The New Shop – Up On The Roof

Well, that escalated quickly.

With the walls complete, I decided that wasn’t enough of a challenge and that I should try to get the roof done before Irma arrived in Metro Atlanta. I had no idea what a challenge this would be, how long and how expensive it would be, how much of a toll it would take on my body, and how much help I could count on to try and get it accomplished.

I quickly figured out after I had the walls done that the only safe way to put the roof up was to get the attic floored in. So, I selected some 12-foot 2x6s, cut to about 143″ (to clear the Simpson ties) and put a 22 degree angle on each end.

This wouldn’t be a perfect analog to the roof trusses, but would give me plenty of nailing room and room to sit on the walls for support. I put them all up except for the front one, and the one where I thought the eventual attic stairs would go. These were sister-nailed to the trusses, and toe-nailed to the walls. The whole structure was getting sturdier.

Before the second floor could go in, I had to hoist the front truss up. I screwed the ceiling joist to it to provide more structure, and attached another wall panel to it. I screwed up a bit by not staggering the seams, but it shouldn’t impact much. Thankfully my other brother in law was on hand (along with my mother in law) that I could get the whole assembly up and attached properly. Here is a pic after I used scrap to cover the header.


I selected 23/32 tongue and groove OSB for the attic floor. This was thrown up (literally) via the side opening in three full sheets, and another one was cut in half and also placed with a bunch more nails.

Here is the view to the current shop, and you can see just how high it is.

My head does stick above the trusses, which means the interior height is about 4’6″ at the highest. Not enough to stand up in, but enough where I can move about fairly decently. I’ve gone from a 12×12 shop with 7 foot walls (and a minor amount of room between the joists and trusses) to a 12×12 shop with eight foot walls and a full loft area with varying roof heights. That’s 96 more cubic feet on the first floor and almost 500 more in the loft area. I figure I’m about 1675 total cubic feet (counting the space over the attic stair) in this shop versus 1020 or so counting the shallow pitched roof.

I got the rest of this upper side complete and trimmed up with the circular saw and router, plus two roof panels up before it was time to call it an evening. I now had one full day before what was left of Irma got here and started pouring and blowing.

Sunday is where some mistakes were made. A lot of mistakes. I got through Saturday okay, but the effort was starting to drain me. I lost five pounds just that day. So I went into Sunday a bit worse off mentally and physically than I normally would, and Sunday stretched even longer and into the panic zone.

The first thing I did was measure for the other tall wall panels, and decided here that I would stagger them properly. It started well, but was basing my cuts off the completed wall, which had a panel have both 22 degree angles on one complete panel. With staggering the panels, I wouldn’t have this on the other side. Unfortunately I cut not one but both panels with two angled cuts and basically ruined both before I even got on a ladder. The day would get better, but not by much. I had to go buy more panels both to correct my mistake, and that I simply needed a couple more.  I got the roof section away from the house complete and taped up before I left for Lowe’s. What I have here left to do is half the roof and the back half wall.

That picture was taken about 3pm on Sunday, so I had about four hours left of daylight to finish up. It wouldn’t be enough. By the time I got back from Lowe’s and a pizza run for dinner, it was 4pm. I then had to cut the remaining two tall wall panels and get them attached and taped. Then I had to cut all of the remaining roof panels I needed.

A note about the roof. To try and save money, instead of using full panels (too heavy) or panels cut to the roof truss lengths (too many panels), I went with 48×48 panels, and decided I would fill the rest with smaller cutoffs, generally about 48×7. This worked decently well on the first side of the roof, with some uncomfortable gaps. Thankfully, the flashing tape would take care of those gaps, or that was the selling point.

Getting this side of the roof done took an inordinate amount of time for some reason. I had to adjust how I worked, because I would be limited in my reach to get both the nailer where it needed to be and the tape to cover the joints. This meant trial and error, and this meant time. It also meant I couldn’t really cover overhang on the front side. There’s one spot on the peak where the tape might be coming up, and that’s going to be a problem to fix. I’ll have to figure it out somehow.

The panels did not come together as nice on this side. I was tired, I could barely lift panels anymore, my forearm was spasming…any other situation it would have been best to stop and resume the next day. Except the next day was when the rain was coming, and at 4 AM, which meant no getting it done in the morning. I had to keep pushing no matter the cost. I finally got the last big panel up after 7:30 and my mother in law had to finally leave.

I had to put the smaller panels in mostly in the dark, and to make matters worse I eventually ran out of flashing tape. I still had a couple spots with large gaps. I broke out the duck tape as a hail mary, knowing that i would not really work. I had to try though. I could at least get the worst ones.

At about 10pm I finally quit. What could be taped was taped, and I really just had to hope for the best. I was lucky I didn’t fall off the ladder, working by myself with a headlamp and putting in nails still at 8:30 when people were probably going to bed. I got all my tools and materials put away and the entrance to the shop boarded up to protect from as much wind as possible.

Here is the pic from Monday morning, rain already going for four hours by that point.

The panels and tape seem to be doing well, with a couple of minor exceptions on the roof. I’ll have to use a bit of supplementary tape in those spots. The bigger issue is the side in that pic above, which is the one I ran out of tape on. There is a massive amount of water on the attic floor, and that spilled over into the bottom floor. The latter doesn’t worry me, it’s PT plywood and was exposed for almost two months. The OSB attic being wet is concerning, and I’ll have to put a fan on it after the rain stops to get it dry quickly. A new roll of tape will be my first purchase on Wednesday and it will go up everywhere I can reach to try and keep that water out. As I said, that one little spot on the roof (that may not be leaking) is a concern for being able to get to. But I can reach all the obvious entry points and will have to re-evaluate. I’m pretty sure I will now use felt over the Zip panels, even though you don’t have to. I want the extra level of protection, and may hire out the whole roofing process for safety and speed. Have to see how much that would cost.

So, the plan for this week is to get it buttoned up adequately, dried out (perhaps not dried-in though), and start looking at what my next step will be. Likely a door. I’ll address that and an updated schedule in my next post.

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