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Building Your Shed Roof? Here's How It's Done

How To Build A Shed Roof

Are you looking to build your own shed or re-roof an old one and wondering how to build a shed roof like a pro?

Well, I can't wait to tell you, you're at the right place!

I have devised a step-by-step guide to building a shed roof in some quick and easy steps, so grab yourself a pen and paper; you won't want to miss this.

With so many shed and roof styles to choose from, from pent, gable, hip, saltbox, gambrel style roofs, and much more, it can be quite tricky to decide, especially as choosing the right roofing system is crucial.

But no need to panic; I'm here to help!

To make things easier for you, I have broken down all the confusing features to guide you through each step so that you can style your new roof with ease.

Let's jump in; you won't want to miss this one.

Things to check before building a shed roof

First things first, you will want to check these crucial factors before you begin:

The Style Roof:

You will need to decide the style of the shed, whether that particular style roof will look appealing. Sheds are built to withstand for years, so it is essential to choose the right design.


You need to check whether the shed roof design will be waterproof, will it prevent your contents in your storage space from getting wet. Choosing the right materials is so crucial for this step.

Your budget:

It is vital to establish a budget before building your shed roof. For example, working out what materials are needed: traditional felt, clay shingles or wooden design?

You will also need to consider the materials' durability and how often you will need to replace the fabric and maintain the shed. Selecting the right material will help contribute to the durability, longevity and water-resistance of the shed as a whole.

Planning permission:

Working out whether or not your shed roof design requires planning permission is a crucial step. If the shed stands exceed 2.5 meters in height in the UK, it will need planning permission.

How to build shed roofs:

Let's break it down, step by step:

Step One: Choose a style for your shed roof framing:

There is a range of shed roof styles and roof framing that you can use when building your shed. Most commonly, you will be choosing between gambrel, skillion, saltbox or a gable roof.

Each design is sloped to ensure adequate water runoff. Whatever you choose, it will be down to your tasteful preference. Let's break down each:

Gable shed roof framing:

A gable shed roof framing features a central peak with two identical sloped sides. They are most commonly found on houses but can be found on sheds too.

This is often the most straightforward garden shed roof to build but often offers the least amount of storage space in the loft.

The steeper the pitch on a gable shed roof, the harder it is to put shingles on. However, one crucial consideration with any shed roof is building a roof with too low a pitch.

Skillions shed roof framing:

This shed roof framing is often the simplest and most common for shed roofs. This is one single flat plane slopes gradually from top to bottom.

Gambrel roof framing:

Now, gambrel-style shed roof framing is typically found and used for barns. Each side of the roof has two slopes; the lower one is perpendicular to the ground.

A gambrel roof differs from gable or saltbox designs as it offers more storage space for your shed building as the side walls are often 6ft or taller.

Building a loft in a gambrel roof cavity is super easy and provides that extra storage space than gable or saltbox sheds.

Saltbox style shed roof framing:

If you want to build a shed that makes a perfect garden shed for the summer, then the saltbox roof designs offer a lot of character, charm, and beauty to your shed building.

This is a good idea for an added home improvement in the garden.

Saltbox shed roof framings are very similar to skillion roofs, but they have an extra short slope on the long angled plane. They aren't as standard on sheds, but they are still trendy.

Step Two: Choose your roof pitch:

The term 'pitch' indicates the slope on your roof. It would be a good idea to determine this based on the prediction of water precipitation in your area. If you receive a lot of rain or snow, it would be best to go for a steeper slope.

You need to work out the design of the pitched roof as well in this step.

This will deflect rain, snow, sleet and falling leaves more efficiently than a lower one. It would help if you also chose a slope that fits best for your shed.

For example, a 6-12 design means that after every 12 inches, the angle will rise 6 inches. Your shed should have at least a 3-12 pitch to meet the standardised building requirements and ensure efficient water runoff.

Step Three: Mark the location for shed roof framing:

Mark the location:

You should mark the location along the top of your shed, as when installing rafters, it is best to follow the same spacing as your wall studs.

You can mark your roof using a carpenter's pencil or a felt-tipped marker to draw a line across the wall plate timbers where you'd like your rafters to go.

