Roof / Process

The roof was our first major chezerbey project. There were at least a couple of layers of old asphalt shingles over the original wood shingles and so the only viable option was to rip off everything and start from scratch (we saved the porch roof to do later). Read on and follow the saga that was the roof project! 

August 2007


We had a dumpster delivered for all the debris. It was almost big enough.


The ceremonial first shingle toss!


Kyle built new knee braces and we opted for white paint instead of teal.


The chimney was the first thing to go. We don’t have a fireplace, but the chimney had been used as a service chimney for the old furnace and probably the original wood burning stove(s).


We were lucky that our neighbor, Deb, took tons of pictures from the second story of her house. Here you can see our rafter painting staging area. The house was built with 2×4 rafters. Most of the rafter tails were rotten so we decided to cut the tails off and sister new rafters on to the existing. This not only provided new rafter tails, but if beefed up the roof structure as well.


Kyle, harnesed in and shoveling shingles. They did not come off as easily as it looks.


Chimney demo. The part sticking out the top is the old clay flue liner.


Kyle demonstrates the effectiveness of his harness. Fortunately, there were no injuries during the roof project!


We opted to pre-paint the rafter tails to avoid painting them in place later.


The north side of the roof with no shingles. The horizontal boards are called skip sheathing. Before the days of plywood and OSB, strips of wood were used. The material at the eaves is tongue and groove boards that formed the soffit. As part of the 60’s remodel, they enclosed all the exposed rafter tails with an ugly, boxy soffit.


The sea of debris on the side of the house that didn’t have a dumpster. This part was an absolute nightmare. Not only was everything incredibly filthy and dusty, but there were nails everywhere and the shingles had a convenient way of weaving together making it very difficult to clean up. We’re just glad we didn’t have any plants worth saving.


This is a view from inside the attic looking out through the skip sheathing and rafters.  This is a good example of why we did the project in August, one of the driest months of the year in Seattle.


This is approximately the moment when we looked at each other with wide eyes and wondered why we didn’t buy a nice little condo.


Ahh…our little Cape Cod!


The only way to install the new rafters was to slide them up through where the blocking used to be. For this task, one person was on the ground pushing the rafters up while the other person was in the attic pulling and nailing.


Next, we installed the new pre-painted barge boards (fly rafters) on top of the new knee braces.


New soffit boards were next. We decided to go with b-board plywood instead of actual tongue and groove decking.


The forecast said rain. We had bought a gigantic blue tarp in preparation of such an event, but secretely hoped it would never happen. Then one night, the sky turned gray and we mustered some kind of super human force to get the tarp over the roof with the fear of a wet attic pushing us along.


It didn’t rain. So, off came the tarp and we moved on to installing the OSB sheathing.


We also cut away the skip sheathing at the ridge to install new boards that would frame the future ridge vent. With the new and improved roof, air would flow through vents at the eaves and up through a vent that runs along the length of the ridge.


There were many nights where we worked till dusk.


In fact, you could often find me trying to activate our neighbor’s motion detector flood light (that faces our house) in order to see things a bit better.


Thanks again to our neighbor, Deb, for capturing all these moments. We’ll show them to our grandkids someday and tell them about how things were in the “olden days”.


After the OSB, we installed building paper and flashing and then it was time to shingle! We considered hiring this part out, and even got a bid, but we’re glad we toughed it out. Shingling is actually one of the easier (and more gratifying) parts of re-roofing a house.


Lauren served as the official shingle cutter. We bought architectural shingles, which have more of a random pattern, so you don’t have to be as exact with your layout. However, you still have to ensure that all of the vertical seams are staggered which means cutting your “starter shingles” at various lengths (depending on the type of shingle).


Kyle is such an old pro by this point, he can install shingles and take phone calls at the same time!


We were both on the roof to install the final stretch of ridge shingles.


These shingles lap over the plastic corrugated ridge vent and are lapped in the predominant wind direction.




The completed project! While the aesthetic end result was not as significant as other projects, it felt so great to have a solid roof over our heads. Figuratively and literally.

Roof / Before
Roof / After