This house accused of having many corners… and many roofs. In total: five. Accuse away! I think it makes for exciting architecture!

Taos Pueblo - Talk about a lot of roofs!
Taos Pueblo – Talk about a lot of roofs!

We are almost done building the exterior walls, so this past week we focused on building the roofs.

Pile o'roofing material.
Pile o’roofing material.

We received the load of material from Randall’s (local lumber store) and it included: glu-lams, BCI’s, mono-trusses, dual slope trusses, parallams, and rim board, all of which are used to build different roof conditions. (I love that we can call one place tell them what we need and then they deliver it to the site. That is the benefit of working in a small town.)

We started with the guest suite roof. It is an independent flat roof, and therefore was the easiest to begin with. Here we used the dual slope truss, designed with an offset so that the peak of the pitch would line up with the bedroom wall. In reality, it probably doesn’t matter where the peak is because it can/could span the the whole length without supporting walls below.

Greg, Juan and Weasel lifting trusses into place.
Greg, Juan and Weasel lifting trusses into place.
Greg nailing them into place.
Greg nailing them into place.

Just like walls – after framing comes sheathing.


While Greg, Juan and Weasel were working on the roof in the guest suite, Gil and Leaps started building the first rake wall in the master suite.


Planning where to frame next is probably the biggest challenge for Gil. He is always having to plan ahead and figure out any complicated details so that his crew stays busy. And they move fast, so Gil has to move REALLY fast.

After the guys were done with the guest suite roof they all moved to the main living space.

Two Friday’s ago I was in LA so I missed the most exciting part of this roof, lifting the beams into place with a crane, but I came home to this:

Beautimus Maximus

Above the beams we hung BCI’s to create a “hot roof”. Building code requires insulating your roof; in New Mexico we have to have R-38. The BCI’s over the beams creates a cavity in which to stuff batt insulation. Another option would have been to lay sheathing directly on top of the glulam beams and then 7 inches of rigid insulation on top of the sheathing to achieve R-38. See following diagrams.

Hot roof - option 1
Hot roof – option 1
Hot roof - option 2
Hot roof – option 2

I had specified using TJI’s in the roof plan, but what I didn’t know is that Randall’s only sources from Boise Cascade, another (the only other?) national manufactured joist supplier and therefore we could only get BCI’s.

TJI’s are sourced from Weyerhaeuser, which is the progeny of Truss Joist Macmillan, hence the ‘TJ’ in TJI (I stands for the joist shape.) BCI’s are sourced from Boise Cascade, hence the ‘BC’ in BCI. They are pretty much the exact same product.

The BCI’s are then hung by joist hangers, which are attached to rim board (extra thick plywood), which is attached to the walls. But, before we could slip the BCI’s into the joist hangers we had to add two pieces of plywood to the end of the joist webs, creating a ‘pack-out’. The flanges of the joist hangers would not have been able to nail into the web otherwise.

Beams, rim board, joist hangers, and joists.
Beams, rim board, joist hangers, and joists.
Roof framing from street.
Roof framing from street.

On either side of the glulam beams the guys also added a nailer strip, so that when drywall is installed there will be a surface to nail into. Eventually the ceiling will have drywall spanning between the glulam beams.

Adding nailer strip.
Adding nailer strip.

We also had to add fire blocking behind the rim boards. Again, fire-blocking prevents the fire from spreading from the walls up to the ceiling, or vise versa.

Leaps adding fire blocking.
Adding fire blocking.
Adding insulation because cavity will be covered by sheathing.
Adding insulation.

Last, but definitely not least, the guys started sheathing the roof. Oh boy, did that changed the way things looked!


While they guys were on the main room, Gil was back in the master suite, working on the cantilevered window. In order to build the wall that supports the high side of the pitch, Gil had to install the parallam beams over the corner window. Neither my dad, nor Gil had built a cantilevered corner window before, but they are old hands at carpentry, so they figured it out quickly.

