With snow bound to fall any week now, we’ve been racing to get the house all buttoned up! As mentioned in our last update, we used Roxul mineral wool for insulation and are very happy with it. Not only does it keep the interior warm, but it is an amazing sound barrier. When we’re in the house, we can barely hear a car engine or radio just a few feet away outside. Roxul was easy to work with — we used a serrated bread knife to cut it, so it was literally like cutting bread! We were careful to cut notches for our electrical wiring and boxes to avoid compressing the material. A little time and attention now is sure to improve our comfort and energy efficiency later.
The only unpleasant part was working on the ceiling and the dust falling down on us, but overall it was DIY friendly. Even if installing insulation wasn’t the most exciting of tasks, we listened to a lot of (country) music to keep our enthusiasm up.
Today we sealed the spaces around the windows, door, and trailer wheel wells with cans of expanding spray foam. You wouldn’t think that those tiny gaps matter but our space heater was way more effective once the foam was in. We are glad to be able to warm up the house when we’re working in these 40 degree temps! The inside is so soft and snuggly!
It’s been a challenge getting our roof finished because the trim pieces did not come cut to fit together, so Nate and Uncle had to notch all the pieces by hand (thanks Uncle!). Plus, we ended up missing some screws that we had to go back and order — the roofing people failed to specify TWO types of screws in our materials package. When we finally got the screws, we realized we were still missing parts but were tired of paying shipping fees for items that should have been included in our order in the first place. So we improvised (caulk solves a lot of problems). But we learned to make sure we have all the right parts before starting a project!
A Slippery Slope. The roofing is from a company called ABC in a style called “PBU”. It’s a commercial-grade metal panel specifically designed to work with low slope roofs. Most metal roofs are covered under warranty only down to a 3:12 slope, but our slope is 2:12, meaning it rises 2 inches for every 12 inches in length (about 9.5 degree incline). Conventional houses usually have steeper roofs, but having a low slope on ours was imperative for allowing enough headroom in the loft. Since the entire structure has to be under 13.5′ tall to be legal on the roads, every increase in roof pitch would take away from interior space. The gradual incline also makes it safer to work on the roof, which is helpful since we are installing it ourselves. In hindsight we probably could have gone with a cheaper and more widely available style of metal panel, but we wanted the assurance that our roofing would be warrantied for use on such a low pitch. Also, because flatter roofs are more vulnerable to wind-driven rain, we felt it was important to get the appropriate roofing. We plan to have this house for a very long time!
Roofs Have Layers. Just like onions, cakes, and ogres, roofs have layers. Underneath the metal panels is roofing underlayment, a rubber membrane that provides a 2nd line of defense against water infiltration. It’s Grace Water and Ice Shield and it’s tough stuff! However, it is vulnerable to damage by the sun’s rays over time, which is why it shouldn’t serve as a permanent roof covering. The ice shield also helps prevent ice dams (water freezing and melting on the eaves that can get up under the roofing material and cause leaks). Below the ice shield is our 5/8 plywood roof deck. While some people go with ½ inch, the extra thickness of 5/8 provides strength and helps support the heavy snow loads that can occur here in New England.
Eco-Friendly Roofing. Metal roofs last for decades, do not take many resources to produce, and are recyclable. In addition, light colored metal roofs help save on cooling costs. Even in a climate where the A/C season is short, a light colored roof is a smart choice. This is because of the sun’s angle in the sky in winter versus summer. No matter the color, a roof in winter (especially if it’s snow-covered) won’t capture much heat from the low, indirect winter sun. In summer, however, the sun will beat down on a dark roof and increase cooling loads. Thus, in most climates, all roof colors have a neutral impact in winter but only light colored roofs have a positive impact in summer. In very northern climates where even the summers are cool, a dark roof may be a more energy efficient choice to retain the sun’s heat throughout the year. Our roof color meets “cool roofing” standards and is just different enough from the white trim to add interest.
Now that our house is protected from whatever winter may bring, we can rest easy and focus on the fun interior work within our cozy little walls ❤