How to build a roof at home with your own hands

One of the most dif­fi­cult stages in the con­struc­tion of a house, which requires cal­cu­la­tions, the skill of work­ing with a tool and the pur­chase of a large num­ber of mate­ri­als — we tell you how to build a roof of a house with your own hands
How to build a roof at home with your own hands
How to build a roof at home with your own hands. Pho­to: pixabay.com

The house does not have option­al ele­ments. Poor­ly lay the foun­da­tion and the struc­ture may not with­stand. Save on the mate­r­i­al of the floor, walls — you will suf­fer from drafts. So the roof needs to be done wise­ly. True, the major­i­ty of mas­ters after oth­er works are deplet­ed of resources — finan­cial and per­son­al. In this case, the roof is already being made if only it was. And then they suf­fer from leaks, they think how to shift the tiles. To help every­one who was going to build the roof of the house with their own hands, KP, togeth­er with an expert, pre­pared instruc­tions.

Step-by-step instructions for building a roof

The roof is one of the most crit­i­cal build­ing envelopes of any build­ing, and even more so at home. For a pri­vate house, pitched roofs are most often cho­sen. And already at the draft design stage, they under­stand whether it will be an insu­lat­ed roof with an attic floor or a clas­sic one with a cold attic,” says tech­ni­cal sup­port spe­cial­ist of the Tech­noN­IKOL trad­ing net­work Stanislav Gapeev.

In shape, pitched roofs are sin­gle-pitched, gable, hip, half-hip, tent. The shape of the roof depends not only on the wish­es of the future home­own­er or archi­tect, but also often due to tech­ni­cal capa­bil­i­ties: the dis­tance between the load-bear­ing walls, the height of the build­ing, the over­all archi­tec­tur­al ensem­ble. The times of chaot­ic devel­op­ment are slow­ly fad­ing away and mod­ern set­tle­ments are already being built up tak­ing into account the gen­er­al archi­tec­tur­al con­cept.



The sim­plest in the pro­duc­tion of work can be called sin­gle-pitched and gable roofs. Below we pub­lish step-by-step instruc­tions for build­ing a roof.

How to build a pitched roof

Preparatory stage

First you need to decide on a design project in rela­tion to your home. Let’s say you decide that you will build a shed roof. The project will depend on the area of ​​the build­ing under it.

  • So for small build­ings up to 6 meters in length, it will be enough to sup­port the roof with rafters and Mauer­lat.
  • If the over­lap reach­es 12 meters, then inter­me­di­ate bear­ing racks and sup­ports are addi­tion­al­ly mount­ed.
  • For large hous­es of 16–18 meters, the runs must be fas­tened with an addi­tion­al fight.

If you don’t know what these con­struc­tion terms mean, don’t be intim­i­dat­ed. We will explain each unfa­mil­iar word as we go along.

Lumber order

It is based on your cal­cu­la­tions. Shed roof cal­cu­la­tors can be found on the Inter­net. This is a time-con­sum­ing process that requires a per­son to have a basic under­stand­ing of draw­ings and sketch­es. Some hard­ware stores can help with this. It is impor­tant to take into account the load on the rafters and, based on this, deter­mine the lay­ing step, cross sec­tion and length.

- The rafter sys­tem is the sup­port­ing frame, the basis of any pitched roof. As a rule, it is assem­bled from wood, a board of 100x50 mm is cho­sen as the rafter legs, the pitch of the rafters is usu­al­ly 600 mm. But since the truss sys­tem is a load-bear­ing struc­ture, the sec­tion of the rafters, the step should be deter­mined by the design cal­cu­la­tion with ref­er­ence to the region. So, for exam­ple, the esti­mat­ed snow load in Yeka­ter­in­burg is 210 kg / m2, and in Ros­tov-on-Don — 140 kg / m2, — says Stanislav Gapeev.

Tool check

If some­thing is miss­ing in your home work­shop, then it’s time to buy the miss­ing tool at the hard­ware store or on the mar­ket along with the order of lum­ber. You will def­i­nite­ly need a saw, a hack­saw, wood drills, a lev­el, a ham­mer and var­i­ous fas­ten­ers.

The best hack­saws

The main tool in any work­shop

We start installation with Mauerlat

This word came to us from Ger­many. Mauer­lat is a sup­port beam on which the rafters are placed. For instal­la­tion, take a beam with a cross sec­tion of at least 10 × 10 cm.

