Apply a French-Polish Finish to Woodwork Dear James: I recently bought an older house. It has beautiful cherry woodwork that needs to be refinished. I have heard about a French polish finish. Is this a good finish to use and how do I do it? — Carol J. Dear Carol: Nothing is more …Read more. It Is Not Difficult to Lay Wall-to-Wall Carpeting Dear James: My children are getting older now, and it is probably time for some new wall-to-wall carpeting. If I can install it myself, I can afford to do all the rooms. Is this a job for a do-it-yourselfer? — John G. Dear John: Although most …Read more. Circuit Breakers for Electrical Safety Dear James: There were two electrical house fires in my neighborhood this year, and both houses had circuit breakers. Please explain the differences between fuses, breakers, ground fault and arc fault circuit interrupters and which are best. — …Read more. Build Your Own Steam Room at Home Dear James: I always enjoy using the steam room at my tennis club. I have seen small steam generators advertised for home use. Can I just install glass bathtub doors and a steam generator, or is more involved? — Nan G. Dear Nan: There aren't …Read more.more articles
Properly Build a Curb and Flash a Skylight
Dear Pat: A friend gave me a small (not curb-mounted or self-flashing) skylight for free. What is the proper method to build the curb and flash the skylight to avoid leaks in my cathedral ceiling? — Michelle C.
Dear Michelle: Normally, I would recommend to anyone to buy curb-mounted, self-flashing skylights. They are easy to install and very seldom leak unless you make some serious installation errors. In your case, it would be silly to turn down a free skylight, and you should be able to successfully build the curb and flash it yourself.
For those not familiar with skylights, the curb is a box frame upon which the actual skylight is mounted. The curb is usually a minimum of four inches above the roof surface, and it is often made from 2-by-6 lumber on shingle roofs. On some other roof surfaces, such as tile, the curb may need to be deeper than 4 inches.
The flashing is the sheet material used around the skylight to direct water away from it and over the shingles. Flashing is often made of sheet metal and installed as small pieces, which overlay one another in a similar fashion to roof shingles.
The skylight installation instructions indicate the size of the rectangular hole you must saw through the roof sheathing. Make the inside dimensions of the curb to the exact size of the roof opening. Mark the location of the cuts on the 2-by-6s, taking into account the width of the saw blade cut.
If the lumber has knots, make sure none of the saw cuts will be through a knot. Having knots at the mating ends of the curb is asking for water leaks.
Once you have the curb assembled, install temporary braces in two opposite corners. You will be handling the curb quite a lot, so you don't want it to get out of square. The braces can be made of 1/2-inch plywood and secured with nails driven only halfway in so they are easy to remove later.
Your small skylight should fit between the roof rafters without having to cut through any of them. Locate one side of the roof opening against a rafter. Install upper and lower header lumber at the top and bottom of the opening. Also install one jack rafter section between the two headers along the other side of the opening.
The flashing sheet metal is not difficult to install, but it can be tricky to make. It would be wise to have a sheet metal shop make the flashing pieces for you to the skylight manufacturer's specifications. If you really want to make the pieces yourself, use lead sheet because it is much easier to work with than aluminum or copper.
Slide the top flashing under the shingles and roofing felt. Be careful as you slide in the flashing not to puncture the felt. Place the curb over the opening, sliding it up from the bottom. Place step flashing along the sides of the curb under the shingles. Spread roofing cement on top of the curb, press the skylight into it and nail the skylight in place.
Send your questions to Here's How, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com. To find out more about Pat Logan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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