Roof Structures


Roof Structures

 Roof is the upper most portion of the building which protects the building from rain, wind and sun.
Types of roof structure
Traditional roofs can be divided into three main types of structure:
•  Single roofs.
•  Double roofs.
•  Trussed roofs.

Modern construction methods make use of another type of roof structure and this is known

as trussed rafter roofs (see trussed rafter roofs).

Single roofs
Rafters of single roofs do not require any intermediate support. This type of roof has a number of limitations. It can only be used for small spans. If greater spans are required,larger roof sections would be needed. If the feet of the rafters are not tied together by  means of a binder or roof joist, then this type of roof will have a tendency, under weight,  to push the supporting walls outwards at the top causing structural failure of the walls.
Single roofs can be categorised as follows:
Couple roof – These can be used for building with a clear span of  not greater than 3m and
pitches less than 40º.

Single roof                                                      Double roof

Collar roof – These can be used for buildings with a clear span not exceeding 4mm.
Close couple roof – These can be used for buildings with a clear span not exceeding
5.5mm and with pitches less than 25º.

Couple roof
This type of roof structure is very limited in its use. The roof consists of common rafters  fixed at the ridge and at the wall plate. When subjected to any type of load or force  acting  vertically downwards the rafters will move outwards at their feet thus exerting thrust to the  walls forcing them outwards and causing possible failure of the wall structure.

Couple roof                                                           Couple roof under pressure

Collar roof
A collar roof incorporates a horizontal roof member positioned approximately one third of the distance from the ridge to the wall plate line. This extra roof member helps prevent  the rafters from spreading when under load; this allows this type of roof structure to be  used for greater spans than the couple roof. This design also gives a greater ceiling height  if required.

Close couple roof
This roof incorporates a main tie which is secured to the feet of each rafter and spans the width of the building. This added member forms a triangle which introduces the  triangulation of forces within the structure. To stop the ceiling joist from sagging, a hanger  is fi xed to the rafter at the top and the ceiling joist at the bottom.To further increase the strength of this structure, a binder is fi xed to each ceiling joist and  hanger. This binder runs parallel with the main wall and at right angles to the ceiling joist.This type of structure ensures that this type of roof can be used for great spans without the  fear of the roof spreading under loads.

Pitches, Spans and Rises
When setting out a roof, there are certain essential factors that must be considered.
These are:
Roof span – This is the distance across the roof and measured to the outer edges of the
wall plates.
Roof height or rise – This is the vertical height of the roof at its highest point and is  measured from the top of the wall plates to the intersection of the rafters at the top of the  roof. When measuring rafters, the length is taken as a straight line running through the  centre of the rafter.
 Roof pitch – This is the angle or slope of the roof and can be expressed in degrees or as a  fraction or ratio found by dividing the rise by the span.
Example. If a roof has a span of 6m and a rise of 3m then the pitch would be:

Since the rise is half the span, the angle of the roof would be 45°.

Definitions of terminology of a gable roof
Common Rafter Length and Bevels
When determining the lengths and bevels of common rafters, it is normal to consider them as single lines rather than rafters of a certain width or thickness. If the rise and the span are  known, it is a simple procedure to determine the length of the common rafter and its main  bevels.
The roof section can be set out full size or to scale. Once the section has been set out the length of the common rafter can be determined by drawing the rise and the span as a right  angle joined together by the hypotenuse which will determine the slope of the roof. The rafter is seated upon the wall plate by means of a notch or birdsmouth joint which is  cut one third into the rafter. The angle at which the notch is cut is called the seat cut. The  top angle or bevel is called the plumb cut.
Once the bevels have been determined, a sliding bevel can be set to the angle required or in some cases, a piece of plywood can be cut to each bevel and used as a template for all  the other rafters. When determining the length of the rafter, an allowance is made for the thickness of the  ridge and the length of the overhang at the eaves.

Determining the length and bevels of a common rafter
Verge Details and Ladder Frame
The construction of the verge of a gable roof is shown below. The roof extends over the gable wall to give a suitable overhang. To achieve this is a simple frame called a ladder  frame is constructed. This frame consists of the last two rafters joined together by means of  noggings nailed to the inside of the rafters. The brickwork of the gable extends through this  frame to fi nish the wall level with the top of the rafters.
A finishing trim called a barge board is then nailed to the last rafter. This barge board is  suffi ciently wider than the rafters to cover the entire end rafter including the tilting fi llet. A soffit is then fi xed to the underside to match the soffi t under the eaves. The barge board  is also fixed to the fascia. The fascia can be mitred to the barge board at the foot while the  top of the barge board at the apex of the roof is mitred to the matching barge board on the  other side.

