. Wow, looks great. Any new updates coming? I see you haven’t updated since March. Love to see the kind of work you are doing now.

    BTW, nice photography accompanying the post. Really helps tell your story better.

    • 4 lauracm

      Thanks for your comment. I am sorry that I haven’t posted more regularly… Stay tuned, though because I look forward to posting more soon! In fact, I might just write a post right now.

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