Long Term Home Remodel Project

Phase V - Raise the Flat Roof / Cure Persistent Leak


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With those done, we took an extended break. The next project was to be another big one. The back room of the house is a converted 10 by 32 foot, covered porch that originally had a flat roof. As it had always leaked, I tried adding a slight pitch not long after we moved in. This helped only slightly for about a year each time the roofing was replaced. Then it would start leaking again. The Spring of 2003, shortly after I retired, we had a major hail storm that totaled the roof. We waited until August, the historically dry season, to have it replaced because I planned to completely remove the old flat roof and extend it up about half way into the main roof at the oversized purlin, hoping to permanently cure the leaks and make the room finally useable.

We arranged with the roofer to start on a monday morning. This would give me the weekend to remove the old roof and structure and at least begin tying the new rafters into the main roof. Remember, we added an oversized purlin to support the new rafters. I moved everything I could out of the room and moved the big items, such as my new table saw, under the overhang of the main roof and covered them with plastic sheets. Ironically it rained almost an inch that night. With the runoff from the rest of the roof, that put about 3 inches of water in the floor. Fortunately, I had not cut into the main roof yet as that would have ruined the insulation and ceilings in the living room and the kitchen. I was waiting until the roofers came to do that. I would start building the new roof and tie it into the back of the main while they started on the front. Our roofing contractor was an old highschool classmate of Judy and willing to be a little patient with us. This new construction turned out to be over 600 square feet but we got it done, thanks in part to a tolerant contractor. Again, we both were totally used up in the end. This had been four days of 6:00 am to 9:00 pm, most of it on the roof, crawling around.

North wall The old ceiling in the room was 7-1/2 feet and we wanted it raised. After removing the layers of old roll roofing and felt, along with probably 150 pounds of patching tar we were finally down to the decking. It was pretty nice 1x8 but unfortunately, the effort and additional time to save it was prohibitive. We just ripped it off the fastest and easiest way possible, not managing to save anything. To raise the overhead a little, we built up the outer wall by adding three layers of 2x4 on top of the top plate yielding an 8 foot wall.

The new roof was to tie into the main roof at the purlin, about half way up. The opposite wall had to be extended to form a straight line for the new rafters and it Rafters open would be very close to the center leaving a little over a 10 foot span on either side. To determine the exact height of the wall, we shot a laser line from the top of the outer wall to the top of the purlin. Then used a yardstick to intersect the laser at the wall location. This photo shows the wall after the roof is installed. There was no time for photography during construction. The 2x4 strongback is temporary just for rigidity during roofing. It was replaced later by blocking between the rafters. It is not shown here but all rafters were tied down by hurricane straps at all joints. The other photo shows all the rafters in place with the upper section already decked and the rubber membrane installed as the pitch here is only 2 in 12. I don't know why I tilted the camera for the shot.

With the old flat roof gone, we started early Monday morning on construction of the new. The first step was to remove roofing and 1x4 decking from a 6 foot wide strip in Blocking the area where the rafters were to tie in. Our plan was for the roofing crew to start there so we could begin installing rafters while they worked on the rest of the roof. Gable For some reason they refused to start there. When Ray, the contractor, showed up, he fired that crew and found another one. This all delayed the construction for about an hour. We managed to get all the rafters in the upper section and all but 7 in the lower finished that first day and almost stayed ahead of the roofing crew. I was having some problems custom cutting the last jack rafter at the valley over the bedroom roof and the foreman tired of waiting and did it for me. The left photo shows the final 2x4 blocking between the rafters. This leaves some space for air circulation. The other is of the gable end, showing the new roofline.

Outside corner Overhang solution These photos are inside and outside at the corner where the new valley ends. There were some special concerns here. On the outside, we had rafters coming from two directions and decking that had to be sealed but still allow for air circulation under the new roof as there is no attic. On the inside, I could not remove all the overhang from the bedroom wing because one of the jack rafters had to end on it. The photo is looking up into the rafters over the bedroom. Leaving some of the old rafters required a soffit at that end of the room. This will be shown in the next section that deals with the den remodeling.