Adding a Third-Floor Dormer to the Roof

Bob meets up with carpenter Bob Ryley, who is adding two third-floor dormers to the roof in keeping with the house's original one.

Clip Summary

Bob meets up with carpenter Bob Ryley, who is adding two third-floor dormers to the roof in keeping with the house's original one. Ryley will be constructing a shed dormer with a hip dormer above it. Prefabricating some of the work has sped things up. The new dormer looks like a pyramid. In the basement, final steel trowel work is done so the floor will have a smoother finish.

Well, from the sound of it Riley, you got rid of all the nails that might have been in the way there.

Yeah, we sure did.

So we're making the second opening here and as I was saying earlier in the show our objective is to create another dormer at this third floor level, just like what you see behind me over here.

This is an unusual set up, because if you look below there, you'll see there is a shed dormer on the second floor with a very nice sprung shed roof to it.

If you go up to this level, they added a little hip roofed dormer with three windows and it's a charming detail. We're gonna recreate the exact same detail over here.

In fact Riley, we could let the fellows from Fort Hill, get the rest of this opening headed off and we could get started framing this one over here.

Yeah there's plenty to do here.

All right. Come on.


Let's get the pieces.

All right. We've pre-cut and prefabricated some of the pieces for this dormer. And these triangles are what we call the cheeks. You ready to put this one up?

Sure are!

We've got our marks exactly where it goes.
It goes to you a little bit?


Right in there, I think. I got a mark right there.


And so we'll just shoot it into place.

All right.
Now I'll do the same on this side.

OK. And I've got a mark down here. Right there?

Yep. I'll get out of your way. OK.

And ready?


This piece connects the two.

There you go.


Alright, now this piece goes on the face.

Mine kind of looks good.

Yeah. This one does too.

And these are called the sole plates?

Right, sole plates. They just lay right on the sheathing, the roof sheething. It needs to come over this way a little bit.

Okay. How's that?

There it is, that's in place.


I'm gonna nail in mine.

So, this is the ridge.

This is the ridge.

And I'll hold it in place for you.

You gotta tack up here.
And then --

Look at this.

Is the middle rafter the one for the Yeah. That's the common that goes right up against it.

The common rafter.

Okay, and you've got that?

Exactly where it goes.


How's that?

That's beautiful.



And ... Here's the right side.

This goes this way. This is ...

There we go.
That should go right in there.


Alright, and these are the hip rafters.



Pretty nice fit.

Very nice.

You get those, I'll get the bottom


Alright now, these are technically rafters.
What kind of rafters are they?

Going from the hip to the plate, it's a jack rafter.

A jack rafter.

Well, the geometry is in place. It's basically a pyramid from this side.

Yeah, it's nicely cut together. Are you ready for some sheathing?

Yeah, sure am. Okay. And this falls shy of the top.


Because it's a four foot sheet of plywood, because this is as far as it goes.
Okay, two sides and this completes the pyramid.

Does it fit?


All right.

Good, we're gonna break for some messages, when we come back we'll look at that cellar concrete floor.
Stick with me.

Okay, we're back down in the basement and in real time, we've had what about six hours go by Mike?


So you've had a lot of time in finishing.

Yeah, now there's been a lot of work involved in getting to this point. And now your son Mike is doing the final steel trough work here.

That's right.

What does this achieve?

This makes it denser. And a harder finish is a smoother finish.

The steel trowel will actually let you have a glossier kind of tighter finish, right?

That's right. We'll do this a couple of times.

Yeah .

We will come back again after this.

How long should we wait? How many days before we can come back down here and
have men doing other work?

I would give them one day.

Just one day?

Just one day only.

Great! Thanks, you guys have a done a wonderful job. We're running out of time.

Come home again next time, when we'll be done with all of these structural repairs. We'll be putting up some of the new partitions, wooden studs and metal ones.

Also a tour of the Longfellow house, one of Cambridge's most beautiful
historic homes.
Until than I'm Bob Villa. It's good to have you home again.