Put a Roof On It

A steep roof slope means it's time to bring out the I-joists

With the 30-foot-steel ridge beam in, bearing on a new steel post inside and a welded steel frame on the north wall, it was time to get busy with building a roof—a 16/12 sloped roof, to be specific. Let that sink in. A 4/12 roof is very popular for tract builders because it is so walkable. Even a 6/12 is pretty walkable. A 16/12 roof … you'd have to be Spiderman to work on it.

(In the image above, note the 2x12 columns Owens Construction built out of salvaged porch roof rafters to brace the 4x8 roof rafters in the old section, thereby supporting the old ridge beam while the north bearing was removed.) 

For the new roof, I-joists were the logical choice, because each one is 24 feet long, and wrestling 24-foot-long 2x12s up into the air didn’t appeal to owner Bill Owens. Plus, finding straight 24-foot 2-bys is pretty impossible. So up they went, mitered together above the ridge, with blocking up to support them from the new steel ridge beam. In the first photo with I joists in place, you’ll see they’re just tacked in place. The bearing stiffeners at the top came later, as well as metal strapping over the top connecting each side.

At the bottom, a slight birdsmouth at the walls’ top plates is reinforced with bearing stiffeners from bottom flange to top (directly over the bearing plate) help make sure the I-joists will work as intended. It was all hands on deck to wrestle these monsters up into the air. Only after they were in place could someone climb down and capture a snapshot of their handiwork.

Time to start thinking about how to get the sheathing done.


West Coast

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