Every day, I see more new traditional-style homes topped by tortured, often incomprehensible roofscapes. Variety is good. Surprise is good. Bedlam isn’t.

You can’t design an interesting roof simply by melding a bunch of disparate roof shapes together. Even if you’re after a picturesque effect, the elements have to be deliberately composed and with a touch of restraint at that. Even the most flamboyant Victorian houses will, on close inspection, reveal basically simple roof shapes enlivened by carefully controlled accents such as turrets and dormers.


If you’re into the Grand Teton school of roof design, it’s especially critical to think through your roof scheme very carefully–it’ll probably be the most visible part of the building. With that in mind, here’s a quick rundown of common roof shapes, followed by some suggestions and caveats for combining them:

– A gable roof is the most familiar type, having two sloping planes with a triangular gable wall at each end.


– By contrast, a hip roof slopes on all four sides, yielding corner “hips” that climb toward the center.

– A flat roof has little or no pitch.

– A shed roof is sort of like a tilted flat roof–it slopes in one plane only.

– A gambrel (commonly seen on barns) has two different pitches: steep on the sides, and shallow on top.

– A mansard has a very steep pitch on all four sides and a flat roof on top, often concealing an attic story inside.

A few technical terms may be useful here: Roof slope (properly called pitch) is described in inches of vertical rise over horizontal run–a “4-in-12” roof, for example, has rafters that rise 4 inches in every 12 inches of horizontal distance.

The peak of a roof is called the ridge. The lower edge is called the eave. The sloping side edge on shed, gable and gambrel roofs is variously known as the rake, the verge or the barge–pick your favorite. And now some game rules:

1. Limit yourself to just one or two roof shapes. For picturesque roofs, the two most compatible shapes are gables and hips; they were a favorite on late Victorian houses such as Queen Annes. Flat roofs, too, will combine with almost every other type, though they won’t always produce an intelligible style.


Other roof shapes are much more difficult to combine successfully. Sheds, hips, gambrels and mansards will usually get into a stylistic brawl when any two are combined. If you pine for one of these shapes, it’s safest to use it exclusively.

If you’re adding onto an existing building, the rules are even simpler — copy the pitch, massing and details of what’s there.

2. Use powerful proportions. If you want overhangs, make them generous — at least 2 feet or so. Use heavy barge rafters to prevent the sloping roof edge from looking papery. If you’re using a fascia (a trim board behind the gutter), make it substantial as well. Avoid fussy elements such as narrow sub-roofs and tiny dormers; they usually end up looking like Snoopy’s doghouse. When in doubt, make elements bigger than they need to be.

3. Unless you’re absolutely sure of the effect you’re after, avoid combining different roof pitches. More often than not, varied pitches look disorganized or, worse, like a construction error. Stick to a uniform pitch, and rely on the size and arrangement of roof masses for effect.

A Tale of Two Pitches: Exploring Off-Angle Roof Framing

Fine Homebuilding Project Guides


Digital Job Site

See what decisions need to be made about rafter angles and soffit depths, if you are building intersecting roofs on houses with wings of varying widths.

By Matt Jackson


Although uncommon, there are situations where architectural parameters require “off angle” hip and valley roof construction. The most common parameter is to maintain an equal ridge height over building sections with differing spans. To maintain a consistent ridge height in these situations the roof pitch must be adjusted. Another by-product of this roof configuration is varying soffit heights and widths which require further design decisions.

This video above shows how the finished roof planes in off-angle roof construction will look when completed. With the Orbit capability of SketchUp we can check out some of the various roof features as well as get an overview of how dimension/angle factors influence the resulting configuration.

Peeling an Onion… in Reverse:

It was fun to “build” this roof framing model considering the Great Weather, Straight Lumber and a fully functional Board Stretcher available at The Digital Job Site. As I recall, the last time I worked on a real roof like this it was cold, VERY windy, and the lumber wasn’t straight.

Checkout this next video clip to look into the what and why of soffit conditions generated with off-angle roof construction. We’ll also get a look at how actual rafter framing would look on such a roof. Using SketchUp’s Layers feature is not unlike peeling layers of an onion (except I hope shortcomings in my video production won’t bring you to tears) so we can get an up-close look at how various framing components fit together.


