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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

Posted this over at LJ, thought I would post it over here too.

I've been woodworking for ~1 year in a decades old building that needs some repairs. I've not done anything of this scale before, so I wanted to get my ducks in a row before I proceed.

I have a 36' x 16' building on a concrete slab that is as simple as it can get: 4 walls and a roof. It is uninsulated and up until 3-4 months ago, would flood with any significant down pour. The roof (as you can tell from the pics) is sagging in the middle and as such has moved the side walls out of plumb. This building is at least 20 years old.







As you can see there are no joists for the rafters. The walls are 2x4 construction (16 in on center) as are the rafters (24 in on center).

My wife and I plan on building a new shop/art studio several years down the road partially over this location. I live in Arkansas, so our summers can be brutal. So I'm faced with either sweating it out, taking a "vacation" from woodworking during the summer, or renovating this shop. I choose the latter as option 1 or 2 doesn't work for me :).

So that's the situation. Here are my two questions:

1) I want to insulate this building. Most of the heat is coming from the roof so I was planning on insulating from that direction first, then focusing on the walls. I was planning on R13 batting since this should be a significant improvement over the no insulation that is there now. I want to avoid putting more weight on the already sagging roof so I was planning on adding joists, putting R13 between the joists, and putting OSB or some other cheap ceiling material between me and the insulation, putting the added weight on the walls. I had considered putting the insulation between the rafters but am worried about how to cover the batting and the extra weight that would require on the roof.

2) I want to "stabilize" this building: add some cross joists that will keep the wall from moving more out of plumb and keep the roof from sagging more. My plan was two fold: add 16' 2x6 to the top of the wall, and bolt it to the top of the wall, hopefully preventing the walls from moving out more. Further, I was going to bolt 16 foot 2x4 or 2x6s to the bottom of the rafters to keep the roof from sagging more. I would do this in 3 locations in the shop. I would then add additional nailed 16 foot 2x6 rafters to hold the ceiling and insulation (prolly 24 in on center). I've no idea if this ought to work and if 16' 2x6 construction lumber would cut it for either of the above applications (structural support and/or ceiling).

The BEST option is for me to get a bulldozer and "fix" it, but I would like to get a few more years of somewhat comfortable woodworking out of this shop.

Additional pictures are below (linked):

Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3
Pic 4
Pic 5

Any advice, comments, concerns are very welcome.
-Chris
 

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I would first get everything straight and plumb. If you use a jack with a post on the rafters and a come along with a chain on the walls this is easily accomplished, a couple pumps on the jack then a crank on the come along until its where you want it. Once you get it straight run a 2x6 on top of the walls , like you said, to hold it in place and create a ceiling. Glue and nail them to the rafters and attach them to the top plate of the wll using hurricane clips. I would also add a couple vertical 2x4s from the ceiling joist to the rafters about 1/3 of the way in from each wall, and if you want extra strength just sister 2x6s to the 2x4 rafters. Then staple 4 mil visqueen to the ceiling joists, nail up your osb or drywall and blow in insulation. Blown in will seal and insulate better than batts and be easier to put in and should be cheaper to boot. Good luck
 

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Well.....nothing you have planned can hurt. It may work fine. You may be able to pull the walls back together a bit with a come a long before adding cross bracing.
 

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Wow, I was just thinking how happy I would be with a 36x16 shop - As would a whole bunch of other guys on this forum. Good luck and keep us apprised of your progress!

Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I would first get everything straight and plumb. If you use a jack with a post on the rafters and a come along with a chain on the walls this is easily accomplished, a couple pumps on the jack then a crank on the come along until its where you want it. Once you get it straight run a 2x6 on top of the walls , like you said, to hold it in place and create a ceiling. Glue and nail them to the rafters and attach them to the top plate of the wll using hurricane clips. I would also add a couple vertical 2x4s from the ceiling joist to the rafters about 1/3 of the way in from each wall, and if you want extra strength just sister 2x6s to the 2x4 rafters. Then staple 4 mil visqueen to the ceiling joists, nail up your osb or drywall and blow in insulation. Blown in will seal and insulate better than batts and be easier to put in and should be cheaper to boot. Good luck
Thanks for the detailed response. The top of the roof (where the rafters meet) is made up of a 1x4 so I might need to come up with some way of lifting up on the rafters themselves vs the center piece. I'll admit the idea of plumbing the walls makes me a bit nervous (what if the roof collapses! ) but I'm sure that that is unfounded.

