Oct 25, 2017

A New Roof for our Cabin

I'm pleased to share our new cabin roof today. As I uploaded the photos for today's post, I chuckled to myself over how much they are not pretty and stylish blog photos.

But, to me, they are beautiful because we're so happy to have a new dry roof over our heads. When you've literally had water leaking through your ceiling into your living room, new roof photos become a thing of beauty!

This is our old aluminum roof. No one could tell us how old it was, just that it was very old; maybe even the original roof from 1950.

Most roofs in the McCall, Idaho, area are metal because of the amount of snow that falls here. Newer building structure is generally stronger these days, though, so new homes may not require a metal roof. It depends on how much snow the frame can withstand.

Metal roofs are designed to shed the snow. You can see how much snow stuck to the ridge line on top of the cabin, but most of the snow on the sloped sides slid off. 

On our old roof, the nails holding it down had popped up in many places. Instead of sliding off, the snow was catching on those nails in little ice dams. As it melted, water seeped down the loose nail holes inside the attic and dripped through the insulation to the drywall ceiling below. We wonder why the previous owners never attempted to fix the nails and stop the leaks, but they didn't. Our ceilings in every room look pretty much like this, covered with damage from leaks. 


This is our garage roof. It's not metal.

This is how the snow builds up on a roof that isn't metal. The snow piled in the foreground has slid off our cabin's metal roof all winter. But you can see the snow on the garage hasn't slid off; it's sticking and building up with each storm and getting very heavy. We saw many old sheds and outbuildings in our area that collapsed last winter because of heavy snow buildup like this.  

We got three bids for a new roof, and early one morning late last summer a crew of five men arrived to do the work. First, they tore off the old roof. We knew from our inspection during escrow that some of the sheathing had dry rot caused by the leaking water. The dry rot was made worse because the previous owner had covered the roof vents so that air wasn't circulating through the attic space.

It was sad to see how much of this beautiful old lumber was rotten and had to be removed. We could only guess at the reason for the previous owner not allowing attic air circulation; perhaps they thought the cabin would be warmer with the vents covered. One of the things we learned from our old cabin is that a solution we might think of as common sense, isn't always the correct thing to do. We learned to always check with an expert before changing or fixing something ourselves to avoid potentially costly mistakes in the future. A new ridge vent was installed, and the attic vents were opened up again.

This is one of the boards that was removed, covered with dry rot and mold. Later this fall we are having all the old insulation in the attic removed, and all of the wood and drywall there will be sprayed with a mold killer/inhibitor. We'll have fresh new insulation blown in, and we'll cover the sagging and water stained ceiling inside the cabin with new bead board. The mold abatement specialist doing that work advised us it's better to cover the old ceiling drywall than to tear it out and replace it. 

This is a pile of the old metal roofing that will be recycled. I was surprised how light and thin it was. I expected it to be heavy and rigid, but it reminded me of aluminum foil and bent very easily. 

Once the old roof is removed, new sheathing is installed.

This is the new sheathing on the garage.

A black waterproof membrane is installed over the sheathing.

Here's what our yard looked like during the work. My husband and I left and drove around the lake while the old roof was torn off, and it was a little shocking to drive up later and see this mess. The roofers assured me it would all be put back to normal before they left, and it was. They did a wonderful job. It took two days to finish the cabin and most of the garage. It started pouring rain on the third morning, so they came back the following week to finish the trim on the garage. 

We were so happy and relieved to be snug and warm in our cabin during the torrential down pour that week, knowing we didn't have to worry about any more leaks. My husband, pictured here, chose a 26 gauge standing seam metal roof that will last for generations to come. With a coat of new paint on the siding and a new roof on top, our little cabin will have a water tight winter for the first time in a long, long time.  

And now we are assured that our garage will not collapse under next winter's heavy snow. It will slide right off the new metal roof. 

We'll finish our painting and start working on the yard when it's warm enough next spring, but for now we're very satisfied with all we accomplished here our first year. It's been a lot of hard work, but so worth it. We love our little cabin, and can't imagine life without it!


  1. Nice! Too bad about the lovely old wood but at least your roof is now sound!

  2. Metal roof sounds like the prefect idea. Around here in ND we see more and more metal roofs. Last Spring they got the roof on the Lutheran church done and it's metal roof. It looks great and this year our church (Methodist) got a metal roof also. Your cabin looks wonderful and ready for Winter. Thanks for sharing with us Laurel!

  3. You've done so much already! Your girl is looking grand!

  4. After your last post, I was wondering how much snow you get there. A new roof is a thing of beauty and warm and dry is a very good thing. Enjoy your hard work this winter.

  5. Oooh, that new roof is a thing of beauty! Your husband really made the right choice. So glad you two found this little cabin to love.

  6. I'm sure it was a lot of work, time and money, but look how nice it looks and you'll stay cozy this winter.

  7. Your cabin is looking great, Laurel. Love the new roof. xo

  8. Lots of work but so nice and cozy. No worries now, just enjoy.

  9. The new roof looks wonderful! I want a metal roof on our house - not because of snow but because I love how it looks. So glad your cabin is nice and snug now. And the garage!

  10. I have cabin envy. I know it's a lot of work, but you'll have years of enjoyment ahead. And I'll still be having cabin envy.