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Archive for the ‘Roof’ Category

Summer is flying by a bit fast this year and projects are not. We have two major projects we are focusing on: the exterior siding on the second story and the floor joist sistering on the first floor. Since the last post I only have progress to show on the siding project:

Back gable siding progress

This is about 1 weekend worth of work installing siding. I have already spent countless hours painting the siding and there is also some hours cutting the angle on one end of the boards. The installation process takes a long time as it involves measuring, cutting, checking for fit, recutting,… then priming the cut, waiting a bit for the primer to dry and then install the board and repeat the process. It doesn’t help that its on the second floor so we can’t work on several areas of the house at the same time. So far I am really happy with the color combination.

Color combo

We are hoping that we’ll get a bit faster at installation as we get more practice but unfortunately, we won’t get much faster at climbing up and down the ladder.

Our 3rd big project will have to be our PV system which we don’t have much choice but to get done this fall. Wisconsin legislature has drastically cut funding to the Focus on Energy Program, although it is clearly obvious that this program has created jobs (both ours to an extend) and made the tax payers more money than it costs them. The program’s administration has also been awarded to an incognito non-Wisconsin company. (Talk about keeping jobs in Wisconsin) Even though our incentive is approved, the program is expected to run out of funding before the end of the year. We were also approved for a special rate from our utility company in a capped installation size program and have only a certain amount of time to install our system. In a way, a bit of pressure is good for us so we’ll just get this part of the project done. With out increased electricity cost (electric kiln) it will feel good to offset that use with renewable energy.

All black Sunpower modules on top rows.

We are planning on installing the all black Sunpower modules. This is one of the highest efficiency model that provides the best aesthetics. Since we only have limited roof space and want to maximize our production, we opted for these although they are more expensive. Installation should not be too complicated. With the standing seam metal roof we’ll be able to use S5! clips to install the rails onto which the mods mount. We already installed a second meter socket and the electric wiring should also not be too complicated.

And here’s a pic of my newest pet:

A swallow tail butterfly caterpillar.

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Ever since the first snowfall a few days into December we have had snow on the ground. And even after a week of above freezing temps there is still a lot of snow. And we’ll get more. But anyway, when we returned from our trip to Europe the roofers had finished up our roof. It feels pretty great not to have to worry about rain or snow anymore. We worried for three years, every time it rained that there would be a new leak. And in the winter, we worried about ice dams. And last summer when we had no roof but only tarps was the worst of all of it. No more of that. 🙂

This photo is taken the day after the big snowstorm we got with 18" of snow.

And when the snow slides off or melts, the roof is red.

In February our back yard looked like this:

The fencing around the garden is about 3 feet high, the stakes are about 4.5 feet.

We have been working on indoor projects which mostly include electric wiring. We ran the wires from the main panel to the kitchen circuits. Now we have all of the main house electricity on the main panel and the subpanel is free to go to the garage, where my kiln will finally get power. Redoing the wiring and cleaning it up a bit will also give us better access to the joists for some of the structural work that we need to do. I have also been putting in some hours painting the siding we bought last fall for the gables and dormer. I am almost done, only one more bundle and some shorties left to do.

Painted siding in new attic space.

In January, we also had to perform a little furnace repair. The exhaust blower started to get a bit loud, especially when it first kicked on. We researched a replacement part and debated whether we should just order one to have it on hand. We hoped that the furnace would last us through this winter as the plan is to get our hydronic heat ready for next winter. The next day, the noise got even louder so we quickly decided we should order that part. We debated the shipping method hoping that we would have enough time to ship it regular ground. Our instincts, however, told us otherwise so we settled on 2nd day air. The evening of the next day, while sitting on the couch watching TV, the furnace kicks on and the blower starts shrieking, slowly getting slower. A. quickly ran to the basement and turned off the whole furnace. The new blower arrived the next day, luckily a workday for me so I didn’t have to sit in a cold house. A. installed it that night and we were back in business.

New blower in old furnace.

This is a super easy repair and only cost us the price of the part. Through a bit of research, we learned that these high efficiency furnaces with assisted vents (the blower forces the exhaust air out of a pipe instead of relying on a natural chimney draft) commonly have these blowers go out. If we had called a HVAC repair, they would have probably charged us extra for the part and an arm and a leg for the blower and then a charge for just coming to our house to look at it. So, if you have one of these, learn a bit about them.The repair only required common tools and the ability to connect 4 wires, a hose clamp and three screws and the part was available on amazon. Oh, and if you start noticing that the blower is getting a bit loud, especially when it first kicks on, order that part right away. From us noticing that something was up to the complete failure of the thing took about 5 days.

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We still don’t have everything done for the roof to go on but we did finally get our milestone of getting the insulation done on the outside walls, so the roofer can come in and install the flashing. Last weekend we had some rain so we didn’t get too much done. Instead we went and looked at some more roofs that our roofer did. We also stopped at an antique store. It was mostly for fun and to find a plant stand or stool for a plant we have. To our surprise, in the last room of the antique store, we happened upon a table, which is now gracing our dining room (picture later). We have also finished beefing up the porch roof and installed the sheeting to the main gable between the porch roof and the attic. The wall is also insulated and we framed out a door for access.

This weekend, we worked on the insulation on the front gable wall it is done enough for now.

