Roof Over My Head

After taking a break last week to talk about an unrelated subject that had been on my mind, we are back to talking about the workshop build this week. So let’s talk about roofing. Specifically, I want to talk about rolled roofing (modified bitumen), metal roofing, and shingles. The plans for my new workshop call for shingles, and you would think shingles would be the simplest and cheapest roofing to put on this shop. If you think that, you’d definitely be right. I haven’t installed shingles before (I haven’t installed any roof material), but it is definitely cheaper than metal and seems to require a bit less fire to install than modified bitumen. The one downside to shingles is that they really shouldn’t be installed on roofs with a pitch lower than 3:12, i.e. 3 feet of rise over 12 horizontal feet (remember geometry?). Now, why would this matter for a workshop roof that has a pitch of about 6:12? The answer is that it doesn’t. It does, however, matter for when I want need to replace the roof on our 1.5:12 pitch mid-century modern roof. Our options for when that time comes are modified bitumen and metal (mechanically seamed or with factory sealant). From Allyson’s perspective, having the roof of the workshop match the roof of the house is aesthetically appealing. While I agree with that, I also think there is value in learning how to roof on a workshop compared to our house, you know, that place where we sleep?

So that’s the long story on why we ignored the simple path (per usual) and decided to install a mechanically seamed metal roof on the workshop. The first step in the process (after hours and hours of research, youtube videos, and one partially read book from the library) was to measure my roof dimensions, put them together in a drawing, and then give them to a roof supply company who could cut and send me the metal panels in the correct length. Unfortunately this took much longer than it should have. I reached out to multiple metal roof companies who advertised that they would work with DIYers to cut metal panels to size and work with them through the installation process, only to get no response in return.

Eventually, I found a local metal roof company that was able to take my specifications and cut the panels to size, provide me with all of the eave, rake, and ridge accessories, and send me on my way. This company was pretty small, and definitely not going to help me through the installation process, so I ended up spending a lot of time on youtube and reading online instruction manuals for similar roofing systems to get this job done. I won’t walk through every single thing that I did wrong on the roof install, there was definitely plenty to talk about, but I will say that it was invaluable to install the roof on the workshop before attempting it on our house. Our roof is a standing seam, mechanically sealed system (meaning a tool bent the metal of 2 panels together). For the house, I will probably look to find another company that provides more installation support, as having someone to answer specific questions throughout the process will be extremely helpful.

When I get to the house I may consider doing a detailed walkthrough of the metal roof installation, but for now I’ll leave you with some pictures and these final thoughts. Installing the roof took several weekends of dedicated, hard work. If I valued my time at the same rate as I get paid in my day job, it probably came out to be more “expensive” than hiring a metal roofing company. BUT, I would do it again in a heartbeat and this is why. I was able to spend several weekends challenging myself, learning new skills, and building something with my own hands. I don’t think a true value can be assigned to that and it is part of the reason I am convinced that we should all take on more DIY projects. It doesn’t have to be a new roof, it can be making an outdoor planter, or tiling a backsplash, or anything else that interests you. Take some time to challenge yourself, save some money, accomplish something, and become more self sufficient. I promise you it will be way more rewarding in the long run than buying that new xbox (are these still around?) while someone else does all of the real work.

Alright, off the soapbox, enjoy the photos and let me know if you have any questions in the comments.

After a couple of weekends of work the roof nears completion.
The roof finished up with the ridge cap installed.
One more picture of the completed roof. Fun fact: I finished this roof in the dark about 4 hours before leaving for our red-eye flight back east for the holidays

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