We ended up using two, 3-1/2” x 11-7/8” parallam beams, connected perpendicularly by a Simpson LEG hanger. The hangers top flange rests on one beam, while the other beam rests in the hanger. The hanger is then bolted into the beam with lag bolts.

The first beam.
The first beam.
Hand for scale.
Hardware. Hand for scale.

The size of the hanger was a surprise to all parties, and it required some special cutting of both the beam and the sheathing, in order to make it fit.

Plywood cutout to accommodate LEG hanger.

We also had to build a box out on the exterior side of the beam because the beam was only half the width of the wall and sheathing requires framing to nail into.

Looking out.
Looking out.

After installing the corner window beams, the rest of the framing over the master suite was easy: other rake wall, joists, and sheathing.

Closing up master suite.
Buttoning up the master suite.

Similar to the master bathroom window, we could not move on to the roof in the studio until we had the corner window beams installed.

First beam.
First beam.
Lifting second beam.
Lifting second beam.
More heavy lifting.
More heavy lifting.

This time around it was much more expeditious. Also, the roof above the beams is ‘flat’ (we used monoslope trusses) and a parapet wall.

In place.
In place.
Corner window and parapet framing.


This week we also worked towards getting our plumbing ‘top-out’ inspection. To do so, all vents, clean-outs, p-traps, thermostat wires, exterior hose bibs, shower valves, etc., must be installed.

Plumbing is becoming less and less of a mystery to me. These photos help:

FHA straps.

The metal strip spanning the hot and cold water manifolds is also know as an FHA strap ( I have yet to figure out what FHA stands for), and it prevents sheet rockers from eventually puncturing plumbing.


Foam placed around the pipe so that it will prevent ‘knocking’. If there is no foam, it sounds like someone knocking on the wall every time the water is turned off.

We also had to dig the trenches for the sewer clean-outs.  If there is a block in the pipe, the clean-outs access blockage.  There is a five foot maximum distance from the building, required by code.


Brass caps.
Brass caps.

We went with brass caps in the courtyard, because of visibility.  They are nicer to look at.

PVC caps.

PVC, functional and way less expensive, in the back of the house.

Jose venting the fan in the bathroom.

My dad calls bathroom fans ‘fart fans’. They are not my favorite looking thing in a bathroom, but coming from someone who lives in a very small house, that little piece of audible privacy makes a world of difference.


Harvey also returned to build the transition between the fire box and the metal pipe that will extend through the roof. He created a chase out of pumice brick, in which the pipe will reside.

That Harvey, he is so good.
That Harvey, he is so good.

We are painting the fireplace chimney matte black, per clients request.

Inspiration. Fireplace by Briggs Edward Simon.
Fireplace by Briggs Edward Simon.

The tricky thing about painting a stainless steel surface is that there is a thin oil residue on it to prevent rusting, however it also prevents paint from adhering. We had to use muratic acid (smells terrible) to take off the oil, and then we were able to paint it.

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Harvey also built out the ‘banco’ (bench) on the side of the fireplace. It is a place to sit and look out the window and/or store firewood.


All of the CMU block will eventually be covered in slate tile.



Garbage. Every job site has it, every job site needs to dispose of it. Unfortunately construction produces a lot of waste material. We contacted Waste Management to inquire about renting a construction dumpster and it was $800.00 a month not including the dump fee. That wasn’t in the budget, so once a week, either myself, Ed, or Bruce (in any combination of pairs) makes a trip to the landfill. It costs about $38.00 to unload one ton of waste material. So, you can see that it did not make dollars and cents to hire Waste Management to do the dirty work for us. It is also kind of fun (and a workout) to unload the trailer.

Ed and Bruce sprucing up the trailer.  We got it from Oklahoma. Used trailers are surprisingly expensive.
Ed and Bruce sprucing up the trailer.

My dad is adamant about keeping the site clean, clean, clean. I don’t disagree. Type – A personalities.

One thought on “ A Roof[s] Over Our Heads ”

  1. If you want to butt double pane glass to glass at your corner window, instead of cluttering it up with window framing, I figured out an easy and cheap way to do it without risking the seals on the thermopanes. Email me.

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