A shed roof can be a great option for your outdoor storage structure or small building. The simple sloped design is easy to construct and provides good rainwater runoff.
When deciding on a shed roof, there are a few things to consider so you select the right style for your needs.
What Is a Shed Roof?
A shed roof is a single-slope roof, meaning it only slopes in one direction. The slope is not very steep, usually around 1 inch of vertical rise for every 2 to 3 inches of horizontal run. Shed roofs are also known as skillion or pent roofs.
The slope of a shed roof allows rain, snow, and other debris to easily run off the roof. Typically, a shed roof will slope downward away from the entry door. The roof can slope front-to-back or side-to-side depending on the layout of the structure.
Shed roofs have a very simple construction using a series of rafters, often with no ridge board or hips. The rafters run from the top of the walls to the outer edges forming the slope.
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Benefits of a Shed Roof
There are several advantages that make a shed roof well-suited for small backyard buildings and sheds:
- Easy to Build – The basic design and lack of complex joints like hips and valleys make a shed roof easier to construct than gable or hip roofs.
- Good Drainage – The angled slope allows water, leaves, and snow to run off efficiently.
- Inexpensive – With a simple design and fewer materials needed, shed roofs are generally one of the more budget-friendly roofing options.
- Added Headroom – The sloped shape provides more interior height on the high side than a flat roof does.
- Flexible Design – Shed roofs work on square, rectangular, or irregular shaped buildings.
- Easy to Maintain – With just one slope to work with, cleaning and re-roofing a shed roof is simpler.
Overall, a shed roof is a great choice when you need an uncomplicated, sloped roof that promotes good drainage. The style is perfect for small backyard sheds, workshops, and cabins.
Shed Roof Variations
While the standard shed roof has a single slope, there are some variations on the style:
1. Lean-to Roof
This is when a shed roof is attached to another building, like a lean-to addition. It has a single sloped roof that sits flush against the existing building.
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2. Saltbox Roof
A saltbox shed roof has two sloped sections, with one longer side and one shorter. This allows more height on one side.
3. Curved Roof
Some sheds have a curved shed roof that arcs downward in one direction. This gives a more unique look.
4. Butterfly Roof
A butterfly roof has two shed roof sections that slope down towards the center, forming a depressed shape in the middle for drainage.
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Key Considerations for Shed Roofs
When planning a shed roof, here are some important factors to consider:
- Roof Pitch – A pitch around 3:12 (3 inches vertical per 12 inches horizontal run) is common but you can adjust for snow load and looks.
- Span Length – Longer spans may require an intermediate beam for support. Keep rafter lengths under 16 feet for standard lumber.
- Materials – Corrugated metal, asphalt shingles, and wood shakes or shingles are common options.
- Slope Direction – Choose a slope direction suited to the site and drainage patterns. Avoid directing water towards the shed entrance.
- Overhangs – Include overhangs of 12-24 inches to help protect siding and windows from rain.
- Permits – Many areas require permits for sheds over a certain size. Make sure to check with your local building department.
Choosing the ideal shed roof pitch, materials, overhangs, and other details will help your shed perform its best. Consulting local permit offices and following good shed building practices are also key.
DIY Shed Roof Construction
For do-it-yourselfers, a shed roof is one of the simpler roofing projects to tackle. Here is an overview of basic shed roof framing:
- Build walls and frame decking. Make sure the wall top plates are straight and level.
- Cut common rafters with correct length and angle for planned roof pitch.
- Install rafters spaced 16-24 inches on center, anchored into wall top plates.
- Add lateral collar ties halfway down rafters for bracing.
- Apply roof sheathing like plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), or metal roof panels.
- Install underlayment like roofing felt for drainage protection.
- Finish roofing with desired materials such as asphalt shingles, metal roofing, or wood shakes. Add flashing.
- Complete details like fascia, trim, vents, and sealants for weather protection.
For a beginner-friendly step-by-step shed building tutorial, check out these shed plans and guides which cover shed roofs.
With proper planning and construction, a DIY shed roof can provide the ideal practical solution for your storage building or backyard retreat.
The simplicity of the shed roof design allows even amateurs to tackle this weekend project and get hands-on with building. Just take it step-by-step.
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Enjoy the Versatility of a Shed Roof
If designed and constructed correctly, a shed roof can be a highly functional and long-lasting roof for your shed or small structure. The simplicity and sloped shape make it a versatile design suitable for a range of applications.
Whether you need a spacious backyard workshop, a place to store lawn and garden equipment, or a cabin retreat, a shed roof allows you to maximize interior space while providing good rain protection too.
So explore the possibilities with easy-to-build shed roof designs. With proper planning, you can customize the slope, materials, and other details to get the perfect shed roof for your particular needs.
Q: What is the best slope for a shed roof?
A: A slope of around 3:12 is recommended, which means for every 12 inches horizontally, the roof rises 3 inches. You can adjust between 2:12 and 4:12 as needed based on snow load and appearance preferences.
Q: What is the easiest shed roof to build?
A: The lean-to shed roof attached to an existing building is the simplest option. It requires fewer materials and less framing compared to a freestanding shed roof.
Q: How long can the rafters span on a shed roof?
A: For standard dimension lumber rafters, the maximum span is around 16 feet. You may need an intermediate support beam for longer shed roof spans to prevent sagging.
Q: What materials can I use for a shed roof?
A: Asphalt shingles and corrugated metal are popular choices. You can also use wood shakes, tile, EPDM rubber, and PVC roofing panels. Choose materials suited to your climate.
Q: Do I need a building permit for a shed roof?
A: Permit requirements vary by location. Typically sheds under 100-200 square feet do not need permits, but always check your local building codes for requirements. Larger sheds will require permits.