Finally after several weeks of trying I have shingles on my roof.  As of this morning, I just need to trim the rake edge shingles and remove my roof jacks.


The morning started off a bit wet so I decided to exercise my second amendment right at the gun range with Tim.  I shot a new toy that I recently acquired.  All I can say is that the Israelis know how to make great rifles!

By Saturday afternoon the sun was out and I was able to install about five rows.  This side of the roof we still had my wall crawlers installed which allowed me to stand at roof level to work.  It actually sped things up a bit.  In general, I think that the time spent installing staging pay back in time saved doing the job.  I was too lazy to move it for the other side but I think that was a mistake.



Sunday started out about 20 degrees with some sun.  I got started by cutting up 1/4, 1/2, and 3/4 length shingles we would need for each tier.  When cold the best tools I have found to cut shingles are a really sharp knife and tin snips.

The rest of the day was spent installing shingles up to the peak.  We had minor delays when we had to cut shingles to match the plumbing boot and the chimney pipe.  A pair of dividers fitted with a china marker seems to work well for figuring out the cuts around these items.  Tin snips seem to be the best way to cut cold shingles into odd shapes.


By late Sunday night the shingling job was completed less a few detail items.  The next day I applied clear caulking to the chimney boot and storm collar.  I really like Lexel for roof caulking.  I used it on my last cabin and inspected it after 5 years and it was in perfect condition.  It’s really fantastic stuff.


Clean Up

With a big storm bearing down on the northeast I cleaned up the job site and took down all but two roof jacks that the plumber will need to install the vent.  It really is amazing how much trash there is to throw away at this point in my build.  I need to see how the local transfer station works so I can get rid of this stuff.

Sill Trim

The pressure treated sill plate needs to be sealed up as a lot of air can leak past it.  I decided to use foam in a can and extend the Grace ice and water over the slab insulation.  This creates a nice drainage channel for any liquid that might get behind my siding.

I cut 1×3 foot strips and applied them with a heat gun.  Using my foam gun I applied a liberal amount of foam between the slab and bottom of the OSB.



Tip: Cutting rake edge shingles

Typically you install shingles with one end lined up perfectly with the drip edge.  The other end of each tier you allow to overlap the drip edge.  When the job is finished you trim off the excess shingle material.


I used architectural shingles so I was cutting up to 3 layers thick in places and it was cold which made cutting them difficult.  I was also a dumb ass by starting at the peak of the roof and working down.  If you cut from the bottom up the job gets 1000% easier.  It also helps to change utility knife blades often.


Finally Done…just in time too!

Shingles…not so fast!


With an ice/snow/rain storm on the way I wanted to get my roof shingled so I took an extra day off to make that happen.  Unfortunately, the gods hate me and I just couldn’t get it done.

I bought pre-primed 1×6 trim so I would not have to deal with painting in the cold.  My dad and I were able to get it all installed along with some drip edge and some underlayment.  I also was able to complete a 6 foot long roof ladder.  You can see it leaning against the house in this pic:


This roof is a 12 pitch and it’s not really possible to stand on it without some kind of toe boards or roof brackets.  This ladder rests on a roof jack and lets me climb up and work the last 8 feet of roof without installing another set of roof jacks (which is a pain).

The royal pain in the ass job award goes to cutting a hole in the roof for the chimney.  It’s in a awkward location up high near the peak and the ridge beam really gets in the way.  After an hour of dealing with falling sawdust and a lot of cursing I was able to cut thru the inside layer of sheating and two layers of insulation.

Chimney Tips
code requires that the top of your chimney pipe be at least 3 feet from the roof and 2 feet above any structure within 10 feet.  With a tiny house this presents some challenges.

2-10 RULE

On a 12 pitch roof you cannot install the pipe on either of the two outside walls without having a 10ft piece of pipe sticking up which would look ridiculous.

