Update 9/13/08:

Somehow, what I built isn’t at all what I planned and I find that smaller and simpler is definitely better.

Exterior shutters and wooden windows (double hung)

Couldn’t find any prices or online ordering anywhere, no dealer in my area.—various double hung window manufacturers

Factory direct sales—no prices online, requested prices through their information request form—hidden doors, I thought they only had those in the movies.

Building a flat roof

Building a Flat Roof Right

3. Screw Down Underlayment
The sheet-rubber roofing material that Tom is using requires a substrate called iso board—½-inch-thick rigid foam (made of polyisocyanurate) with a special fiberglass backing. The iso board (a flat version of the same material he orders custom-fitted for larger roofs) cuts easily with a utility knife and anchors to the plywood sheathing with screws and large galvanized steel washers. It provides a soft, protective base for the rubber. Tom makes sure to stagger the joints and to fit the pieces tightly against each other, as iso board doesn’t expand and contract like plywood

Update 9/14/08:

Got my elastomeric roof and love it because it’s so easy to fix.  I still have a bunch of holes to cut into the roof for a stove and lights.   Already put lots of holes in it when I put the solar panels on the roof.  There’s nothing like being able to fix a roof easily myself.


… Today, in almost all parts of the country, one can go to a local lumberyard with a building design on the back of an envelope, watch the technician keyboard all the critical dimensions—spans, snow loads, roof pitch, and so on into the software formula— and, a few seconds later, watch the printer spit out a complete roof truss design with every piece of lumber identified as to size, every joint identified as to strength, and a complete cost estimate to boot.

If you can’t choose between two alternate designs, ask the computer to do both. It’s usually free. The lumberyard or truss-assembly plant provides this service in the expectation of selling trusses that wouldn’t be sold if the potential buyer had to go out and buy expensive engineering services for their design. …

In MY part of the country, that doesn’t seem to be happening.

Rafters and Joists

For light duty (typically residential) applications, the allowable spans for roof rafters and joists are given in tabular form in the North American building codes. For applications which fall outside the limits of the tables, the size and spacing requirements must be calculated.

Rafters and joists should be continuous, except where spliced over vertical supports, and should be doubled for extra strength on both sides of openings wider than two rafter or joist spacings.

Roof Trusses

Roof trusses must be designed to limit deflection. This is especially crucial on flat roofs where deflection will result in ponding and a consequent increase in load.

For residential construction, some of the North American building codes list spans and sizes of members of some wood species for some of the more common truss types. Generally, these table apply only to roof trusses of up to 12m (40’wink span spaced up to 600mm (2’wink on center. For longer spans or heavy loads, engineering analysis is required.

Finally found a place to order trusses with a Phoenix location and a lot of cool calculators:

I considered getting power for net metering, but …

It looked like I might get Unisource to subsidize a solar system for net metering and I made a serious effort to get Unisource to quote me the cost of bringing in power underground.

I had been calling since March for general info, was finally told that I needed to submit an application.  I submitted my plot plan and their application with a cover letter, explaining that I would NOT pay Unisource to ruin my view with power poles.  I wanted to bring the power in underground across the lot behind me or across 3 lots next to me.  I requested a call to discuss my options.

Yesterday I panicked when after 2 weeks without a word, I found Unisource stakes at the lot, indicating that they would run poles down the road, acroos the road, then up my lot and over to the garage.  It was the absolute WORST configuration.  Of course I could pay them to run the power underground on my lot, but there’s no way that I’ll bring power poles on the street and they won’t go underground on the street even if I paid for it.

Neighbors told me to ask for John Sampson, the guy in charge at Unisource for new power.  He did call me back today, a nice guy, but they just do things THEIR way only and they had decided not to use any of the utility easements.  The CC&Rs provide for a 10 foot setback on the sides of the lot for utilities.  The county zoning only requires 5 ft.  So, they’re effectively taking 3000 squarefeet of my property for an easement that NOBODY wants to use.  Same with the easement in the back.  I asked why they don’t notify county zoning that they don’t want the easement anymore, it would have saved me AND them a lot of time.  I didn’t get a meaningful answer.

And, he had no clue about my cover letter, which was apparently thrown away.  I really don’t appreciate that.  Why am I surprised?  That’s what I’ve been dealing with for 6 years.

Of course I cancelled my “order” (which really was a request for information) and Unisource can take a flying leap.

They have a pretty good program to subsidize solar systems, but were out of funds for the year and are currently looking into new programs for next year.  They also would not allow batteries (safety was quoted as the reason) and I would have had to get TWO systems to have a backup for when the power is off.

Which, BTW, is at least a couple times a week lately.  Sunday the power was out about 4 hours.  That’s of course becaused these morons won’t put the power underground so it won’t constantly get hit be by lightning.  Apparently it’s still cheaper to continually have repair crews at work than to bury the cables, as in the civilized world.

It looks like Bangladesh here ….  in one of the most beautiful areas on the planet.

Flat roofs—gutters

box gutters

waterproofing decks

Flat metal roof with 20 year warranty

“Twenty-year material warranties are customary for metal roofing systems, which is considerably longer than the standard protection for built-up and single-ply systems. Long-term warranties are sometimes offered for weathertightness on metal roofs, including those with a 1/4:12 slope.”

“Metal standing seam roofs are becoming increasingly common on low sloped roof assemblies.

Residential roof designs in mild climates or where there is little precipitation tend to exhibit lower pitched roofs and drainage at the exterior wall; an example of residential flat roof is that of the adobe construction in the American Southwest.