Rain and Broken Rafters

My tiny house has been fighting me a little bit this week. I have been having all kinds of strange problems. Luckily, I seem to be getting the upper hand.

It all started last Saturday when I tried to drill 1/2 inch holes all the way through the stack of wood that makes up the top plate of the walls, the ceiling and the 3 inch riser below my roof. I had a nice long 1/2 inch spade drill bit that I successfully used to drill one hole last Sunday. However, when I tried to drill the next one, I hit a nail which chewed up the cutting edge of my drill bit and rendered it useless. On Wednesday of this week I bought myself a nice (although rather expensive) 13 inch long auger bit that was supposed to be able to handle wood with nails in it. Unfortunately, the very first hole I tried to drill with it contained a nail that, although not strong enough to break the bit, was unfortunately strong enough to jam the bit solidly within the wall. I was nearly convinced my new $24 drill bit was going to become a permanent part of my house. However, after twisting the bit back and forth for 20 minutes with a wrench, I finally fatigued the nail apart and got my bit out of the hole. After that, I was able to drill the rest of the holes around the perimeter of the house. Problem one solved.

Bolt Through Riser & Ceiling Stack

Bolt Through Riser & Ceiling Stack

The problems continued today, the first of which being the weather. Since the weather report said only 10% chance of precipitation, I was not expecting a problem with rain today. However, by 9:00 this morning, the wet stuff was coming down pretty noticeably.

By 10:00 AM, the rain had mostly stopped and Andrew and I decided to pull the tarp off of half of the house so we could get started. Of course, that’s when it started raining again. So, we pulled the tarp back over the house and waited.

By 11:30 AM, it had stopped raining again and it looked like the sun was coming out. We decided to eat lunch and let it dry off. At 12:30, we went back outside and pulled the tarp back to install the very last rafter. By now, we had made a pretty good science of rafter installation, so it went pretty quickly. Everything was going fine until we put the very last nail in the hurricane tie at the end of the rafter. That is when the tail of the rafter split completely off. There was no way to recover and nothing to be done but to pull the rafter out and make a new one. Of course, we had already installed the bird blocking and the nail blocks next to the rafter, so those had to come out as well. We got half way through removing the rafter when of course, it started raining again. We quickly finished pulling out the rafter and put the tarp over the house again. Thank God I decided to use screws to put everything together so we didn’t have to pull 20 nails out with a cats paw in the rain.

A half an hour later, I had a new rafter cut and we pulled it up on the roof to install it. It didn’t fit. We pulled it back down and compared it to the old rafter to see what I did wrong only to discover that I didn’t do anything wrong. The rafter was exactly the same as the previous rafter. There was absolutely nothing different. It just didn’t fit. Eventually, I ended up trimming some wood off of the top end of the rafter to make it fit right. I still don’t know what the issue really was, but I am going to call that problem two solved.

On top of everything else, my camera died today. Now it only takes pictures that look like this:

Photos From My Broken Camera

Photo From My Broken Camera

Luckily, Andrew brought his camera today and we at least got a few pictures with that. I guess we could call that problem three solved.

At about 2:00 PM, we finished installing the rafter, the sun came out and we finally were able to get started with the plywood on the roof. Luckily, the thing I thought would be the most difficult today ended up being not very hard at all. After dealing with that final stubborn rafter in the rain, installing the plywood in the sun seemed almost easy.

Installing First Piece of Plywood on Roof

Installing First Piece of Plywood on Roof

Actually, thinking back now, I’m kind of amazed at how well the plywood installation on roof went. In a little over three hours, we were able to install more than half of the plywood on the roof. Everything seemed to just go together the way it was supposed to. The plywood I spent so much time measuring and cutting last Tuesday seemed to be the perfect shape. All of it lined up evenly with the bottom, top and edges of the rafters. The plywood on both sides came together nicely at the peak and the plywood hung over the edge of the roof on either side by exactly 5 1/2 inches like the plans called for. If my rafters were misaligned, plywood cut incorrectly, or the roof out of square or out of plumb, I certainly couldn’t tell.

First Strip of Roof Complete

First Strip of Roof Complete

Today’s Tiny Epiphanies

One thing we discovered while installing roof was that a lot of the work could actually be done from inside the house. It was quite convenient to be able to stand on the loft and stick our heads through the openings in the rafters while nailing the pieces of plywood. I also added some scaffolding inside the house over the font half with no loft. This allowed us to walk around under the roof in that area as well. By doing this, we were able to put most of the nails in the plywood from inside the house instead of from on top of a ladder, making the whole process not only easier, but safer.

Working on the Roof From Inside the House

Working on the Roof From Inside the House


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