Roof Framing Secrets - Plan, Measure Then Build

When I first started working in construction, I was 16 years old and my first job was building stairs with my father. Within a few years I got to help my dad build some extremely difficult custom home roofs. These roofs required about five days for two men to cut and assemble.

This taught me a lot and I would like to share a little bit about what I learned with my readers. It doesn't matter whether you're working on an extremely difficult roof or an easy one, the roof framing principles are the same.

1. The most important part of roof framing, is planning. I have spent over 12 hours planning on how I was going to cut and frame certain complicated roof systems. You need to understand how you are going to build the roof, before you start building it. Take your time, because this roof framing step could cost you a lot of time and money.

2. Measure twice and cut once. If you make a roof framing calculation for a roof rafter, hip or valley and you're about to cut an expensive beam or piece of lumber, you should make sure that your calculations and measurements are correct. I always double check my measurements and calculations before actually cutting the lumber.

3. Cut the entire roof on the ground before assembling it. If you want to frame the roof as quickly as possible, I would advise that you figure out all of your measurements for every roof framing member and precut them before assembling the roof.

4. Don't forget roof framing safety. You will be working higher off the ground than normal and every precaution should be taken, before you start to build your roof. I use different forms of scaffolding and building safety methods, depending on which style of roof I'm actually framing.

I hope these tips help roof framers all over the world. I have built some extremely difficult roofs and it seems to be a dying art. I wonder one day if the average carpenter will be able to assemble an entire roof system that wasn't pre-manufactured at a factory somewhere.