Build a Roof with These Simple Steps

Build a Roof with These Simple Steps

Have you ever wondered how to build a roof on your own? Roof framing is perhaps one of the most complicated projects that require proper carpenter skills. This tutorial is intended to help readers build its own gable roof. In order to do so, you have to first determine the following important factors before you get started.

Span length

It’s the measurement across the building, starting from the outside of your supporting wall outside to the other end of your supporting wall.

Run length

This is the measurement used to measure half the distance of your span.

Rise length

This is the measurement used to determine the centerline of your span, right to the top of your roof line.

Line length

Last but not least, it’s the measurement measured from the outside of your supporting wall line to the centerline of your roof at the top of its rise. From the definition above, it’s clear that when it comes to building roof, you are basically working with two-legged triangle where its length is used for hypotenuse. Other than the aforementioned factors, you must also understand the pitch of your slope. While it depends on the size of the house, it typically measures at ¼ of the building’s total span. All without counting the overhang.

Span Length Ilustration in Common

Span Length Ilustration in Common

Preparation steps

The first thing that you must do is determine your pitch. The pitch itself is the vertical angle of the roof, or the ‘rise’. Pitch ratios range wildly, however it usually hovers at about 2:12 to 12:12. It means that in a low pitched roof, the roof will only rise 2-inches over the space of 12-inches. Once you have determined the pitch, it’s time to measure your roof.

How to Measure Roof

How to Measure Roof, figure above is using 4:12 pitch

Measuring your roof is undeniably an important step in determining material quantities. Accuracy is of paramount in order to avoid major overspending. There are quite a few roofing calculator online that you can use for free. However, even without it you will still be able to calculate how many you need. All you have to do is properly measure the length and height of your roof.

Understanding the steps involved

Once you have purchased the materials, it’s time for you to start building. To build a roof, the process typically is broken down into a few main steps as shown in the following section:

  • Framing: this step is what we refer to the construction and installation process of your roof frame. It may be done with premade trusses to simplify the process.
  • Sheathing: this process refers to the installation process of material layer to the top of your frame, providing surface needed to install roof.
  • Underlayment installation: this step refers to the installation of protective layer on top of the sheathing. The process includes ice barrier installation to the top of underlayment.
  • Roof cover installation: intended to protect your roof from external elements, this layer is installed right on top of the underlayment.

The step by step process on how to install roof

The first thing that you must do is mount the trusses. Your building’s wall frames must have already been leveled, plumbed, and squared. If your building is still a frame, you must either use scaffolding or ladders. By using crane assistance or help from your family members, hoist the trusses onto your roof. If done without a crane, hoist your trusses up with its position lying flat and raise it into its intended position.

Another thing that you must pay attention to is the space between the trusses. The spacing itself undoubtedly depends on the building codes in your state. Apart from that, another contributing factor for those living in colder climate, is the snow. In winter, your roof is hard at work due to the load it has to hold. Be sure of how much weight it has to hold.

The next step is installing temporary braces. The fact that it gives trusses a surface to rest on, it’s obvious that temporary braces must be installed beforehand. To install, start by nailing the bottom half of your 16 feet long, 2-by-6 board right to the top of your outside wall. Once finished, fasten it to a stud and nail another 16 feet long, 2-by-6 board to the left of center brace. Third brace is installed 6-feet to right center brace. Repeat until 3 temporary braces are installed at the front of building.

Next on the build a roof tutorial, install your end trusses by doing the two end of the trusses at the back and front of building. Follow instructions from the manufacturer to guarantee proper affixation. Take a batten that is slightly longer that your trusses’ distance, and nail to end of the truss. Right at the back of your building. Proper installation will give you perpendicular form toward the building’s front.

Step by step process on trusses installation

To install your standard trusses, work towards the front of your building by following the instructions given by your manufacturer. Nail your standard trusses to the batten of your first truss. Take longer batten to fit all four of your spaced trusses and nail it to the first standard truss and end of truss. Once your trusses have been properly anchored and permanently braced, you may start the process of sheathing the roof.

Installed lengthwise, you are advised to start at bottom corner and then move across its bottom. Once finished, move up to the next row by starting at the same end of your half-sheet sheathing layer. Join each panel over to provide support and guarantee proper spaceing. Repeat for the other side of the roof. Use deformed shank or 8D common nails to fasten your sheating to frame. Space it 6-inches apart.

When everything is done, it’s time to install your drip edge. This metal flashing is needed for protection so that the bottom of the sheathing is able to direct rain water into the gutter. Next is to install your underlayment for waterproofing. Start at the bottom of your where you started when you installed your sheathing. Staple it to secure. Install your roof cover, start from the bottom up and lengthwise. Finish all the steps by installing the ridge cap shingles. With this tutorial, now you are ready to build a roof.