Shingle All The Way

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Huge bags of shingles distributed on the roof. (Terry on the side is stapling down Typar.)

When we finished nailing plywood onto the roof, I thought I was done lifting heavy things on precarious footing. I was SORELY mistaken. The shingle delivery arrived Friday around 1pm – Ben from Richmond Supply again – and in a span of 20 minutes Terry and I lifted over 50 huge awkward sagging shingle packages off the pallet and spread them out on our roof cleats. Imagine carrying a 75 pound sandbag across a tilted balance beam twenty feet in the air, then repeating the exercise a couple dozen times. It was kinda like that. I tried to frame it in my mind as a cross-training workout… in which case it was a pretty amazing combination of strength training, balance, flexibility, and scaring the living daylights out of yourself.

Colin and I installed collar ties between the rafters for extra lateral stability. It was the last thing we’d do upstairs for awhile, because then we disassembled the stairs and lost our easy access to the second floor. Why? Well, Colin decided to finish the interior stud wall, sheathing it in plywood which eats half an inch into our stair framing. Also, Terry didn’t like the warpiness of his outside stringer, so I swapped it with the inside stringer once we pulled out the first run. There’s ALWAYS a use for the poorly shaped lumber you inevitably get in a delivery… you can hide it (as we did with the inside stringer), chop it into short pieces (making the shape less offensive), or use it for braces and cleats that you’ll later remove.

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Collar ties installed between the rafters.

That all happened end of last week. This week we actually nailed the shingles down. They come in pairs, which you have to peel apart, and then you align the shingles in a row and nail through the upper half which then gets covered by the next row. A hot shingle is fragile and sticky, and Terry started the job alone on a steamy Monday, so we were relieved when Tuesday dawned cloudy and cool. My job was to keep a supply of unwrapped, peeled shingles always ready and pass them to Terry who aligned and nailed them along a diagonal as far as he could reach. We found an amazing rhythm with very little downtime for either of us.

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Shingle installation.

To stagger the rows we cut starter shingles 10, 20, and 30 inches shorter than a full 42-inch piece and staggered them along the north drip edge. When we reached the south drip edge on the other end of the roof, we measured the last gap in each row and shouted the measurements down to Colin who cut finisher shingles for us. By 2pm Tuesday we’d topped off the front side and taken down the cleats, and we got to eat lunch under a gorgeous Boreal Green roof that definitely makes a statement looking from the road.

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Front half of the roof fully shingled… as the main house excavation takes shape.

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