Since a shed roof does not have a ridge (a rib that forms at the point of con­tact between two slopes), its role is played by a high wall. We will lay the rafters on two beams, which are placed on both sides.

If the house is wood­en, then the upper frame will play the role of the Mauer­lat. If the build­ing is made of brick or stone, then you need to lay the sup­port beam. You should first cov­er it with roof­ing mate­r­i­al — it is sold in rolls and it helps in water­proof­ing.



Mauer­lat is tak­en out, i.e. move away from the edge of the wall of the house by 50 cm. Fix with anchors in incre­ments of at least a meter. But don’t over tight­en them. Lev­el up first. If every­thing is smooth, then you can mount. Anchors can be replaced with sta­ples or con­nect­ing strips.

We lay the rafters

When the sup­port beam is fixed, you can start lay­ing the rafter legs. These are the beams on which the rest of the shed roof sheath­ing will be installed in the future.

The step between the rafters also requires cal­cu­la­tions. The heav­ier the coat­ing, the short­er the dis­tance. For exam­ple, for slate or tiles, it is bet­ter to main­tain an inter­val of 600 mm, if the load is high­er, then increase the cross sec­tion of the rafter leg or choose oth­er mate­ri­als — LVL beam or rolled met­al. For cor­ru­gat­ed board, the inter­val can be made larg­er.

On the Mauer­lat, you need to mea­sure the places where we will embed the rafters. Please note that the rafter legs do not fit right up to the edge of the wall. There should be a gap of 5–7 cen­time­ters.

The grooves for the rafters on the Mauer­lat are hol­lowed out or cut out. The slope is made based on the slope of the roof. To begin with, extreme rafter legs are installed. They are most often nailed with long nails of 12–15 cm each. Then the rest of the rafters are mount­ed. For con­ve­nience, you can stretch a fish­ing line between the extreme ones, which will serve as a kind of mark and lev­el.

Making a cornice

Do you remem­ber that the rafters should pro­trude beyond the dimen­sions of the walls? Oth­er­wise, all pre­cip­i­ta­tion from the roof will flow direct­ly under your feet or onto the wall of the house. You need to make a cor­nice.

You will need to col­lect a fil­ly. This is the name of the boards with which the rafters are length­ened so that the cor­nice comes out. You can make a fil­ly from the same tim­ber, but it should have a small­er width. In order not to cut out, you can pre-pur­chase a cou­ple of thin­ner rafter boards. If the house is made of stone or brick, a ruberoid gas­ket will be need­ed again.

We install waterproofing

Or it is also called vapor bar­ri­er. The cheap­est mate­r­i­al is a dense poly­eth­yl­ene film. It is bet­ter if it is rein­forced, that is, rein­forced with a spe­cial mesh. You can use roof­ing mate­r­i­al or pur­chase a spe­cial insu­lat­ing mem­brane.

But this option is only suit­able for sea­son­al hous­es. If you want a reli­able roof, you will also have to fork out for insu­la­tion.

We carry out the crate

She will hold the roof­ing. The most pop­u­lar mate­r­i­al for bat­tens is 50 × 50 mm tim­ber. It is eas­i­est to read about what step and sec­tion of the crate to be per­formed in the instruc­tions for the tile that you have cho­sen. If you plan to lay slate, then each sheet should have a sup­port of at least four bars: one at the edges and two in the mid­dle. Please note that ondulin is laid on a sol­id crate, and soft tiles and oth­er rolled mate­ri­als require a ply­wood base. We remind you once again: read the instruc­tions for your roof.



We cover the roof

Final stage. At this point, you have col­lect­ed all the nec­es­sary ele­ments and it remains only to lay and fix the coat­ing.

How to build a gable roof

Making or looking for a project

Any con­struc­tion must begin with a draw­ing. Visu­al­iza­tion of the build­ing will serve more accu­rate work. When build­ing a gable roof, it is extreme­ly impor­tant to deter­mine the angle of incli­na­tion. The gold­en mean is con­sid­ered to be an angle of at least 25, but not more than 55 degrees. It all depends on the rain­fall in your area. Talk to your neigh­bors, how do they like their roof: does it cope with flows, are there any leaks, break­downs?

We prepare materials and tools

This stage is no dif­fer­ent from what we described in the arrange­ment of a pitched roof. When you have a draw­ing, you will at least approx­i­mate­ly rep­re­sent the amount of mate­r­i­al that you will need. Go to a hard­ware store or man­u­fac­tur­er to order tim­ber, pur­chase, insu­la­tion, coat­ing.

