Roof Replacement, Costs, Electrical, Geothermal, Water Heat, Insulation, Landscaping, Roof, Windows, Deck

    2012,   2011,   2010,   2009,   2008,   2007,   2006,   2005

Here's what's on this page:

  • Monitoring the roof
  • The roof in the first winter - no ice dams
  • Rebuilding our old roof and adding ventilation
  • Putting in a new roof deck above the other
  • Using a foil radiant barrier in the roof
  • Eavestroughs, siding, and facia


Here's the roof in the winter of 2007/2008.

The heat leak seen in the 2006 picture above the tin chimney on the right is still there but smaller now. The chimney is plugged at the base but I'll need to cap it at the top to really plug this leak. That may happen another year. Snow is smooth over the roof, no ice dams. You can see the snow melting at the peak of the roof line where the exhaust vents are. This is excellent.

Can you see the new living room windows? They look very close to the old ones (see the 2006 picture below).

This close up on the other side shows a couple of things. First note how the snow melts away from the exhaust vent at the ridgeline of the dormer. That is working very well.

In the centre of the roof there is a little bit of melting happening (see the dents in the snow just above and left of the ridgeline in the dormer). That means there is still a bit of heated air leakage into the air space under the roof deck. The dents in the snow are right where the opening to the old attic space should be. I've got a bit more air sealing to do in this kneewall space when I get a chance. That's a really tight space there and I likely won't fix that until I have most of my other projects completed. For now it is working pretty well.


There's not much to do to the roof once it's replaced except to monitor progress. Here is a picture of the roof in the first winter.

So here's the proof of the roof. Note that the snow is smooth across the entire roof. Previously you could see the heat leaks because the snow would melt in places. There are also no ice dams on our roof. In the rest of the neighborhood the old houses have ice dams by now but our roof does not (Yay!). There is one heat leak left. Note the loss of snow right above the metal chimney on the far right side of the roof (dark spot beside the dormer). This is the living room gas fire chimney. We abandoned this chimney in the summer of 2006 so this heat leak should be eliminated now as well.


Since we moved into the house we knew that the roof would have to undergo a major upgrade someday. As part of our improvements to the house envelope we decided to re-do the roof. The problem with the roof was that it had no ventillation. The upstairs loft had a cathedral ceiling but no ventillation had been built into the insulation. This meant that we got ice dams, and that in summer the knee-wall spaces on the south of the house would overheat during the day and radiate heat into the house making it uncomfortably hot. The loft was too cold in the winter and too hot in the summer. We needed to reduce the heat buildup in the summer and ventillate in the winter to prevent ice dams.

We found an excellent roofer that was willing to build up a "cold deck" roof. He not only did the roofing, but also all the carpentry work to build the new roof deck. Let's take a look at the design.

Here is the basic design. We stripped off the existing shingles to the old roof deck. Then a foil radiant barrier was stapled to the old deck (more on that later). Wood strapping was added to create a vent space and then a new OSB deck was built on top of that. Shingles were added to the new deck to complete the roof.

So here we are at the start. The contractor divided the roof into four sections and did one section a day. At the end of each day they had completed that section and they tied into the other roof sections with left over shingles from other jobs. The roof was completely water tight each night when they left. That was perfect as it rained just about every night. A very intelligent way to do a roof. Note the skylight, we removed both skylights from the south roof. They were overheating the loft in summer and leaking in the winter.

The first job is to strip the shingles. They go up onto the roof with shovels and pry the old shingles off. Fortunately we only had one layer of shingles so this went quickly.

Here we are stripped to the original roof deck. Then they inspect the roof for damage or rot. Fortunately we still had a good roof deck. Note the board that has been removed just at the top of the left ladder. This is a vent space to get the air out of the knee wall space just underneath the dormer. This hole will exit into the new vent space that will be built up with strapping and a new roof deck.

Here is a special item I came up with. This is a foil radiant barrier. Very commonly used in Florida and California to reduce heat buildup in houses it is very rare in Canada. I had to order this specially from the manufacturer. It is perforated to let moisture out of the wood deck. Where we are installing it, on the old deck above the insulation, it needed to be perforated. A vapour barrier here would rot the wood deck.

