Roof Framing

August 10, 2009
The roof trusses were delivered today. Unfortunately there were thunderstorms the night before, so the truck couldn’t manage to back up the wet driveway. They dumped the whole load in our front field, and agreed to send different equipment to move the trusses up to the building site. The second photo below shows the entire pile of trusses that will frame nearly all of the roof.

August 12, 2009
Today the trusses were moved up to the building site, with the help of this handy device known by its brand name Pettibone:

The smaller ones were carried but the larger ones had to be dragged. It turned out to be an effective, but expensive, way to smooth out the driveway.

Finally the Pettibone set the cottage roof trusses onto a small flat-bed truck, which then dumped them up by the cottage.

August 13, 2009
Today the house finally took its shape as the roof trusses were set in place. The first photo below shows the first truss being set, and the second photo shows a cross section of the trusses above the living room. You can see the bumped-up area at the bottom that will form a tray ceiling over the living room. The trusses are flat on top because they can’t be any taller and still get trucked down the road on their sides, so small cap trusses will be attached later to form the peak of the roof.

After the first group of main roof trusses were set, they attached the gable truss that sits over the dining room. The trusses that go behind this one will be attached to it. Unfortunately at this point we discovered that those had been manufactured 2 feet too short – Oops! Since they wouldn’t reach the gable truss in the middle, the crew set them aside and proceeded to set the remaining trusses onto the other side. Meanwhile the truss company was notified that we had a slight problem…


Here’s the view from atop the root cellar, looking at the back of the house. In the second photo they’re just starting to set the trusses over the garage area.

Over the garage area the south wall is vertical, to hold the solar hot water collector panels. By keeping them vertical instead of tilted like the photovoltaic panels, we’ll collect somewhat less heat from these panels in the summer when all we need is domestic hot water. If we had tilted them like the solar electric panels, we’d get a little more heat in the winter but a LOT more heat in the summer, and that would make it more difficult to keep the system from overheating.

After the main house was done they moved on to the cottage. Here’s the end truss going up on the south wall, and the center trusses that follow. You can see the shape of the vaulted ceiling that runs the whole north-south axis of the cottage.

Next up was the gable on the west, and then the center trusses that attach to it.

After the center trusses were all set, they finished off the gable on the west.

The final step was to finish the gable on the east, over the cottage sunporch.

The truss company instructed us to build a 16-foot-long temporary wall inside the main house, to support the trusses that are 2 feet too short. After the wall was built they set the remaining trusses in the center of the roof. The truss company will build out the missing 2 feet tomorrow, with the trusses already in place. That way we don’t need to bring the crane back a second time.

The crane operator’s last task was to lift the bundles of cap trusses up to the top, so they can be set later. This photo shows a cross section of the cap trusses, which will be set onto the large flat-topped trusses to form the peak of the roof.

The first photo below shows a front view of the house, and the second shows the trusses sitting atop the garage. The vertical wall needs to be tall because the solar heat collectors are 10 feet high.

Here are front and rear views of the main house with all the trusses set. The crane operator and framing crew did an outstanding job getting all this done in one day! Off to the left side of the second photo is the workshop, and its roof will be built later from I-joists.

Here’s a view from inside the living room looking east, and a view of the same wall and trusses above from the other side.

And here are two views of the cottage – first from the south looking north into the great room, and second looking northwest at the sunporch.

August 14, 2009
The following sequence shows the sheathing of the main house roof. This is not actually all of this roof, as the workshop on the east (left) side isn’t there yet. We designed this roof big because it will be our rainwater collection surface.

August 15, 2009
Now that the main roof is sheathed it gives us a new perspective. The first photo below is looking down and south toward the cottage from above, and the second photo is looking down over the dining room bump-out on the main house.

August 17, 2009
These photos show the sheathing going up on the front (south) roof of the main house. This roof will hold the solar electric panels.

August 18, 2009
This shows the sheathing going up on the cottage roof, and how it looks with it all sheathed.

Finally, a couple of shots showing the relationship between the cottage on the left and the main house on the right.

September 8, 2009
Here’s the front porch roof going up, which completes the entryway roof.

We put an eyebrow roof over the large peaked window on the south wall of the cottage (you can’t see the full window shape because the Tyvek is hanging down). This roof has a 3-foot overhang, which is necessary in order to get the proper solar shading angles for this tall window. With this overhang it will get full sun in mid winter, and it will be almost totally shaded in mid summer. This also gives it a lot of rain protection, so that the casement windows on the sides can be left open most of the time.

September 10, 2009
The garage doors have a 2-foot eyebrow roof over them, to protect them from rain. This is the last of the roof framing!