What’s the Deal with (tiny house) Roofing!?

10 Sep

I’ve been spending a lot of time considering what kind of roof I will have.

My tiny house design with a Box Gable Roof

In my design I have a pretty traditional gable roof or a box gable roof technically since it hangs over the open porch. I feel like I want to go with the typical symetrical slopped roof because I think it might be a bit more aerodynamic and may be easier to drive through areas with low lying trees. I’ve seen the Lean-to roof that Macy is building and blogging about over at minimotives.com.

Macy’s Lean-to roof at minimotives.com

Then there is Jay Shafer’s Fencl design which features a Dutch Gable roof or should I say double-Dutch (no pun intended…really).

Jay Shafer’s Double-Dutch Gable Roof

Or the gabled roofs with a raised gable roof pitch in the center or a gambrel roof like these.

Gable roof with higher pitch in the middle (left) and a Gambrel roof (right)

At the moment I like my design but #1 I have yet to actually step foot in a tiny house to feel it out and #2 I want mine to be a bit more aero dynamic because I will be traveling a lot with it. I can’t really get a feel for the interior space, headroom, various window heights and door positioning without being in one so I may take a trip to the nearest TH with occupants willing to give me a tour in the next month or so.

What are other people’s experiences with roof shapes? Is there any wear on the hitch side of the roof edge where the wind hits it? In this picture there is a roof end cap but I see a lot that don’t appear to have any extra protection there.

Is high speed wind conditions an issue or no? Obviously there are hurricane or tornado winds much faster than my highway driving speed but when you are combining high wind and highway travel say on the drive between Los Angeles and Palm Springs where they have a HUGE wind farm (which is obviously there for a reason) or along the Grapevine on your way north out of Los Angeles County where high wind is an issue for any vehicle. I’m not worried about the entire structure because well…it’ll be 7-8,000 pounds. But I just wonder what the best roof shape and installation practice is for these situations to ensure it wont loosen over time any more than normal roof wear and tear.

I mentioned a youtube video where a gentleman’s tiny house survived a tornado and it held up very well. his roof looks like this.

It may be a bit hard to see (couldn’t find a better or clearer angle) but he has end caps and a ridge cap on top. He does not have anything on the bottom edges and I don’t even know if they have anything to put there but it is something I’ve thought about.

Anyway, does anyone have any advice, thoughts or considerations for tiny house roofing.

Also Please check out my new voluntary simplicity documentary film Simple by Design and please donate to and help spread the word about our Kickstarter Fundraiser. I will be raising $28,500 to build and filming the construction of my tiny house as well as interview other voluntary simplicity supporters and create day-in-the-life segments of them. Learn more about the film and the project at http://www.SimpleByDesignProject.com.

Thanks for your support!

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2 Responses to “What’s the Deal with (tiny house) Roofing!?”

  1. Macy M September 10, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    I love that there are more and more tiny house posts! Thanks for another awesome shout out! I love this roof discussion, one roof design that I have yet to see that I feel makes great sense for a tiny house is a gable roof turned ‘the long way’, 90 degrees from the typical. I had originally had a design like this that would slope up from the pick-up side, possible even break for a re-light (around the bedroom loft area) and then back down towards the rear of the trailer. In most cases you are only really talking about an 18′-24′ span which is really easy to do with standard construction methods, the beams would even be shorter and easier to manage. This would take you from needing ~10-18 small rafters to 4-5 bigger ones. I think it would be way more aerodynamic if that is a major concern. I would love to see a tiny house built that way. Maybe that will be in my design #2!

    Good luck chica! You’re rocking it!

    • Macy M September 10, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

      Oh! Also, the more accurate term for my roof would be a shed roof since it’s not actually leaning against anything :).

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