Roofing

roof: (noun)
The structure forming the upper covering of a building or vehicle… or both!!!

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We’ve been struggling to find the right roofing material for our Tiny House. Conventional asphalt shingles aren’t very attractive or wind resistant; wood shingles and shakes are heavy and require care; ceramic tiles and slates are expensive and heavy; thatching will burn your house down; and finally, asbestos will give you cancer. Great…

So what’s left? Metal roofing? This seems to be the go-to material for Tiny Houses out there. It’s readily available, comes in a variety of colors, is durable, wind resistant, and recyclable. But it’s fairly expensive, has to be protected from corrosion, can be difficult to install and could interfere with cellular reception!

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This is where Ondura came in and introduced us to their new Onduvilla 3D Shingles Roofing System. The shingles are made with at least 50% recycled fibers (paper, cardboard and receipts) and impregnated with asphalt. The materials are lighter than the competition, more affordable, and just as durable. And since the asphalt is impregnated throughout the shingle, you don’t really have to worry about scratches as you would with metal (something to consider if you plan on towing your house through low clearance tree branches).

The design of the shingles also makes them high-wind resistant. The ribs overlap and create a rigid and tight bond.

Soon after we hung up with Ondura, we received a pallet of materials. Installation was a breeze! We snapped a horizontal chalk line on top of your roof underlayment to place the first row of shingles. From there, the other rows just line up. Like everything else that needs to resist rain, we started from the bottom and worked our way up. Since we plan on towing the house all over the country, we also had to consider wind. So we also had to make sure that the shingles overlapped from the back of the trailer to the front.

Here are a few other things we learned from roofing our house.

Sheathing:

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We used 1/2″ plywood for your roof sheathing. It’s thick enough to hold the Onduvilla ring shank nails in place and is significantly lighter than 3/4″ plywood.

Underlayment:

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We used Grace Ice & Water Shield for our underlayment and highly recommend it. It’s fairly expensive but worth it.

Roof ends:

This is the part where we didn’t plan to well. We should’ve laid our shingles on the roof before securing them and figure out how much overhang we’d have on each end.

Roofing

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We didn’t do that and therefore our roof ends were difficult to button-up. Do as we say, not as we do! We placed the rib of our first shingle flush with the end of our roof and the last piece just ended up wherever it ended up! The end cap fit nicely over the rib of the first shingle since it was flush, as seen below.

But it wouldn’t on the other side. We used a heat-gun to heat up the shingles and bend them without breaking them. Then we screwed a piece of 2×2 redwood onto our sheathing to create a fake rib. We heated up the shingles again, folded them back onto the piece of lumber and finally added the end cap.

Ridge:

Roofing

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We used the “apron” pieces at the top, then some flashing and the ridge cap. Again, working our way up, and back to front.

Dormers:

Roofing

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We applied flashing to our wall/roof transition under the house wrap, then added a piece of metal flashing. We marked where to bend the flashing and hammered it into shape on the edge of a big metal work bench.

Roofing

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For the eaves under the dormers, we installed thin pieces strips of shingles and used the same aprons as with the ridge. We also used flashing under the house wrap and onto the apron.

 Skylights:

For the skylights we were able to use the flashing provided by Fakro and installed the shingles over it.

Additional tips:

  • We used an oscillating tool to cut the excess shingle material off the roof edges. A sharp utility knife works too.
  • We were generous with roofing cement in the areas prone to water infiltration.
  • Our table saw worked great to cut the shingles to size, but the blade got coated with asphalt, and so did I!
  • Metal snips are very useful for cutting details.
  • It is safe to walk on the roof but we have to be careful not to step onto the ribs as they could crack.
  • When we hammered the nails onto the top of each rib, we made sure that the rubber washer was snug but not crushed. The washer shouldn’t spin freely, but we should be able to move it with a bit of force.

As you might have read recently, we took our house for test drive and the shingles resisted highway speeds without a problem!

We love our new roof. Not only do the shingles look great, but they are also light, easy to work with, durable, made of recycled materials and built to compliment the Tiny House lifestyle.

Roofing

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Roofing

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Thank you Roy for helping us with the installation!

-Guillaume (safe and dry)

You can find all the information about Onduvilla 3D Shingles here: http://ondura.com/our-products/onduvilla/


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36 thoughts on “Roofing”

  1. Hello! I’m just wondering how much your roofing ended up costing you? My husband and I are building a tiny house and are trying to figure out what kind of roofing material to use.

  2. Do you know if that kind of roofing is safe for water capture consumption that will be filtered through the Berkey system?

  3. Sounds like it can be more quiet when it rains on such a roof. I love it already.

    They sound perfect. Recycled material, lighter, less expensive than metal, high wind resistant, durable, no cellular interference, quieter, easy to work with…etc.

    Will keep this in mind when I do go ahead with a tiny house. Thanks for sharing your experience and tips.

    1. I’m not sure exactly but if I remember well, we estimated that our 220lbs of roofing weighed around 200lbs

  4. How has your roof head up? How many years has it been on? We have read mixed reviews about durability and weathering with Onduvilla and want to know your experience the far.

    1. Honestly, it has held up very nicely! It’s only been on our roof a year or so, but it’s been traveling for the past 8 months. We’ve covered 15,000 miles with it going 50mph all the way up to 75mph, through wind, rain, hail and low hanging branches and it’s holding up like a champ. And people love the look! It has a “limited lifetime warranty” meaning that it should last as long as a typical house should. Our use is not typical of course, I have no idea how to compare it. Then again, it was only about $800 worth of roofing. If it lasts 10years with the type of abuse we’re putting it through, I call that a good investment. We didn’t want to go with metal because of weight/cost (for standing seam at least). And branches would just ding it and scratch it, leading to rust. We only have limited experience with it, but so far it has not disappointed!

  5. Thanks for the information! I’ve always wanted to live in a tiny house. It seems as though roof installation and repairs would be a lot easier than installing a roof on an average sized house. I can see why it would be advisable to spend extra money on high quality roofing materials. You would have to use less materials for a tiny roof, and making it from better materials would help it to last longer.

  6. Have you looked into the similar styled shingle alternative,Decra villa tile? They are actually metal shingles with a rock layer adhered to the top. There also doesn’t appear to be a nail attachment, at least viewable like the ondura product. I got a sample of the Ondura/Onduvilla shingle and they are nice but I was recently turned onto the decra product and it seems like a little less work with th benefits of a metal roof. I would be curious if you researched and compared before going with Ondura.

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