We wanted to use the front porch ceiling as a platform. To do that we first put down plywood across the tops of the joists, screwing it in so it doesn’t blow away. Then Mike built some railings from scrap lumber to provide at least the illusion of safety. With the platform established, we started working on the front of the house, removing the layers of siding. We decided not to remove all of the wood siding, since we can’t put up the house wrap properly until the new second floor windows are in. Those are on order, by the way. We didn’t think of that before we’d started though, so we did put up house wrap on the sections we’d already done.

Since before we bought the house, we’ve been planning to remove the “hips” on the front and back of the roof. These are triangles of roof that are like folded corners on the peaks of the gables. I’m not a fan of the style, but more importantly we want to have the window in front higher than floor level and room for a door at the back of the attic for fire code requirements and the hips clip too much off to do that. First we cut off the existing hips, largely from inside the attic. Next we sistered in new rafters and vertical framing, keeping in mind the aforementioned new windows that we’ll need to re-frame for.

With the structure in place, we fit in new plywood and covered that in ice and water shield. The roof is basically comprised of 2×6 rafters with 1×6 horizontal boards, spaced apart an inch or two. Plywood was later put over this, tar paper, and fortunately only a single layer of shingles. The plywood is in good condition, so it’s probably fairly recent. We’re planning to redo the roof once we’ve finished all the penetrations (solar tubes and vent pipes) and we’ve found a shingle manufacturer that partnered with a solar panel company on an integrated mounting bracket. That way there’s no risk of compromising the roof when we eventually install solar panels. I’m still contemplating whether spray foam will be enough to insulate. I’m a bit concerned about thermal bridging with the rafters and 1×6 boards. One option is replacing the plywood with Zip system, but that would add a lot of waste and cost. We could add a layer of rigid foam, but I’m not a big fan of creating a roof sandwich. We could insulate on the inside, but we’d lose space and it’s not a huge attic (width-wise) in the first place. We’ll figure something out.

We ran out of time to cover the new gable peak with temporary shingles that day, but I put them up with Sarah’s help over the course of a couple weekend days. Of course it got absurdly hot at the start of Fall (95° on the ground, let alone up on the roof) which made that part of the project extra fun, but it’s done. We also had to cut back the plywood sheathing where it overhung the soffit on one side by about four inches. That was interesting. I wound up doing it from above with a circular saw (and a cheap blade that I didn’t mind using to cut through shingles) so I could get a straight cut. Even so I managed to get a bit of a wave in the last couple feet where I couldn’t reach from above, but we’ll put flashing up that will smooth up the edges. We still have to frame new soffit in the peak, do the same thing to the hip on the back gable, which will be interesting since we won’t have the porch roof to stand on, but both of those will wait until Mike can come back. He really helps move these projects along.


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