Building My House

I have always wanted to build my own house. I am retired now, so I have the time. I found some land, designed a house that would fit the land and my needs and got started. I am doing all the work myself, so progress will be fairly slow. To read this blog from the beginning, start with the oldest archive and read posts from last to first.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

56: Metal Roof Started

Yes, the metal roof is finally going on. It seems like it has taken forever to get to this point.

From ridge to eave it’s 17.5 feet. So, one piece of metal roofing is 3 feet wide by 17.5 feet long and weighs about 39 lbs. That doesn’t seem too heavy to muscle around when standing on the ground. But when you get up on the roof, it’s a different story. Working by myself I didn’t want to have to try to muscle it around up there, so I cut the long span into two shorter pieces. The metal roof manufacturer said I needed at least a 9” overlap on the two pieces. One piece is 8’10” long, the other 9’6” long. Using these lengths centers the overlap directly over a purlin, making it easy to put the screws in.

I am using what’s known as “K-Panel” roofing. The ridges (four ridges per panel) are about 1” tall and spaced 9” apart. You put a screw right by each ridge, so four screws per purlin and I have 10 purlins = 40 screws, or about 20 screws per piece.

On the first day I only got to work about 2 hours. Between figuring out what was the best way to get the metal pieces up on the roof (remember, it’s a long way down to the ground) and what was the best way to arrange my work platforms (walking boards) that sit on the bottom chord of each roof truss, I only got two pieces of roofing installed. I have a total of 80 pieces to install, so at this rate it would take forever to finish.

On the second day I got four panels installed and did eight panels on the third day. It’s funny how as you get more and more experienced that your production levels go way up. On the fourth day, it misted rain all morning long, but in the afternoon I got seven panels done. So, here we sit at 21 panels done out of 80, or about 25% complete.

Even dry, this metal roofing is slippery. I can’t even lay my leather work gloves down on the metal without them wanting to immediately slide off. I wouldn’t even think of walking around on top of the roof without being tied off. I noticed that I had forgot to put in a row of screws on a previous panel. So, I rigged up a safety rope to tie myself off and got up on top of the roof. Even though I was laying flat out on the roof, the whole time I was sliding toward the bottom. The missing screws went in just fine, but it also confirmed the need for the safety rope.

So, how do I get the metal panels up on the roof? I put them up from inside the building. My trusses are spaced four feet apart, so there is plenty of room to slide a 3 foot wide panel up between the trusses. I just lift it up, lean it against the 3rd purlin up (from the eave) and then set the bottom edge on a nail I drove into one of the wall studs. It’s pretty easy to do, and it puts the panel in a good position to grab and pull up on the roof once I climb back up there.
One final note, metal prices have come down quite a bit. When I ordered my material it turned out a metal roof like I have (K Panel, 26 gauge metal) is the same price as three tab, 20 year asphalt shingles (both are about $80 a square). If you go with the 30 year, architectural shingle; a metal roof is CHEAPER.