At first glance a shed roof has only one function and that is to keep the rain out.
However as you look more closely the roof has many other features that can be incorporated with a bit of careful design. So that like a Swiss Army penknife has several blades and tools (including one for getting boy scouts out of horses hooves!) a roof plays several important roles;
The roof also plays a very important role in the sheds architectural appearance.
So I have broken the whole roof building process into three separate phases;
The rest of this article discusses how to get the most from your shed roof and then links you through to many more detailed articles that discuss these specific aspects in more detail.
There are 5 main roof styles to choose from. Each of these styles have different characteristics
and looks. Some are better at keeping the rain off, others better at complying with planning
restrictions for shed heights and yet others when correctly designed can provide additional
Find out more about Shed roof design here
Think carefully about your choice of roof style
Many sheds are built specifically for storage so maximising that storage space is critical.
I thought this aspect of shed design so critical that I created a whole article specifically on
Read more about shed lofts here
Another aspect to consider during the design phase is whether you are going to incorporate a
shed skylight. Allowing light in through the roof is a great use of space as it means that less wall
space needs to be devoted to windows. However skylights do have their downsides too.
Read more about shed skylights here
The materials that you use to cover your roof will greatly affect the look and durability of
your shed too. The roofing materials that standard sheds are supplied with in the UK only last
for 5-7 years. So every few years you get a leak in your roof and have to go up there to fix
it or completely replace the roof covering. There is a wide variety of potential roofing materials
and they come with a wide variety of price tags. This summary article gives the big picture
of what sort of materials and costs to look out for.
Read more about different roofing materials here
There is wide choice of roofing materials
Many roofing materials are well known but there are some other less well known materials that are both durable and cost effective and are most definitely worth considering for a new or replacement roof.
Onduline roof sheeting is one such material. It has been used successfully for many years
in a wide variety of climates and locations and it is suitable for both new and re-roofing
Read more about Onduline roofing here
EPDM rubber roof membranes are not so widely known in domestic construction but have a
long history of keeping industrial buildings dry. EPDM roof membranes are increasingly being
used on domestic roofs and sheds.
Read more about how the EPDM rubber roof membrane is making the transition to domestic roofs here
Thin water proof membranes are the key ingredient for green roofs. Green shed roofs are
increasingly popular because of their environmental credentials and visual appeal. The extensive
green roof is the type that is most commonly used for sheds.
Find out more about extensive green roofs here
Of course with all these exciting new types of roof being discussed you could be forgiven for
thinking that traditional roofing is going out of fashion. This is most definitely not the case
traditionally constructed roofs are still extremely popular.
Read more about roofing components here
Take time to develop a good plan of action
Before you even start building your roof please find out more about shed roof safety.
When you are building your roof you are very exposed and working at height is one of the
prime causes of accidents in the construction industry.
This article on roof safety highlights many of the key points to look out for and how to reduce the risks of working at height
Before you start construction of your shed you should have a good shed roof plan to ensure
that you can build with strength and accuracy. There are a number of different methods for
constructing your roof including ridge beams and shed roof trusses.
Read this article on how to construct the roof of your shed to give you a good start on the sort of frameworks that might work for you
We talked earlier about different types of roofing materials. The best way to ensure that
you install the roofing correctly is to visit the manufacturers or suppliers website to learn
about the specific details of the roofing system that you select. One roofing system that
is fairly common is asphalt roofing shingles.
Read here about installing roof shingles
A final tip to help your shed to last longer (and also improve your water usage) is to install guttering
around the perimeter of the roof. By preventing water from dripping off the roof and onto the ground
near the base of the shed you prolong the life of the timber cladding and floor that would otherwise get
wetter than it needs. You also have a great source of water for caring for your garden!
Read about how to install plastic guttering here.
It can take a bit of time to understand all of the different facets and to pull them all together. Perhaps the biggest mistakes that people make is not taking time to investigate several different alternatives and just going with the choice that seems easiest at the time. There is so much more to the roof of a shed than just a sloping bit of plywood with a waterproof covering.
By using the suggestions above you should be able to design a roof that will increase the use you get out of your shed, improve its visual appeal and construct it out of materials that will minimise the amount of maintenance that you need to do.
Firstly, to decide on the look of the shed roof based on your local architecture, climate and other specific requirements.
Secondly, investigate a range of roofing materials to make sure that the building stays watertight and the roofing is of a durable type that is easy to maintain.
Finally, get on with the roof construction, taking care whilst working at height.
Who knows, one day you might read an article by a Swiss Army knife designer about how their products should be more like shed roofs!
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