Thanks for stopping by The Digital Job Site…

  • Achieving even ridge height requires non-standard rafter cuts

  • Differing spans and matching ridge heights require off-angle roof framing


How to Calculate Rafters for Intersecting Roof Planes the Easy Way


Model and Measure Part One: Hip Rafters Demystified by Visualizing in SketchUp




Framing Roofs



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    How to insulate the ceiling of a bathhouse, insulation for the ceiling: expanded clay, sawdust, clay, earth, foam plastic, mineral wool

    Bath roof



    Decided to build your own sauna on a country site? In this case, be prepared to face a question of a constructive nature. For example, we will discuss such a topic as arranging the roof of a bathhouse. In fact, the answer will be quite simple – it must not only be durable and beautiful, but also have the ability to retain and accumulate heat indoors.

    Features of the choice and construction of the roof of the bath

    The roof, like any other building, is characterized by an individual approach to design, in which many factors and nuances should be taken into account. So, the shape of the roof of the bath determines the following: the location, the material of the walls of the structure, the presence / absence of terraces, balconies, as well as the number of storeys of the room. As a rule, the construction of a bath can be done with a cold attic or with an attic. In accordance with this, the structure of the roofing roof and the roof truss system will differ.

    How does a sauna roof differ from other roofs? Its main difference lies in the fact that the load on the supporting structure of the roof does not occur from the outside, as in any other structure, but from the inside. As a rule, this is due to a physical feature: in the bath room there is a constant increase in temperature, and a high level of air humidity is also observed. All fumes through the ceiling cover outside the steam room into other rooms, including the attic, where the steam is mixed with cold air. As a result, condensate forms, which settles on the supporting structures of the roof of the bath room.

    Types of bath roof construction

    Often, single-pitched, classic double-pitched or multi-pitched types of roofs are used for baths. In turn, the choice of a particular design option directly depends on the technical criteria of the structure, as well as the characteristics of the surrounding area. If you intend to place your bath near the house, in this case it is recommended to give preference to a gable roof, which can provide the required parameters of reliability and efficiency. In addition, this type of roof is preferable for areas with heavy precipitation (in this case, the maximum slope of the slopes should be performed).

    A shed roof must be installed if the sauna is attached to the house. The angle of inclination of this roof will depend on climatic features, and the height and direct direction of the slopes will correspond to similar parameters of the roof of the house.

    Pitched roofs – architectural sophistication and aesthetics, the advantages of which include the uniqueness and attractiveness of the appearance. From a different point of view, such roofs are complex in the process of their construction and the arrangement of thermal insulation.

    Starting to independently equip the roof for a bath room, the best option would be to choose a classic gable roof.

    Attic on the roof of the bathhouse

    At the time of construction work, it is necessary to decide whether the attic will be connected to the building or equipped completely separately. The most
    rational option is a bath room with a separate attic, which will allow it to serve as a special support for the roof. It is also worth noting that it is possible to combine the ceiling with the roof and make a bath with an attic only if the area of ​​\u200b\u200bthe structure is within 12-16 m, or the roof has a slight slope.

    For more detailed information such as roof height calculations, a roof for a bathhouse with a veranda, how to cover a roof and much more, we suggest visiting the relevant section of our website. We will provide you with comprehensive information that will provide a unique opportunity to gain the necessary skills to independently perform all types of roofing work.

    Everything for baths and saunas: stoves, furniture, accessories for baths and saunas, as well as cosmetics, brooms and much more


    Soft roofing

    Services › Roofing ›

    Ensuring durability, high thermal and vapor barrier and impeccable appearance of roofs are the main requirements that a roof covering must meet. Technologies do not stand still, so new coatings appear on the market that surpass previous generations in individual indicators or in combination. One of the promising areas for the development of materials for roofing is the development of the segment of soft coatings.

    Before choosing a particular type of coating, it is important to understand the advantages of a particular manufacturer and type of product. The roofing will have to be used for more than a dozen years without loss of functionality and appearance, therefore, the choice must be made together with StroyBuro specialists, since in case of miscalculations in the selection, material damage will be noticeable.

    So what is soft roof ? A soft roof is a material that is in a relatively soft plastic state or becomes so when exposed to external factors. External factors usually mean liquid or temperature.


    Soft roofing – these are tiles and fiberglass impregnated with modified bitumen with an armoring powder of stone chips and a figured edge, which are overlapped on the roof slope to obtain an airtight coating.