Practically speaking you want to be within two feet of the peak.  On a tiny house having a 4 foot chimney sticking up looks a bit out of scale. That means you need to mount the chimney about 12 inches from the peak.  It will need to stick up three feet.  The flashing boot just barely runs into the ridge vent in this location and it still looks just a bit out of scale.

My original design had the pipe running up the center of the house, but I decided at the last-minute to place it near the front wall about 12 inches off the wall.  The stove I have selected will be spaced about 8 inches from the wall.  If needed I can install two 45 degree sections to offset the pipe about 6 inches.

We got off to a late start because “someone” overslept.  As it turns out it really did not matter.  We shingled the first few tiers, installed a set of roof jacks and shingled up to the point where the chimney would poke thru.

After locating charged batteries, I was able to cut out the hole for the chimney.  A temporary shelf was attached to the wall which supports the pipe while we attached the mounting brackets.

With the mounting brackets attached, I drove in four headlok fasteners to complete the pipe install…..then disaster struck!  When I went to install the flashing boot I discovered that it would not fit around the pipe.

After screwing around with a cutoff wheel and a lot of cursing I decided that a larger boot or smaller pipe mount would be needed.  Instead of finishing the shingles, we ended up driving all over creation to locate one or the other.  As you might imagine that was an impossible task for a Sat night.  No wood stove places were open, Home Depot does not carry class A pipe, and Lowes does not carry a logical selection of class A parts (their merchandiser should be fired for incompetence).

I left Lowes with a package of jam nuts worth $1.19.  Jam nuts are half the width of normal nuts.  My hope was to shave 1/2 inch from the width of the pipe mounting bracket.

Bright and early Sunday morning, I installed my jam nuts only to discover that another part of the bracket was interfering with the boot.  I had to unbolt the pipe spin it 180 degrees and was able to fix that.  Then the threaded part of the main mounting screw was interfering, so I hacked it off with a cut-off wheel.  Then the metal plate attached to the house was interfering, so I hacked parts of it off.  After all that I was able to fit the boot (nearly) flush with the roof.sp_roofsupport

Today I found the supplier of the pipe mount and realized that I installed it upside down.  In the other position the brackets would have been lowered by 1/2 inch which would have solved all my problems.  If there were instructions inside the box, I could have been spared all the trouble….doh!  Overall I’m super happy with this mount as it provides excellent support for the pipe.


With the chimney boot installed we started up again with the shingles.  After about 30 minutes it began snowing and by 90 minutes we had to pack it in for the weekend and tarp the place.  After a brutal weekend of work we only managed to complete 95% of one side :(.

This weekend is looking cold but no rain or snow.  I’m hoping that the roof will be done by Christmas.

Tip of the week
For me to get up to the roof jacks I had been installing a small step to make the transition from ladder to roof less wonky.  After installing shingles the transition was a breeze without the step.  My tip is to install a scrap piece of shingle instead of a step.  Its easier to install and remove than the pieces of wood I was using.



The nation has now been whipped into a frenzy by the press about gun control.  There are calls to reinstate the ban on assault weapons.  There are some advocating banning large capacity magazines.  I don’t have a good answer for any of these people except to say that its not going to solve anything.

For better or worse the constitution allows people in this country to have guns.  Any attempt at gun control will be to restrict which type of guns we can own.  Some want to restrict access to modern sporting rifles like the AR-15 and some would include handguns if they could have their way.

A common argument is that these weapons “have no place in a civilized society”.  Ok fine lets ban AR-15’s but keep other guns that do have a place in a civilized society.  One such rifle is the Ruger 10/22 which shoots a 22 caliber round.  Millions of kids (with their parents) have spent hours shooting tin cans in their backyards with this rifle.  This gun shoots a bullet that is .22 inches diameter which happens to be identical to an AR-15 round.  The 10/22 shoots this round at 1000 feet per second while the AR-15 shoots it at 3000.  THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE in the rate of fire between the 10/22 rifle and the AR-15.  In fact it might be easier to shoot the 10/22 faster due to the lack of recoil.  A 10/22 rifle used in a mass school shooting would be very effective but no one is talking about banning it!  If there is no difference in the amount of evil that can be committed with either of these weapons then they BOTH need to be banned!

