Someone once suggested I should get a tin foil hat. I did them one better – a tin foil roof. Now not only can the aliens not suck me into their space ships but the government can’t read my mind with their spy satellites!
Seriously though, the foil-bubble-bubble-foil (FBBF) insulation, Reflectix in this case, does a great job of insulating and reflecting heat back into the house. This is our first layer for the roof insulation. It also acts as a vapor barrier so it goes inside the insulation in our climate. This is the same material we put on the outside of our mobile chicken hoop house several years ago.
How Heat is lost from the buildings
That is what the house looked like in the morning before we began adding the reflective insulation hood. The pink insulation is all up and the scaffolding is down. In the foreground is a stack of the insulation books for the roof that we made of half inch pink foam and zip ties.
To make a sheet big enough for the house we duct taped six 20′ long sheets together to run up over the concrete barrel vault arch of our tiny cottage. Duct tape is amazing stuff. Rather than deal with the 10′ long extras we saved those three for another project. This makes the roof cap stronger and I’ll have other things I need it for down the road.
We did the taping against a long board, applying a length of tape to both sides of the foil and butting it carefully. At the ends of the joint I gave it a little extra reinforcing by wrapping the tape over to the other side.
I had first considered doing the taping together up on the roof because getting the large single piece of foil up over the roof seemed daunting. In the end we went with taping on the boards on the ground as shown here. That still leaves the problem of how to get that big unwieldy 24′ x 20′ sheet up over the roof without the wind stealing it!
To do this we rolled it up and then unrolled it over the house. Sounds simple but there is a trick – somehow three people had to get it unrolled onto the roof without any staging, scaffolding and only one ladder…
I attached a long rope to the 1/3rd points along the edge of the foil with packing tape. In the photo above Will is standing off to the right holding the center point of the rope so we could find the ‘handle’. We got a little breeze right then and for a moment it looked like we might have a kite. Will then took the rope to the opposite side, to my left in the photo, laying the rope on the foil. We rolled the foil up so the rope was rolled into the roll of foil. After properly positioning the foil on the west side of the house I climbed up on top and simply pulled the rope causing the roll of foil to climb up the house, over the roof and down the other side. This worked beautifully! it is always fun when a wild idea turns out perfectly.
Because I needed to still have a ladder up on the roof I needed some way for the foil, which projects past the ends of the house, to go past the ladder. I also didn’t want the wind catching the foil and blowing it away. The solution to both problems was to simply cut flaps into the ends of the foil back to within six inches of the arches of the roof. This allowed the roll to pass by the ladder leaning on the peak of the roof without bunching up. Any wind just flips the flaps around without lifting the house’s tin foil cap. I then climbed up and tucked the flap under the ladder – Levo Ladderati!
Additionally, while the sheet was on the ground I marked the ends of the roof for the North-South axis as well as the center line of the foil to make it easier to position. This was very helpful.
Once the roll of Reflectix was over the other side we tied it down and began doing serious securing of the foil to the roof. We began by slitting the foil so it could drop down over the extending rebar (left for next year) and then duct taped the slits securely shut. We also temporarily attached the foil with duct tape all around the eves.
The next step was to attach a 14′ long 2×4 to the edge of the foil and then screw another to that, sandwiching the foil between the two long boards. You can see this along the roof edge in the photo at the top. These act as weights holding the foil down tight. More to come on that.
Lastly we added temporary ropes over the roof to ward off any kite like activity in tonight’s wind. Tomorrow we’ll pickup from there.
Just as we finished up it started spitting hail. The timing couldn’t have been better.
Outdoors: 40°F/20°F Sunny, Partly Cloudy, Frozen Rain in Evening
Farm House: 57°F/50°F two log fire
Tiny Cottage: 50°F/39°F