Lee McGinley

My least favorite part of house building? Easy call: the roof. While I enjoy the challenge of working complex layouts—such as skewed roof intersections at different pitches—typical trussed roofs present few intellectual challenges or aesthetic compensations. Given the risks involved with wrestling with heavy materials in high winds far above solid ground, I'd rather pass. Then it occurred to me that my crew and I could eliminate the danger and discomfort of framing and shingling a roof by doing everything on the ground. I was more than a little excited by the idea.

With frigid weather fast approaching our area in northern Vermont, I was also eager to use a method that would save time. And this particular roof was a good candidate for this somewhat novel approach: Stack the trusses on the ground, sheathe and roof the structure, then lift the whole assembly using a crane. The house was a new two-story, 26x28...

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