Therefore, for a gun ban to be effective you must ban ALL semi-automatic guns.  I doubt anyone would propose or ever agree to such a solution.  Whats the point here?


My next point is magazines.  Gun control advocates state that high capacity magazines need to be banned to prevent so much destruction during one of these mass killings.  THEY ARE 1000% wrong and here’s proof:

By watching some youtube videos and a bit of practice you can use low capacity magazines and still be effective in committing evil.  A magazine ban is pointless!

Roof Sheating…Check!


This weekend the Bodega got its final (outside) skin of OSB for the roof.  Once again, the weather gods were not smiling on us.  The entire morning Saturday was a washout and we were only able to get in about 3 hours of work.  Sunday was drier and we got nearly an entire days work on the roof.

Getting It On The Roof

We attached some small blocks of wood on the lower edges of the roof to provide a shelf for the OSB to sit on while it was screwed down.  It was at this point where we learned how square or not so square our roof was.  Overall I would say we were within 1/2 inch of being square.  As a non-professional builder that’s pretty good in my book considering that the ends are mounted on a squishy layer of foam.

The drip edging will hide any gaps between the OSB and trim.  In some cases we cut the OSB to match the squareness of the roof, in others we just left a gap.  It’s not possible to see any imperfections from the ground so I’m not too concerned.  You really can’t even see them on the roof unless you break out a tape.

OSB Sheets Can Be Dangerous!

Earlier I said we used small blocks of wood to make a shelf for the OSB.  That was being a bit generous.  OSB is NOT a very dimensionally stable product.  It swells with moisture so you need to leave gaps between sheets.  It curls up like a potato chip and won’t lay flat until you nail it flat.

The flatness is where the danger part comes from.  Imagine you have a twisty curly sheet perched against a 2×4 block to keep it from sliding down the roof.  You move to one side of the sheet and push it tight against the joists.  The curl in the sheet makes the other end pop up and over the block holding it up.  The sheet then rotates and falls off the roof killing your assistant or dog standing below you!

Tim and I had one incident where the roof jacks stopped the sheet from decapitating him.  Next to falling off the roof, I think attaching curly assed OSB sheeting is on the top of the most dangerous jobs list. When working by myself I used shelves that were six inches tall to make 100% sure the sheet would not fall.  When working with Tim on the ground he would use a 2x6x12 to assist in holding one end of the sheet in place. Ajax was sent off to chase his ball in the woods while we had loose sheets on the roof.

As you can see from the above pic this sheet has a 5 inch curl in it.  After it was screwed down it laid reasonably flat.  OSB is one of those things you might want to pick out yourself to make your life easier.  Thicker sheets are also better at staying flat, We used 7/16 sheets and had to deal with it.

IMG_3438 IMG_3437
I have no finished pics this week since we finished after dark and we had to tarp it for the next round of rain showers.  Next weekend we plan to install shingles.  During the week I need to get the location of the chimney and vents established and attach some trim.  I’ll try and get some finished pics after the weather passes.

Roof Insulation…check!


Last night I finished up all the bits and pieces needed to complete the roof insulation work.  What you see in the pic is 5 of the 8 layers completed.  Here’s a cross-section of what the completed roof will look like:

Screen shot 2012-12-06 at 4.08.40 PMAs you can see we still have the final layer of OSB, felt paper, and shingles to go.  I found an interesting way that one fellow used to hoist his sheating up to the roof I may try something similar.

Have a nice weekend!

Great Stuff Pro Foam Gun




Spray in foam is great for filling in gaps around windows and doors.  It’s also good for filling in gaps between sheets of rigid insulation as I have recently learned.  You can buy single use cans of great stuff but they are expensive and they “drip” constantly.  I decided to spend the $50 for the “Pro” gun and foam cans to see if I could make my life easier.

