Alternative title: The roof! The roof! The roof is on the tiny house!
Disclaimer: This post might be my favorite so far, simply for the fact I got to include a gif of Michael Scott and Dwight Shrute raising the roof.
I’m sure you’ve already picked up that this post is about our tiny house roof. Once we had the siding up and painted, we wanted to get the roof completely finished as soon as possible to save our house from the elements. We knew we would be out of town for almost 2 weeks over the holidays, so we were really under the gun to get the roof up. (Little did we know the second flood was coming to Missouri while we were gone.) We ordered the roof from Lowes, and tried to get the house as ready as possible so we could get the roof on as soon as it came in.
The first step was to finish up the facia board by adding a metal drip edge to the bottom of the board. This basically insures that any water drips down instead of being absorbed into the board or finding it’s way somewhere we don’t want it. We put this drip edge around the two long sides of the house, because on the two short sides the angle of the roof already helps the water run off. Once those metal edges were nailed to the board, we decided to add an additional outside facia board. This was mostly for cosmetic reasons, as the now inside board had flashing tape all over it. We considered finding some type of metal that we could wrap the board in, but that was just too complicated.
Once the outside facia board was cut and put in place, we decided to put down tar paper to help keep the roof sheathing dry while we waited for the metal roof to come in. We never really planned to use tar paper at the beginning of this, but we were expecting a lot of rain while waiting for the metal roof and it’s always better to keep things as dry as possible. So, we climbed onto the roof and rolled out the tar paper. I know I’ve mentioned how Eric and I are both afraid of heights, so every trip to the roof is a bit of an adventure. This time we were racing against the setting sun and dealing with the wind, plus, the usual fears of falling to our death. As you might already know, tar paper needs to be layered correctly so that water rolls off one sheet onto the next without seeping up underneath the bottom sheet. This means we worked from the lower slope of the roof and worked up to the tall side, stapling down each layer.
After we layered all the tar paper, we added another metal drip edge at the top of the new outside facia board. This drip edge served two purposes: pin down the top edge of the tar paper and also to keep water dripping on the proper side of the facia board. This was basically total overkill, because the metal roof has a piece specifically for wrapping over the edge of the roof and down a few inches of the wall. That overhang makes the top drip edge pretty irrelevant, but we were really paranoid about water somehow finding its way into the house. (Can you tell?)
That very night we finished the tar paper and drip edge a HUGE storm rolled in. Thank goodness we got everything finished in time, right? Wrong. It turns out we shouldn’t have even wasted our time, because that storm ripped that tar paper to shreds. We woke up and saw the tar paper in piles on the ground, which was pretty annoying. We climbed back on the roof and saw that the remaining paper was totally soaked and ripped up, so we decided to pull everything up so the roof could dry off once the sun came out. Thankfully, everything dried up over the next few days, and Eric was able to go back and re-tar paper everything, including having to pull up the metal drip edge and nail that down all over again.
Thankfully, our metal roof finally came in, and it was even a few days early!!! Our good friends John and Emily were in town visiting family for the holidays, and John was willing to help put on the metal roof with Eric. John is a childhood friend of Eric’s, and we love him dearly (even though he is a total traitor and came home wearing a Minnesota Wild t-shirt and cap. St. Louis Blues all the way, people!!!) Eric and John got the roof up in just a few hours!
Our roof is a Master Rib 29 Gauge metal panel roof. The ribs of the metal sheets overlap on the edges to create a nice seal against water. We ordered the panels to be the exact length needed for our house, so thankfully we didn’t need to cut anything. Eric and John measured exactly where they wanted to screw the sheets onto the roof, and then drilled small holes so screwing everything down while perched on the roof would be easier. You might think screwing something into the metal roof and making a hole in it is counterintuitive on something that needs to be waterproof, but the screws that come with the roof include a rubber washer that squeezes down and creates a seal around the screw.
Once the sheets were in place on the roof John had to head out, so Eric finished attaching the metal overhang pieces on each short end of the roof. These pieces are the same as I mentioned earlier, which simply seal the edges of the roof so water can’t seep underneath. This metal piece extends about 6 inches on top of the roof and about 5 inches down the wall. To help keep the water from somehow running up under those overhang pieces, there are also spongy foam strips that (looked kind of like octopus legs wiggling out of the box so of course that’s what I called them from then on) fit perfectly over the ridges and under the overhang. Eric couldn’t finish the last overhang pieces over the longest stretch at the top of the roof, so we both came back to finish the next night.
Unfortunately, now that it’s winter, we seem to always be racing the setting sun. By the time Eric gets home from work, there isn’t much time for the house before it’s too dark to see anything. The next night after Eric came home from work, we knew that rain was coming and we HAD to finish the attaching the last of the overhang pieces or rain would get under the metal roof and possibly mold or damage the sheathing, so working the the dark became inevitable. We picked up some headlamps and kept on going, even though we were freezing and terrified of sliding off the slippery metal roof. Moving up and down the ladder was especially fun in the dark. The top edge of the roof is too long for one continuous overhang piece, so we had to attach 3 different metal pieces to complete it. We put down the spongy octopus arms (foam sealers) along with some caulk, and then placed the metal overhang on top, and screwed everything into place. Everything was screwed onto the roof, but we still needed to go back and screw the overhang pieces to the wall, but it was just too cold and dark and windy to be up on a ladder any longer.
Thankfully, we got the roof on because that night we had terrible storms! It seems we’re always about to get stormed on. This storm was so bad that Eric and I woke up around 3 in the morning from the thunder and wind. We both stood in the kitchen and looked out of the window into the darkness hoping that our metal roof wouldn’t end up like the tar paper from the last storm. With each flash of lightening, the blinding reflection off the metal roof made me more and more nervous. The next morning I went to check things out, and Hallelujah! Everything was still intact and the house was dry inside!!! That was a huge relief. Knowing that the roof could withstand a crazy storm really made us feel better. Eric finished up screwing the over hang pieces to the wall that night, and with that- the roof was finished!!!