Day 20 on the Cottage Build – Fighting Against the Odds

Trials, tribulations, pleading to the weather gods to knock off their shenanigans. I took a long bet today and I lost, which could mean extra work for day 21.

After my morning tally of collecting information from Amazon and distributing it the the GPP mailing list, sending out inspirational posts, and writing a couple of paragraphs on my NaNo novel, I darted out the door with one goal on my mind. Finish the roof, today.

More rain is on the way, but according to google, my property wouldn’t recieve any today. Well, Google is usually pretty close when I check it first thing in the morning, but not today. From the look of the grounds, we had gotten more rain than I expected, and the drizzles kept taunting me.

One little early morning downpour even drove me right off the roof.

The Gamble

It’s not good to work tar felt on wet surfaces, and it isn’t good to leave it in the weather too long. Unfortunately, I can’t catch a break lately, and I refuse to let the insides of the house keep bearing the punishment of water leaking through the roof sheathing. All that rain isn’t doing any part of this process any good.

Where was all this water when I wanted it in the summertime? But I digress.

Anyway, I made a decision. The wood can be dried from the inside. Firing up a cookstove for a day should make short work of that, due to the exposed ceiling inside. I went with my gut, and decided that if something should fail, I can fix it later, but right now, keeping the water out is more important.

Against the Weather.

I swear, every single time I went to pick up a sheet of tin today, the wind would start to gust, and the air was still once it was secure and I was driving extra screws. The ground around the house was becoming a mud put. And a little downpour surprised me very early on, before I even got a single sheet of roof tar down.

I was swearing a lot, losing my cool on at least three occasions, once after slamming the business end of the cordless driver into my finger as the screw it was supposed to be sitting on flung itself away. But today was also an exercise in persistence. I wanted to quit so many times, but couldn’t let myself do it. I kept on, and kept working.

The Work.

I’ve got this gem of a roof penetration for the stove pipe that is rated to much higher temperatures than standard penetration material, and the base is extra wide so I could cut away a good chunk of plywood from the rooftop without the worry of building a full blown chimney. I did something similar in the shabbin because of lack of room, with a tin penetration.

That was the first order of business, but it was early and I wanted to keep working instead of retrieving my phone from the truck. That was the pace of the day, actually. I got the hole cut, and then it started raining.

After cooling myself a bit after stewing in frustration, I grabbed some 2×4 pieces and went to my pole barn to cut the spacer pieces for the purlins I would hopefully be installing. I measured them out to 19.5 or 18.5 inches, I can’t remember which. I wanted the top piece to land as close to the ridge vent as possible so they would look even. Hopefully the top image on this post shows them all to be fairly even, rather than having two close together at the very top.

The rain finally subsided, and I broke out the paper. Another no-no in the construction field is putting tar felt over damp substructure. My view on this is my own. The point of building with tin is that the tar paper should rarely if ever see a drop of water anyway, and I couldn’t give a shit about a couple wrinkles. Again, stopping these torrential downpours from invading my space for a little while was my primary objective.

I used one whole roll, and a sheet and a half from another to cover the ridge vent. I’ll open it up again later. In fact, I did. I stepped on one part while hanging tin and busted it open. So much for keeping things dry, but at least it should be better than it’s been. The inside this morning was a sloppy mess.

Then came the purlins. I used 2x4s and the spacing came out to around 22 inches on-center. Not as good as 16, but just fine for heavy tin, as would be demonstrated with my ability to walk on the roof later. I had originally planned on using 1x4s to keep the weight down, but I wasn’t sure exactly how high my rough-cut end pieces were poking over the plywood on the sides of the house, and took a safe bet. The trusses are plenty strong, but I prefer a light roof over a heavy one, and the low profile of the thinner boards appeals to me a bit more. Anyway, that’s enough board talk.

It was now that I got in a rhythm. Securing board, and when everything was done, I had one piece of tin pulled up and screwed down by around 2:30 this afternoon. I then broke for lunch after taking the picture at the top of the post.

During lunch, I wrote in my journal before eating. My legs were already cramping, and my muscles were (and still are) complaining. I had to pep myself back up. I turned on my inner coach, the same one I use for writing. I had to finish, I had to try. I had to at least know how close I could make it. After all, I might surprise myself and get all 16 pieces of tin up! You never know until you put forth the effort.

I drove back onto the property and went straight to work. The result from one side of the house is nice in at least one regard. The roof is straight! No crooked, weird, triangular sliver to be covered up or cut off this time. My measurements were pretty damn close too. Enough overhang on either side to make a perfect overlap for the wall sheathing, which means I can space the trim to fit over whatever siding I decide to go with. The tin was just a tad wide, but we’re talking about less than half an inch, and just slightly out of square when I reached the end, but hardly enough to notice, even naked (without trim).

At this point though, my legs kept quitting on me. I repeatedly felt that they would give out completely and I would tumble off the top. The sun was going down, and it was quitting time. 8 sheets short of my goal.

The Worry Moving Foreward

Tar felt, or tar paper, or whatever you would like to call it, is wonderful stuff, and makes an excellent rain guard. But it’s not designed to be left out in the elements alone. I don’t like leaving that far side without covering when more rain is on the way, and possibly some gusty winds.

I don’t like the fact that I didn’t get a chance to staple down the house wrap pieces on the overhangs properly. There’s still too much flapping going on there, and they could rip if the right wind came along, taking who-knows-what with them. I simply didn’t have the time or the energy at the end, and when I hung them, I was pressed to get the tin on.

So. It rains tomorrow, and I’ll be off Tuesday. I should be able to get out there and take a look. If I have to fix some damage to tar paper, then that’s what I’ll have to do, but I’m hoping to hang the rest of the tin roofing at a minimum, and if possible get the side trim and ridge on as well. I’m also going to cut the tin for my stovepipe and mount the penetration with a piece of pipe dangling into the house (which I’ll need to find a way to secure for the time being).

Any damage will need to be addressed first, which cuts in on my time. Hopefully, the rain won’t be bad, and everything will only see water, which it can handle. Judging by the work I did today, I should be good on supplies. Hell, I might even be able to pick the stove up Tuesday and tote it out there if things go really amazingly! Think I’ll try to get the windows in first though. I need to check on that shipment.

As for tomorrow. More NaNo time, and I really need a new pair of boots, as these ones are falling apart as I wear them.

Hope you enjoyed my little home building story. If I’m feeling better I’ll take more photos for day 21.


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Author: spottedgeckgo

Writer. Making my living on my pen, and working to turn a raw chunk of land into a future homestead.

4 thoughts

    1. Oh yes. I’m well acquainted with rain work, just not on a roof. I’m just hoping my underlayment doesn’t get all screwed up more than anything else. I seem to have just the right amount of caulk and enough screws, so hopefully I can finish Tuesday and then lose my worries about water ruining my little house before it’s even built.

  1. Marty,
    ‘Some days you get the bear. Some days the bear gets you.’ Sounds like a little of both, today, huh?
    On the bright side, look at it! It’s so perfectly squared off & house-y!! Be proud, man! You are getting there!

    1. Thanks for the boost. Soon as I finish my morning writing today, I’m heading back out to lop that bear’s head off and finish the tin job! hehe. I think that’s going to be my tagline for the day, so thanks for the image as well.

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