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Wooden foor, please! — Note to self
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Wooden roof, please!

Published in Hjem og interiør 4th of March 2020
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Ever since we first started playing with the thought of building a house, like a hundred years ago, we were sold on the idea of having a gabled ceiling. And not any kind eighter; we wanted a wooden roof without any overhang and with hidden gutters. We had seen several cases of finished projects, so how hard could it be? Well, many of the contractors we spoke to were skeptical. How to prevent leakage? How to make sure to make it airy enough to let the wooden cladding dry? How to prevent water to damage the facade? How to prevent the gutters from becoming clogged? And so forth …

We have looked at several possible solutions, and now we feel confident that we’ve found one that will withstand any kind of weather for many years to come. So if you share our dream of a minimalistic wooden ceiling, this might be the way to do it without losing sleep. That being said, we haven’t actually built the roof yet, and I am speaking as a non-proffessional based on my own understanding of the drawings. There, lawsuit prevented.

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This stunning house by Rodic Davidson Architects is one of the projects we drooled over when looking for references. But of course, it’s one thing to find the desired design. To figure out how it’s built and how well it actually works is more demanding. Photo by Helene Bient.

Nice is good. Waterproof is better.
It’s no secret that we are above average interested in the visual appearance of the hose, but we, of course, but, of course, there’s not much point in having a beautiful roof if it will rot away in ten years.

Our very talented entrepreneur Christoff in Bygg Prosjekt C.O. A.S first proposed having a subceiling of plywood (or similar) covered with membrane welded to the incorporated gutters. The top roof was in wood panels with tongue and groove. To prevent water from getting into the construction, the laths also needed to be covered with membrane, which again meant they had to be in a non-organic material.

This beautiful house, by Stemmer Architekten, is constructed with a wooden roof and hidden gutters. There’s a tin subceiling, and tin fittings covering the cutting edge of the cladding on the facade. Notice the diagonal cuts where the roof and the facade meets. Sexy detail!

The most observant of you might notice that there’s missing some laths in this picture. How can we attach the wood cladding to the tin? It turned out that this particular part of the roof was meant for a solar panel, so that’s why there weren’t any laths there. In our case, we need laths on the entire roof, and of course, we need to attach them to the tin subceiling in a way to prevent water to find a way through it.

We presented the idea to Christoffer. He paused for a minute before he said: “This might actually work! And it’s much simpler (again, read cheaper) too!” Yay! It seems light we managed to cut away unnecessary costs, and the dream of a wooden roof lives on.


Here’s the final proposal for the roof.

Our house, the roof included, mainly consist of solid wood elements from Termowood. Now we need the laths, the tin subceiling, and wooden cladding on top.

But what about the gutters?
We decided not to have the wooden panels with tongue and groove on the roof. Instead, we’ll have a 5mm distance between each panel. This lets rain and melting water find its way through the cladding into the tin subceiling and further into the gutters. This way the claddings won’t be the only barrier, and the facade won’t be overflood by water. 5 mm is still small enough to prevent leaf and dirt clog up the gutters *fingers crossed. The most dedicated leaf might find a way through the cladding, so if you’re very worried about the combo leaf and gutters, you could always have a mesh gutter guard.

To protect the facade, Christoff has proposed to extend the gutters 5 mm beyond the facade. This will also prevent the water to find its way to the inside of the cladding. And by cutting the bottom part of the panels at a 45-degree angle, the water will drip off instead of intruding into the end grains. Ventilation to let the wood dry is also an important criterion.

We chose cladding from Superwood for our facade, both walls, and roof. It’s been fully treated throughout the wood, and therefore the best choice for our solution. Superwood also have a keen focus on sustainability on both products and production line that really appealed to us. We chose SW04 Rectangular 21x145mm.

So what do you guys think? Is this the way to make wooden roofs without any overhang and with hidden gutters, or will this be hanging over us (*giggle*) for years to come?

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