Chris
 

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consider some tension cable across

You don't need to add ceiling joist/rafters unless you want to. You can run some tension cables across the sides every 3 or 4 ft and tighten them up until the walls are vertical/plumb and that should also correxct the sag in the ceiling a bit.
I have a storage room above my garage, in which I placed 1" styrfoam planks from the HD and sprayed adhesive on them and covered them with household aluminumfoil to refelect the heat back out. Then I placed 9" bats of fibreglass in the rafter cavities and then stapled 6 mil Visqueen over the whole thing. It makes a big difference.
I have a 1 1/2" air gap between the aluminum and the roof sheathing to allow the roof to breathe through the continuous ridge vent....
Without the air space the whole thing will heat much more. It may be called an "Ice House Roof" ...I donno, but it's my own design. I studied Architecture for a while and learned a few tricks. :laughing:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You don't need to add ceiling joist/rafters unless you want to. You can run some tension cables across the sides every 3 or 4 ft and tighten them up until the walls are vertical/plumb and that should also correxct the sag in the ceiling a bit.
I have a storage room above my garage, in which I placed 1" styrfoam planks from the HD and sprayed adhesive on them and covered them with household aluminumfoil to refelect the heat back out. Then I placed 9" bats of fibreglass in the rafter cavities and then stapled 6 mil Visqueen over the whole thing. It makes a big difference.
I have a 1 1/2" air gap between the aluminum and the roof sheathing to allow the roof to breathe through the continuous ridge vent....
Without the air space the whole thing will heat much more. It may be called an "Ice House Roof" ...I donno, but it's my own design. I studied Architecture for a while and learned a few tricks. :laughing:
I like this. I had planned on adding nothing between the rafters for insulation, but I might need to reconsider this and try the styrofoam and aluminum foil.

I find the tension cable idea intriguing; however, I'm not sure where I'd get tension cables .. might have to stick with come alongs to do this.

-Chris
 

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For the "tension cables" I would suggest regular 1/4" steel cable with loops made with cable clamps on the ends; tie them into the side top plates and put a turnbuckle in the middle connecting the cables then tighten the turnbuckles until you have the walls plumb. ken
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For the "tension cables" I would suggest regular 1/4" steel cable with loops made with cable clamps on the ends; tie them into the side top plates and put a turnbuckle in the middle connecting the cables then tighten the turnbuckles until you have the walls plumb. ken
Ahh, that sounds better than the come-along, although admittedly I have no experience to make such a statement. I'm looking at turnbuckles and steel cable online - anyone have any idea how many hundreds or thousands of pounds I should cover for pulling in these walls and lifting the roof? And would a bottle jack with a 4x4 to the rafters above be the best method of jacking the roof up? I'm thinking I'd lift the roof up a hair and then move the walls in to compensate. Also, should this be done in stages (1/2 in per day, e.g.) or all at once over a day?

-Chris
 

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I would try for 1/2 to 1" per day, see how it goes...if it were my building, once I had the "kinks" worked out, I would install an overhead garage door on each end to get cross ventilation in the summer. With the humidity you experience it would make it livable in the summer...that is why I moved from St. Louis to Oregon. ken
 

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Ahh, that sounds better than the come-along, although admittedly I have no experience to make such a statement. I'm looking at turnbuckles and steel cable online - anyone have any idea how many hundreds or thousands of pounds I should cover for pulling in these walls and lifting the roof? And would a bottle jack with a 4x4 to the rafters above be the best method of jacking the roof up? I'm thinking I'd lift the roof up a hair and then move the walls in to compensate. Also, should this be done in stages (1/2 in per day, e.g.) or all at once over a day? -Chris
The jack and post is a good idea and will greatly assist in raising the roof. Use a 4 x 4 in the roof running across several joists to spread the load.

