Barn Roof Styles

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The roof framing style most commonly associated with traditional wooden barns is the gambrel style. Barn roofs, however, are commonly built using most traditional roof framing styles. Different styles of roof framing serve different purposes. The type of roof used for a barn will depend mostly on the size and purpose of the barn.

Gambrel Roofs

  • The gambrel roof is made up of four angles. The rafters on either side of the roof, angle up to the peak in two sections. The lower section starts at the eaves and ends 1/3 to 1/2 of the way to the peak and is pitched at a slightly steeper angle than the section above. The top section runs from the break of the first section to the peak, with a gentler slope. Gambrel roofs are traditional for barns with hay lofts, since they allow for more storage underneath the roof.

Gable Roofs

  • A gable roof is the style seen on most traditional home construction in North America. It features to angled planes running from the eaves to the peak of the roof. Gable roofs are built on a wide variety of pitches. On barns, gable roofs typically have a low pitch that is wide spread at the bottom. Gable roofs are seen on livestock barns that do not require a loft overhead. They are cheaper and simpler to build than gambrels.

Shed Roofs

  • The simplest barn roof is the shed roof. This roof runs from the peak down a single angled plane to the lower eaves. The higher side of the roof is typically positioned at the front, with the rear wall of the barn being shorter. Shed roofs are primarily used on small barns and livestock sheds designed to provide shelter from harsh weather for animals that are pasture kept.

Other Styles

  • Round, or arched roofs are common on some Dutch barns in the North East United States. They are more difficult to build, requiring a high level of skill to create the arched frame. A Hip roof rises up to a center ridge, much like a gable roof. The ends are sloped triangles, with their peak on the ridge line. A Pyramid hip, features four triangle faces running up to a point. The salt box is a combination of gable and shed, with one long face running from peak to eaves and a shorter face running down about 1/4 of the way from the peak on the opposite side.

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References

  • Barn Tool Box: Barn Roof Styles
  • "The Complete Guide to Building Barns and Outbuildings A Step-by-step Guide": Atlantic Publishing Company, 2009
  • "Building Small Barns, Shed & Shelters": Monte Burch; Garden Way Publishing, 1983
  • Photo Credit Photos.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
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