Cupola roof fix…step the first…

Our 1860’s commercial building on the square needs some tinkering on the roof. Mostly I just need to get up there and fix a few issues, then do some annual maintenance.

It’s time to get started.

Step the one: Access
We don’t have a hatch to get on the roof (previous owners removed it and used neighboring buildings…for a variety of reasons not an option).

So, I need to make one. Figured I’d take that opportunity to repair an issue that is causing a leak and a structural concern. Namely, somebody moved a wall near a 100 years ago and left several roof beams unsupported. This caused a sag in the beams and in the roof surface (and a leak in the sagged area).

You can see the broken trusses here, the three closest the windows connect to nothing:
They had sagged well over 5 inches and popped much of the beadboard off that ceiling. We removed the rest.

I then spanned the room with 2?x12?x16? beams across the first three (closest to the window) unsupported beams. Once I had those in place, I wrapped them with great big honkin’ web ratchet straps and use a combination of excessive force from the straps and excessive force from sledge hammering the beams to take the sag out and get everything lined back up.
It went VERY well. I got the first three in place (closest to the windows) and was able to remove the sag from the roof. The sheer work involved here simply doesn’t show in the pictures. A LOT of force and time was required to straighten everything out.

I should mention the several hundred pounds of pigeon crap in the attic, which is another reason to remove the beadboard.

Next step, a little more framing/bracing, another crossbeam to install, then I get to chop a hole in the roof! (that’ll be an interesting day)

Much thanks to my friend Mike for helping!

…and work…

Go for it, you gotta set the pace and work.

Okay, a line from a song I like. From a strange movie I like. (shrugs).

Anyway, in keeping with our newly found 2011 Tradition of having absolutely no money whatsoever in the budget for projects (or gas or cars or clothes or…) we are working on things that require elbow grease and not much else…so, “work”.

It’s good for me, good for our projects, and I enjoy the work anyway.

So, this weekend it was a bit of destruction in our commercial building on the square.

One of the front rooms has a beadboard ceiling that had a dip/sag in it that was severe enough to pop the beadboard off. It was in the front corner of the room, and since the attached building next door to me lost part of their facade (the building covered in metal in the pic below) I figured we had something structural going on there.

The damaged ceiling is in the front corner of the room, right above that window.

The damaged ceiling is in the front corner of the room, right above that window.

The fifteen foot ceilings make working on them a bit tough, so, me and my dad hauled the scaffolding upstairs (that’s a job in itself!) and set it up.

Four frames, four cross supports, four wheels, and four platforms…up the stairs, which are at the VERY back of the building, and haul them to the front.

Worth it though. Scaffolding makes high work just challenging, instead of dangerous.

Once set up, we then removed the damaged ceiling.

Good news! Well, sorta…I’ve still got to fix stuff, but it’s pretty easy to fix.

Turns out somebody moved a wall many years ago (50 or more probably). The wall was support for a split in the trusses holding up the roof. Without support, several of them sagged.

The good news is it’s cheap to fix, and not complicated. Lots of work, but that’s just elbow grease.

Here we removed the damaged beadboard...

Here we removed the damaged beadboard…

Note the almost sort-of but not, cribbed together trusses. An easy, and uncomplicated fix.

Note the almost sort-of but not, cribbed together trusses. An easy, and uncomplicated fix.

Once again, my Dad managed to work circles around me…I’m out of shape and need to do something about that…

…and work.

Daniel Meyer