    Products are produced in various shapes – oval, semi-circular, pentagonal, rectangular. The color range of bituminous tiles is distinguished by an enviable variety, so you can choose a roofing material to match the color of the walls or, conversely, a contrasting one. Installation of a soft roof is carried out by 2 methods:

    • With a self-adhesive bituminous layer on the underside of the bituminous shingle. After removing the protective film, low-melting bitumen softens under the influence of air temperature and sticks to the base of the roof. Roofing works with such material are carried out only at a temperature of +5 / +15 degrees and low humidity, since in cold weather the bitumen layer will have to be heated with special equipment forcibly, which increases the cost of installation.
    • Using galvanized roofing nails with wide heads. This method of laying soft tiles does not depend on weather conditions, so you can use it at any time of the year. However, with inept installation, flexible tiles are often damaged, which causes roof leaks. SNiP do not recommend fixing shingles to the base with nails if the slope is less than 20 degrees.

    Important! According to SNiP, flexible tiles are suitable for a roof if the angle of inclination of the slopes is in the range of 15-25 degrees. The greater the slope, the better the water is removed from the roof surface, respectively, the risk of leaks is reduced.

    The specifics of soft roofing

    Materials from the group of soft roofing are modified versions of the good old roofing material. New developments borrowed from their predecessor the flexibility and lightness that rightfully top the list of advantages. They retained excellent water-repellent properties, thanks to which the wooden base and truss system last longer. The composition has improved, due to which the terms of the impeccable work of materials have increased three times.

    According to the laying method, the soft roofing class is divided into three types:

    • Roll materials supplied in the appropriate format. These include bituminous descendants of roofing material and new representatives, such as polymer membranes. Roll coverings are laid in strips. Bituminous materials are fastened by fusing, polymeric materials – by partial or complete gluing. With their help, they mainly equip flat and sloping roofs with slopes up to 3º, up to 9 are acceptable.º. Rolls are in demand mostly in industrial construction;
    • Roofing mastics supplied ready-made or cold to be heated. They are sprayed or applied in a thick layer on flat roofs, resulting in a monolithic coating without seams. Reinforcing mesh is used for reinforcement. The scope of application is limited to flat roofs.
    • Shingles supplied in flexible shingles. In fact, this is an improved roofing material, cut into relatively small sheets. The edge of the shingles is decorated with figured petals to imitate a ceramic prototype. The back side is equipped with an adhesive strip designed to be attached to a wooden base. Glue piece by piece. Additionally, roofing nails or self-tapping screws are hammered into each shingle. From the heating of the bituminous roof by the sun’s rays, the tiles are sintered and turned into a continuous roofing shell.

    In private low-rise construction, the piece variety is in great demand, because flat and low-pitched roofs over one- or two-story residential buildings are built extremely rarely. Household buildings have a “flat” fate, but not every owner decides to buy membranes and mastics for the roof of a barn. So, we will pay attention to the installation of the most popular shingles.

    Advantages and disadvantages of soft roofing

    The main feature of soft roofing is that it is a piece material, so it does not need such high elasticity as rolled roofing. During aging, the deformations of bituminous tiles are limited in each individual shingle, which eliminates the violation of the integrity of the entire coating.

    Soft roofing also has many other advantages:

    • Minimal waste during installation – even when covering roofs of complex shapes.
    • Optimal dimensions – provide ease of transportation and work with the material.
    • Repairability – if the coating is damaged, there is the possibility of local repair by replacing a specific shingle.
    • Lack of noise during rain and hail – provided by a relatively soft and plastic base.
    • Heat resistance – the material is not prone to deformation under the influence of high temperatures (up to 100-120 ° C).
    • Long service life – manufacturers give an official guarantee from 15 to 60 years.
    • Possibility of application in different climatic conditions.
    • Absence of the probability of an avalanche of snow – due to the roughness of the coating.
    • Large selection of cutting shapes and wide color palette.

    The main disadvantages of a soft roof are the need to equip a solid base and lay a lining carpet. This greatly increases the cost of roofing work and increases the overall weight of the roof.

