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Roofing Our Chicken Villa

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Spring always puts a literal spring in my step. After all, the season is filled with so much life and vibrancy. Spring means new flowers, garden planting, baby chicks, and extended hours outdoors. For our family, it also means planning for summer projects.

If you’ve been following along with us, you know that our first major project has been building the chickens an upgraded home. The new digs is a spacious open-air coop that just might be nicer than my bedroom. Our chicken villa will accommodate many more birds than our previous one, provide access to the neighboring field for free-ranging, and give us space to keep the feed in-house.


The kids have been our quality control supervisors, carefully monitoring each step of the way through the spring rains and summer heat.

You can read about the actual building of the structure itself here.

Finally, after all the building, it was roofing time! We used the following GAF roofing supplies for this project:

We also used some standard supplies: galvanized steel roofing nails, round plastic cap roofing nails, a hammer, tape measure, etc.

We took the kids for a family trip to Lowe’s to purchase our supplies. We were able to find the roofing aisle relatively quickly even with the tornado of kids around our feet.

(The big roofing display where you can check out shingle styles and colors.)

(The baby who wanted to get into everything.)

(The kids who really wanted to ride the forklift.)

(The girl who thought this was her own personal hide-out.)

(Thankfully, the aisle survived our clan’s whirlwind.)

Timberline® shingles look really great and are very durable. Bonus: when you install any GAF lifetime single and three qualifying GAF accessories, you automatically get a lifetime ltd. warranty on your shingles and all qualifying accessories, plus non-prorated coverage for the first 10 years. You can read more on GAF’s warranty here.

While these shingles are generally thought of as a professional contractor’s product, they are definitely usable by your average DIY-er. As you may remember, Tim (my attractive husband and blog contributor) is far more experienced with home building projects than I am. However, after watching him complete this roof, it seemed like a very doable project- even if you’ve never roofed before.

At this point, I’m going to let Tim describe the roofing process in more detail for you. *Hands mic to husband.* 

The first thing I had to do was determine the number of bundles I would need for roofing our villa. The area of a roof is measured in “squares,” which are equivalent to 100 square feet. Each square requires three typical shingle bundles.

Calculating the area of the roof surface is fairly basic geometry for a simple gable roof like this. You calculate the area of one side of the roof (a rectangle’s area = Length x Width), then calculate the area of the other side of the roof, and add the products together. In our case, the roof surface came out to be 96 square feet, or just under one square. So we needed three bundles of Timberline® Natural Shadow® shingles. We went with “Pewter Gray.”

I also needed to account for the starter course of shingles and the ridge cap. This is simply determined by figuring out the lineal footage of the bottom edges of the roof and the ridge, respectively. Once those figures are known you compare them with the lineal footage of shingle product contained in each bundle. A bundle of three-tab shingles typically contains 35 lineal feet. And a bundle of TimberTex® covers about 20 lineal feet. Given our roof dimensions, we needed one bundle of each.

In addition, one roll of FeltBuster® was more than adequate for our villa. A few lengths of drip edge was all we needed to complete our roofing design.

The drip edge along the eave edges of the roof was the first to go down.

This allows any water that could get to the underlayment surface to shed over the fascia board. If this drip edge were absent there could be more potential for water to damage the fascia board over time.

Next, the FeltBuster® went down over the entire roof surface. We placed the first strip down parallel with the eave edge of the roof and over the top of the drip edge we first attached and fastened it with plastic-capped nails.

We did so on each side of the roof and needed one more strip to go over the ridge. Since our coop will be partially open and since we will retain open vents at the soffits, we did not include a ridge vent in our roof. The strip of FeltBuster® that ran down the center of the ridge was able to overlap the other strips by at least 18 inches, which was more than adequate to ensure proper coverage.

By the way, I was sincerely impressed with how durable this stuff was. I’ve only used tar paper in the past, and by comparison this underlayment was in a league all its own.

After the underlayment was properly fastened, I attached the drip edge along the gable ends of the roof over the top of the FeltBuster®. This allows any water that could get in along the gable ends to go on top of the underlayment and shed off the roof.

Finally, it was time to get the starter course down. If our roof was bigger I would have gone with GAF’s Pro-Start™ Eave/Rake Starter Strip Shingles for the ease of use and time savings. But, as it turned out, I decided to use the Royal Sovereign® three-tab method. This involves cutting off the tabs from the shingle to make a starter strip. (Using Pro-Start™ avoids this step and is just more fool-proof.)

I cut off the tabs of enough shingles to make a starter course along the eave edges, and enough to run along the gable ends, too.

To ensure that no seams lined up in the same place, I cut six inches off the first starter shingle.

I installed the three-tab-turned-starter-strip along the roof edges, taking care to have the tar end up nearest the roof edge, and the strip overhang the drip edge by roughly 1/4″. This will allow the water to shed away from the fascia.

 

Putting the starter along the gables was not necessary, but I found out that many roofers prefer to use them along gables as added protection–so I gave it a try.

At this point, it was time to prepare the Timberline® shingles for installation. It is important to stagger each course of shingles so seams don’t align. I applied the following pattern:

  • Row 1: start with a full shingle
  • Row 2: cut 6″ off the first shingle
  • Row 3: cut 11″ off the first shingle
  • Row 4: cut 17″ off the first shingle

I used a framing square to get a nice, straight cut–and scored it deep, or cut it all the way through to avoid a ragged cut.

I installed the first shingle of each row up to the point where I had to repeat the pattern. This is what it looked like:

Since improper nailing is one of the primary causes of roof failure, it is important that you nail the shingles in the right place. GAF made it pretty simple by including a fairly conspicuous orange line along the face of the shingle delineating the place the four evenly-spaced nails should be driven. I followed that guide. 

Now i just continued straight across the roof, cutting a shingle to fit in the final place of each course as needed.

When I reached the peak of the roof, I allowed the shingle to hang over the top of the ridge.

One side is finished here. You can see that the ridge shingles are not yet installed. At this point I roofed the other side in the same way I roofed this side.

I at last reached the TimberTex® ridge shingle phase. They came perforated, making it easy to divide them into the size I needed.

These went up on the ridge really quickly and easily, and they are nearly twice as thick as even a typical architectural shingle–very durable.

I had to pause at the last ridge shingle to figure out how i was to attach it, but I was soon reminded that a little roofing cement would do the trick:

When it was all said and done, this is how the roof turned out:

Now, the chicken villa is not yet complete, but it is nearly there. The roof was a huge and satisfying accomplishment and it really looks great–way better than our house roof! We may just have to board with the chickens for a time…under one roof.

Come back soon to see the villa painted, chicken wired, and (hopefully) beautified! For more roofing inspiration, check out these cool projects. Be sure to visit GAF on Facebook or their website!

Have you ever roofed your own structure? What summer projects are you working on?