Turnbuckles and cable may be a cheaper way than come-alongs, but after getting all the cable clamps and cable and turnbuckles ....maybe not. Harbor Fright may have some get the 2 ton with a pulley to increase the force. Drill a hole through to the outside and put a 4 X 4 there also to distribute the loads. An eye bolt may be sufficient in a structurally sound/new 4 X 4, otherwise a "U" bolt that will straddle the piece. Or a length of 2" pipe and a U bolt.

If you have a friend that's a farmer or framing carpenter or barn restoration guy, have them assist. After the walls are pulled in, run some ceiling joists across to keep them in place. Then run some diagonals up to the roof rafters, and a vertical in the center, forming a truss. Use nail plates grids from Home Despot to secure the joints.
You stated above that you planned to add ceiling joists to secure the walls, but that will also lower the overall ceiling height.... maybe just lower collar ties would be a better solution... I donno?
The window could be replaced by an exhaust fan or just place one in the window.


It's your choice whether to insulate the ceiling flat across the "new" ceiling joists, or up in the roof under the sheathing, but you can add more in the ceiling by running the rolls across the joists, rather than inside the spaces between them.... or both. You will loose any storage space on top of them that may have given you... probably no big deal. Either way a sheet of Visqueen all across the bottom of the ceiling joists will help immensely. In my ceiling which id vaulted like yours, I stapled it to the bottom of the roof rafters.

Look at a newer book on house framing, search the net, or You Tube for construction methods including insulation. Spray in foam is by far the most energy efficient and has the highest R value, but is also the most expensive.:smile:
 

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how to tell about the walls

You can use a level on the studs to determine if they are plumb....you probably already did that....
Another method I have used is as follows:
Drive a long nail 16 D into the plates at both ends of the wall leaving 1 1/2" exposed. Tie a mason's line cord to one end and really stretch it across to the opposite nail leaving it exactly 1" from the studs on both ends. There will be a greater offset in the center than on the ends. When you "pull in" the walls, your offset will be 1" all along the entire length.
 

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I believe the collar ties were not sufficiently wide/long enough to begin with. I'm thinking they are supposed to be 2/3 of the span. Not sure if that is new building code, or just sound construction design.

Probably contributed to the walls spreading. Just my thoughts. By no means am I a structural engineering expert.

I would install new collar ties. Mounted lower on the rafters, and longer, creating a loft/attic and going across to at least
2/3 of the span on each side.
 

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I wouldn't do the tension cable thing unless it is only temporary to bring your walls back in while you add some permanent structural support.

If that cable snaps or one end comes loose, a steel cable whipping through the air is one dangerous situation.

Also it looks like your rafters are buckling which is why the roof sags, so I'd stick to the plan of reinforcing the rafters.
 

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I've worked in a lot of stick built buildings from the ground up and have never seen a 1x4 ridge beam, plywood collar ties or 2x4 roof rafters, even in the smallest garage. My first thought when I saw the pictures was "brace the walls and replace the roof, the right way."

You've got a 36' long ridge with no supports along its length and no ceiling joists? :blink: I'm an electrician, not a structural engineer, but I'm surprised it's still standing.

If you plan on using the shed for a while, I'd suggest calling in a SE, as has been suggested, so you know whatever you do will be done right.
 

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Yeah, call the structural enginneer

You can find an SE in the yellow pages.....

The building has only been there for 20 years and is about to collapse because of the inadequate roof rafters .... 2 X 4's which are used in trusses all the time spanning 30 ft. That's why I suggested forming a truss earlier.
For a building that will be only used for a few more years, tear off the entire roof and rebuild in right and then tear it down later.... yeah, right.