Then we add the wood strapping. This will lift the new deck and inch and a half off the old roof deck. This will create the needed ventillation space. It is also needed for the radiant barrier. A radiant barrier only works if it has an air space toward the heated side of the structure. As the new roof deck heats up the radiant barrier will help prevent the heat from radiating into the old roof deck and into the house.

To get the ventillation air into the space between the old and the new roof deck we created vent spaces behind the new facia boards. The new facia board is a sturdy 2 x 8 board which is angled at the top to take the new roof deck. The 2x2 spacers and new facia board are just nailed into the front of the old facia boards which are left in place. To keep the bugs out of the vent it is just covered with window screen material on the bottom.

Now we place the new roof deck. This is a standard particle board deck exactly the same as new roof construction. It is nailed to the spacer boards with nails long enough to anchor it to the existing rafters. You can see the knee wall vent space where the foil has a gap in it.

Now the new roof deck is completed. Now this becomes a standard shingling job. The new vent is below this deck out of sight. Note how large the new facia boards are. These are covering the vents under the eaves.

In any new roof you use what is called "ice and water shield" in all the valleys and on the bottom edge of the roof. This is to prevent water from leaking through the roof should an ice dam occur causing water to back up under the shingles. We are still going to apply this protection even though we are pretty sure we will be avoiding ice dams.

Here they are starting to shingle. The shingling is actually the fastest part of the job. It only took about an hour to shingle this whole section. It's everthing else that takes the time. Note the ice and water shield in the valley and on the bottom edge of the roof.

And shingling. This section of the roof took a little bit longer because the dormer also had a raised roof deck. That led to a little more flashing and cutting around the dormer.

Here's a bit of detail with the shingling of the valley. One side of shingles is carried through the valley and up the other side. The other side of the shingles is cut to match the valley. You get a clean line but with a complete layer of shingles underneath to shed water.

Flashing is added as it is needed. Here is a detail of the flashing around the dormer. The siding will be repaired later by another contractor.

So here is the section complete. Two men completed this from stripping the shingles to building the new deck and installing new shingles in one long day (about 14 hours). Where this section joins the other sections of roof are all shingled over with old and mis-matched shingles that they will remove tomorrow when they return. It poured rain later that night so we were very happy that it was buttoned up.

At the peak of the roof we had to have a way of getting the air out of the new vents. The roofing contractor came up with these plastic ridge vents. These vents nail to the peak of the roof and are then covered over with shingles. If you look behind the contractor you can see the two areas of completed ridge vent on the peak of the roof. Since the vent uses the same shingles as the roof it matches very well.

Here the contractor is finishing the ridge vent on the section of roof above the front door. You can see a completed section of the roof vent going along the top of the house left to right just above the contractor.

So that completes the roofing. The entire job was completed in four days. The roof was divided into four sections and each section took a day. This section was the most detailed and this was a very long day. The other section each took about 10-12 hours each. We were especially pleased with our roofing contractor who did great work and left the job site cleaner than any other contractor we had working this summer.

The next tasks were to get the siding repaired, the facia painted or capped, and to have the eavestroughs replaced. Fortunately we found one contractor that could do all of those tasks at the same time and quoted a good price.

You can see from this view that the two south facing skylights have been removed.

We stayed with the same type of siding we had before. We had to replace siding since the new roof deck raised the roof by and inch an a half which meant that all the previous siding didn't fit anymore. The old siding had also been installed by an amateur and had some installation issues we wanted to fix.

We elected to have the facia boards capped with metal. Since our old facia boards had the paint peeling off them this has eliminated our major painting problem for this year. Still is a bit of trim to paint but the facia boards were going to be a big job. Not a problem now.

So with siding and facia boards done we wait a bit for the eavestrough fellow to show up. He was delayed another week by other jobs.

Here's the back eavestrough complete. The water is channelled away from the house and along the east and west fences into the garden. Each eavestrough outlet is near one of our big trees out back. A fine rainy day to check out the function of the eavestroughs.

And finally the front. Like the back the eavestroughs in the front also straddle the sidewalks and deliver water to the gardens. That's it for the roofing project. That should be the end of leaky roof problems and overheating due to lack of ventillation. We'll see this winter how it performs for ice dams but I expect it to do very well., Costs, Electrical, Geothermal, Water Heat, Insulation, Landscaping, Roof, Windows, Deck