Barn Roof

We have a barn. Well, a 30 x 30 shed that needed a new roof and that we wanted to convert to a horse barn for the winter months.  Our first task (my husband and mine) was to build a large 21’ lean-to for our “stuff” that was in the barn, and it had to be long enough for our boat.  This went smoothly after squaring up to the existing barn, then the large 6 x 6 posts were set and the frame built.  Added a few more posts in the center for support, 2x4s and tin. Done.

2Next was to tackle that roof.  We decided to build our own trusses and to save money we recycled some of the 2x6s that were on the current roof.  We were not constructing our trusses at the same pitch as the existing roof, so we could re-use and cut off the rotted ends.  The pitch of the new roof was going to be a bit steeper therefore our trusses were going to angle higher. So after much calculation and using google searches for the formula, we finally built our first truss in front of our garage where we had a nice level work surface.  Having a dead-level work area is very important for figuring out the correct angles.  After the first was built, we constructed a jig to use on the rest of the 13 trusses.  A jig is the 1way to make way all your trusses are identical so you have a level smooth roof.   For the jig, I simply used scrap wood.  I used a very thin piece of wood to lay on the ground. The bottom of this thin board would snug against the 2 x 6 truss base.  The 2 x 4s would lay on top of this board which is why it needs to be thin.  I nailed a scrap piece of 2 x 4 at the top with the correct measurement of the peak of my trust.  So if your total height of your truss is 36”, this jig would rest on the top of the 2 x 6 (subtract 5 ½”) and be 30.5” to the 2×4 stopper.  Be sure to mark center where your two 2 x 4 on your trusses will meet. It’s hard to tell on the picture, but I wrote all my measurements on the jig for building the trusses.  A life saver.  We had never built trusses before this so we researched this.  There are some You Tube videos out there and good diagrams.  Also, there are different ways to build these.  Use what you believe you are capable of doing.  But the basics are the same.  Build on level ground, build some sort of jig or jigs for uniformity, and be sure you write down all your measurements for the different braces, angles and lengths.

My husband and I built 5 trusses in front of the garage with the new lumber.  This is all we calculated we’d need before we started using the recycled 2×6’s.   We then started the tear down and re-build.  With each truss being 30 feet long it was time to call in some help.  These were heavy!
3We moved our work area closer to the barn and used our 16’ trailer with the gate down as our work bench.  I was building trusses with my father in law and sister in law helping hold and nailing the plates as my 4husband was working demolition with a friend, and of course our daughter helping pull nails and picking up with her wagon.  We did not tear the entire roof off at once, in case of bad weather so we tore down as we built up.

In starting to build the rest of the trusses, I had my 10” Ryobi Miter Saw I bought from Workshop Tools years ago.  This worked fine except the bending over on the trailer was killing my back.  I went to Workshop Tools and bought their Portable Miter Saw Stand for $99.97.  LOVE IT!  With the slide out guides to hold the long boards it saved my back.  We used a SKIL Circular Saw from Workshop Tools to cut the long angles on the 2x6s for the ends of the trusses.

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Once the trusses were built and we got them hoisted up with extra help from some very strong friends and family.  These were very heavy so it took about 4 or 5 of us to get them up.  We then had to nail temporary braces on them to keep the level vertically until we got the one bys on the top.  We put our trusses every 3 foot, the width of our tin and one on the outside of 9each end.  When we put the one bys on, we calculated even measurements between where we wanted the top or peak line and the base line. We used ladders moving up and down screwing the one bys perpendicular to the trusses. Finally, it was time for  the tin!  This was the simpler part of the job.  I was the lightest and the two guys didn’t particularly like heights, so with my charged BOSCH 18v Impact drill (bought at Workshop Tools of course) and a ¼” nut setter, away I went.  The guys hoisted the tin up, my husband squared the peak on his ladder and I was on the other end.  I simply walked on the top of the tin making sure my weight was straddled on the trusses up and down screwing it down through the one bys every ridge line of the tin.  The final touch was the ridge cap.  Gutters were put on later and the roof was done!  My husband got the honors of the last touch.  You can see where I was taking the picture.

One final note: In doing any project like this around your lawn or where you will have animals and kids, I would invest in a magnetic pick up tool.  We were constantly dropping nails and screws, and this would be torture in a horses hoof or in a kids foot.  This jewel from Workshop Tools, the rolling magnetic pickup got them up every time, out of dirt or in grass.  I purchased this because our horses get their “pedicures” from the Ferrier on concrete.  After sweeping, I run this little tool over the concrete work surface.  I have attached a picture of what it picked up after sweeping up from the Ferrier.  Look at how much it picks up.  All those metal splinters. . . . and how much I use it!  Amazing!!


11        Next Project – the inside of the barn.   Happy Building – Brenda R

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