Tiny House: Roofing

Tiny House: Roofing

November 14, 2016 Categories Tiny House

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For my roofing, I went with some basic metal roofing from Home Depot. I ordered everything in a Charcoal Gray because I wanted a nice contrast with the siding. Being that this is the first time I’ve ever installed a metal roof, I wasn’t fully sure of what all I needed. Some of the original trim pieces I ordered ended up not being what I wanted and it put a small delay into getting the roof completely done. However, all that’s left to do is the trim around the edges.

One of the most concerning aspects of the roof install for me was the chimney for my wood stove. With shingle roofs, it’s pretty easy to make cuts around obstacles and even if you mess up, it’s not that big of a deal – you just grab another shingle and start over. With the metal roof, any mistakes meant I would ruin an entire 3ft by 10ft sheet of metal. Since I didn’t order any extra, I really didn’t want to mess up. I watched a bunch of videos about metal roof installs and chimney installation through metal roofs to try to gather as much information as I could before I began.

Being that a wood stove also has potential safety issues related to it, I also did my best to research the proper installation techniques to ensure I was meeting all the safety standards. Most importantly is purchasing the right pipe and ensuring the chimney extends the required distance above the roof. I bought my entire chimney kit through NorthlineExpress.com and they have pretty good information and diagrams about installation and planning. What’s pretty cool about their website, is they have a lot of videos that walk through all the parts and they have more videos on Youtube about installations. DuraVent, the manufacturer of my chimney pipe, also has a basic planning guide. I tried finding all the same pipe components from Home Depot, but the descriptions were too generic to ensure I was getting exactly what I wanted. Ordering the kit through Northline was incredibly easy, had a detailed video explaining every part in the kit, and it came with everything I needed.

First things first, I needed to get my chimney support box installed. The support box is basically the foundation of the chimney; it holds all of the weight of the chimney from the roof up. When I ordered, I wasn’t fully sure how big of a support box I needed, so I ordered one that was for sure longer/taller than what I needed. It’s easy to trim off excess metal if it’s too long, but I can’t easily make the box taller if it’s too short. The chimney components came with a book that states the support box must extend at least 2 inches past the surface of the finished ceiling. So, I began by figuring out the exact length I needed and cutting off the excess. I also cut it at a 15 degree angle so it’d match the slope of my roof.

Then I needed to cut a large hole in my freshly sheathed roof and get the support box level and mounted. This is one of the other times I had help. I had someone inside the house making sure the box was level as I was on the roof nailing it in place.

Once the support box was in place, I prepared my roof by covering the entire thing with an ice and water barrier. My roof is so small, that the single roll I bought managed to cover everything (one roll can cover 225 sq ft).

Then I laid down some 1x4s to act as both an air gap for venting and to give a thicker surface for the sheet metal screws to grab onto. I put extra blocking around the chimney area to give more surface for the flashing to sit on.

Finally, I could start laying down the sheet metal. Since the squareness of the entire roof depends on the exact positioning of the first sheet of metal, I took extra time ensuring that it was as perfectly positioned as possible. Since every sheet’s position is determined by the sheet before it, I didn’t want to end up with a crazy slant in the roof by the time I got to the other end. I measured and measured and measured again to get that first sheet right. The other important thing to note is that I started at the rear of the trailer and worked my way forward. I did that so that any winds that come along with driving down the road will flow over each sheet and not be able to “pick up” the sheet behind it, as the overlap is facing away from the direction of the wind. Once I laid down the second sheet, I measured the overhang to make sure it was the exact same as the sheet before it. I repeated that for every sheet so that the visible edge looks as neat and straight as possible. I should also mention that I was on the roof and had someone else hand the sheets up to me as I needed them, which made things easier.

After the first two sheets, it was time to install the chimney and cut around it. I started by making a template of the exact size of the flashing hole that I would use later to cut the sheet metal to size. Then I installed the flashing, the pipe, the chimney cap, storm collar, and used hi-temp silicone (that’s why it’s bright red) to seal the storm collar. I’ve seen a lot of videos of people using regular, clear silicone but if the chimney pipe ever gets crazy hot,the regular silicone won’t withstand the temperatures the hi-temp stuff can. Although it looks gaudy, I’d rather be safe than sorry.

I also will flat out admit that I didn’t install the flashing “properly”. The proper installation method is to put the bottom of the flashing over the metal roofing and the top of the flashing under it, to better prevent rain from reaching the roof surface. However, since my flashing basically touches the edge of my roof, any water that gets to that point will run right off the roof anyway. I went for a more “finished” look and cut the metal sheets to fit perfectly around the flashing and then sealed the area around the opening really well. No water should get in, but I feel confident that even if any did, it’ll still flow down the flashing and right off the roof.

After the chimney, the rest of the roof was simple, but still time consuming. I worked until dark and technically didn’t finish everything completely until a later day, but it was done enough to protect from any rain. It took me six hours from the point I started the first sheet until I finished. I think that’s pretty good timing considering it was my first time installing a metal roof and I stopped to install the chimney in the process. Frankly, I think it looks good and I’m particularly proud that the length of the overhang at the starting piece matches the length of the overhang of the last piece, meaning that first piece was positioned perfectly. I didn’t take a pic of the completed roof until the other day, so you can kinda see what my siding looks like (which I love).

I also installed a chimney support bracket to keep the chimney well supported in case of high winds. The bracket is required for chimneys taller than 5ft, which mine is exactly at 5ft. Frankly, the bracket is worth it just to have. Before installing it, I could easily move the chimney around by hand. After installing it, it’s like a rock. That puppy is secure.

As I said, the roofing isn’t 100% done, since I still have to install the trim pieces. I put a temporary eave trim along the top of the roof to stop water from getting in, but I have a different one on order that will be going up instead.

One thought on “Tiny House: Roofing”

Elisha · November 15, 2016

Looks awesome!

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