What were they thinking? (Part 2) - Fine Homebuilding

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The Deans of Green

The Deans of Green


What were they thinking? (Part 2)

comments (0) December 16th, 2008 in Blogs
Luckily, we got permission to remove this sorry two-story porch.
Demolition of the ill-planned porch roof begins.
Here’s a prime “What were they thinking?” scenario. Rafter tops terminate flush to the house’s frame and were occasionally “supported” by a window’s trim (click on the thumbnail on the top right).   
Add this to the list of surprises we uncovered under the house’s roof.
Has anybody seen a couple of collar ties that have gone missing?
Luckily, we got permission to remove this sorry two-story porch.Click To Enlarge

Luckily, we got permission to remove this sorry two-story porch.


Posted by: Rick Arnold

We’ve uncovered a few more “What were they thinking?” items that I thought would be interesting to share before moving on.

When we purchased the property, we wondered who was responsible for adding the two-story porch and roof in the
rear because neither is very functional. At the highest part of the ceiling—the point where the porch roof ran into the main roof—there was a little over 6 ft. of room. Instead of building a shallow roof, the builder kept the same 7-in-12 pitch as the main roof, which quickly drops the ceiling an additional 35 in. or so in its 5-ft. depth.

Because it was rotted, unsafe, and not original to the house, we got permission to remove it and replace it with a simple gable roof over the lower porch and entries.

Now here is where that old saying “They don’t build them like they used to” is meant as a good thing. We found that every rafter top was cut flush to the house’s frame and was only sitting on top of the 1-1/8-in.-thick planking and sometimes the window trim. There were no sistered rafters, hangers, or any other means of solid seating and fastening other than a few toenails here and there. Wow. Now there’s a head-scratcher.

We also found some other surprises inside the main roof that contributed to the house’s disfigurement. For example, a large section of a couple of rafters had been hewn out. Whether this was original to the house is anybody’s guess.

Additionally, we found a couple of collar ties missing in an area where the ceiling joists ran parallel to the ridge. A few of the rafters had been boxed in in a previously finished part of the attic, and the ties were obviously in the way. Some kneewalls were present here and there, but by no means were they structural.

More head-scratching. But at least we’re making progress.


posted in: Blogs, green building, framing, restorations, roofs, porch

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