Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Replacing a Simple Metal Roof -Day 1




Old rusted roofing that we removed. 
Brand new roofing to be installed. 
Our electrical shed (it houses the solar system controls and some of the panels are mounted on its roof) has an elderly metal roof. The previous property owner built it out of salvaged materials, and although the building itself is holding up quite well, the metal roof has succumbed to the vog. Over the past few years we have been patching spots as they appear, but the acid rain has been eating away at the channels. Last week one of the cats was up on the roof and it's weight punched numerous new holes. Oh my, time to replace the roof.

If we didn't have the solar panels mounted on the roof, changing the metal would have been a fairly straight forward job. But alas, things don't go all that simple for us. We made the poor choice (in hindsight) of putting the panels on the roof, something that everyone and everybody said to do. Now I'm wondering why? Why do they have to be on the roof? Now that the roof needs replacing, we have to remove the panels. A simple afternoon job is now going to take days plus disrupt our electricity. Hmmm, we have to think about this.

New roofing on the right. Solar panels and rack on the left
still need to be removed so that we can get at the old roof.
We initially thought we could simply disconnect the solar rack, move it over a couple feet out of the way while we removed the old roof panel a slid the new one in place. Wrong! The stainless steel screws used to make the rack were all very badly corroded. Not simply corroded, some were crumbling. The entire rack was in danger of coming apart. Next, many of the screws holding to roof panels in place were impossible to back out. They too were in bad shape. This was looking more and more like a big job.

Well, the solar panels and rack simply needed to be dismantled and totally removed from the roof. So we ended up spending half the day getting that done, being very careful not to damage the solar panels themselves. We salvaged all the aluminum angle so that we could use it again. Of course, the electrical wiring needed to be disconnected. All the stainless steel screws were beyond reusing. So on day #1 we took care of one solar rack and we have to look forward to repeating this process tomorrow with rack #2. Gee...so much fun.

Next we removed half the old roof, having to use a sawsall to cut off the roofing screws. Once the old roof was off, it was simple to lay on the new panels and screw them into place. This took no time at all, so it seemed.

With the shed roof now half done, and our arms too tired to tackle the second rack, we turned our thoughts to a ground rack for the solar panels. Looking around, the most logical spot to put it would be right where our Costco storage "shed" was located. Ok then, empty the shed, disconnect it from the lumber foundation, pick it up and move it over 15 feet. Since it was only the two of us, picking it up wasn't exactly what we did. We sort of walked it to its new location, moving each of its six vertical posts (we called them legs) a few inches at time. But in no time it shuffled over 15 feet. Once pegged down in place, all the stuff we emptyed out had to go back in. Boy, it was a long afternoon!

23 comments:

  1. I'm tired just reading about all that work! Wow - you'd think the UofH researchers would have all kid PDF's on the best anti-vog coatings - after all, they have a great test bed area there! I think the idea of putting solar panels on one's roof was what should have been just one of several placement options. You wisely have relocated those panels, and keeping them cleaner [and thus more efficient] will be much easier, too. So - celebrate!

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  2. oops - that was originally written as "all kind", but the NSA censors modd'ed it. Sorry.

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  3. Things rust here really quick! You can't leave metal items outdoors. And untreated metals rust even indoors, but not as quickly. Tools stored in a shed or garage go to a pile of rust if they've not been coated with a thin layer of oil or grease. Nails and wire rust to dust. The Ka'u district is a real life laboratory for studying the effects of acid rain.

    After losing their fences, wheelbarrows, gardening tools, people have taken notice. Not uncommon to see people painting their chain link fences, their house rooves, their shovels trying to fight the rust. Plastic wheelbarrows have become more popular.

    The farm stores now carry fencing with heavier galvanization, better grades of barbed wire and fencing wire. The ironworks sells zinc paint to treat outdoor metal, good for the cutoff ends of rooves and I-beams, plus of course fencing , though it's expensive. Most livestock water troughs are now plastic, the metal ones having disintegrated away.

