Roof Plan

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Please see also: Roof Framing Fasteners;
Roof Framing; Roof Framing Planning; Roof Slope Schedule; Roof Slopes Schedule; etc.

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Calculating roof slope and slope are an easy part of a roof plan: rise in inches over a 12" run, or its equivalent.  Calculating roof slope and slope are akin to picking out which roof shingle manufacturer will get your business.  These roof plan design steps are matters of reason and rote.

How about a roof plan itself as a house design project?  There's hardly a client of Before The Architect who could provide a home plan pic of a roof plan design that rested atop their floor plan.  A few have even tried, and all have failed either a little (rarely) or a lot (common).  And we accept only the best and brightest of clients.

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So what's the house design project big deal?  Essentially in a roof plan, don't start with a roof line design, end with it.  Play with it once you've laid out rooflines that work.  Roof lines design variously and easily lend themselves to home designing styles.  English, gables.  Dutch, gambrel.  Contemporary, flat and shed among others. 

In this roof plan online study, we had Country French Cottage home plans with which to work.  Studying Country French style can tell you lots about how an in-style roof system should work: different slopes, some quite high; dormers (owing to the style's characteristic story-and-a-half structure wherein L2's perimeter sits inside L1's perimeter); mixed plans of gable, hip, and round top; etc.  And these characteristics tell us, of themselves, other elements we could confront in building roof designs: roof crickets to wed differently sloped roof planes; possibly difficult roof drainage systems arising from eaves of different heights and unusually large watersheds to unusually small drainage areas; decisions about the extents of soffits both outwards from an exterior wall line and downwards along an exterior wall line, or in other words, the extents to which one will allow eaves at different heights over grade or relative to wall planes; conflicts with window and exterior door transoms and other over-window and over-door features, e.g., pediments, luminaires, etc.

A Country French Cottage roof plan is for the better part expulsive.  Not splurgingly expulsive, but enough to run freely to exterior corners, exterior wall insets, rooms of substantially different sizes which rooms jut out from those that are proximate.  Make an exterior corner and you make a roofline.  An extensive Country French home has lots of corners; an extensive Country French home has lots of rooflines.  Not quite organic, but not quite disciplined either.  Complex.  Let's see.

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Before The Architect designed this roof plan comprised of an extraordinarily complex set of roof planning designs, as it also designed the home to go below it.  The roof system involves -

---About 30 flat segments

---7 different roof plane slopes ranging from a little over 4:12 to nearly 17:12;

---3 roof slopes given, and 4 derived;

---8 dormers of which 3 are shed and 5 are round top of 4 different widths,

---A large round top roof over the entry stoop;

---A mix of gables and hips and round tops and sheds.

Here, in a home plan pic online in plan view it is (in .pdf format) as presented in unique home plans prepared for home bidding out:

There's quite a bit that's interesting about this roof planning in this unique home plan and other unique home plans' roof planning.  They identify many elements in roof building:

bulletSlopes by major roof segment
bulletRoof crickets
bulletRoof vents to scale, based on house plan details from another sheet in the plan set which specifies passive (and mechanical) venting environment
bulletSoffit vents by location and number, based on house plan details from another sheet in the plan set which specified passive (and mechanical) venting environment, including particular methodology for shed roof and certain other applications often passed over to the subsequent rue of owners unaware of the need to attend to such matters separately
bulletTo-scale sites of dormers and skylights, the latter's profiles adjusted for the respective roof slope of each (the needs for which either for emergency egress or natural home light requirements are itemized and specified elsewhere)
bulletAnnotations to help viewers get their bearings, e.g., rising ridge, triangulated wall, etc.
bulletSpecifications for watershed drainage by site of gutters, site of downspouts, and slope of gutters - all based on extensive calculations elsewhere in the plan set (immediately preceding sheet) that defines watersheds into 9 distinctly different areas for application

The perimeter dimensions of this roof system are based on our home floor plans.  We start with the floor plan of L1, design a roof system that satisfies necessary and sufficient qualifications (principally of style), then figure out what space there is under that roof system to layout L2's habitable and unhabitable space.  That layering on of rooflines, L2, L1 looks like this in plan view, given this color coding:

bulletPrimary rooflines are red
bulletSecondary rooflines are blue
bulletTertiary rooflines are green
bulletDormers and skylights are black
bulletL2 is mid-gray
bulletL1 is light gray

Here's the working overlay in plan view (in .pdf):

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How does Before The Architect know so much about its roof layout?  It's in a 3-dimensional home drawing to-scale that's built precisely atop the L1 top plates' top of face.  Remember that this is a story-and-a-half structure, so roof structures foot on L1 wall tops.

The purpose of the 3-dimensional home drawing of our rooflines is:

bulletTo cross-check ourselves that our floor plans are true
bulletTo develop the roof plan in plan view - literally our 3-dimensional home drawing laid flat
bulletTo assist structural engineers with a set of essentially visual prompts as to roof element physical relationships both to each other and, by including below the rooflines the L2, L1, and foundation plans, to subordinate structures for subsequent amendment with posts, beams, and other buildups as load paths run from ridges to footings
bulletTo provide the precise bases for elevations of roof profiles
bulletTo reasonably closely determine the extent to which there's habitable space on L2  under that roof system.

Here are four isometrics of the working overlay illustrated above.

bulletNote in each that rooflines run from the interior, top of face edge of top plates on L1, because that's as close as we can get at this stage as to the foot of a roof frame structure either that's truss-framed with its bottom of face line of the bottom chord at the edge point or the hand-framed rafter heel at the level cut of the bird's mouth
bulletNote in each that it is in wireframe and color-coded as above
bulletBe aware that this is working home drawing right from our project file,  not prepped for general presentation
bulletThe black, angular lines and boxes emanating from the skylights downward are part of a natural home light pattern study - those lines are the maximum boundaries of natural home light's direct illumination on respective interior spaces.  The rectangles on horizontal planes within each set of line-boxes is our reasonably close approximation of interior ceiling heights, or the extents of the skylight chases
bulletSoffits and overhangs are omitted from all the isometrics - added in elsewhere, in home plan pics.

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More roof planning within home plan pics . . .

  1. Northwest in perspective (.pdf): 
  2. Southwest in perspective (.pdf): 
  3. Northeast in perspective (.pdf): 
  4. Southeast in perspective (.pdf): 

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Postscript:  One visitor has questioned the need for the humongous cricket that is identified as a roof plane in this plan.  He could be right; he could be wrong.  Whichever, it was good fun investigating the claim.  Ultimately, this'd be the sole purview of the roof framers - no chance that this roof was truss-framed - who do what they have to with what they've been given including a whole lot of calculating going on.  AG

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Before The Architect has not designed many more complex rooflines. 

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