The Shed – Day 9

Time for the shingles to go on the roof. We started on the roof early in the day and it went super smoothly. That said we still worked until we ran out of day light. Every day now it seems to be a race against nightfall. It took a solid 6 to 8 hours to lay all the shingles on the roof.


It was exhausting but now the roof is water tight and we have 2 major tasks left before this sucker is fully weather tight.

  1. Hang siding.
  2. Hang the front door.

After that its all small things like sealing up small air gaps, building a work bench, and other storage solutions inside. Did I mention that this will be more than just a shed? It will also serve as my workshop so we will be designing a powered workspace inside along with smart storage options. Insulation is something I am currently thinking about but have not fully decided whether I will be installing it in this or not.

finishing roof

The Shed – Day 8

It’s cold now. Today started out with us installing the facia board on the sides of the rafters. I decided to spend a little extra money and save myself some extra work right now and in the future by purchasing the PVC (composite plastic) facia boards. These come in white and require no painting or maintenance in the future. They aren’t cheap though. I’m talking about 40 bucks for a 16 foot piece of 1x5. We screwed them to the rafters with white 2 inch screws. 

Facia done

After the facia boards we tackled the water drip edges (flashing). The flashing prevents water from following the surface of the shingles back up underneath to the plywood or facia.  I left a finger width gap between the flashing drip edge and the facia to allow the water to fall away from the facia. 

We also finished up the triangular section of wall that was still open. I installed a couple of 2x4 braces under the side rafters on each wall. We cut out our plywood and nailed it up.

side tris

The next layer of product to lay on top of the roof is the water proofing paper. We used a product that is a little different than typical tar and felt paper called GAF FeltBuster. This is another layer of protection against water if it happens to work its way up under the shingles. You have to use plastic capped  nails on tar paper to keep the nails water tight and to keep them from tearing through the paper. We got started on this day pretty late in the day and ended up finally finishing just as there was no more daylight left, about an hour after the sun had already gone down. It was super cold and dark up on the roof finishing this.

felt buster

The Shed – Day 7

Each week the project gets tested by the elements. Last week was heavy wind and this week was heavy rain. We’ve been covering the loose materials and floor with a large tarp in-between work days. The shed appears to have survived the heavy rain and now its time to get that roof up!

Due to the very low slope of the roof I decided to run the rafters 16 inches on center. I think typically you can get away with wider spread rafters but I was a little concerned with heavy snow sagging the roof in the winter.

Rafter brackets

We started the day early and built our overhanging rafters that will set the side of the roof out about 8–10 inches on either side. They are essentially a thick ladder. Once we had both overhangs built we had to hoist them up and toe nail them to the edge of the top plates. We also gave them some extra support by screwing a 2x4 as a brace that spanned from the rear wall to the rafter that was screwed into the top plate. You’ll see what I mean in the photos if you look at where the outside rafters meet the rear wall.

Rafters up

Once we had both of the “ladders” up we cranked out the rest of the rafters in pretty short time. We also decided to connect the “ladders” to the closest interior rafter as further support to the overhang. The rafters were connected to the top plates with metal brackets.

plywood on roof

More rain is in the forecast so we had to get the plywood on the rafters the same day to get it covered. The process went pretty well. We would offset each sheet and trim the excess off with the circular saw. We left an inch overhang of plywood to allow for a facia board that will run around the ends rafters and cover them up.

Nailing plywood to roof

In the very end we started to run short on 4x8 sheets and had to use scraps to fill the last 4 feet of roof. We ran out of daylight in the end before we could get the felt paper up for water proofing. We tied the tarp to the roof to keep it pretty tight for the week of rain ahead.

tarp for rain

The Shed – Day 6

The wind continued to pound us for 3 days. It seriously reminded me of a hurricane. But the shed held up. The next week we got to work again. This time a calm day allowed us to get all of the sub-siding up on the walls.

sub-siding up

We also had time that weekend to plan out the roof and cut our birds mouth notches into the rafters. We chose 12 foot 2x6 boards for the rafters. 

The Shed – Day 5

The next step was to build a 2 foot wall with windows that would go on top of the back wall. This really too us 2 days to fully complete (but lets call it all of day 5). The engineering behind this little wall was the most complex part of the build yet.

We decided that the best way to go about this was to build the small wall in 2 parts on the ground then lift it up into place above the rear wall. We also decided that these 2 sections should be almost fully constructed before we get it mounted up top. The windows, and sub-siding had to be installed to the wall frame prior to lifting it into place. This meant that the wall would be heavier but it would save us from attempting to finish it 12 feet in the air and in a very tight space against the garage.

I chose to go with two 15 by 31 inch “hopper” windows to optimize space while allowing for as much light as possible over the top of the garage. I also have the ability to open these windows should I ever choose to.

Once we constructed each of the 2 wall sections with their windows and sub-siding attached we lifted them up into place. It was pretty serious challenge but we took our time and made sure we got them up there in the safest way possible considering the situation. Once in place we secured them to the top plate of the wall with a liberal amount of 3 inch deck screws and nails. Then finished it off with four 4 inch lug bolts drilled through the top plate and tightened down with washers and nuts. The goal is to get this second level wall to act as one with the wall below.

Top wall and windows

A little rain shouldn’t stop us…

At this point we still had some daylight left in the day, though off in the distance we could see dark sky. The forecast called for showers at about 2:30 and it was about 1:45. I figured we could get the sub-siding (which consists of 1/2 inch particle plywood) attached to the walls and then call it a day. A little rain shouldn’t stop us from getting that done.

So, if you are unfamiliar with building walls you may not be aware that the frame of a wall is very unstable and highly susceptible to racking until you get some kind of siding and/or drywall hung on it. Even if you have 4 walls the entire structure can rack and lean without something to tie all the corners together. To remedy this while you work on getting everything built you can nail or screw a stud from one corner of the wall to the opposite corner. This prevents the wall from racking (becoming un-square) and possibly falling over.

To begin hanging the plywood to the walls we had to take off our braces which keep the walls from racking. At this point we have a sheet of 4 by 8 foot plywood in our hands as we hold it up against one of the walls to position it for hanging. The sky is suddenly much darker and my Dad is worried about his tools getting wet if it begins to rain. So we stop for a moment and he starts packing up and walking power tools to his car in the front of the house.

Oh shit, panic mode.

Thats when it came in. No, not the rain, but the wind. A sudden 50mph gust came roaring in. To the terrifying sound of nails and wood creaking under stress the structure violently leaned over about a foot. Oh shit, panic mode as I was thinking “I am about to lose all progress on this in a matter of seconds.” The wind was only going to continue to pound the walls back and fourth until they collapse. 

My Father came running back to attempt to hold the walls (which was pretty futile) while I would run back and fourth from his car out front and back to the shed in the back yard. The tools needed to just screw or hammer a brace to the walls were packed away making the ordeal feel like an eternity. After nearly having a heart attack from sprinting back and fourth and freaking out about the near catastrophic disaster we encountered we had some braces in place.