We mount the Mauerlat

Bars with a cross sec­tion of 10 × 10 to 15 × 15 cm are suit­able for it. If the house is wood­en, then the extreme beam of the walls acts as a Mauer­lat. If the house is made of stone, do not for­get to lay a roll of water­proof­ing: wood and brick should not inter­act.

Mauer­lat gable roof must be strict­ly hor­i­zon­tal. The lev­el will help. The most reli­able fas­ten­ing of the Mauer­lat beam with anchors. You will need to drill holes to install them. Take a drill of the same diam­e­ter as your fas­ten­ers.

Rafter installation

Rafters are select­ed with a sec­tion of 5 × 10 or 10 × 15 cm. They are stacked in incre­ments of about 10 cm. There are dif­fer­ent types of gable roofs. The most pop­u­lar are lay­ered. They con­sist of two rafter legs, the low­er parts of which are held by a Mauer­lat. From above they are fas­tened with a ridge run — this is a kind of skele­ton, a hor­i­zon­tal beam that holds the lines. The run itself is installed on ver­ti­cal racks.

Slop­ing gable roofs are assem­bled right at the top. There are hang­ing rafters. In this case, the farm is col­lect­ed on the ground. The farm is a tri­an­gle knocked togeth­er from a bar — rafters, racks. Near the build­ing, the required num­ber of such farms is col­lect­ed, and then they are raised up. Here you need either spe­cial equip­ment, or to equip an assem­bly sys­tem of ropes. One can­not deal with this.

Waterproofing and insulation

When the rafter legs are installed, you can begin to mount the vapor bar­ri­er. Take mul­ti­lay­er poly­eth­yl­ene, which is sold in build­ing stores. It can be eas­i­ly fixed with a con­struc­tion sta­pler. It is bet­ter to make two-lay­er insu­la­tion — above and below the rafters. And between them lay a heater. Do not put naked insu­la­tion with­out a film. In a cou­ple of sea­sons, it will get wet and lose its prop­er­ties.


The tech­nol­o­gy of its imple­men­ta­tion depends on the type of coat­ing. If you buy a met­al tile, then spec­i­fy the step of the crate for the type of pro­file from the man­u­fac­tur­er or sell­er. For flex­i­ble tiles, a con­tin­u­ous crate of OSB or FSF ply­wood is required. But still with a small gap, because. wood expands and dries out.

Coating installation

By this stage, you should have already decid­ed on the roof­ing mate­r­i­al. Since on the basis of this the frame was built. Ondulin, cor­ru­gat­ed board, met­al tile, com­pos­ite or some­thing else — it all depends on your pref­er­ence and wal­let.



What work will need to be done
when building a roof

Mauerlat installation

Do not for­get that it would be nice to treat all wood­en ele­ments with an anti­sep­tic before instal­la­tion. So you “hard­en” the mate­r­i­al and extend the life of the tim­ber. And mod­ern impreg­na­tions have a fire-fight­ing func­tion.

As we have already said, Mauer­lat is a sup­port for rafters. A lay­er between the walls and the roof frame. Some neglect its instal­la­tion alto­geth­er. This is accept­able when installing gaze­bos, veran­das, sheds or latrines. But if you are build­ing a house for liv­ing, the roof will not last long with­out this sup­port belt.

The most pop­u­lar mate­r­i­al for Mauer­lat is a sol­id beam 5 × 15, 10 × 15 cm. Bet­ter with­out knots, cracks and oth­er defects. This is a kind of roof foun­da­tion. It must be durable. The last option is to assem­ble a sup­port from sev­er­al boards your­self.

Here is a step by step instal­la­tion guide.

  1. We lay out the beam along the perime­ter of the roof: try on and cut it out in the right pro­por­tions.
  2. If the wall is stone, we lay bitu­mi­nous water­proof­ing. It rolls out on a bear­ing sup­port­ing wall.
  3. We make an indent of 20–50 cm from the edge of the wall and lay the tim­ber.
  4. We check the lev­el of even­ness of lay­ing.
  5. We fix it with an anchor, twist­ed wire or met­al brack­ets.

Installation of rafters

Most often, wood­en beams are tak­en for rafters. Why not met­al, if it is stronger? Of course, you can use it, but then you have to do weld­ing. Wood­en rafters are lay­ered and hang­ing.

