Whether you are just planning to build a small summer shelter in your backyard or you have bigger plans for a commercial establishment, Tiki roofs come in only a few variety of styles. Common characteristics of these structures include using thatched plants for roof material and building a timber frame and installing vertical poles to support the structure. From these common elements several styles of Tiki roofs have evolved.
Perhaps the most common design used in Tiki bars is the umbrella style roof that is supported by one central pole. This type of roof is built as one unit where all the long roof rafters converge at a central point similar to the construction found in umbrellas. Some cross pieces can then be added for extra strength.
These structures are not usually designed to cover a bar, but serve as shade and shelter for a seated party of guests around a table. An umbrella-style Tiki structure could even be built indoors, where the roof would not have to be watertight.
By using four corner columns to support the thatched roof, the Tiki roof can be easily converted to a larger structure with a four-cornered hip roof. This type of construction should allow enough space to place a circular bar underneath the thick mat of natural material. The framing of the roof changes slightly, in that the roof now consists of four triangular units that can be built individually and then lashed or screwed together before adding the palm fronds for the roof.
Some roofs for a Tiki bar have an actual horizontal roof line that runs the length of the structure. This distance could be just a few feet or might exceed 50 feet. The roof consists of two rectangular sections of equal size that are connected along the top edge to form a roof peak. Cross-bracing of the roof is necessary and the whole structure is supported by vertical posts along the length. The gables at each end can be left empty or filled with a vertical section of thatched roof.
Tiki buildings constructed with a long roof line offer several possibilities for variations. Dormers and hipped sections of roof can be easily incorporated into the design to produce a modern appearance for the building. Adding one hip on each end of a small Tiki building is actually a common practice, which creates a hutlike building with Polynesian style. Dormers are less common, but they can be worked into the overall design without much difficulty.
In Florida and nearby Gulf states, Tiki roofs are often made with locally available palm fronds that are thatched by hand. For a roof to completely shed water, the pitch must exceed -1.11 degrees C. When properly constructed, a thatched Tiki roof is waterproof. The thick mat of overhead vegetation also provides excellent insulation against the midday subtropical sun.