Cambicoop Re-Roof Etc…

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Starting on the Roof Project

We are finally getting the project off the drawing board.

The goal is to have renewable energy installed on our roof, and to have a roof that won’t leak. In the process of working toward that, we have realized we need to do a lot more. Including: overhaul the structural load-bearing capacity of the house, re-build the roof, and remove the three old boilers and hot water heater and get a new super-efficient device which will do everything all at once.

The first thing to do is the structural work. With our trusty architect Garth Goldstein, we have identified what needs work and enlisted the services of Community Builders Cooperative, a construction and renovation group based in Somerville. They are indeed a worker-owned cooperative and it’s exciting to work with an ally in the Cooperative movement.

Here are some pictures of the work.

Our building permit

We dug four holes for four new posts to support the weight coming down from above. One post is directly under the main first floor post, which, for forty years, has not had anything directly under it! (no wonder the house shakes when you run up the stairs!) and at the south end of the house, one new beam in the basement will ride on the other posts. At the north side, the street side, the load in the outside wall will be secured better on the foundation.

The holes for the posts’ foundations created a lot of debris. It looked kinda funny down there for a couple of days. Basically, the new posts created a line of support extending straight down from the walls above. Previously, the upper stories’ weight traveled to the first floor, and then spread across to two lines of posts/lolly columns in the basement. It was a poor design that has been needing correction for many years.

Here is one of the new posts under the new load-bearing beam at the south end of the house, on its new foundation block. The jack and light-colored wood will soon be removed. The house is already shaking less!

Here we are in the main living space of the first floor. This is where many walls were removed in the 60’s and the dark-colored wood beam across the ceiling and the post in the middle were left to support the house. No offense to the designer who implemented this, but it really isn’t the best situation. Our project will double the carrying capacity of the ceiling beam and increase the post by 200% in order the transfer more of the house’s weight directly to the new basement post below (not pictured in this document, but similar to the last picture above), rather than rely on load transfer through the fabric of the rafters and flooring to non-structural walls in this story and auxiliary columns in the basement. The bright-colored stuff in this picture is wishing someone a Happy Birthday.

Here is where, at the south end of the house, we installed more load-bearing columns inside the wall on the second floor. This would connect with a column in the kitchen below and then to the new large 3-columned beam in the basement. Although it was a bit intrusive in these rooms, it was all sealed up very nicely in the end.

And here is Garth the Architect and Steve the Carpenter looking at the replaced/enhanced structural members on the first floor. You can see how the column and the beam are much bigger than they were before, and actually, stronger materials. They are already making the house sounder, and will be important as we re-build the roof. Although we will remove many layers of old membrane and roofing material which has just been accumulating up there, and that weight will be reduced, we are looking at a ballasted solar PV array, which will be weighty and thus the improvements to the structure of the house.

I thought I had a picture of the finished product; if I find it, I’ll put it up here. We are all happy to talk about this component of the total project any time. Just email us.

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