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Old 09-08-2009, 02:57 PM   #1
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Thoughts on this stick-built roof


My house never ceases to make me wonder.

This house was built in '65 by a man who was a carpenter by trade. He actually developed the entire neighbourhood and built several of the houses himself. This house, the second one finished on the street, was intended to be his own personal home. I sure hope that means that he did things right. The source of this information? My next door neighbour that bought the first house built here, and then watched my house being built. He might be old, but he sure does have a sharp mind.

Since I have some time today, I'd like to hear what folks in the know have to say about this stick-built roof. Not knowing squat about stick built roofs, I'm not certain if anything needs to be done to it, so I'll toss up some photos and ask some questions.

A view from the attic ladder. No pre-made trusses here! Kindly ignore the random bits of millwork laying over the collar ties. The ridge board appears to be a 2X10, the rafters and ceiling joists are all 2X8, each 24" OC, Purlins are 2X4, struts are 1X4, and the collar ties are pieces of shiplap identical to the roof deck.

I find it interesting that all of the ceiling joists that can be seen run the full span of the house in one piece. Must be made of miracle wonder wood, because the center of the house is open from one outside wall to the other, and there is no detectable sag anywhere even after almost 45 years. (I sure hope I am as sag-free at that age!)





I'll try to give you guys a better view of everything: A little to the left of the first photo.





And a little to the right of the first photo.





And upward.





Now here's a view in the opposite direction. This part of the attic has 3/4" plywood for a floor, and is directly above a converted garage. Forgive the mess, we bought the house with that crap up there. Notice the remains of a missing collar tie on the right.




A little to the left. I see some modifications to the struts. Now there are 2X4's nailed in plumb. Hmm. Any harm in this?





To the right. Before there was sheetrock on the ceiling, this was the back wall of the garage. Notice the remains of yet another broken collar tie sticking out. I bet one of you is going to tell me to replace those.





So, that's it. If anyone is curious to see something in more detail, I guess I have nothing better to do today than crawl back up there with a camera. What do you guys think?

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Old 09-08-2009, 03:42 PM   #2
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Thoughts on this stick-built roof


Even tho there is a knee wall on one side of the roof span I would remove the broken piece of collar tie and install a new one. Most likely it was removed because he kept hitting his head when he was going in and out of that access.

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Old 09-08-2009, 04:13 PM   #3
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Thoughts on this stick-built roof


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Originally Posted by buletbob View Post
Even tho there is a knee wall on one side of the roof span I would remove the broken piece of collar tie and install a new one. Most likely it was removed because he kept hitting his head when he was going in and out of that access.
I hit my head on the darn things, too. They jump out at you when you least expect it. A smart man would learn to duck, right? What does that make me?

I presume that I should be fine nailing in a piece of 1X8 douglas fir in the original locations with the original nailing pattern. If that's a problem, I'm sure someone here will stop me before I get around to it. I'm not going to nail on anything up there until the wasps go dormant.
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Old 09-08-2009, 05:55 PM   #4
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Thoughts on this stick-built roof


By today's code it may be over-spanned. 2x8, 2' on center will span 14' 10" with a 20# per sq. ft. load. If your local snow load is 30# ground, they can only span 12' 2". If a 50# ground snow load = 9' 9". The 2x4's purlin should have diagonals as in the one picture, and be the same size as the rafters to transfer some of the roof load to bearing walls below. Because it has hardly any diagonals, I think they were there to keep the rafters in-line only. The ridge board has always been required to be one size larger than the rafters, since I started framing in '73. If the roof rise per foot is under 3/12, today's code requires the ridge to be designed as a beam not a board. The collar ties, at head height are not required. They are their to hold the ridge/rafter tops together in a high wind area. Only required if the ceiling joists are not parallel to rafters.
I would remove the batt insulation around the chimney and replace with fire-stopping foam. The glass batts do nothing to stop air movement of the conditioned air from below. Be safe, G
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:59 PM   #5
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Thoughts on this stick-built roof


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Originally Posted by GBR in WA View Post
By today's code it may be over-spanned. 2x8, 2' on center will span 14' 10" with a 20# per sq. ft. load. If your local snow load is 30# ground, they can only span 12' 2". If a 50# ground snow load = 9' 9". The 2x4's purlin should have diagonals as in the one picture, and be the same size as the rafters to transfer some of the roof load to bearing walls below. Because it has hardly any diagonals, I think they were there to keep the rafters in-line only. The ridge board has always been required to be one size larger than the rafters, since I started framing in '73. If the roof rise per foot is under 3/12, today's code requires the ridge to be designed as a beam not a board. The collar ties, at head height are not required. They are their to hold the ridge/rafter tops together in a high wind area. Only required if the ceiling joists are not parallel to rafters.
I would remove the batt insulation around the chimney and replace with fire-stopping foam. The glass batts do nothing to stop air movement of the conditioned air from below. Be safe, G
Seriously over-spanned by modern standards. I forgot to mention that the joists are all sistered, but still... I guess way back when, the lumber was somehow stronger. This place sure isn't built out of the same garbage you see at the box stores these days.

Good to know about the collar ties. I can remove something from my to-do list. What a treat!

Thanks for the heads up on the batts around the chimney. I'm currently trying to seal up the house a little better for the coming winter, and I did notice some drafts there last year. Unfortunately, that adds something back to my to-do list, and it involves my least favourite place to work. Attics full of blown-in cellulose insulation suck to work in. Should I really be thanking you?
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Old 09-08-2009, 08:52 PM   #6
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Thoughts on this stick-built roof


I'm a stone's throw away in Tacoma. (Hard throw) Your attic requires R-38, or 13-/2" of blow-in. Make sure to seal all ceiling penetrations, light fixture boxes, pipes, ducts, skylights, solar tubes, gas lines, etc. with a fire-stopping spray foam. Leave 3" space around can lights (that are not rated IC, insulation cover) using some tin or flashing two inches higher than insulation thickness required. Use baffles at the soffits to keep the air flow requirement. http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...248&lpage=none Put those in at each bay (you should have soffit venting there) extending 6" vertically above the finish insulation depth. I would add continuous ridge vent, with a baffle. And continuous soffit vents. Read this, figure attic space divided by 150 = sq. ft. of vents divided by 2 for 1/2 soffit and 1/2 ridgevents. More work......
The 300 figure in this article is wrong, figure 150: http://books.google.com/books?id=Z8a...#PRA1-PA604,M1

Be safe, G
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Old 09-08-2009, 11:56 PM   #7
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Thoughts on this stick-built roof


Great info, as usual. Thank you kindly.

Oh, I got me some insulation.



There's enough insulation up there to have R-38, it's just a little compressed from being up there for 27 years. I raked it away from the soffits right after moving in, and even fluffed back up a lot of it in the far back of the attic, but got tired real quick that day. (Or any day I'm in an attic for more than ten seconds.) Anything else I do up there besides sealing penetrations will probably wait until after the roof is replaced.

I've been looking at those foam baffles for a while. I'm guessing they staple in place. I suppose a search is in order.

Have a good night down there.

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