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September 24, 2005
Capping the roof

A rare and thrilling treat: several dozen raptors circled overhead as we completed working on the roof

Still racing the weather to get the roof closed off, Russell and Steve were back on the mountain again the weekend of September 23-25.  Russell had now been up here every weekend for the last month (with the exception of Labor Day).  At this point, we only had one triangular section of the roof left to cover, requiring seven metal panels.

The problem was that this last bare section was also where we had been hoisting the panels up to the roof.  Once we covered it, we wouldn't be able to get any more panels up without damaging something.  The obvious solution was to lift all seven panels up before installing any of them.  But this created an additional dilemma: where on the roof could we store the panels in the meantime, without them sliding off?

While Russell awaited Steve's arrival on Friday afternoon, he noodled on these new logistics.  The simple solution was to nail a piece of wood at the edge of the eaves.  We could then nest the seven panels within each other, and the wood stopper would prevent them from sliding off.

The last seven roof panels, ready to be installed (note wooden stopper at the edge of the eaves)

Russell also dealt with another logistical problem: once all of the roof panels were installed, we would put a top cap piece at the center apex.  However, this would leave no place for us to attach our safety lines.  (We were currently using C-clamps at the apex.)  The solution was one that we had been thinking about for weeks: we would stretch a rope all the way across the diameter of the roof and secure it to the wooden beams below.  We would then tie our safety lines to the rope.

By the time Steve arrived on Friday afternoon, he and Russell were able to begin work right away.  By Saturday morning, the seven remaining panels had all been hoisted, screwed down, and cut to size.  After weeks of work, all 56 roof panels were finally installed.

Steve installs the last of the 56 metal roof panels

But there was still more work to be done.  The next step would be to install eight ridge caps along the length from the eave to the apex, where each section of metal panels joined together.

The 16 ridge caps (two per ridge), ready to be installed (yes, that's the same wooden stopper)

This step was, quite frankly, a pain in the butt.  In order to create a watertight seal, we would need to install foam strips between the roof panels and each ridge caps.  The foam would be secured with caulking both on the underside and on top.  Steve had the thankless job of squeezing out the caulking, which kept drying too fast in the hot sun.  Russell had the thankless job of  working with the spaghetti-like foam strips, which wouldn't stick to the foam.

The foam stripped were shipped to us all rolled up and packed tightly in boxes.  While it was easy to transport, it was difficult to unravel.

Installing the ridge caps:
Foam strips were "glued" on either side of the ridge with caulking.
Two ridge caps were then screwed into place along the length from the eave to the apex of the roof.

It took most of the day Saturday, but we succeeded in getting all eight ridges capped by late afternoon.  This left us just enough time to install the final top cap at the apex of the roof.

We use the term "top cap" very loosely.  It was actually a flat sheet of metal about four-feet square.  There were no instructions on how to form or fasten it to the center apex of the roof, which of course was not flat.  Steve thought that we should cut it to create a cone.  However, Russell's single instruction (heard from Gail, who heard it from the roofing supplier) was that whatever we do, absolutely do not cut the sheet.

The alternative was to warp it in place around the octagonal apex, then hold it in place by installing screws like crazy.  The result, while not pretty, was functional.

It was nearly sunset on Saturday, September 24.  The roof was finished.  Too tired to celebrate otherwise, Steve and Russell settled for spending the evening watching "Lost" on a portable DVD player.

The four-foot square top cap, before and after installation


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