For homeowners who’re in the process of constructing an outbuilding, building a shed roof will prove to be the most challenging part of the project. While every phase of shed construction is important, the roof will serve to keep your shed dry and secure, while at the same time protecting contents from harsh elements such as wind, heavy rain, and occasional snow loads. It’s critical that homeowners follow their shed plans closely, and that no details or specifications are overlooked.
While there are several traditional roof designs, the “gable” and “shed-style roof” are typical choices. A gable roof is the most common of the two, and is comprised to two sloping sides that meet a the roof peak, forming the triangle shape that most homeowners are familiar with. The shed roof simply consists of one surface that slopes in a single direction. This is by far the easiest type of shed roof to build, but doesn’t offer the strength or design appeal as the gable.
Regardless of the design, every shed roof shares one common component; Rafters. Rafters are simply wooden framing members, set on an incline, that make up the basic framework of any roof system. Rafters serve the same fundamental purpose as floor joists, except you’ll only be walking over them if you happen to be up on your shed roof.
Again, it’s very important that you follow your shed plans in order to achieve the best possible results. Assuming that you’ll be building a gable-style roof, plans vary slightly from one shed design to the next. The fundamental principles are the same however, and knowing the basics will make your project go more smoothly.
When referring to a set of plans, your shed roof will have a predetermined slope. This is often referred to as the pitch of your roof, and steeper pitches may be called for where heavy snow loads are common during winter months. Regardless of the pitch, your shed plans will outline the proper angles required when cutting and fitting rafters and other roof components. A “roofing square” is a common tool that every homeowner should have when it comes time to build their shed roof. A roofing square provides a simple way to translate angles onto building materials for the purposes of making accurate cuts.
The peak of a shed roof is created using a “ridge board”, which extends from one gable-end to the other. This ridge board represents the top of the triangular roof shape, and rafters are connected to the ridge on either side, generally at 16″ intervals. Once this framework is completed, roof sheathing is placed on top of the rafters followed by a layer of water-shield and asphalt shingles. Again, your plans will have more specific details, and may suggest options other than traditional asphalt.
When studying how to build a shed roof, you may find that your plans call for “roof trusses”. Trusses are two rafters tied together by a “collar tie” to form a basic triangular shape. Roof trusses eliminate the need for a ridge board, and using trusses generally serves to simplify the construction process.
Following the guidelines in your professional shed plans will guarantee a strong, long lasting roof. Always make certain to select the best possible materials for your project. Warped and twisting framing members will only make cutting and fitting your roof components much more difficult. Remember that working with a partner is much safer, and much easier, than working alone.
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