Week 96 (Drying In, Part 2)

In construction photos by Michael Tiemann

This week we hit a milestone that’s significant enough to have a tradition associated with it: we fully dried in the Music Room and Booth roofs!  Earlier this week, word came in from our general contractor:

Congatulations to us all !

Our HVAC team yesterday finally shoe-horned 40 gallons of duct work into a 5 gallon bucket.  Today our carpenters completed the roof framing.

We are now deserving of the ancient German tradition that is huge up north and doggedly hangs on in the south ………. We now have an evergreen branch nailed to the peak of our main roof !  This signifies being dried-in (semi-permanent roof protection from the elements).


It’s taken us quite a while to get to this point, but now we are cooking with gas !

Rather excitedly,


So I went in search of documentation of this tradition, and here is what I found.

Wikipedia has an article about  Topping Out, “a ceremony held when the last beam is placed at the top of a building,” but we reached that point during Week 85 (Top Roof Beams Established).  Wikipedia also offers “The term may also refer to the overall completion of the building’s structure,” a point we have not yet reached.

Back in 1984 the New York Times tried to nail down the details of this tradition, with this detail I did not previously know:

”When my parents built our home in the 1930’s, this tradition was there,” he said. The building owner’s obligation was to provide a festive meal for the construction workers at such a time, he said, or, if they did not plan to host a party, to mount a scarecrow on the roof instead.”

Alas, I was not in town to provide such a meal, but I have been paying my bills on time, and perhaps that’s sufficiently festive to warrant a pine bough in these difficult economic times.

If you find the Times article a bit too focused on how this tradition was adapted to steel-framed skyscrapers, you may want to feast instead on a blog posting rich with photos speaks about Topping Off (not Out) of timber-framed roofs.  Here, too, the tradition signifies the establishment of the roof peak, not the moment of drying in.

Nevertheless, we did it our way, and proudly:



The week’s weather was fantastic: five days of sunshine and cool, crisp air (mostly in the 60s F/18 C), which surely contributed to the enthusiasm of the crew.  Good for them!

With the Main and Booth roofs dried in, the next step was shingling.  The plan was to shingle both roofs in a single (glorious) day.  Here’s a photo log of that sequence:

laddersarrive.jpg  laddersup.jpg liftingshingles.jpg measuringshinglecourses.jpg shingling-1.jpg shingling-2.jpg

And the final result:


Have a wonderful weekend!