A self build house project diary
by Oliver Cannell

Time for some timber

Converting the pile of timber in the garden, to a roof on the house.

There is a huge stack of timber, of varying lengths and cross sections, positioned in our garden, waiting to be assembled into our new roof structure.

Although there will be no concrete or slate tiles on this roof, the structural calculations to accommodate the EPDM (rubber membrane waterproofing layer) and hopefully the sedum roof tray system (which we'll install at some point in the future), have resulted in a chunkier cross-section roof truss - and there will be a lot of them too. I'm told there will be something like 50 trusses running along the length of each half of house - along with an equivalent number of joists running down the flat section in the centre.

Getting things nailed

The trusses are being fixed to the house in two ways. On the exterior walls, there are some stainless steel brackets being fixed to the blockwork and held in position with another layer of blocks above, which basically 'cup' one end of the truss. At the other end, the trusses are nailed to the top of a 'plate' which itself has been mortared on top of the internal walls. All along the top face of the Plate, the 'chippies' have measured out and pencilled in the positions of where all the trusses need to be positioned. They have also highlighted where the Velux roof windows will be placed. Running up alongside each side of the Velux's, will be two trusses together, to help support the additional weight.

What I'm really enjoying now - which you might find strange - are the smell of freshly sawn timber and the differently coloured materials being added to the house. It's been nothing but grey bricks, blocks and concrete, so it's great to have something new going on. Saying that, the construction of the blockwork above the steels at the front of the house have been going well, so it's also nice to see the front of the house also developing in shape.

Feeling the size and shape

Now that the interior scaffolding has been taken down from the back rooms of the house (bedrooms and bathroom) and as the roof trusses are starting to outline the shape of the ceilings, you can get an appreciation of the size and shape of the rooms. The ceiling will be vaulted so the extra height gained will make all the rooms feel much airier and spacious. Plus, with the addition of the Velux roof windows in most rooms, there should also be plenty of light flooding in.

What's to come?

Over the next few weeks, the carpenters will be busy constructing the roof, one layer at a time. The builders are finishing off the remaining exterior walls of the house, as well as filling in the gable ends and filling the spaces between the trusses which have already been finished.

Next entry: Main roof structure is all done and looking great (Tuesday 21st October 2014)

Previous entry: If you go down to the site today… (Tuesday 30th September 2014)

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