This will make life much easier in the next step.

Most of the time, they will be 20-24 inches from the centre; placing the rafters in the right place will improve the roof design massively while also reducing the number of materials you'll require.

If you want to replace the roof and the rafters are already in the right place, you can skip to step five.

Measure the rafter boards:

Once you've marked your rafters, then measure them to your preferred roof style and pitch. The length of your rafters will determine the overall size of your shed, including the style, slope and roof design you have chosen.

On a steep roof, the rafters will be much longer. Once you've measured them, mark them directly using a carpenter's pencil.

If you're building a gable roof with a pitch of 4-12 and 200 inches wide, then your rafter boards should be 105.3 inches on each side. Remember to cut each board at the right angle to allow them to fit at the peak.

Cut the rafters:

You then want to cut your rafter boards using a circular saw. Slowly glide the blade over the end of the rafter board-- take your time with this step as you'd like the cut to be as straight and precise as possible.

Make sure you adjust your saw's settings to match your roof design's necessary length and angle.

Once you've cut your rafters, you will want to make a birdsmouth notch at the end to help fit them into place. This is an angled piece that allows the rafter board to sit level rather than having to balance on top.

You will want to place your rafter boards at the same angle as your roof's pitch and draw a 90º angle up from each board's bottom edge. Make sure the lines are corresponding to the height and width of the wall plate.

You will then want to cut along these lines to make a notch. You can do this by placing a piece of scrap wood that's the same width of the distance between the rafter and wall plate beside your rafter beam to see if it is a correct fit.

Step Four: Assemble the rafter halves into plywood roof trusses:

Once you've measured, lined up and cut your rafters, then you will want to trace the upper 8-10 inches of your rafter peak onto a piece of plywood and cut it out into a triangular plate using a skill saw.

You will then want to apply a thin layer of construction adhesive to each plate's backside and then adjust it to fit with the joint where the two rafter boards meet and press it firmly in place.

After that, you will want to secure the plates using 2-3 nails through the plate. This is also known as a gusset, and it serves to add durability to the shed roof design.

Then, you will want to attach the end rafters to the wall plates of your shed frame. Firstly you will want to lower the first truss into place and fasten using 8D nails. Use three nails on each side and repeat with all plywood roof trusses.

You will place them within the marked areas from earlier.

Following on, you will want to run a string between your end plywood roof trusses to help you set the other rafters.

This will serve as a visual guide to ensure the rest of the rafters are set evenly and correctly. It would help if you pulled your string tight enough to perfectly straight without placing a strain on your end rafters.

Step Five: Assembling the shed roof substrate

First things first, you will want to cover your rafter roof trusses with plywood sheathing. You should start at a corner at one end of the shed roof. Lie the boards horizontal across the exposed rafters and ensure the edges are flush with the edges of the end rafters.

You will then want to drive a nail into each corner to hold it in place. The plywood heating will provide structural support for your shed roof, allowing a flat, stable surface to work with.

You will then want to measure and cut any additional plywood to fill in any gaps in the sheathing; it's essential to cover all the holes as this will make your shed roof more weatherproof.

Ensure all the plywood cuts are orientated the same way to ensure the strand grain is running in the same direction. This will improve the strength of your shed roof sheathing.

Then fasten the plywood using 8D nails, reaching from a ladder.

Once you have the sheathing in place, you will want to mount the fascia board to cover up your rafters' exposed ends.

Cut your two fascia boards to match your shed's length, and then nail them in using 8D finishing nails. It would be best if you aimed for a facia board for every sloped edge.

However, for a flat roof, you should add a facia on each side.

Step Six: Choose and install your roofing materials:

First up, you should attach strips of roofing felt for baseline protection. This will make your shed more weather-resistant.

Make sure you double-check that the roofing felt is straight, flush and free of wrinkles before stapling it down.

After this step, you want to choose your roofing material:

Asphalt shingles roof design:

This roof design gives your shed a more traditional look. To do is cut full-sized shingles in half widthwise and nail them along the bottom edge of your roof.

Secure each shingle at the top using three one inch roofing nails. Also, make sure the top and bottom of each row overlap by 2 inches.

