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Sistering Rafters to add roof support

 There was only 2×4’s holding up the roof and we wanted to eliminate the knee walls.  The first thing was to create a ridge beam to better support the rafters we planned on adding.  We hired two contractors to put in two 2×12 LVL’s (Laminated veneered lumber) held up by a 4×4 douglas fir in the middle that was supported  down to the basement floor. 




 Two by eights were then put in with a framing nailer and a 6 ton automotive bottle jack.  6 Ton Automotive Bottle Jack

Steve would brace a “T” shaped wood invention to the rafter and bottle jack that had a large piece of LVL lumber under it to spread the area of impact.  He then jacked up the roof one rafter at a time to fit a two by eight that was cut to fit the upper and lower roof angle.


We are planning a  “michigan roof” as its called around here in Wisconsin (?).  It’s a hot roof or sealed insulation in the rafter cavity with no traditional air gap.  When the metal roof is installed we’ll put in an air gap  between it and the old roof outside the house.  Inside,  layer of 2″ hard insulation is against the roof, then there is still enough space for R21 fiberglass insulation to total between R26-28.  We put a layer of Reflectix for a vapor barrier that was supposed to increase the R value, but I am still skeptical about that.  We plan on car siding or tongue and groove pine as the ceiling.  As we got more 2×8’s put in we were able to take out temporary braces that were put in.  This allowed us to take out the knee walls that held up the roof before, now to create more living space.

Home, crap home!


Just moved into our 1950 dilapidated cabin on the Eagle River, Wisconsin.  We moved from a renovated foreclosure near Walloon Lake in Petoskey Michigan.   Realtors sold it more than doubling our purchase price.  We wanted to be on a chain of lakes and this new old house was the best we could find.  Sometimes, no, many times, I think we should have kept looking.  Our first mistake was to think we had time to look after  the house went on the market. The house sold with 2 offers the first day!!!  That sounds great, but we had to be out in 30 days!

I have a close friend in Minocqua and used to have a cabin there so we decided to look in that area. We  wanted to stay with a price of less than $200,000 so that narrowed down the on water possibilities.  There was one other property on 6 acres down the river, but an investor bought it before we could even see it.  We were moving from a 3600 sq.ft., 6 acre house in the woods. First we had to get over the fact that we couldn’t afford anything over an acre on water. Our dream home would also have to be less than 1500 sq. ft..  So, after finding this 1300 sq. ft. Cape cod style  with a one car attached garage just under an acre . . . we promptly rented two storage units.


To describe the house I might as well show you pics:

0716151801Every room was a different color paneling. The whole place was carpeted (mauve in master, white in living area.)  By the way, our St. Bernard is named Wally.

0905151725-1The ceilings downstairs were 7 feet 4 inches tall with painted knotty pine that drooped.

The upstairs has an attic hatch to get up and 4 foot high knee walls.  Older green carpeting covers the 2 bedrooms and “upper foyer ” with more paneling. 0716151805 Behind the knee wall my husband found 07161518162×4 rafters holding up the roof with no insulation outside the knee wall. We haven’t removed any interior ceilings yet to see how much insulation is there.  The previous owner said they did some updates in the 70’s – that sounds good doesn’t it? img_20150810_121115445 The kitchen has formica cabinets, orange formica counter tops, formica walls and ceilings and linoleum in pretty bad shape.  There is no space for the refrigerator except on one wall. Effectively blocking the walking space logically needed to navigate through to the back hall. This 8×12 room has osb walls and orange indoor/outdoor carpet from the 60’s.  It holds the basement staircase and has doors to the back porch and attached garage.  0716151835The garage is very long, about 24 feet by 15 feet. A work room in the back is 15 x 10 feet.  there is no insulation.  Windows are from the 50’s.  The only way to get in the house here is a small door that is handmade next to the garage door.  So how bad?, pretty bad, but don’t worry it only gets worse from here.


  1.  Replace the paneling and insulate, update wiring
  2. Replace the carpeting, level the floors, update with new floorin
  3. Increase the square footage without adding on
    1. Take out the knee walls upstairs
    2. turn the garage into living space
  4. reenforce the rafters to hold more weight for snow and insulation.
  5. update the kitchen
  6. Replace all the roofs with metal including the rubber flat roofs on the front and back porches0716151817a-1This will of course include adding a pitch to those roofs which we don’t know how as of yet.
  7. Oh yes, and raise the height of the ceilings somehow . .

So, that’s about it for now until we actually do it, this is our dream list, except for one important thing that my husband says we have to do – BUILD A GARAGE, THE BIGGEST ONE THAT WILL FIT!