Saturday, December 20, 2008

Parting Shot

That's probably it for this year. It's been fun. Happy Holidays all!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Short Roof Done

I've finished the framing and sheeting for the short roof over the kitchen. At least I won't have to shovel any more snow out of the kitchen. (Not a phrase you hear too often.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Three Windows Installed

I've got the first three windows installed now. Aside from the mish-mash of bright colors... they look pretty good.

Friday, December 12, 2008

First Windows Installed

Well, I've finally started installing the windows. In past posts I had talked about problems with the primer I was using for the peel n' stick window flashing. I finally got some of the correct type for cold-weather work... and wow... what a difference. The new stuff is awesome! It's much thicker than the other type... about the consistency of liquid honey... and it sticks like crazy.

I simply painted it around the window opening, waited 30 minutes for it to "skin-over" (kind of like contact cement does) and then installed the window flashing.

Before the window gets installed, you run a thick bead of silicone caulking around the sides and top of the window opening. The bottom is left un-caulked to allow for drainage of any water that might seep in. (If you recall from a previous post, the bottom of the window opening is sloped outwards, again to help drain any water out.) Then the window is nailed into the opening with long roofing nails.

For the first window, I caulked around the opening and then lifted the window into place. It was a bit messy though, the silicone got all over my hands as I maneuvered the window around, so for the second window I came up with a better plan.

I first placed the window into the opening and shimmed it so that it was level and at the same height as the window beside it. Then I put a couple of nails in the bottom nailing flange, but I didn't drive them all the way in. Then I tilted the window outwards a few inches at the top; holding it in place with a piece of cable. This gave me space to work so I could run a bead of silicone around the sides and top (remember... I don't need to do the bottom).

Once the caulking was done, I just tilted the window back into place. I checked it for level one last time, then nailed it in place. With that done, I wiped off any silicone that had squeezed out the sides. It doesn't have to be pretty, because it just gets covered over with a final layer of flashing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Late Afternoon

This moon-lit photo looks like it was taken late at night, but it was actually taken about 4:45 in the afternoon.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Short Roof Progress

I've got the short roof over the kitchen almost completed. The rafters and gutter boards are all done and it's half sheeted. Once it's finished, I'll be able to use it as a platform to work on the dormer above it.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Short Roof Over Kitchen

I've started work on the short roof over part of the kitchen area. This roof will be constructed with standard 2x12 rafter-type construction; it doesn't require engineered trusses because of it's small size.

The lookoot rafters for the eaves have been cut out to fit over top of the end rafter. This provides for a solid, self-bracing structure. The main rafters have been cut out to fit over top of the sill plates (these cuts are called "birds mouth" cuts), and they've been tapered on the bottom for the eaves.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Window Installations Delayed

In my last post I talked about using a primer for the peel & stick flashing around the windows. Unfortunately I've been having problems with that... it's not working as well as I had expected.

Somewhere along the line I made a mistake, and the particular type I'm using is not the right stuff for cold-weather work. I do know what type I need now, but I haven't been able to find it locally, so I may have to get it ordered in. Shouldn't be a problem... just means a slight delay.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getting Ready To Install The Windows

I've started preparing to install the windows in the dining room. Before the windows can be installed, the window openings must be flashed (i.e. protected from water). Most windows today are flashed with a peel & stick membrane. The type I've chosen to use is called Blueskin.

At the bottom of the window opening I'm creating a sill pan. A sill pan is designed to catch any water that might somehow leak into the window opening after the window has been installed, and direct that water to the outside of the house. The base of the sill pan is made from a piece of bevelled cedar siding that gets nailed to the bottom of the window opening so that the slope runs towards the outside of the wall.

Once the sill pan is in place, its ready for the flashing. Although the Blueskin has a sticky backing, it will adhere better to a primed surface, particulary in colder weather. I've primed the bottom of the window opening and the first few inches of the outside of the ICF with Blueskin primer that's made specifically for use in cold weather.

Once the primer has dried, the flashing is applied on top of the sill pan and up the sides of the window opening, as well as over the front edge and down the front of the wall.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Lookout Rafters & Truss Bracing

I've been installing the lookout rafters on the west end of the house. By extending the inside end of the lookout rafters across several trusses, this provides for the truss bracing requirements at the same time.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Roofing Update

Well, the snow has arrived but I'm still plugging away at the roof, making minor progress here and there. Today I started installing some more of the short trusses that go above the dormers.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Windows Delivered

My windows were delivered today. They're a mid-priced line of vinyl windows manufactured by CWD in Calgary. I looked at a few different brands, but these ones seemed to be a good value for the money.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Minor Roofing Progress

I've been building the lookout rafters on the big west gable wall. At the same time I'm adding the truss bracing as I work my way up to the peak. It's been a very wet week, but the tarps are keeping most (but not all) of the water out.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Big Blue Roof