Corrugated metal roof:

This is a more durable shed roof option for shed plans. Just do is cut your sheet material to the right size using tin snips, power shears or an electric nibbler tool.

Ensure your layout vertically, so the ridge's slope faces the ground, helping aid water runoff. Then fasten each sheet using metal roofing screws.

Despite a metal roof style being the most durable out of them all, it is more prone to rust and corrosion; it will require painting over every 2-3 years to upkeep the appearance.

EPDM rubber roofing:

This is an inexpensive option you can use when covering your shed roof. Just load a paint roller with construction adhesive and roll it over the entire roof.

Apply your rubber sheeting carefully, smoothing out the surface afterwards to make sure the roof is free of wrinkles, creases or bubbles.

Once you're happy with the roof, you're good to go!

What are the different types of pitched roofs:

As you may know, there are many different types of pitched roofs, and it's really down to preference and the amount of water precipitation you receive.

Roofs have three broad pitch groups, which mean the angle or slope of the roof. The materials you'll need depends on the type of roof pitch you are going for.

Here are the three most common styles:

Flat roof:

A flat roof often has a pitch of 10 degrees or lower. The most common roof pitch materials used for a shed with a flat roof is a bitumen mineral felt on top of a metal or plywood decking sheet.

If you decide to go with a flat roof, it may require frequent maintenance to prevent leaking. Maintenence is less common if the slant is closer to a 10-degree pitch.

It is important to remember that if an insulated roof is being installed, make sure you remember to add an air gap between the roof deck and insulation to allow for ventilation and prevent moisture build-up.

Low Pitch Roof:

Shed plans with a low roof pitch often have a slope between 10-2o degrees and most commonly use shingles and tiles to cover the roof.

You may want to take extra caution and use a waterproof underlay when installing to ensure the shed roof is weather resistant.

Pitched Roof:

Shed plans with a pitched roof style are often sloped at 20 degrees or higher; the materials commonly used for this degree often come with their own rule of thumb.

For example:  

Concrete Interlocking Tiles:

Concrete interlocking tiles are best suited for a 20-degree or higher roof pitch. They use heavily weighted materials, so using wall and roof strengths that offer this support should be considered.

Concrete interlocking tiles are more common roofing materials used on larger timber sheds rather than smaller ones due to their weight.

Clay Tiles:

They generally use a pitch that is 35 degrees minimum, have a hard waterproof outer shell and are available in a range of colours, sizes and shapes.   

How much does it cost to build a new shed roof?

This is very much dependent on the size and materials you are looking to use for your shed.

A roll of mineral felt roof usually comes with a standard garden shed. They are usually low quality and have a short life expectancy of up to 5 years. They also tend to be more fragile; any amount of damage to the shed roofing may cause water damage into the shed's structure.

I would recommend choosing felt tiles, or roofing shingles over mineral roof felt. They have a 15-year life expectancy.

They start at the bottom of the roof and overlap each other by roughly 150mm. This is repeated until the edge is reached; ridge capping is then used at the very top of the roof.

Another option is wooden shingles which offer a 30-year life expectancy. They have a layer or underlay underneath, which adds to the durability.

What is the easiest garden shed roof to build?

The cheapest and easier shed roof to build has to be MSR roll roofing. It covers large areas quickly by simply rolling out the material and nailing it down.

However, rolled roofing isn't considered the most attractive; it is also fragile, so it will only last up to 5 years before it needs to be replaced.

Mistakes commonly made when building your garden shed roof:

The first thing I have learned when building your shed is that if you want to shingle it, you cannot have a pitched roof lower than 3/12.

This is because any roof pitch less than 3/12 will leak water during rain or snow. This will increase the likelihood of mould or water-build up, which can have longlasting effects on your storage shed.

If you have made this mistake, all you need to do is tear off all the shingles and put down a roofing membrane that can glue to the roof sheeting and re-shingle it. You can do this or put it on a metal roof.


Overall, I hope this guide helped you decide and create a new roof for your shed building in the garden.

Building a new shed roof will compliment your shed for years to come and add to the durability of the shed building as a whole.

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