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Step Four: The Rafters

Installing the ridge beam and rafters

A half built roof on an OSB playhouse Rafters and roofing shingles can be the most intimidating part of building a clubhouse and many people get tripped up at this point. Always remember to think everything over before starting out and to never forget to measure twice and cut once! Here are steps that you can take that don't require any math to get through. It's really not too hard when you set your mind to it!

A ridge beam being temporarily held up with cripples

Shed and Gable Roofs Making your rafters with no math needed

Shed and gable roofs are the most basic types of roofs used for clubhouse construction. For a clubhouse, 2x4 material will be plenty strong to use as rafters. Make sure to have your circular saw and jig saw handy for those tricky cuts. In case of very windy weather, using screws is advised over nails to keep the roof intact. Well, let's dive in!

Shed Roof

Shed roofs are the most simple type of pitched roof you can install on any type of building. If step two had been followed correctly, one of the clubhouse walls should have been built taller than the others. Simply take one of your 2x4s and rest it on the the taller wall and parallel lower one. shed template rafter drawing Mark a plumb line as shown where the vertical dotted lines are as pictured. Next, measure up 1 1/2 inches up on both lines you drew and draw another line on a 90 degree angle also as pictured as the dotted line. Use a circular saw to make the initial cut and a jig saw to finish it off.

You can add a decorative finish to both sides if you wish or make a plumb cut if you want to add fascia later. Congratulations, you now have your template shed rafter! Mark along the upper and lower wall your rafters at 16" space. Trace and cut out all the rafters you need. Last, once all the rafters are installed, remove the temporary cripple supporting the ridge beam in place. You're done!

Gable Roof

For a gable roof, set the ridge beam in place at the height you want your rafters to reach too. The ridge beam should be the of the same size material as your floor joists, either a 2x6 or 2x8. Cut two temporary cripples and arm blocks to hold the ridge beam in the proper place as pictured. gable template rafter drawing Assuming that the ridge beam perfectly runs down the center of the clubhouse and is level, we just need to make a template rafter to make the rest.

Take a 2x4, hold it in place against the outside clubhouse wall as shown. The bottom of the 2x4 should line up with the corner of the top plate and the top should stretch beyond the ridge. Use a straight edge to make the dotted plumb lines on the rafter. Make sure the the 2x4 is 1 1/2 inches above the top of the ridge beam as we're only going to cut out 1 1/2 inches on the bottom too. Use a square to mark the 90 degree line on the bottom plumb line and cut both sides of the rafter. Now you can add a decorative end to the rafter if desired or a plumb cut if fascia is to be added later. Installing rafter and cripple stud Trace and cut as many as needed. Once all the rafters are in place, remove the temporary cripple holding the ridge beam in place and you're done!


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