Carport Construction: Roofing

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Next I primed some regular 2x4s while on the ground, then cut them and nailed them into place on the rafter ends. This makes it look a bit more "finished" and also provides a nailing surface for gutters.

Then I put on 30lb roofing felt, which provides some extra protection againt rain, once the metal roof is installed, and before I can put on the roofing, if there is some freak summer rain. The felt gets stapled to the roof sheathing every 12". I used a hammer tacker, which is very fast, and 1/4" staples. You install the felt starting at the bottom side of the roof, overlapping the felt by 6" when you run out of a roll, and overlapping the successive horizontal course by 3". On such a simple roof it was easy to keep everything in line and there was no need to snap a chalk line. I let the felt overhang the eaves by 3/8" or so, and the felt has lines printed on it, so then I could line up the next course with one of the printed lines.

The next step was to start putting up the metal roofing. Non combustible roofing is required in my area due to fire regulations, so the only other option would be expensive and heavy tile or clay roofing. The roofing comes in sheets that are 36" wide after overlapping the neighboring sheet. They are ordered cut to length. It's best to measure the finished roof, instead of going by the plans since being a little off means lots of cutting. My roof measures 7 feet, allowing for a gap at the ridge for venting hot air, and overlap at the eaves, since I plan to install gutters.

Since I'm working alone, the first thing was to figure out how to get the roofing material up onto the roof. I built a "poor man's forklift" out of 2x4 lumber attached to the bucket of my backhoe. This isn't very strong, and you certainly couldn't lift pallets of concrete with it, but for 100lbs of roof panels at a time, it worked just fine.

My roof isn't perfectly square, but I was able to line the panels up with the lines on the tar paper to keep it straight. At each end I trimmed the panels with a metal cutting blade in a circular saw, to conform to the slightly out of square shape. Each panel gets secured to the roof with special screws that have a rubber washer that seals the screw hole from rain. The panels are also secured to each other where they overlap with a different kind of metal screw and washer. I drove each screw with a hex head bit in a cordless drill. I started out setting screw holes with a hole punch and hammer, but that proved to be unnecessary. Just a little pressure on the drill makes a dimple that prevents the screw from wandering before it starts making a hole. Rather than go into all the details here, the best guide I've found is from Factory Direct Metals, which was located conveniently just as one enters town when driving from my place.

Next I put on the gable ends the same way as the roof. Each panel gets a bead of silicone where the next panel overlaps it. Wood screws with rubber washers secure the panels to the sheathing and metal screws secure the panels and trim to each other where they overlap. Although you can use metal snips to cut the roofing, a metal cutting blade in a circular saw is much faster. Gloves and eye protection are a must since that throws a lot of sparks. Cutting with a saw leaves a rougher edge than cutting with snips, but in my case, any edge that needed cutting was going to be covered by trim.

Next I'm getting seamless gutters, and placing a water tank to catch rainwater from the roof to store for irrigation.

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