The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

What I learned on the roof

Making a pilot hole in a tin roof with a nail.Like every part of our homemade storage building project, the roof was a learning experience.  We chose to reuse salvaged tin from the old house we tore down, and I wish I'd taken the time during demolition to mark the order in which the sheets of tin came off the roof.  Instead, we ended up with a mixture of pieces of tin from different parts of the roof, and when we put them up on the new roof, the holes in the overlapping ridges didn't line up from one piece to the other.  It wasn't too hard to make a pilot hole in the bottom piece of tin with a nail then fit in the roofing screw, but extra holes in your roof are never a good thing.

Learning experience two was all about lining up the tin.  Our building isn't quite square, and I decided to line up the long side of the tin with the short edge of the building and let the short side of the tin be not quite parallel with the long edge of the building.  Mistake!  By piece of tin number three, it was clear that my tin was no longer Mark in the doorway of the storage buildinggoing to cover the top wooden cross-piece unless I gave in and tugged it up a bit.  I ended up with a roof with slightly jaggedy top and bottom edges rather than straight lines across.  Hopefully when we add the gutter, the jaggediness will be less visible.

Mark kindly didn't comment on my roofing inadequacies....  Thanks, honey!

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This post is part of our Building a Storage Building from Scratch series.  Read all of the entries:

Part 1: Foundation
Part 2: Floor
Part 3: Walls and scavenging lumber
Part 4: Adding the loft
Part 5: The roof
Summing it up:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Having a roof over head is one of those great milestones in any building project...feels good doesn't it.
Comment by moontree ranch Fri Jan 29 10:20:34 2010
Best to square up the bottom edge and let it hang over a bit much at one end of the side. Why don't you take it off and do it over?
Comment by Errol Fri Jan 29 10:54:01 2010
Use a circular saw and turn the blade around backwards and you can cut a straight line along the drip edge of the tin. Just be sure to wear glasses and cut slowly. As my dad used to say "let the saw do the cutting".
Comment by Erich Fri Jan 29 11:08:33 2010
It is absolutely phenomenal! I could barely sleep last night from excitement! :-)
Comment by anna Fri Jan 29 11:08:44 2010

Erich --- I didn't know you could cut metal with a circular saw. We may have to get one!

Daddy --- I probably should have, but I didn't realize what the problem was until we were halfway done. :-/

Comment by anna Fri Jan 29 11:50:11 2010
I don't know about tin, but when I cut rebar with a circular saw, It sents huge gouts of sparks flying about 3 feet. Kind of scary. So while you can cut the tin with a saw I would do a test run on some tin to see how sparky it is. If it is really sparky; it might not be a good idea to do it while the tin is on the roof, I would hate for you to burn down the nice building you just made.
Comment by rebecca m Fri Jan 29 14:50:00 2010
Good point! We'll probably just live with the slight unevenness --- I don't think it'll impact the function.
Comment by anna Fri Jan 29 15:24:32 2010
On the rebar you should be using a metal blade that grinds itself into the metal (making the sparks). On thin tin sheeting just use a wood cutting blade installed on the saw backward and it kind of just tears the tin. This is actually one of the best ways I have ever found to cut tin and won't dull the cutting blades.
Comment by Erich Sat Jan 30 14:56:38 2010
I'm going to have to remember that trick of turning the saw blade around backwards. So simply elegant!
Comment by anna Sat Jan 30 15:03:11 2010

Some time ago I saw an interesting sheet metal sawblade on the woodworking for engineers website. It's a very interesting site if you're into woodworking. His home-made joinery rigs are quite impressive.

Comment by Roland Smith Mon Feb 1 15:37:19 2010
Interesting! Thanks for the links!
Comment by anna Mon Feb 1 16:03:41 2010

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