How to build a Gambrel Roof

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Ever looked at the colonial styled houses and wondered what would it be like to live in these majestically styles homes with such imposing architecture?

Well the time to simply wish and wonder is over as the ‘do it yourself’ roof makes it all possible.   Learning how to build a Gambrel roof is not at all difficult for the determined “do-it-yourselfer.”


The gambrel roof is styled in the colonial flavor and traces its origins to the European settlements in Indonesia which were later carried to the United Stated of America. It has sloping roof with the upper slope at shallower angle and the lower slope at the steeper angle. The upper angle is at thirty degrees whereas the lower angle is at sixty degrees. This kind of a structure provides more headroom in the upper levels of the house while giving the advantages of a sloping roof.

Tips on How to build a Gambrel roof

How to build a Gambrel RoofGambrel roofs are extremely easy to build and are mostly used for building barns. They are called do it yourself roofs for their ease of building. They can be built using light weight wood.

First determine the space and height of the building. Then determine the number of trusses that would be required and considering all the factors, assess whether building the roof truss on your own would be a feasible option. In case you wish to go ahead and make the truss on your own, follow the following steps on how to build a gambrel roof:

  • Purchase the required lumber and place it on the ground area which would be your work space.
  • Lay out the lumber pieces in the pattern determined and use chalk marks to note the points where cuts would be required.
  • Make the required cuts and then use these pieces as templates for cutting out the other pieces.
  • After all the pieces have been cut to order, assemble the, on the ground.
  • Attach braces to all the trusses using penny nails or strap metal.
  • Finish the trusses by joining them with inch boards.
  • Lift the trusses into position and secure them into a strong position while you make the gambrel shaped roof.
  • The thickness of the truss can be increased by laying ply woods on them. Regions with higher amount of rain or snow require thicker roofs.
  • Also add a water proof layer as a safety measure. Then finish the roof with either shingle or roofing material.
  • For the construction of the wall designs, cut studs for the end walls. These studs should be such designed that the roof fits perfectly on the ceiling, without applying undue pressure on the walls.
  • Frame if you wish to have any windows and then finish it with shingle or siding.

The Gambrel roof has gained popularity in the modern homes and more and more people are opting for this roof design which gives a colonial touch to the façade of the house together with storage benefits at the top levels of the house.

The best way to build gambrel roofs is to use gambrel roof trusses, which depending on one’s aptitude can even be built on your own.

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