The rafters abut against the Mauer­lat from below and the ridge from above. They gath­er at the top. Con­sid­ered easy to install. Lay­ing in this way favors nat­ur­al ven­ti­la­tion, which is impor­tant for pre­serv­ing the prop­er­ties of wood.

Hang­ing rafter legs rest against each oth­er at the top, and from below they are fas­tened with anoth­er beam, which is called a puff. It turns out such a tri­an­gle, which builders call a farm. More durable con­struc­tion, but you will need a few more hands for instal­la­tion.

Ide­al­ly, the design­er should cal­cu­late the truss sys­tem. It is nec­es­sary to take into account:

  • slope;
  • annu­al pre­cip­i­ta­tion;
  • roof­ing mate­r­i­al;
  • tem­per­a­ture regime.



In short, the fol­low­ing prin­ci­ple applies: the greater the load on the roof, the small­er the step between the rafter legs.

How to build a house

Not every­one wants to buy a ready-made house, it is eas­i­er for many to build it with their own hands

Arrangement of waterproofing

With­out it, it is impos­si­ble to build a qual­i­ty roof of a house. Pre­vi­ous­ly, poly­eth­yl­ene was laid. It does­n’t mat­ter which one, as long as it’s bet­ter. But today hard­ware stores offer a wide range of film in rolls. For cer­ti­fied ones, even the vapor per­me­abil­i­ty index is cal­cu­lat­ed. Ide­al­ly, it should be less than 1 g/m2.

The insu­la­tor is rein­forced with a spe­cial rein­forc­ing mesh. Addi­tion­al­ly, it can be cov­ered with foil to reduce heat loss. Here is the instal­la­tion order.

  1. Inspect the roof frame: no nails or knots so as not to tear the film.
  2. Mea­sure the length.
  3. Roll out the required piece of mate­r­i­al on the ground.
  4. Lift up and fix with a sta­pler.
  5. Pieces of film are over­lapped.
  6. The joints are sealed with tape. It is bet­ter if it is a spe­cial adhe­sive tape for insu­la­tion.
  7. The film must be stretched.

As we wrote above, ide­al­ly there should be two lay­ers of water­proof­ing: above and below the rafters. Between them lay a basalt insu­la­tion with a thick­ness of at least 250 mm.

Manufacturing of crates

The most reli­able mate­r­i­al is a tim­ber or conif­er­ous board. They are fas­tened togeth­er with nails. Depend­ing on the type of fur­ther coat­ing, a dis­charged (with a gap of a cou­ple of cen­time­ters) or a sol­id (with a gap of a cou­ple of mil­lime­ters) crate is per­formed. The sec­ond option is suit­able for shin­gles. For oth­ers, the for­mer is prefer­able. How­ev­er, detailed instruc­tions are in the instruc­tions of the roof man­u­fac­tur­er.

roof covering

If you are look­ing for the best cov­er­age, then you should look at the met­al tile or flex­i­ble tile. The most durable mate­ri­als are cement-sand and ceram­ic. Thrifty take a bitu­mi­nous sheet. Pro­fes­sion­al sheet or ondulin is more often used for out­build­ings or sum­mer hous­es.

Expert advice

– There are a lot of mate­ri­als for a pitched roof today, this is due both to the devel­op­ment of tech­nol­o­gy and to his­tor­i­cal expe­ri­ence, because even the first dwellings in the form of a hut also actu­al­ly had pitched roofs. Today’s choice is met­al tile, soft tile, nat­ur­al tile, cement-sand tile, pro­filed sheet, reed and oth­ers, — says tech­ni­cal sup­port spe­cial­ist of the Tech­noN­IKOL trad­ing net­workStanislav Gapeev.

Each type of cov­er­age has its own advan­tages and dis­ad­van­tages. The most com­mon today can safe­ly be called flex­i­ble tiles and met­al tiles. Flex­i­ble tile is a vari­ety of col­ors and shapes of cuts, vol­u­met­ric tex­ture, a small amount of trim­ming, no cor­ro­sion, and it also con­tributes to an avalanche of snow and does not res­onate sound.

Met­al tile — a wide range of col­ors, types of pro­files and poly­mer coat­ings, high lay­ing speed, espe­cial­ly when it comes to sim­ple one- or two-pitched roofs, a long-known tech­nol­o­gy. Depend­ing on the mate­r­i­al cho­sen, the pitch and the pres­ence of the crate and counter-crate depend.



