First thing this morning our delivery arrived. We needed some more tongue and groove boards, as some had been used to panel in the kitchen in April. We also needed more battens as last year so many had been used hold down tarps. For some reason the driver was keen to lower the package in through the roof. My French was not up to explaining that rafters were only tacked in place and would fall down if touched …
In through the roof
With the first part of the roof we spent a lot of time trying to get the rafters set out level. Since nothing much was level to start with, it was a struggle and involved lots of packers under each rafter.
This time, things seem to be working out. We took three horizontal lines using the laser level and made up the lower purling to the same height as the new part of the roof. Next we set lines at the middle purling and at the ridge. All lined up by eye perfectly and are level.
A beautiful day for roofing, or swimming … which ever you prefer.
Today’s progress is not so visible, but is important. The top to the front wall is at the wrong height, so to make a level roof from end to end we need around 120mm packing. This all looked very complex, but in fact worked out well.
In fine weather we spent the first part of the day cutting and oiling the ends of the new wood which will show under the new eve. With this complete and the weather looking good, we began to strip away the last of the old timbers, clearing the space for us to lay out the new rafters.
We had to build a new post for the the corner of the building. Any thoughts that the old wood is rotten or soft were quickly displaced by the smoke from the drill which worked hard to make a hole for the bolts.
Once everything was clear we laid out some new timbers to check the approximate levels. As could have been predicted, there a lot of packing and cutting to do to before the roof is flat(ish).
It was with some trepidation that I started at the nail heads with the claw hammer. As the old sheets started to come off, I felt the commitment go up a level. Within a few hours the hole was a missing roof and Peter and I positioned the tarpaulin on the ridge just in case.
We managed to remove most of the tin by about 5pm. Deciding it was time to sheet up, a look to the sky revealed those familiar roofing skies! Down came the rain as we battled with the wind and slippery surfaces.
We spent the day moving wood about. The platform under the part of the roof we are working on wasn’t totally safe, so we took it all down. Made from the outer cut of trees, each plank was round on one side and flat on the other. Thick at one end, and alarmingly thin at the other. It had probably been up there for a hundred years or so.
We built a new safe floor over some spare timbers. We also had to dismantle last year’s platforms as we need the stock for the roof. All is looking good now and we’re ready to strip the tin.
We spent the whole day clearing up the upstairs. It should have all been done last year. But now we’re set up properly with all the wood sorted and dust and rubbish all cleared away.
All we need now is some weather. The forecast says rain, but it’s just not happened. We’re tempted to just get the tin off, but know that will bring down the rain. The locals seem most put out by the poor summer so far.
It’s half term and we’re back to clear up. Lots more to do than expected; the place is a mess. We have a series of piles in the garden all covered in tin. Under each is a mass of wood. It takes many hours to reduce the rubbish into usable firewood. But then the garden begins to recover.
The final roof jobs are to complete the verge outside the kitchen and cut the valley. This is more complicated the expected as I have to strip back quite a few tiles to adjust the rows to get a consistent alignment. The T&G also needed trimming. With the woodwork sorted, I’m able to nudge tiles along and align an edge with a string run down the roof at a fixed distance from the verge. I have to cut one more fascia board, complete with alpine twiddly bits, and screw it in place. On goes the verge tiles and it’s done.
The last job it to cut the valley tiles. I flick a red line down and with the big grinder cut away the tiles to form the valley. Of course the roof is now covered in red dust, so some rain would be good to clean it all up. But for the first time during the construction, we’ve not had a drop.
I needed to clear up the house. It was a complete mess. Having finished work in the dark last night, I was exhausted. I managed to pack a few things and make some dinner (Cassoulet … for ease). At this point an early start was more appealing than clearing up in the evening.
The morning’s jobs included tiling the dormer ridge and tiling over the tin to complete the roof’s cover. None of this should have been difficult – bar dragging the tiles up.
At 5am I put the coffee on and went back to bed. I manage to haul myself up by 5:30 and started to clear up as best I could. At first light I needed to get out onto the roof and finish the tiles. I started heaving bundles of tiles, adding to the stacks left ready the night before. The sky was clear, but the sun too low to dry the tin to allow me to walk on it.
I managed to tile out the dormer and add a batten at the top of the tin on the unfinished side. From this I hung a row of tiles and finished off the with the ridge tiles, all screwed down.
A few bits of batten later and I could tile over on the main roof to create an overlap with the tin. The roof was then sealed and looked solid. Finally I nailed the old tin ridge on and all was finished. Snow proof, rain proof.
Back on the ground I rushed about as best I could clearing up inside and out. I took some eggs and surplus food to Gilbert down the road. It was on the way back that I realised I hadn’t fixed the plastic sheet into the front of the dormer. At that point I knew I was short of time. Whilst repeatedly recalculating the latest departure time, I screwed battens up to hold the sheet whilst I wobbled atop the ladder. I finished the job in time and was soon in the car.
I arrived at the airport with 8 minutes to spare. But, the job was done.