    Welcome to the new world!

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  4. That totally sounded like a lot of work for the both of you! But I am glad to hear that the new roof is now installed and that you found a better spot to install your solar panels. By the way, since you mentioned that acid rain is a great enemy of metal roofs, haven't you thought of using another material? Flat roofs, for example, are sturdy and easy to maintain. Well, good luck!
    Soo @ Willi Roofing Services

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    1. Hi! The reason we use metal roofing here is because we collect the rainwater for domestic use. An asphalt shingle roof would be far easier to put on, but then the water cannot be used for household use. One could use a slate or tile roof for water collection, but the cost would be prohibitive. Being that we are located in Hawaii, the shipping if such heavy material would be very costly.

      Metal roofing is the number one option here. There are three choices that I am aware of. Color bonded aluminum, odor bonded galvanized steel, and plain galvanize steel. Several different grades can be obtained, depending upon here you purchase it. But they all get severely damaged by the vog if not kept painted.

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  5. Those old rusted metal roof definitely needs replacement. Solar panel needs a sturdy support as you install them. I hope that you have installed the roof properly along with the solar panel. This thing is a little pricey and it deserves a good kind of shed.

    Francisco Close @Katch Mark

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    1. Aloha Francisco! We opted to remove the solar panels from the roof and mount them on a ground frame. Easier to access and keep clean. So far we are much happier having them off of the roof.

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  6. Huge work there but i'm glad you have finally replaced it with new ones and you did all the work yourself. It must have been a tough job but looking how they are now must been really rewarding.

    - ProCraftExteriors.com

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    1. Thanks Angel! We find that as long as the roof is simple, a metal roof is very easy to put on. We are keeping that in mind for when we build our next house. Keep it simple....then you can do it yourself.

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  8. Yeesh. Something about rust that always gives me the heebie-jeebies. I couldn't explain it; maybe the fact they look like contagion, but are inorganic. In any case, if the roof needs replacing, the roof needs replacing. Doesn't matter what material, for as long as it fits your particular condition. The only thing left here, I guess, is setting it up well, and in ways that will stand the wear and tear for quite some time.

    ARRoofing.com

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  11. Ann, the job wasn't difficult, but it turned out to be time consuming. When we started, we didn't think that it would turn into something complicated. Just applying a plain, simple roof is a matter of lining up the panels and screwing them into place, taking care not to over tighten the screws. You'll need to use roofing screws because they have rubber washers for waterproofing,

    Metal roofing is the most affordable if you need a roof to catch water for storage. If no need for catchment water, then I'd look into asphalt shingles, assuming that you have a plywood roof. If no plywood roof, then the cost if installing the plywood first makes an asphalt shingle roof more expensive than metal, for real.

    HPM makes metal roofing over in Hilo. There is another company also in Shipman Park making metal roofing, but I don't recall their name. We purchased our roofing sheets directly from HPM, and the matching color screws too,

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  12. I love the DIY work especially about the roofs. Thanks for sharing. Liquid Roofing EPDM

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  13. You have made some useful points here and I would really like to have more articles about other kinds of Pre-coated Roofing Sheets, Colour coated Roofing sheets and metal Roofing sheets.

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  14. The prices of metal roofing differ from one builder to another depending upon a lot of factors. Given this case, it is important that the price of metal roofing be evaluated so that consumers may know whether or not it is reasonable.

    Iko roofing

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    1. Sam, you're right that price can vary between suppliers. Note that I don't use a builder because this blog is about self sufficiency. Price is just one aspect of choosing materials. Quality and guarantee are other things to consider. Availability is another consideration since I'm on an island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I have a very limited selection here. Yes, I could make a special order from the mainland, but the shipping costs would be astronomical. While the wealthy retirees can afford that, small homesteaders cannot.

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  15. Metal roofing panel price also depends on upon the parts which should be repaired and which should actually need an installation. In fact, the most important thing is that metals should be of high quality and also depends on on the brands in the long run.

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