13 Microllam Beams Frame the Roof Skeleton
Lifting beams using a flash of inspiration and some brute (hydraulic) force.
The pile of Microllams looked daunting, because we had to get them all on top of to the second floor ceiling joists. The main ridge is a continuous double 14 in. 34 ft. long LVL. There 11 other LVLs including a bunch of 30 ft. x 11 7/8 in. and a small 20 ft. 14 in.
I was planning to hire a crane to lift them up along with the roof sheathing. But that would mean making a phone call — and I hate making phone calls.
There was one spot over the dormer wall where I figured we could slide the LVLs up using the backhoe bucket. And it worked — not too pretty — but it worked.
Getting the 34 footers from the attic floor up to the ridge pockets seemed impossible for two guys in their mid-50s. But while Bruce worked with the Warwick CTC students installing Roxul on the garage wall, I devised a way to lift the LVLs up by myself. I used the rake walls as ramps and installed stop-blocks every 2 ft. I lifted one end at a time up the rake walls. At first, the 14 ft. slope looked like a stretch, but it only took me 15 minutes walking end-to-end lifting the beam ply to each block to reach the top. Then I needed Bruce to help roll the beam on edge so it would drop into the pocket. The second ply went faster with Bruce’s help.
Within 4 hours we had all the primary beams in place, tack-screwed together, braced, lined and marked with the rafter layout. Something I thought would take us a day and a half took just 1/3 the time. I wish everything went that way.