Archive for the ‘Mobile Home Rehab’ Category

Trailer Trash Adventures, Part Deux: Adios, Turkey Tent!

July 9, 2010

Last time I posted, Trailer Trash Adventures, I was researching the process of upgrading our old mobile home, without breaking the bank. Well, we took the leap. We started the trailer trash makeover with replacing the old, thin, leaky, noisy, criminally-under-insulated roof. Herewith is an account of… The Roofover.

Yes, we got ‘er done. Thanks to a windfall, we finally got that old “turkey tent” poor excuse for a roof covered with a real roof. The crew of two from Southern Builders showed up last week, WHEN THEY SAID THEY WOULD (a  home improvement contractor near-miracle, all by itself). They unloaded, built, cleaned up and left, under five hours later. I was impressed.

Unloading

On time, unloading and unpacking materials and tools.

The crew worked steadily and with minimal idle conversation, and no smoke breaks, unless I missed them. This obviously wasn’t their first rodeo; they seemed to know what to do and when, and they did it.

The first thing they did was to unload and unpack the materials and tools they would be using. The trailer had materials on it for two or three other jobs. Some of it had to be removed to get to the stuff they would need here, but most of it stayed in place, because somebody was paying attention when they loaded up.

Fully loaded gooseneck trailer

Fully loaded gooseneck trailer

Materials for several jobs.

Materials for several jobs.

After unloading, one team member checked out the roof, including detailed measurements. The other laid out the material and organized it in the order in which they would need it. The online quote form had already collected all the relevant information about the size, style and contours of the existing roof.

Final measurements.

Final measurements.

The insulation went on, first. It was reflective-foil-backed, three-inch polystyrene foam. This usually has an R-value (insulating property) of R-4 to R-5 per inch, which means an insulation of R-12 to R-15. The reflective foil bounces radiant heat that penetrates the roofing material to get to the insulation, back into the roofing material, and from there, back into space. Combined with a white roof, the foil intercepts  of a lot of high-angle, summer sunshine before the insulation even has to deal with it.

Somewhere between R-12 and R-15, plus reflective foil, this constitutes far better insulation than the roof has ever had.

Somewhere between R-12 and R-15, plus reflective foil, this constitutes far better insulation than the roof has ever had.

The fact that the panels are large means that there are fewer seams between them, and thus less of an opportunity for heat loss due to infiltration. Since they are held in place by the trim around the edges, and covered by the roofing sheet metal, rather than laid between rafters, the amount of thermal bridging is minimal, as well.

The fascia holds the lower edges of the insulating panels in place all the way around. It is screwed into the existing upper roof plate through the existing siding and trim, right above the half-assed “rain gutter” that came with the trailer.

Drilling the fascia into the existing wall. The fascia has a bend fabricated into it that holds the bottom edge of the insulating panels in place.

Drilling the fascia into the existing wall. The fascia has a bend fabricated into it that holds the upper edges of the insulating panels in place at the eave.

The crew notched out a box in the overhang where the wood stove chimney comes within less than a foot of the roof.

The crew notched out a box in the overhang where the wood stove chimney comes within less than a foot of the roof.

The foil-backed foam was trimmed closely to fit, with tight seams. Stock pieces of this insulation from a big-box store, in four-by-eight-foot lengths, would have had a lot more seams.

Large, close-fitting foam insulation panels with minimal seams

Large, close-fitting foam insulation panels with minimal seams

Nearly done installing foam – moving the job right along.

Nearly done installing foam – moving the job right along.

All fasteners were white-coated or plated, self-drilling, sheet metal screws – no nails. I was impressed with the quality of the work as seen in these details:

Where the eave meets the gable

Where the eave meets the gable

Overhang – something this roof never had, encouraging leaks that probably reduced the wall insulation to useless in many places – 12 inches on both sides, and 6 inches on the ends.

Overhang – something this roof never had, encouraging leaks that probably reduced the wall insulation to useless in many places – 12 inches on both sides, and 6 inches on the ends.

Finished notch of eave around wodd stove chimney – nice touch, and safer, although triple-wall chimney stays pretty cool.

Finished notch of eave around wood stove chimney – nice touch, and safer, although triple-wall chimney stays pretty cool.

Mitred joint in the gable trim at the peak.

Mitred joint in the gable trim at the peak.

Once the insulation was in place, the sheet metal went on. The sheet metal panels were cut to run from eave to eave, so all the seams run downhill, and none across. The installers put a crimp in the middle where the panel lays over the ridge. When they lay it in place, the panel bends cleanly at the ridge, and reaches the eave on both sides.

One worker measured to the center of each panel and laid it over a piece of steel angle, whacking it over the angle with a hammer made for the purpose, setting the ridge crimp.

One worker measured to the center of each panel and laid it over a piece of steel angle, whacking it over the angle with a hammer made for the purpose, setting the ridge crimp.

A piece of sheet metal that has just had the ridge crimp applied.

A piece of sheet metal that has just had the ridge crimp applied.

The last piece of sheet metal had to be cut to meet the end of the roof.

The last piece of sheet metal had to be cut to meet the end of the roof.

The first sheet metal panel goes from prep to the roof.

The first sheet metal panel goes from prep to the roof.

Sheet metal installation about half done.

Sheet metal installation about half done.

Crimped sheet in place over the ridge, and note they were not at all stingy with the screws. Joints between sheets were pre-caulked on the ground.

Crimped sheet in place over the ridge, and note they were not at all stingy with the screws. Joints between sheets were pre-caulked on the ground.


Existing capped sewer vent

Existing capped sewer vent -- ugh-lee!

Replacement capped sewer vent

Replacement capped sewer vent. Nice.


And now, for the payoff! Old, turkey-tent roof, versus new, sleek, insulated, weather tight roof:

Before. Note rust, crimped crossways seams about every two feet, gaps at the ridge that caught wind-driven rain. This roof had a classic case of roof rumble during any high wind, like rattling a cookie sheet to simulate thunder, but louder.

BEFORE -- Note rust, crimped crossways seams about every two feet, gaps at the ridge that caught wind-driven rain. This roof had a classic case of roof rumble during any high wind, like rattling a cookie sheet to simulate thunder, but louder.

AFTER. Sleek, huh? We haven’t had any rain, yet, but I’m betting (and so is Southern Builders – they have a good warranty) against leaks.

AFTER -- Sleek, huh? We haven’t had any rain, yet, but I’m betting (and so is Southern Builders – they have a good warranty) against leaks.

Of course, we haven’t had the roof long enough to compare cooling or heating bills, but I have been watching the indoor/outdoor thermometers during the current heat wave, and the house stays about 3 to 5 degrees cooler, even on the brightest, hottest afternoons, and I may be able to turn back the window air conditioners when the wave ends. I am really curious to see the effect of the new roof on the heating load – especially whether we need the electric space heaters as much along with the wood stove, next winter. I don’t expect to feel as much radiant heat loss on my skin under the “cathedral ceiling,” with three inches of foam in the way.

We’ll see, but I’m optimistic.

I think this trailer just got a little less trashy!


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