Of course, that was all I did last night other than walk the dog.
While I was out walking the dog, I was doing research onto the types of roofs on houses in the neighborhood. By far the most prevalent was the 12/12 pitch roof, which has the deck of the roof sloping at a 45 degree angle. I've had some arguments with folks about this, with them saying that the roof pitches aren't that steep. I think they are.
Now, one of the things that I realy don't like about a 12/12 roof pitch is this:
If you ever need to do anything on the roof, it's freakin' scary.
I did find a couple of flat roofs. Flat may be a misconception since I think that there is probably some slope, but we're talking a shallow enough pitch as to be essentially flat.
I like the concept of a flat roof, particularly one that's strong enough to be a deck of sorts. However, it really becomes an issue with snow loads, because you have an awful lot of weight bearing down-- and the snow doesn't go away. It melts, and freezes, and melts, and that's real hell on any kind of material that has any porosity at all. Flat roofs are expensive and difficult to maintain.
The last kind of roof that I saw was a much shallower pitch, let's say a 4/12, or even a 3/12. That means that for every 12 feet of horizontal run, the roof height goes up 4 feet (or 3 feet for a 3/12).
These homes were obvious remodels, and that shallower roof pitch looks a lot more contemporary (though in the last several years it seems the 12/12 pitch has come back in vogue).
I like the look of a vaulted (or cathedral) ceiling.
However, there are issues with the structural design of a vaulted ceiling when it's built on top of walls. Normally, the rafters need something to tie them together at the bottom so that they don't spread apart under the weight of the roofing material and snow and wind and all the other stuff that craps on your roof.
The normal old type of contruction uses rafters that are attached to the joists, which means that the roof goes right down to the floor. It means a lot of wasted space under the eaves, as you probably understand if you have an old house.
The compliment to this is the truss. This is an engineered and framed piece that is designed to bear the structural load, and is usually built off-site by a company. You can do site-built trusses (I did this when I built the shed), but it's a lot harder than you'd think to get them exact, even with jigs and locked-down miter saws).
Normal trusses are flat on the bottom:
Which is pretty common in construction. The space inside the webbing in the truss is uninhabited, and is usually filled with blown-in insulation and wiring and stuff. But it does result in your basic boring flat roof.
There is a bit of a compromise with the scissor truss:
This allows for a vaulted look while still providing the strength of an engineered truss.
There are other truss models, some of which are pretty ornate and cool, but the basic idea is the same. And there is also hybrid construction where a combination of rafter and truss construction is used.
Insulation in a vaulted ceiling is a bit more difficult than it is with a web-truss attic.
One of the primary considerations is vent space between the bottom of the roof decking and the top of the insulation, at least when you're dealing with fiberglass or other types of porous insulation (there is a type of spray foam insulation that completely fills the space so that moisture can't infiltrate the decking from underneath, but I tend to be leery of that). With the vent space, soffit vents, and a roof ridge vent, you have a relatively constant flow of air on the underside of your decking, both reducing the possibility of moisture infiltration (and mold!) and providing overall cooling in the summer.
And then there's the siding.
I have "maintenance free" aluminum siding on the house. Never needs painting. Except it needs painting after the paint that's on it starts to peel off, and painting the aluminum means priming and all the associated crap, and it's already been painted badly once. And the corner pieces have come off in a few places and they don't make replacements anymore.
Besides, it's ugly.
The house used to be stucco. I'd be willing to bet that if I pulled the siding off, I'd still find some stucco remaining in a couple of places, but I'm pretty sure that they tore it all off many moons ago when they put on that modern miracle of aluminum siding. What is underneath is 3/4" pine boards, and underneath that... well, let's just say that the house isn't exactly superinsulated. It would probably be worth reinsulating if I tear off the old siding for something more... aesthetically appealing.
If I'm redoing the roof and making it higher, I'll need to add siding. Aesthetically it would be the right time to do it. Monetarily, it sucks assballs.
And we haven't even begun to talk about the sidewalks.
No, really, this is the kind of stuff that you learn about when you own a Big Broken Box™.