Roofing (Among Other Things)

It has been a crazy week of non-stop tiny house work! When we got back to Kansas City with our barn raiser we were excited to hit the ground running and haven't stopped since. The main focus of our work has been the roof but there's been plenty of other work to fill the time as well (trim, soffits, fascia, rain screen...the list is never ending!)

The roof was the first thing on our list for several reasons. Obviously we wanted to get our house as weather-tight and protected as possible. With it being winter it's hard to know what to expect in Kansas City and we didn't want to risk being buried in snow before we even had a roof over our heads. Also, with the roof comes some of the trim. Things like soffits, fascia and drip edge had to be installed prior to the shingles so that everything layered nicely. These tasks were also necessary to be ready for the other exterior work like siding. We're quickly discovering that each piece has a precise order of installation for it to fit together nicely. 

Prior to making a decision on our specific roofing material, we did a lot of research on all the different options available. We ended up going with a product called Onduvilla. These shingles are made up of corrugated panels that overlap and fit together nicely for a rather easy installation. They are comprised of asphalt and recycled fiber material which makes them tough and scratch resistant while still being lightweight and easy to cut with a utility knife.  The panels are installed one after the other, with an overlap of a few inches.  They are secured with screws and washers in the ridges of each shingle.  Onduvilla also makes all the finishing pieces needed to create a complete roof system, including ridge caps, verge (side) pieces, and foam closure strips which sit under the ridges on the very last shingle to keep animals or bugs from climbing inside.  All in all, the system cost us under $900 and weighs less than 200 lbs.  It took about 3 days to install, but I think that was inflated due to our lack of experience.

One main concern with any roofing material was how it would stand up to high winds, since we will be cruising down the highway with this roof.  Onduvilla's roof panels are rated to withstand up to 150 mph winds (and have withstood even higher in actual tests).

The other main contender for roof material was standing seam metal roof panels. Given their durability and relative light weight, they are what most tiny homes use in their builds. We had just a few concerns with this type of material. First were the technical skills needed to work with such a roofing system. We've never done any roofing and certainly don't have any experience making precise, clean cuts in metal. I can't attest to how much of a challenge metal roofs actually are since we didn't go that route, but I definitely feel like our choice was a bit more forgiving to the novice builder. We had also heard that metal roofs require a fair amount of maintenance. If scratched (which can happen regularly with a travelling house) the bare metal would be susceptible to rust and would require repairs and preventative maintenance. Because Onduvilla is asphalt through and through, if scratched it maintains its protective qualities and doesn't require any specific fixes (unless torn all the way through of course).

All said and done, I am quite pleased with our roof. It was pretty simple (and actually fun) to install once we got in a good rhythm. I think it's as attractive as any other roof system and I have faith that it will stand up to the test of time with no problems. Let us know in the comments what you think or if you have any specific questions about the material or installation!