Sunday, October 10, 2010

Thoughts on the roof and skylight

With the trim and siding figured out (but not yet installed), I have been thinking a lot about my roof. The maximum legal height for a trailer without a special permit is thirteen feet and six inches. My house, sitting on a trailer thirty-two inches high, will be about twelve feet without the roof. Obviously my roof will need to be removable if I want to move my house without worrying about overhead wires or the law. My roof framing is made up of three rafter sets connected by purlins (see this post for a diagram) which will all be removable. The roof itself will consist of four bolt-on panels. Each one will have beaded pine board on the bottom side for my ceiling, 2x4 framing with insulation in the middle, followed by skip-plank sheathing and then standing seam copper on the outside. The construction of these panels will be straight forward, much like the roof panels I used to make when I worked for the timber frame company. My challenges will be making a removable ridge cap and a seam down the middle that will keep the rain out.

The only other detail that I need to figure out is the skylight. Originally I had wanted to build a raised unit that straddled the ridge as shown in this post. I am realizing that I need something simpler though. My dad sent me a link to the website for New England Skylights (NES), a company in Watertown, Massachusetts that builds beautiful copper windows. They do many new and restoration projects all over New England. The two photos below are of a window made by NES that is actually very similar to what I had envisioned having on my house.
Since my roof will be removable, I think I will simplify the window by limiting it to the South side only. The window in the picture below is a restoration done by NES which fits all of my parameters and looks incredible.

I love the low profile of this window and how it fits so seamlessly into the standing seam roof. I am going to do everything I can to reproduce this. Ideally, I would make it so that it is hinged at the top to allow it to open. Time will tell if i can do this though.


  1. I thought the photo is your home! Hehe... Good choice of inspiration, anyway. The window on the roof really makes a good passage when one already wants some peace and tranquility. Actually, the roof is the best place to meditate for some people! Wew, but safety is a must!

  2. Great idea! The abundance of natural light a skylight brings into your house is one reason to install them. In essence, a skylight draws the warmer air up against the ceiling outside, and replaces it with cooler air, which is an inexpensive method of saving money. The more reason you should put a hinge on your skylight in case you push through with installing one on your roof.

    William Gulliver

  3. Were you able to make your plans into reality? It’s really great to have a skylight since it has a lot of benefits. Aside from its widely known energy-saving property, I’ve learned that the natural light coming through it is actually good for the eyes. We get less eye strains from skylights than artificial lighting systems.

    Eugene Head