Eaves Details and Fascias
 There are various ways of constructing the eaves of a gable roof. Below are two examples:
•  Flush eaves.
•  Boxed or closed eaves.
 Flush eaves
In this method of fi nishing off the lowest edge of the roof, the rafter feet are cut plumb, and  project 25mm from the face of the outer brickwork. This will allow a ventilation gap to be  formed so that a continuous fl ow of air can circulate throughout the roof space.The fascia board is nailed directly to the rafter feet to form a face trim. It is to this fascia  board that the guttering is fixed.
Closed or boxed eaves
This is a more complex method of fi nishing the lowest edge of the roof. The rafter feet  are allowed to overhang the face of the outer brickwork. The overhang can vary in size  but usually the distance is stipulated on the working drawings, or is at a distance that can  accommodate a proprietary ventilation soffit.

The soffi t is supported by a cradling bracket or, in some cases, a piece of plywood cut  to shape.
The roof space can be ventilated by using a proprietary vermin proof ventilation strip or the  soffit can be drilled with a series of holes into which plastic ventilators are fi xed.
Roof ventilation
Roof ventilation is essential to reduce the likelihood of condensation within the roof space
as required by the Building Regs 1985.
The regulations state that all roofs must be cross-ventilated at eaves level by permanent  vents and these must have an equivalent area equal to a continuous gap along both sides  of the roof of 10mm, or 25mm where the pitch of the roof is less than 15°.
This ventilation requirement can be achieved by:
•  Leaving a gap between the outer wall and the soffi t.
•  Using a proprietary ventilation strip.
•  Using circular plastic ventilators set into the soffi t board.
There are many types and designs of proprietary ventilators available all of which have been designed to give suffi cient ventilation to the roof space if used and incorporated into the  structure correctly.

Double Roofs
A double roof is a roof whose rafters are of such a length that they require an intermediate support. This support is usually a beam which is secured under the rafters at a point half  way between the ridge and the wallplate. This beam is known as a purlin. In gable roofs, the purlin is built into the gable wall to provide added support. In double  pitched roofs, the purlin is fixed to the rafters in a continuous length, jointed at all the  internal and external corners of the roof.
In traditionally constructed roofs, the roof may also require added support in the form of  roof trusses. This will depend upon the size of the roof and the type of roof covering the  roof has to support.
In modern double roof construction, the whole of the roof is constructed of lightweight roof  trusses called trussed rafters.
Double roof with hipped end
There are many designs and combinations of double roofs. The design of the roof will  depend upon the size and shape of the ground fl oor plan of the building.
The drawing shows a partly hipped roof with one hipped end and one gable end. A fully
hipped roof has no gables, and the eaves run round the perimeter of the roof. The eaves are  usually of the boxed or enclosed type.

Hipped and gable roof components and terminology

Valley construction using lay board

Alternate valley construction using valley rafter

Setting out and determining roof bevels
There are a number of ways that the length and angle of members can be determined.
The roof pitch is always defi ned in degrees while the lengths of the members are defined  in metres.
Since all roof member bevels are based on the right angle triangle principle, they can be
determined by:
•  The use of scaled drawings in orthographic projection.
•   The use of a roofi ng square (simple tool based on the right angle principle and calibrated  in degrees and millimetres and the length of inclined roof members).
Determining roof member lengths and bevels using orthographic projection.

Determining roof member lengths and bevels using orthographic projection
Roofing angles and true lengths

 The geometry to determine the length and bevels of each individual roof member will be
covered in more detail with your trainer.

Determining roof member lengths and bevels using a roofing square.
A roofing or framing square is a steel square which consists of two arms set at right angles  to each other. One of the arms is wider and longer than the other; this is known as the  blade. The shorter, thinner arm is known as the tongue. The length of the blade is 620mm and the tongue 450mm. The square is calibrated in millimetres and degrees, and both sides contain a set of tables  which give the rafter and hip lengths in metres run for various rises in degrees.
Steel roof square

To use the square, the rise of the roof is set on the tongue, and the run of the rafter is set on  the blade.
Example. Consider a common rafter of a roof with a rise of 3m and a rafter run of 4.50m.
To accommodate the use of the square, the sizes are scaled down or reduced by.
Rise  3.00m ÷ 10 = 300mm
Run  4.50m ÷ 10 = 450mm

Use of steel roofi ng square
Below is an example of how the square is applied. The lengths will be to scale and will need  to be converted to full size.

The drawing shows how the length and angles are set off for a common rafter. The same  procedure can be used to obtain all the other rafter lengths and angles using the  following combinations.
•  Common rafter run + common rafter run = Hip run.
•  Hip run + rise = Hip length and cuts.
•  Hip length + rise = Hip backing bevel.
•  Hip length + hip run = Hip edge cut.
•  Common rafter length + common rafter run = Purlin edge cut.
•  Common rafter length + rise = Purlin side cut.

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