A few weeks ago, when spring was just starting, we jumped into a less than fun but necessary project. Reinforcing our carport has been on the list of to do’s since day one. Check out how it used to bust a sag (wow I haven’t said that since middle school).
Also, our inspector stepped through the roof before we even purchased the house.
Oh and did we forget to mention that the facia was rotted all along the edges?
We knew after many close inspections and careful walks on the roof, that the carport needed some serious love. By serious love we mean: new facia, new roof, and reinforced support beams.
We are DIYers and love a good challenge, but we don’t know much about structural support or roofing, so we decided to hire out this job. Luckily for us, we have a family friend that is a contractor that knows all about this kind of stuff. He also needed Jen’s Dad and I to assist him, and so I got to learn along the way.
The main support beams for the carport were sagging visibly, so the first thing we did was jack them up with some lifts and get them straight again. Then largest part of the job structurally and physically, was getting the LVLs into place. LVL stands for laminated veneer lumber. We got 6, 26′ long LVLs. These things are massive and strong. Lifting them was a very delicate two person process. These LVLs re-enforce the original beams in the new straightened out position.
Once the structure was all shored up we could safely start tearing off the rotten roofing and boards. All of the rubber roofing and a good portion of the 2 x 6 boards underneath were very rotten. Luckily the old rubber roofing and the tar keeping it sealed was so waterlogged and old that it came up easily.
As you can see from the second picture, many of the boards were fine.
But many were not.
The demolition process was done at this point. The nice thing about demolition is the general lack of precision required to do it. Then we had to put things back into place and that took some measuring and a few more trips to Home Depot.
When we exposed the boards underneath the rubber roofing we tore off, I really got a sense of how questionable the sturdiness actually was. I was kind of surprised that it was OK to walk on. And part of that worry was legitimate since the old boards had sagged under the weight of wet leaves and snow over the years, allowing water to pool. So this time around, no chances were taken. We added a whole new layer of plywood on top of the base boards to create an extra layer of surface rigidity.
This was pretty straight forward since we had a professional supervising the project. The next real step was making sure that moisture did not get down to these boards again. This was the most crucial part.
The first step involved cutting the rubber roofing membrane to the appropriate length, and then putting down glue on the surface and membrane. We let it dry clear and then rolled / flapped it over onto the surface and adjusted it quickly.
The rubber had to be very strategically placed so it would already be in position and when we brought it over. We wouldn’t be able to make adjustments after it was already down.
So we did the roll and stick dance. Roll and stick, roll and stick…. you get the point. The other important piece was to make sure that there was a specific amount of overlap between each strip of rubber roofing. Between this overlap there was a double sided kind of tape that we rolled down to really seal up those seams.
But guess what? After all of that, it’s still not over yet. We then had to do the edge flashing and then another round of single sided seal over that to really make sure to keep water out. Better safe than sorry. I don’t want to be back up there in 5 years redoing the whole roof again.
That basically sums up the first round of carport re-enforcing and sealing. After this we still need to finish up a few odds and ends then paint the thing. We know now that it won’t fall down, it won’t keep rotting and it looks a lot better than it did before. After 2 weekends of work and a lot of sweat, we are happy to have a solid sturdy carport once again.