And we had actually gotten the dormer wall done last Friday before the rain started.

I also painted a larger area of the siding to get a better idea of color:

I think the color is a bit brighter and we will also paint the water table trim the white trim color. We will get a pretty good idea of what it will all look like when we install the siding on the dormer.

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Dressing it up

Although we had considered other products like LP siding and trim, an engineered wood product, we ended up going with cedar boards. During the last three weeks, we’ve bought the boards, ripped them down to the sizes we need, sanded, primed and painted a large part of it and started installing it.

Putting up the spacer.

First trim board to up.

First layer of back gable done.

Prepping the trim has been taking a lot of time, especially because paint needs time to dry. We are doing two layers of paint before we put the boards up so we just need to do some touch ups once it is installed. On the gables, we are doing a three step design, the same way it is done on our neighbors house that was built by the same builder.

We have also gotten some other things done: A’s dad put up all the sheathing on the sides of the house, where it was removed to put in a rim joist. I then cut some of the board insulation and put it in between the rafters at the bottom of each and foamed it in. This should cut down on air infiltration and heat loss in the winter and keep the critters out.

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It really seemed like we would never see this day, but yesterday it happened: We put the last piece of plywood on the roof to finish the sheathing. WOW.

Here is a recap:

1st row

2nd row

3rd row

Already the last row

This is the last piece of plywood. We wrote a little note.

Putting the last piece in place.

Nailing it in.

We started on the ice&water shield yesterday evening and hope to finish it today.

Because the tarps are off the roof, we were able to see what the light would feel like in the upstairs with the skylights. It is pretty awesome:

I also removed the rubber membrane.

Already, the space is really bright and it will even be better with lighter walls when the plaster goes on.

And I had some fun with wildlife last week. Something was seriously eating my tomatoes and I assumed it was squirrels. So I put out the life trap with some apples and nuts and the next morning, those were gone but no squirrel. I put some more apples and nuts and the next day, I had caught a possum:

He's a bit pisssed.

That afternoon I saw this little guy hanging out and so I checked out where he disappeared to.

He was digging gigantic holes underneath the retaining wall.

I put out the trap again after I dropped off the possum and thought maybe this guy likes cheese. Sure enough:

He's a ground hog.

I dropped him off the same place I took the possum, so hopefully they can keep each other company like they did in our back yard.

BTW, we do not live out in the country or on the outskirts of town so this kind of wild life is pretty amazing. Hopefully, the deer aren’t going to start showing  up any time soon.

It’s feeling like fall is right around the corner, the air is drying up and the days are getting shorter very noticeably. We still have a lot to do on the roof and are going to switch gears to the trim of the roof next. We have considered LP Smart Side Trim but I don’t like the edges because they look really unfinished. We have also considered figure jointed pine, a product called Windsor One, but I am not reading anything good about it when used on the exterior. So I think I am back to cedar and might just go with the select right knot grade for cost reasons. With the right kind of prep on the knots, I feel like it should hold up at least half the time than the 80 year old pine trim that is on our house now.

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Slow Progress

The German work grew left and the rain came.

Starting ice and water shield.

And that’s about all we have to show for but pretty good for a one man crew. Oh yeah, and the windows got reinstalled with flashing, see picture. And the purlins were installed on top of the dormer roof. Now we think that form overhang might come too close to the skylights but we will ask the roof supplier/installer about this. Hopefully we can make it work with some tweaking.

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Since I am loosing track of counting the days it has been on roof construction and since the carpenters are mostly out of here, I am not gonna count days anymore. I took the crew four weeks plus two weekend days to get it to this point and there is a day or so of work to do plus clean up on their part. We have worked on the insulation and I also took some vacation trips with out German work crew :).

Insulation progress on the south side.

Front half of north side with 3 layers of insulation.

The new tarp roof.

The back of the north side is almost done, only one piece of plywood missing, but this is a slightly earlier picture. The front is all plywooded. The carpenters still need to frame the purlins on the dormer.

The windows are installed.

However, the windows were ordered wrong by the supplier: three lights for both upper and lower sash. Today, one of their guys is supposed to come by and remove the grill on the lower sashes. I am skeptical about this, but suppose they’ll have to try it. They are also installed without any sill panning or any house wrap our building paper in the rough framing. We will look at this with the PM and he will decide if they will reinstall the windows with those things in place. I think without the correct installation, the manufacturer will void the warranty.

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Bungalow blog community, please weigh in on roof colors. We have picked out a roofing material for our new roof, which is a standing seam metal roof from Classic Metal Roofing. It an aluminum sheet metal with a Kynar finish. We had originally picked out the Terra Red color because we already knew our house with a red roof and it is always easy to tell someone how to find us, since we are the only house with a red roof on our street. I also come from a place where most roofs are red, so it seemed natural to me. Here is the terra red color. Which is more solid than shown here and does not have  those darker shadow areas.

Here is what we were thinking for house colors.

And we like this too, but thought the red would be too much with a red roof.

This is another color we like, and it looks more purple. The color is installed as a shingle style on a house close to here so we are able to get a good idea about color.

I think we are hung up on really liking the individual color. We really like the siding color and the dark color (sash in the first picture), which is Wenge from Benjamin Moore Aura but should we also consider colors that maybe don’t jump out at us like that but go well together and make the picture work as a whole? Any thoughts or comments?

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