How To Build A Shed Roof

A Short Illustrated Guide To Build a Gable Roof

In this short guide I'll show you how to build a gable style shed roof. Building a barn style shed roof is very similar so you can follow most of the steps given here. Check also how to build a shed foundations - another quick illustrated guide you may want to read first. At the end of this article I will give also few useful resources for building other types of shed roofs.

Step 1.

At this point we will assume you have already built the shed foundations, walls and door.

Install four good wood beams on the top of the shed. They will enforce the construction and will help attaching the shed roof to it.

The beams can be slightly thicker than the thickness of the walls to give better stability.

Rectangle construction of shed roof beams

Note: This frame should go exactly over the top of the shed walls. To ensure there are no gaps you can add some sort of soft insulation.

Installing top and vertical joists

Step 2.

For simplicity this picture is illustrating only the front size of the roof. In your real construction there will be vertical joist on the other (back) end as well.

The vertical joists must be attached exactly at the middle of the underlying beam if you want to build a symmetrical gable roof.

Step 3.

Now prepare the shingles for the roof rafters. Each shingle needs a stopper near the bottom end.

The ends of the shingles need to be cut diagonally as shown on the picture. This will allow them attach nicely to the top joist from step 2.

See here for more detailed info on roof rafters.

Preparing a shingle for a roof rafter.
The rafters form roof frames

Step 4.

Now attach each rafter in a way that it connects the top joist with the the bottom horizontal beams.

There must be equal number of rafters on each side and each couple must be placed in equal position so each two rafters form a roof frame.

You can have 10" - 20" space between each frame.

Step 5.

If you want to strengthen the shed roof construction even more, you can install one additional horisontal joist.

Put it on each roof frame, 5" - 10" above the bottom beams.

Putting an extra joist
Final look

Step 6.

Here is how your roof construction looks at the end.

Now all you need is to attach pieces of thick plywood and isolate with roof tiles or plastic so there are no water leaks.

Such a gable roof is simple to build and very stable.

Step 7: The Gap Problem

Few readers were concerned about a possible gap between the top of the walls and the roofing of the roof. And they were right. Here in the image below you will see the gap that appears in such type of gable roof after you cover it:

Gap under the roofing

Hopefully you see where the gap is. It isn't nice because it will let wind and maybe even birds and insects go inside. Even if there is a ceiling on the roof, the problem remains. The solution is also simple (see on the pic again). Place a board or a piece of plywood to fill the gap between each two rafters. Note that the board is best to be attached on the outer side of the roof frame as shown. For better insulation and stability you may want to add a small lath on the top of the gap-filling board. The lath can be atached to the rafters on both sides and even to the roofing. That should solve it! I'll publish soon an idea for another gable roof design that avoids this gap problem.

Do you want to get started? I recommend you to check these shed plans, pick a model you like and go ahead!


If you prefer to build other type of shed roof, check out these guides:

User comments:

Mark at Oct, 14 '10 15:11
This article would be wonderful if the pictures actually showed up on the page.
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Bob at Nov, 11 '10 08:36
Thanks Mark, I don't know how I did not notice your comment earlier. I changed hosts and made this mistake
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Adam at Mar, 10 '11 16:58
I am stuck on a step at the end. After you put the plywood over the rafters, isn't there a gap (size depending on notch size) between the top of the side wall and the bottom of the roof?
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Bob at May, 12 '11 08:38
I don't understand you quite well, Adam. You put the plywood on the sides only. Where will be the gap?
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Keith at Jun, 11 '11 14:43
I agree Adam, that's what I'm stuck on too. My only guess is that you would have to rip plywood to size to cover the ends and underside of the rafters that extend beyond the wall.
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