    Rules for the use of soft tiles

    When choosing a roof covering with soft roofing, you should be aware of the features of flexible tiles. When conditions change (non-compliance with installation rules), these features can turn into minuses, and the same material under different conditions will last for different times. The main differences between soft tiles and other roofing materials include the following facts:

    • Soft tiles are not suitable for unless the roof pitch reaches 12° (risk of water retention and seepage increases on a flat surface).
    • Impossible to objectively determine the quality of coating and bituminous shingle base by eye. The material should be purchased from a trusted manufacturer, when buying, studying the certificate, markings and warranties. Soft tiles offered at a suspiciously low (below average market) price are always suspicious.
    • Laying soft roofing is carried out only on a solid moisture-resistant base . To do this, you will have to purchase plywood sheets, grooved or edged boards, or OSB sheets, which will increase the final cost of the roofing carpet.
    • Installation looks simple, the main thing is not to deform soft tiles during laying (which, in the absence of experience, is not so difficult to do).
    • Mounting in cold weather is difficult because the adhesive layer does not provide proper adhesion in such conditions. In order for the roof to still turn out to be airtight, the packages with the material are preliminarily kept in a warm room (at least a day), and during installation, 5-6 packages are taken out into the air.
    • Repairing a soft roof can be much more difficult than installing . After laying the shingles, under the influence of sunlight, stick together, forming a single cover. If over time one of the tiles is damaged, due to adhesion of the material, a replacement of the roof section will be required, and one cannot do without the involvement of a specialist.

    Features of laying the roofing cake

    Bituminous shingle is the leader in use in private construction, leaving other soft roofing materials far behind. Such success is explained by the successful combination of its qualities: the insulating capabilities of roll coatings, the solidity of the self-leveling roof and the aesthetics of classic materials (ceramics and wooden shingles). If the attic of a residential building is supposed to be made warm, a solid moisture-resistant base and flexible tiles will not be enough. In this case, additional layers will be required, and the roofing cake will have a more complex structure, including the following layers:

    • Vapor barrier . Protects the rafter system and the insulation layer from wet steam penetrating from the room.
    • Thermal insulation layer (optional). Helps maintain a stable temperature inside the living space.
    • Thermal insulation . Its role is successfully performed by a layer of basalt or mineral wool.
    • Waterproofing membrane . Protects rafters and insulation from atmospheric precipitation.
    • Lathing and counter lathing . A rigid solid base for a bituminous roof is fixed on them.
    • Roof base . A solid OSB, plywood or plank flooring is laid on the crate. Since the reverse side of the soft roof is covered with an adhesive layer, there is no need to apply mastic or glue to the base. If the angle of inclination of the roof structure exceeds 18°, an additional layer of waterproofing is placed on the base0131 . If the slope is more gentle, waterproofing strengthens structurally weak points that are subjected to intense load: areas around chimneys, cornices, overhangs, skates, valleys.
    • Underlayment . Protects soft tiles from mechanical damage; serves as an additional barrier to wind and moisture.
    • Soft roof . Gives the house a finished look. The elements are glued individually; for better fixation, glue, nails or self-tapping screws are additionally used. When installing pitched surfaces, ordinary (shaped) tiles are used; for skates and cornices choose a universal, ridge-cornice. The energy of the sun’s rays heats the bitumen, the tiles are sintered, turning into a single hermetic roofing shell.

    Some nuances of arranging a soft roof

    The composition of the roofing cake is important for long-term trouble-free operation of the roof. If you use unsuitable materials or change (reduce) the number of layers of the roofing cake, the consequences will not be long in coming. The roof structure will become unusable; you will get leaks, condensate, damp insulation and rotten elements of the roofing system requiring replacement.

    In order for the roof to serve its intended period flawlessly, it is necessary to use additional recommendations during installation, which include the following tips:

    • Types of ventilation . The roof ventilation system can be passive when ventilation gaps (open channels) are formed between the layers. When arranging the forced option, the roof structure is equipped with a factory-made ventilation system. Such a system is able not only to effectively ventilate the under-roof space, but also to start forced air circulation in the attic and in the attic.

    • Chimney bypass . An important technological subtlety is a soft roof, all types of which serve as a high-quality replacement for traditional tiles, unlike the latter, should not adjoin the chimney. During installation, the chimney is carefully insulated around the entire perimeter; the conditions for ensuring the fire safety of a roofing pie are regulated by SNiP standards.

    • Mixing shingle . During installation, it is recommended to mix bituminous elements from several packages. Shades from different packs (even in the same batch) may vary slightly. Mixing will allow you to evenly distribute the tones over the surface of the roof, avoiding sharp transitions from tone to tone (which is always striking). This will be useful in the future, if you need to pick up material for repairs.

    • The flexible tile roof surpasses many roof coverings in strength (easily tolerates hail), resistance (to wind gusts) and solidity. To keep these wonderful properties as long as possible, it is necessary to take care of the roof carefully during the operation of . To clean the roof from snow, a wooden shovel is chosen (it will not damage the protective basalt dressing on the shingle). It is convenient to remove summer dust and dirt with a water jet from a hose.