How to design a shed roof

Updated July 19, 2017

Garden sheds provide an excellent means of storage for tools and outdoor equipment. When correctly designed, they act as watertight units that add aesthetic appeal to home and garden settings. The structure of the roof is particularly important because it is more exposed to the elements than the rest of the shed, and must be completely secure and resistant to water. To make a shed roof, you'll need specialised skills, a moderate amount of DIY knowledge and a good head for heights. You'll need to pay strict attention to your materials, the structure of the shed, and its surroundings.

Consider the style of roof you want to install and the way it will integrate with its surroundings. Decide whether it needs to be functional, visually attractive or a combination of the two. If the shed is located against a fence or wall, the pent roof design will allow simple integration by joining onto existing roof joists. Use a gable design that slants downward on either side from the centre of the roof for a free-standing shed that will see plenty of rain over the course of a year. You can add character to an older building by giving a garden shed a salt box roof, particularly where symmetry is not essential.

Materials are vitally important to the performance of a shed roof but you also need to consider its appearance. Use timber treated with waterproof stain as a base for your roof, and decide which materials to use for protecting the wood. To give the shed increased water resistance and a longer lifespan, use a mineral roof felt instead of the standard material supplied with prefabricated sheds. Try felt tiles for a superior level of protection and an attractive finish. For wonderful aesthetic appeal, use clay roof tiles if the supporting walls are strong enough to accommodate them.

The pitch of your shed roof is crucial so keep it in mind when creating your design. Flat roofs with a pitch of fewer than 10 degrees can be made with plywood and bitumen, but opt for felt tiles or shingles on any roof that is likely to have a pitch of 10 degrees to 20 degrees so water can run off easily. Use interlocking tiles on a pitch of more than 30 degrees and consider a clay slate option only for pitches of 35 degrees or more.

Consider cost as an integral part of your shed roof design and try to stick to a budget wherever possible. Don't rely on a single source for all of your materials. By shopping around, you can usually buy individual materials from different sources at better prices. To discover additional options, browse the Internet for DIY suppliers and garden shed websites.


Unless you can guarantee a safe, high-quality roof installation, consider employing the services of a landscaping or shed construction company to do the work. Even though you will have to pay for assistance, you can still save a lot of money by sourcing the materials yourself.

Things You'll Need

  • Timber
  • Plywood
  • Protective stain
  • Felt tiles
  • Shingles
  • Clay tiles
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About the Author

Based in the United Kingdom, Paul Miceli has been a professional writer since 2006. He has been published online by Ideate Media and Promiga and has a proven track record of producing informational articles and sales copy. Miceli is educated to U.K. "A-level" standard, continues to work as a paint sprayer and has more than 25 years of automotive body repair experience.