Last week I explained how I built the (rickety) frame for our new bike shed (you can catch up on that here) and here’s what it looked like when I was finished:
The next step is to put a roof on it. To refresh your memory, this project has a budget of zero dollars – luckily Mum has a small stash of corrugated iron in her backyard, which she kindly gifted to me. Thanks Mum!
The three sheets of tin have to be cut in half to make the roofing panels fit. Immediately I jumped on YouTube to find the easiest way to cut them. After binge-watching hulking blokes making light work of cutting tin, I realised the problem is that I just don’t like working with metal. It intimidates me. I do own an angle grinder with a metal attachment but I hate the thought of all the sparks flying everywhere. Surely I could cut those tin sheets by hand, without the need for power tools!!
There are loads of awesome videos out there showing how easy it is to cut tin sheets. One guy even rips it in half with his hands. I’m here to tell you, I didn’t have that experience. Cutting these roofing sheets did nothing to change my general loathing for working with metal.
Funny story: I didn’t own a pair of tin snips so at first I tried cutting the tin with bolt cutters – useless as tits on a bull. For anyone who has ever wondered, bolt cutters will not cut through corrugated iron. Not even a little bit.
So the first thing I did (after the bolt cutter failure) was head to Bunnings with a $20 voucher I’d received for Christmas. I bought a pair of Irwin tin snips and couldn’t wait to try them out!
Here’s a quick visual tutorial of how I cut the first sheet of corrugated iron with tin snips:
Although cutting that first sheet was a form of soul-destroying torture, the good news is that the more sheets I cut, the better I got. While the first sheet took about an hour to cut, millimeter by millimeter with loads of cursing and frustration, the last sheet took about 5 minutes and was difficult but not soul-destroying.
The number one tip I can give you is this: lift one half up as you cut to allow room for the tin snips to move.
The photo above shows how I used my arm to lever one half of the sheet up as I cut. This is how I learned to cut through each sheet in a fraction of time, with minimal frustration. Don’t be fooled, it still sucked, it just sucked less as I got better at it.
On a safety note, you will need to wear the thickest pair of gloves you own. The edges of tin are like jagged razor blades. Lord help you if you accidentally drop a piece – if you’re not wearing thick boots you may as well just say goodbye to your toes now.
Installing the tin onto the roof was easy – hooray! I predrilled my holes then used hex-head tek screws to fasten.
This is how the bike shed is looking now that the roof is finished. I’m at a bit of a standstill now – I’m conflicted over whether or not to clad the sides. On the upside, cladding would add further weather-proofing. On the downside, it would create a big visual barrier and I kind of like how open and airy it is right now. I might paint it and then live with it for a while – I can always clad the sides later.
It’s a bit hard to see but I added some 45 degree wooden braces to the bottom of the side walls and instantly my rickety structure became SOLID. So you can all stop worrying about it falling down and crushing small children now.
Hopefully I’ll get the bike shed painted over the next week and then I can show you some pretty after pics!