How do you frame soffits?

The most common type of roofing materials used in Australia are wooden shingle siding and metal roofing tiles. These two types of roofs have different requirements when it comes to framing them.

Wooden Shingle Siding:

In order to get the best performance from your roofing material, you need to use it properly. Wooden shingles are not only lightweight but they also provide excellent resistance to wind and rain. They will last longer than metal roofing tiles because they don’t require as much maintenance or replacement. The only maintenance that is required (besides re-painting every couple of decades) is to replace any shingles that were blown off during a storm.

The framing requirements for wooden shingles include using thicker members to support the roofing.

Metal Roofing Tiles:

Metal roofing tiles are heavy duty and provide excellent protection from the elements. This is because the shingles are extremely lightweight and less resilient than other roofing materials so they require more support. They can last up to three times longer than wooden shingles, but they do require more maintenance. Depending on the type of tiles you choose, they will either be fastened directly to your roof rafters or sit on top of a layer of lightweight concrete (commonly known as roofing felt).

Below we have summarized the framing requirements for both types of roofing.

If you are installing wooden shingles, you will need to use thicker framing members to carry the weight of the roofing material.

Shallow vs. Deep Roof Framing:

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Most traditional roofs consist of two layers: the roof sheathing (or roof deck) and the roofing materials. The framing below is an example of a shallow roof frame. This type of framing has been used for centuries, and there are many variations of it.

The framing below consists of 2x4s (or their metric equivalent) set on edge running from wall to wall. This is known as “on edge”. The framing members are then placed perpendicular to the on-edge pieces. This is known as “layered”.

The roof sheathing (traditionally plywood) is then installed on top of the layered frame.

The diagram below consists of the same on-edge and layered framing members, but with a slight difference. The perpendicular framing members are run from wall-to-wall and are known as bents. The rafters (known as “headers” when running on edge) are then placed on the top of the bents. The rafters’ feet are supported by a wall or other structural member.

Which type of shallow roof framing is better?

Research has proven that there is very little difference in strength between the two framing systems. This is probably because the roof sheathing (or decking) is very thin. This means that either type of framing will work for a shallow roof.

Deep Roof Framing:

There is another type of framing method for roofs, known as “deep framing”. It is similar to the shallow framed roof, except the roof decking is thickened with a layer of plywood or other material (known as “sticker board”). This requires the roof to be framed with larger members. Of course, this type of framing could also be used for a shallow roof, if you wanted to use thicker materials.

Whether or not you should use deep framing for your roof will depend on the type of materials you want to install. Certain roofing materials require more support than others, so your choice of roofing material will influence the type of framing required.

How do I choose the right roofing material?

The framing for a roof is designed to support the weight of the roofing material. The heavier the material, the more substantial the framing will need to be. Shingles, for example, are very light, so you could use the same shallow framing for a roof that you use for most of your other projects. Slate, on the other hand, is very heavy, so you would need to use deep framing so that your rafters could support the weight of the material (and the extra layer of plywood or felt).

There are four types of roof sheathing:

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Wood Shingles:

Shingles are very common for roofing, but they do have a couple draw backs. They are very prone to rotting if they get wet, and the type of wood that is used is determined more by cost than strength. Still, shingles have a very traditional look that some people prefer.

Metal Shingles:

Metal shingles (usually made out of aluminum) are a more modern option. As the name suggests, these are shingles that are metal (duh!). These are extremely durable and very energy efficient.

The main drawback of using a metal roof is that they tend to be very loud. You will not be sneaking out of the house with metal roofing.

Sheet Metal:

This is a metal roof (typically corrugated) that has been designed to look like traditional shingles. These have the same drawbacks as metal shingles, and they are usually very loud. They also tend to be quite expensive.

Tile:

Tiles are very common for roofing. They have been used for centuries and are very durable. In fact, the only real drawback of using tile is that they are heavy, so deep roof framing is required.

How do I frame my roof?

Framing a roof is actually a very simple process. Let’s say that you decided to use tile for your roof. You know you want a Spanish look, so you buy red clay Spanish tile. For this example, let’s say you are building your house with 2×4 walls.

Your first step will be to frame the roof with 2×4 studs. This could be done a number of ways, but typically a “stadium seating” arrangement is used, with a row of studs along the bottom, a row of studs along the top, and then every other stud placed in the middle. Since your roof will have a shallow pitch, you probably won’t need to run the tops of the studs all the way to the top of the wall (a ridge board will cover this later). Instead, you can place the tops of the studs at the height of the upper wall plate. This will give you a little extra headroom, and the ridge board will cover this area anyway.

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You will then need to install your rafters. You can use a variety of different types of rafters. For a roof like this, you will probably want to use “common” or “regular” rafters. These are typically used for roofs with a 3 in 12 pitch or less.

Since your roof has a 4 in 12 pitch (a 4 foot rise for every 12 foot run), you will need to adjust the rafters slightly. Instead of using 2×4 rafters, you will actually need to use 2×6 rafters. The way this works is that you still use two studs for each rafter (one on the top of the wall, and one on the bottom). However, instead of using a single 2×4 rafter, you need to use a single 2×6 rafter.

In order to do this, you will need to notch out a section of each 2×4 so that they can fit together to form a double 2×6 (this can be seen in the photo at the beginning of this step). Once you have the notches cut, you simply lay them out on the roof and attach them with rafter ties (2 per rafter).

In order to figure out how long each rafter needs to be, you will need to use this formula: Rafter Length = Roof Rise x Number of Roof Boards / 12. For this example, we are using a roof rise of 4 feet and are installing Spanish tile with a run of 7 inches and an upstand of 3/4″, so our rafter length will be: 4 x 7 x 2 / 12 = 14.167 feet (rounded up to 14 feet).

Your next step is to install your roof boards. The ridge board will be used to tie all of the rafters together, so it needs to run from one side of the roof to the other. The rest of the boards will be laid across the rafters. The first row of boards (called the “ridge board”) need to be installed, and then every other board will be installed.

The rest of the boards are placed between the runs of boards. So, in our example, we will place a row of boards running from the left side of the roof to the middle. Then we will place the row of boards that run from the middle to the right side of the roof. Finally, we will place the rest of the boards (the ones not mentioned) in between the rows. This can be seen in the photo to the right. (The photo also shows the left side of the roof completed).

In order to fasten the boards down, each board will need to be “nailed” to the rafters. To do this, place a nail near the top of each rafter. You will need to use a claw hammer to “drive” the nail through the ridge board and into the rafter. By driving the nail at an angle, you will ensure that it holds the board tightly in place.

You will then need to measure and cut your roofing material. If you are using standard roll roofing, then you will need to cut a slit in the middle of the material in order to line up with the ridge board.

Once you have your pieces cut, you will need to fold each piece around the ridge board and nail it into place. If you are using shingles, then you will need to place the first one upside down (with the teeth facing up), in order to give it a good “bite” on the roof.

Continue placing the shingles or roll roofing down, and nail each piece down as you work your way to the bottom.

Finally, you will need to caulk the edges of the roof. This is done to prevent water from leaking into the house. To do this, you will need to mix some roofing cement (also called tar) and water together to form a thick paste. Use a plastic bag to remove the excess air from it, and then push it into all of the cracks between the roof and the house.

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You now have a completed roof!

Additional Tips and Advice:

1. Roofing materials can be quite heavy, so you may want to have a couple of friends help you lift them into place.

2. You may need to adjust the length of some of the rafters in order to ensure that they are all sitting firmly on top of the walls.

3. If you are laying your roofing material over existing shingles, then you will need to make small cuts in them in order to fit the new pieces underneath.

Sources & references used in this article: