Roof Revelation: One Couple’s Experience

Roof Revelation: One Couple’s Experience

They discovered both good and bad. The original trim was rock-solid for the most part, better wood than is available today. And the level of detail was far more refined and attractive than the clunky aluminum. On the downside, virtually every trim board had been hacked up during the application of the aluminum.

Lisa and Kevin’s goal is to restore the original look and character of their house as much as possible, including repairing damage to rafter tails, bargeboards and other wood trim. The restoration project is still ongoing, and will be for several summers to come, but the couple made great strides during the summer of 2004. Here are some images that illustrate their progress.

Diagram of a bungalow showing bargeboards (the outward-facing planks that run along the roof’s gables and dormers) and exposed rafter tails.

Kevin Johnson tore aluminum trim off the south Minneapolis bungalow he and Lisa Selness own.

Lisa and Kevin found that workers who applied aluminum siding to their house years ago had crudely notched every rafter tail to accept a strip of wood that ran along the edge of the roof. Aluminum trim was then nailed to the strip.

Notched rafter tails.


Aluminum trim installers had nailed a wood strip to the home’s stucco so that the aluminum could be attached to the side of the house. To make room for the strip, they gouged out the window frames’ drip caps.

The drip caps on the frames of six windows along one side of the bungalow were chopped out when aluminum trim was added.

Lisa trimmed about 1 1/4 inch off the end of each rafter tail to remove the notches and restore the look of the roof’s edge. The vertical strip of wood attached to the rafter was used as a guide for a cordless circular saw.

Kevin used a back saw to trim some rafter tails that were hard to reach with the circular saw.


The notched rafter tails in the foreground have yet to be trimmed; those in the background have been trimmed.

The ends of bargeboards had rotted under the aluminum. Here, Lisa has dug out the rotted wood in preparation for epoxy filler.

A bargeboard repaired with epoxy filler.

Kevin evens the edge of a bargeboard. Aluminum trim installers had crudely cut off about 3 inches of the boards’ width, which they then nailed to the stucco siding. Aluminum trim was then attached to the strip.

Although the trim restoration is only partially complete, Lisa and Kevin already think their bungalow looks better.