Farmers have been building barns and sheds for hundreds of years, long before structural engineers came along and that's why I suggested getting the advice of a local farmer who may have experience in the very same issue in a previous post. Farmers are by far the "smartest" folks around and know a whole lot about a whole lot of things from structures to mechanics to hydraulics to electrical to animal husbandry to biology and ..... life in general. My grandfather was a farmer, so I know from personal experience. When the horse steps on your foot and won't move and you're only 8 years old, gotta know how to deal with it.....just sayin'

Some of us, well maybe only me, have built everything from bird houses, jewelry boxes, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, speaker enclosures, power tools and running vehicles, see My Photos, remodeled existing structures and placed in steel support beams in the house, 2 - 20ft X 8" WF, in the workshop 2- 29 ft 10" X 8" WF and a garage 30 ft X 10" WF that one weighed in at 1500 lbs. We post advice here because people ask for it. That's the whole idea behind a forum in my opinion. If anyone choses to follow the advice it's on them and their choice. Anyone here is free to search the web or go to a phone book and call an expert and pay them whatever they charge for their advice. I give advice here, not off the top of my head, but based on my real world experience....take it or leave it.

Advice on how to do certain operations on power tools is just as inherently dangerous as any other subject where injury is a potential result, including electrical or structural advice on how to build a shed, garage, or wire a switch or motor. It's the nature of the web to be disconnected physically from the subject and impossible to see all the aspects, go it's just general in nature. The same caveats and cautions as to safety and liability apply to that type of advice as well as the woodworking advice so "freely" given here. See the first page of any thread for details.

Just because I can do an operation safely does not mean the next guy can do it safely also. Experience does play a role in shop safety and sometimes gaining that "experience" comes at a high price and results in the loss of body parts or other on-permanent injury.
Those drivers who have never spun out or drifted a corner in the snow or loose dirt will have little time to practice if the event occurs unexpectedly. If you never "crashed and burned" on a motorcycle ...it's only a matter of time as they say. Riders who start out in the dirt have a much better chance of surviving in the street.
 

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I don't like or give "blanket statements"

...... As a forum member reading your posts it sounds like bragging, talking about how many of this or that you have, or how long you've done this or that, all in an attempt to sound more credible.
Sorry, it's the only way I know by posting my own photos of the operation or event, to establish credibility. You can't just say this or that without backing it up in some way ... opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one. That's why I also post You Tube videos of examples in real time which will demonstrate a condition or operation. If you are offended then that's on you, I'm just trying to be a straight talker and walk the walk. I agree braggarts are boring and useless. So are self proclaimed "experts" with large egos,who can't back up their statements. Most folks here are very humble and their expertise is incredible. I could name many .....

If I say that I have 3 table saws joined together and they cost me around $1000.00 over the years and post a photo, someone usually comes back with a reply that it's a great idea or other compliment. Tools can be made to do more than originally intended ...if you are creative. I've also made a panel saw from a radial arm saw and radial arm router , see My Photos,.....give others food for thought based on my "experience" which is not limited to woodworking only.

You sound like an observant individual you should come out of the shadows and offer more advice yourself. I assure you I won't be offended. :no:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Sound advice.

Knowing one's limits and knowing when to stop and ask for professional help is important. I actually had a structural engineer look at the shop while he was looking at the house ~1 year ago. He felt the shop was good as-is, but advised not to add additional weight to the roof without repairs. However, despite his re-assurance, I still prefer the idea of straightening everything up before making significant changes, although I don't think I'll ever put additional weight on the roof no matter what I do. I'm one who tries to play things cautiously.

I like the idea of rolling the insulation perpendicular to the joists on top. In fact, I had considered putting osb or whatever ceiling material above the joists, leaving the joists exposed below and putting the lighting (flourescent bulbs) between the joists - this will give me a consistent 8 ft ceiling (I know, pretty low). I'd then put the insulation on top of the osb giving me a solid layer of insulation. I'd lose some surface area near where the joists meet the top wall, but I guess I can throw some insulation there without a problem.

Chris
 

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I hope I'm not repeating something here, but I couldn't stand to read the rants that developed. But the come alongs mentioned are to pull the walls together. They aren't meant to stay there. And the lowest board that runs along the bottom of a truss, that's the same thing as a tension cable someone mentioned earlier. If it's leaking and sagging, 2/3 of the rafter isn't working. It will be more work, and slightly more money, but I'd remove the entire roof and rebuild the rafters. It will give you the opportunity to replace questionable boards/sheets you may have swept under the new shingles.
 
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