Remodeling Features: New Roof Line on an Old Cottage

Here is the reconfiguration of a roof system on a quaint cottage home.  (More text below gallery.)

The owner wanted to dress up the old roof system and make it all consistent across the length of the home and its added-on carport.  The home had a 4 in 12 pitch on the front and 2 in 12 on the back with painted corrugated steel roofing over that, while the roof of the carport and entry was a tar and gravel over plywood at different pitches from each other and the rest of the roof of the home.  The carport was pasted on to the home at the gable end.  An architect drew out what the owner was initially looking for at the carport and entryway, but didn’t suggest centering the ridge over the home to achieve a consistent pitch over the entire roof (north and south sides).  In re-drawing the building’s roof, I ran the ridge continuously the length of the home and the carport, and tied in the front entry’s roof so that there are now only two continuous planes over the entire roof system.  I submitted my drawings in place of the architect’s and the local building department was set for me to begin.

Of course, we picked the hottest week of the entire year to do the work – and I was ready with the requisite water, thermometer, full shade, etcetera.  Once the owner stripped the corrugated steel off of the roof I could see how much the front plane of the roof dipped in the center . . . not uncommon in any home, especially stick-framed roof systems.  I started by creating the new ridge where I wanted it and then ran new rafters from the ridge down to top plates along both the front and back walls of the home.  A little more framing and hardware was added to give the support needed and I was ready for the new radiant barrier sheathing on the roof system.

But, first the insulation and heating contractors needed to install their new systems into the attic space.  While they did their work over the ceiling of the home, I started the more tedious work of the carport and entry’s roof system.

One problem that wasn’t apparent until everything was opened up was that the back wall of the carport – where the rafters needed to rest to achieve a plane with the back of the roof system on the house – was not aligned with the back wall of the home by more than 3″.  In addition, the top plate already sloped off to the right (so that the old tar and gravel roof drained off in that direction).  In effect what I had was a compound set of angles to deal with.  To adjust for these conditions I created a top plate that is a wedge and floated it a bit off of the back corner of the carport’s wall.  The trim covered it.  This essentially allowed me to create what looks like a consistent plane of the back portion of the entire roof without straightening the carport’s back wall and its foundation.  (Straightening this wall would not have been practical as the building is already within two feet of the back property line and there is a water heater room in that corner of the carport that would have been a real challenge to adjust.)

Once the carport and entry roof framing was in place, I started to sheath it.  I also added overhangs at the two gable ends of the new roof system, and eaves along the north and south edges.  There is also now a continuous ridge vent.  The day after the insulation was done the home’s interior temperature went down by about 10 degrees.  And, the next day – with the new radiant barrier sheathing in place – the interior was down another 15 degrees more.  The interesting thing about this is the outside temperature was almost exactly the same, and usually the residual (or latent) heat takes days to dissipate.  I’m wondering how much the new air conditioning system will actually be used with such a noticeable difference with just these two passive, and inexpensive, upgraded systems added to the home.  The total for both upgrades (new insulation and radiant barrier) was less than $1,000, and will save many dollars over the years in both heating and cooling costs.

The new roof line looks fantastic compared with what was there before this work was done.  All that’s needed now is the gutters and a paint job.

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Remodeling Features!

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