The most com­mon types of roof­ing today are shin­gles and met­al tiles. Pho­to: pixabay.com

For exam­ple, for the instal­la­tion of flex­i­ble tiles, the list of actions will look like this:

  • Rafter sys­tem of rafter legs 100x50 mm.
  • Dis­charged crate from a bar 50x50mm, the step is deter­mined based on the angle of incli­na­tion of the slope, but the min­i­mum step is 300mm.
  • Sol­id sheath­ing of OSB 9–12 mm, the sheets are laid in a space between the seams, leav­ing a dis­tance of 1 cm between adja­cent sheets.
  • Instal­la­tion of a lin­ing car­pet is rec­om­mend­ed over the entire area of ​​the roof and always in the most crit­i­cal places — cor­nices, gables, val­leys.
  • Instal­la­tion of eaves and gable strips.
  • Instal­la­tion of the start­ing strip from ridge-cor­nice tiles.
  • Instal­la­tion of flex­i­ble tiles.

To work with flex­i­ble tiles, you only need a hand tool: a knife with a retractable blade, a ham­mer, a mark­ing cord, a tape mea­sure, a gun for sealant for mas­tic in car­touch­es, met­al scis­sors for mount­ing planks.

In the event that your roof is planned with an attic floor, then add anoth­er heater to the list of mate­ri­als. On aver­age in Rus­sia, this is 200–250 mm of light min­er­al wool boards, a vapor bar­ri­er film on the side of the room and a hydro-wind­proof mem­brane on the side of the street. And your work will begin with the instal­la­tion of a vapor bar­ri­er and then the entire roof­ing pie in order.

Popular questions and answers

Which is better: single-pitched or double-pitched roof?

Bet­ter well-assem­bled roof. Each design has its own advan­tages. A shed roof is much eas­i­er to assem­ble. It is more eco­nom­i­cal in terms of mate­r­i­al con­sump­tion. It takes less time to build one. How­ev­er, with this design, the own­ers of the house prac­ti­cal­ly deprive them­selves of the attic.

Gable roofs are more labor-inten­sive in terms of do-it-your­self assem­bly. Col­lect­ing one alone will be prob­lem­at­ic. At some stage, a sec­ond pair of work­ing hands will def­i­nite­ly be need­ed. Oth­er­wise, you will have to build tem­po­rary sup­port struc­tures to sup­port the rafters while you fix them. But you are guar­an­teed to get a spa­cious attic. And if it is also insu­lat­ed, then you get an addi­tion­al room.

How to insulate the roof?

The required min­i­mum insu­la­tion thick­ness is 200–300 mm. Today, a large num­ber of dif­fer­ent mate­ri­als are avail­able in hard­ware stores.

Min­er­al wool is num­ber one in preva­lence. More com­mon are made on the basis of basalt and fiber­glass. There is a foam insu­la­tion, the main advan­tage of which is a low price and sim­ple lay­ing tech­nol­o­gy. But it is depen­dent on heat — there is a risk that it will not sur­vive if the roof of the house is locat­ed in the sun for most of the day. If you take a very cheap mate­r­i­al, then it can be tox­ic when heat­ed.

Good reviews are also poly­styrene foam boards, isover and glass wool. But all the advan­tages of mod­ern mate­ri­als for roof insu­la­tion will be lev­eled if the instal­la­tion is done incor­rect­ly. Remem­ber that there must be a gap in the crate for ven­ti­la­tion. The insu­la­tion must be wider than the step between the rafters, and the vapor bar­ri­er lay­er must pro­tect the mate­r­i­al from the exter­nal envi­ron­ment.

How can you simplify the construction of the roof with your own hands?

In spe­cial­ized con­struc­tion, you can find ready-made pitched roof sys­tems for both a cold attic and an insu­lat­ed attic. This is a kind of con­struc­tor, which imme­di­ate­ly includes all the nec­es­sary mate­ri­als: tiles, rafters, insu­la­tion, water­proof­ing, sheath­ing, wood­en floor­ing. It also comes with pret­ty accu­rate assem­bly instruc­tions. How­ev­er, such solu­tions can be more expen­sive than choos­ing and buy­ing mate­ri­als sep­a­rate­ly. As a rule, these are offered by large man­u­fac­tur­ers, which means you can expect decent qual­i­ty. In addi­tion, in such a store they will help with the cal­cu­la­tions.