The package comes with a gun which has a small port on top that toy screw the can of foam into.  There are also a couple of straws which I did not use.  The Foam cans are about $12 at the big box store, but can be had for a bit less on Amazon.

On the last sheet of my roof insulation project there was a small triangle gap that was about 1 inch per side.  I could have cut a tiny piece of foam but decided to fill it with foam instead.  The gun made quick work of filling this area and I was also able to fill in a number of gaps in the tight confines of the overhangs.  There were no drips and I was able to start and stop as needed.  I did not have to worry about the foam curing on the tube as you would with the disposible cans.

The pro cans are roughly double the size of the disposable ones.  I have not done any scientific tests, but I really think that they pro cans go much further the disposable ones.  I was able to create a 18ft triangle described above and had lots left over.  I sealed the other side of the house (18ft) where the roof insulation meets the wall and filled in every gap that looked like it would take foam.  Even after all that there was still a bit of foam left over.  BTW, I was using the window sealing foam in this application to keep the expansion to a minimum.

Cleanup of the gun is very simple.  Just screw on a can of cleaner and spray.  Wait about 10 minutes and spray again then you are done.  My can of cleaner leaked badly when installed on the gun.  I had to remove it for the 10 minute soaking and wasted a lot of cleaning solution in the process.

The best part of this product is that the any foam left in the cans can be saved and used at a later date.  With the disposable cans you always end up wasting a bit of foam that you don’t need at the time.



It was a large up front cost but I am very happy with this product.  Unless you are a contractor, you may not save any money but you will be able to do a better job with less hassle and mess.


The Weather is Starting to Suck


This weekend the weather was lousy for working up on the roof.  Saturday there was a 1/2 inch dusting of snow frozen to everything.  During the day it all melted and I was hopeful to get something accomplished on Sunday.  Unfortunately, Sunday began below freezing with a bit of freezing rain.  For the first time since construction begain I did no work on the house :(.

The past two days its been unseasonably warm so I took afternoons off to finish up the insulation on the other side of the house.  Last night about 8PM I finished up.  Tim also came over to help me put the tarp over the place to help keep the rain off of it.

This weekend we plan to install the final layer of sheating which will be a royal pain in the ass I expect.  Once the sheating is on I will install felt paper, drip edge, ridge vent, and shingles.  I also need to figure out where the wood stove chimney and plumbing vent will be installed.

Rigid Installation Lessons Learned


+ As I previously posted the length of fasteners I originally selected was 100% wrong!  Having installed 500SF +/- of roof insulation I can say that 8 inch fasteners are the way to go when installing 4 inches of foam.

+ Keeping track of the location of your joists is critical.  The method I used of driving screws from the inside to mark the joist locations works perfectly.  I marked each joist with sharpie marker and was able to transfer those marks onto the insulation.

+ Hitting joists with a 8 inch fastener is tricky!  I only had one or two 100% misses but about 40% partial misses where the fastener entered the joist about 1/4 inch from the edge and poked out the side.  It it possible to adjust the entry point of the fastener by an inch or more by leaning the top of the screw in the direction you want to go.  Having a helper watch from inside is invaluable (unless you like climbing ladders a million times….ask me how I know).

+ Stuff attached thru insulation is not exact.  The squishy nature of insulation makes can make it look like something wont line up but with a bit of patience and a hammer you can make it line up.  A strategically driven headlok fastener can also help in some cases.

+ Get a can of foam or a foam gun.  There will be places where the gap is larger than you like or you will have a damaged corner.  Filling in the gap with foam is fast and easy.  You are spending $18 per sheet why put up with gaps between sheets.

+ Working on the roof sucks.  Get staging, ladders, a safety harness and work safely.  One slip can mess you up badly!  If the roof is icy or snow take the day off its not worth getting messed up.