Complex cut & stack from pre-cut packagecomments (8) August 14th, 2009 in Project Gallery
As my crew and I took on more complex framing projects, I found the roof framing was bogging us down. Walls and ceilings would go up quickly, then things would grind to slow-mo at the complicated cut-up roof. I began to focus on minimizing roof framing time - a challenge on the complex multi-hipped roofs we were building.
After a lot of frustration, and a lot of analysis, I resolved to: A) pre-cut the roof in its entirety; and B) begin cutting the roof on day one. The layout lines were snapped, then measurements were taken for cutting the roof. While the rest of the crew framed the house, I cut the roof.
More than one naysayer dropped by to question my methodology, and my sanity! I recall lines like "putting the cart before the horse", and "why are you cutting a roof when you don't have a house yet?" Despite dire predictions to the contrary, I knew that as long as my crew built the house as it was snapped on the slab, my roof would fit.
The entire roof was mapped out on a piece of graph paper, which became my grocery list for cutting the whole package. In a sense, this is similar to what a truss manufacturer does – based on the blueprint dimensions, he builds the roof's composite parts. Once cut, each jack rafter had starter nails placed at the top, which were used to hang the shorter ones from the top plate, and made nailing in place quick and easy. The rafters were stacked neatly, and marked for location. Each hip was divided into “quadrants”, meaning the set of jack rafters up one side of the hip.
One important key to my system was that layout was pulled in from each corner (not from the center out), so the jack rafters always followed a tidy - and identical - layout at the hip, and any layout adjustments needed were made somewhere in the middle of the wall. By doing this, the jack rafters could be figured and cut from day one - all that was needed was the roof pitch and the rafter spacing. Rafter and joist placement was critical, so layout was marked carefully on the top plate using the roof diagram.
The defining members - the hips, valleys, and ridges - went up first (with a few commons to hold the ridge in place). Once the framework was up, and checked visually to make sure it all planed in properly, the “fill” began, meaning jack and common rafters.
Doing it this way forced me to take extra care, and a little extra time, in figuring and measuring. I couldn't cut a piece then put it in place to see if it fit - it just had to be right the first time. My tactic paid off in spades, because while figuring and cutting was a one-man job, the whole crew was involved in stacking the roof.
The actual "stack" portion of this cut-and-stack went quickly - the bulk of the roof was up in a day. Pre-cutting really minimized the stand-around time that used to occur while I'd scratch my head and try to figure the tricky cuts as the roof was going up. The crew enjoyed the project more, and the bottom line got healthier, which means I enjoyed the project more, too. And the client? - well, we all know, to the client, faster is better.
The roof pitch on this particular house was 5:12, with a 24” overhang, square-cut fascia, and 24” o.c. layout. The house design, 2300 sq. ft. not including garage and patio, was from a blueprint given us by Metco homes, the builder.
posted in: Project Gallery, framing, roofs, Frank Lloyd Wright, rafters, hip roof, prairie style
Learn techniques for protecting the window opening with an angled sill and flashing tapes read more
Enter to Win a Paslode Nailer
This contest is closed. Visit our Chalk the Line blog for a look at the winning entries.
Beginning August 4 and running through September 3, Fine Homebuilding readers can submit photos of their best roofs.
We're awarding points for complex framing, problem solving, and overall aesthetics, so start uploading your photos now. We're after images of completed projects that combine beauty and complexity in a roofline. And don't forget to upload a shot or two of your completed job when it was a mere work in progress!