How to Sheet a Gable End

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High gabled walls are sometimes susceptible to wind damage.
High gabled walls are sometimes susceptible to wind damage. (Image: Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

A gabled roof is one of the easiest types of roofs to build and cover, but sometimes these structures contain a two- or three-story expanse of solid wall underneath each gable. Sheathing a large expanse like this is relatively straightforward, though job efficiency decreases as the height increases. In a modern structure, sheathing will be attached directly to the stud frame wall and then covered with a breathable plastic membrane like Tyvek. Because of an increased potential for wind damage, the layout of the sheathing material and types of fasteners used are important.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • CDX 1/2-inch plywood
  • Sawhorses
  • Circular saw
  • 8-penny stainless steel ring-shanked nails
  • Framing hammer
  • Tool belt
  • Construction adhesive (exterior grade)
  • Caulk gun

Make sure that all of your supplies are on hand. For sheathing, you have three viable choices: CDX plywood, pressure-treated plywood and OSB particle board. CDX plywood is a good all-around choice, as pressure-treated ply is expensive and emits fumes, while OSB particle board is cheaper but not as strong. Dimensions commonly used in sheathing a residential house are 1/2 inch for CDX and pressure-treated plywood and 7/16 for the OSB particle board.

Build the first and second-story walls on the wood deck at each level of construction (i.e., first floor or ground level, second floor, etc.). You will need the sawhorses and circular saw to set up and cut the sheathing. Nail the sheathing directly to the studs with 8-penny ring-shanked stainless steel nails placed at 6-inch intervals. Use the framing hammer for driving nails and wear a leather tool belt to carry tools and nails. Run the sheets vertically, making sure that each seam falls in the middle of a stud. Be sure to bang any nails back out that missed a stud before the wall is in place

Frame in all the roof rafters and then the complete the two gable walls underneath the peaks before beginning the attachment of the sheathing to the triangular section of wall. Make sure everything on the roof and gable frame is tight and secure.

Rent a lift and raise the platform or bucket to the top of the gable. Measure the distance from the peak to the top of the plywood wall. (Note: Alternative methods of accessing the top of the wall involve the setup of pumps and poles or special building brackets attached directly to the building. Though cheaper, the risk of injury is greater with these methods.)

Devise a sheathing plan for the gable. If the triangular section is less than 8 feet tall, then run the sheets vertically like before. If the wall is between 12 and 16 feet, run two rows of vertical plywood. For heights of 8 to 12 feet, split the difference and run two vertical rows. Apply the construction adhesive with the caulk gun to the outside edge of the studs before placing and nailing the sheathing. Next, attach the sheathing with the ring-shanked nails to to this part of the wall.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always use safety glasses and earplugs when operating an electric circular saw.
  • Special building regulations may be in effect for hurricane zones and areas prone to mountain downdrafts.
  • Workers in a lift bucket may be required by law to wear a safety harness that is attached to the metal frame of the bucket.

References

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