I can't get the roof sheathing up fast enough to beat the weather, so I've tarped over most of the roof to keep the rain and snow out for the time being. So far it's working pretty well.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Roof Sheathing Started

I've started putting up the roof sheathing on the north side of the house. I'm going to need to build the other dormer on this side before I continue though; because of the way the sheathing needs to butt up against the dormer walls and roofline. It's certainly a race against the weather now... (but I have this feeling that Mother Nature is going to stick out her foot and trip me.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Loft Subfloor Finished

Now that the trusses are out of the way, I have so much more room to work; so I spent some time finishing up the subfloor in the loft area. Up until now I just had sheets of plywood temporarily laid out across the floor joists.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Geometrically Challenged

Although the trusses for the dormers were pre-made, I still had to do some on-site framing for where the two roof-planes meet... the dormer ridge, the valley rafter, and valley jacks (short rafters).

For the valley rafter, there are three different angles on each end of the 2x6s, and it took me for-freaking-ever to get them all right. I'm sure there are mathematical calculations to figure them out, but I certainly don't know them. Anyway, once I got one finished, the remaining ones are easy because I've got everything written down and drawn out.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Truss Work

Although I have all the roof trusses up now, I still have to go back and brace them properly. One of the requirements is to install "anti-rotation" braces. They get installed between the trusses where the trusses attach to the main roof girder. They prevent the trusses flipping over on their sides.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Trees Across The Valley

Roof Trusses All Up

Ta-da! I have finally got all the roof trusses up. Now I can build the rest of the dormers and start sheathing the roof. I just might get this house finished in this decade yet!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

West Gable Wall Done

I've finished up the west gable wall. The opening in the wall is for a future doorway to the master bedroom over the (future) garage. I will frame a "plug" for the hole for now, but by allowing for the opening now, it will be relatively simple to open it up later.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Trusses Up

I've installed a few more trusses for the main part of the house. With any luck I'll have them finished this weekend.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Roofing Progress

I've got the top quarter of the roof shingled now and I've installed the roof vent.

All roofs need to be ventilated properly so as to prevent moisture buildup within the roof cavity. This is usually done with a combination of vented soffits (under the eaves) and some sort of opening higher up the roof. I've chosen to use a ridge vent because they work well with vaulted ceilings. A ridge vent consists of an open slot - about 2" wide - that runs the length of the ridge (except over the eaves); covered by a vinyl cap and shingles. The vinyl cap is 15" wide and folds down on both sides of the ridge. It has a series of baffles on the bottom side that prevent windblown rain and snow from getting underneath it. I haven't put the cap shingles on it yet, but once they're on, the vent will blend into the roof-line and won't be so noticeable.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Somedays You Just Can't Win

I'm trying to be a bit more organized lately so that I don't waste so much time; both running around getting materials and making needless trips up and down off the roof to get tools,etc. So, before I started shingling the north side of the roof over the bedroom area today, I made sure that I had all my tools and materials at the ready. I had a pile of shingles there, I had all my tools and lots of nails. I wanted to be able to go up there and finish the first section without having to stop. Well, I only got four shingles down before the air hose for my roofing-gun sprung a leak. Argh!!!.. off to Canadian Tire to get a replacement.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

First Dormer Finished

I was anxious to get one dormer done just so I could get an idea of what they were going to look like. This one is part of upstairs bathroom. The window is over the tub area.

I started by building the wing walls, then I put up the trusses, then I finished with the gable wall. The gable wall was built flat then tilted up into position.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Roof Trusses For Dormers

I'm continuing to work on the roof trusses this week. There will be four dormers in the house; two in front and two in the back. The trusses on either side of the dormers are doubled up, similar to the way the main roof girder is. They get nailed together with two rows of nails, six to eight inches apart. It's amazing how much sturdier the trusses are when you put two together. When a single truss is attached at the top and bottom only (i.e. before it's braced), you can flex it sideways a bit. However, when you've got two together they're really solid. And of course, once they are all braced together, they're pretty much immovable.

The short trusses at the top form the roof section above the dormer. This is the point at which the dormer roof meets the main roof.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Fall Colors

It's been raining for the past three days, but we had a half-day break today. These photos are looking east-northeast and east-southeast.

I did get some work done today too... installing roof trusses.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I was heading down my driveway at the end of the day today when a black bear came bounding out of the trees on my right. He crossed in front of me and dissappeared down to my left. Right behind him a coyote came out of the trees in the same spot and took off down the driveway.

I had to laugh; it was like two kids who'd been caught doing something and then ran away in different directions.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

North Side Roof Sheathing

I've been working on the roof sheathing on the north side of the house. Now that I've put the doorways in the bedroom area, my winch platform has to be outside of the bedroom area (i.e. it won't fit through the door) so I've had to re-work my pulley system so that I can still hoist the plywood onto the roof. It's all good though, half the fun is figuring out ways to do the things I need to do.