As I have said before how dangerous the roof was; well no pictures survive from the time of taking the roof off – we get alot of lightning strikes here and many computers have died taking with them the various stages of restoration. However with a limited budget and just having to seal up the building from the elements I had to put some sort of roof on the structure so I decided on a corrugated one – cheap and cheerful.
Another step in getting up there had to be addressed – all monies were going into the other house as we wanted our comfort so compromise came not having scaffolding around the house – it would have been there mind you for nearly 2 decades as not all outside work is yet finished – 2016. So once the roof was off you are in a race against time as water running from the top of the wall down has a tendency to collapse the structure this I was warned from the start – no bare wall tops.
So what to do ? well I decided to cover the wall tops with lengths of plastic – weighed down with water-filled milk bottles on strings either side of the wall – this kept the rain out for nearly 2 years until I got the upstairs floor in – then I would have a safe staging to work on in getting the roof up.
I acquired cheaply a light scaffold tower which is on wheels; I use it everywhere around the yard and houses, it has got to be one of the best buys ever. It can go to 18 feet high and with added stabilizers it has been invaluable as it can carry a good quantity of stone as can be seen from the above picture.
As you can see putting in the joists I wanted to stick with the original 5 by 2 inch joist so that I wasnt cutting out bits of wall but in hindsight I should have put in 9 by 2 inch and saved myself alot of hassle. The receiving sockets for the joists just needed to be cleared out and in alot of instances be fixed up – please excuse my lack of proper building terminology because I don’t have it and I expect this blog would appeal more to the amateur then the professional anyway.
So to make the walls safe I put in new lintels and with each stage of replacement I got quicker and more adept at building a solid structure so putting in the joists further knitted the building together – however for 2 years there wasn’t a roof on the structure due to time constraints, as in work etc . I had put down planking which I imagined I would be throwing away after sitting exposed ( well I did have plastic sheeting on it but after months of walking on it of course it is going to fail) so that I could put on the wall-plate , which is a 3 by 6 inch wood which acts as a topping on wall so that the rafters can sit level.
I had never done this before but it was very satisfying to get them level along the length of the outer walls – what was a bit disconcerting as the back wall is several inches lower than the front wall – 6 inches perhaps and of course the bow in the front of the building. Next step I had a local engineering firm make wall straps – these are flat iron strips with a 90 degree top to attach to the top of the wall-plate and a corresponding lower spike to go into the wall lower down to hold the wall-plate in place.
A friend at the time came in very useful having built houses himself and helped put the rafters up with me – putting the centre-board up which is the ridge at the highest point of a roof was the challenge after that hand cut rafters were put in at a leisurely pace. This was due to another baby arriving, bringing our brood up to 4, so added to 9 cattle, some pigs, hens, ducks, turkeys and the odd horse and donkey perhaps; the house had to wait.
I can still remember after the 4th baby arriving saying to myself; just put the tin roof on and you can walk away for a few years knowing the hardest part is done – so that is what I did a month or so after she arrived. It was a bit hairy without much scaffold around the house – well a 6 foot by 4 foot wheeled one worked well and I saved myself a fortune on not having to hire or buy scaffold.