Topping off your Pavilion – Roofing Considerations

Posted by Cyndy Gardner on September 5, 2017

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Many considerations for the design and fabrication of a pavilion are rooted in how the finished product will look.  Behind the scenes we make sure that the design is structurally sound.  The form and function areas of design are all the while being considered.  This is highlighted in the pavilion roof framing through a form that makes the function a visible design parameter.  This is how a timber frame gets its shade, not to mention the overall ‘look’ of the finished product.

Considering a pavilion roof usually starts with the question of roof style.  The two most popular styles are gabled and hipped.  A gable roof has a peak running parallel with the eaves.  Principal rafters (members running from eave to peak) are the main support in this type of roof framing.  A hipped roof pavilion has a high point to which each eave runs up to.  Hip rafters (members running from each corner to the high point) are the supporting members used in this other style of roof.

Each design has a unique look and the applications are endless.  For example, a gable roof can be square or rectangle with varying roof pitches to accommodate different truss styles and site requirements (existing structures, etc.).  Gable truss style options are also seemingly endless varying from king post, queen post, hammer beam and so on.  A hip-roofed pavilion has a different set of options that are varied as well.  The structure can be square or rectangle but the plate (eave) is of the same height at each side.  More often than not a boss pin is used to join the hip rafters at the high point.  A square structure receives a singular boss pin while a rectangular structure receives two, one at each high point connected by a timber ridge.

Completing the look of a pavilion is done with the roof design.  Large timbers with wide spacing can be used to give a bold and heavy look while smaller members can be spaced closer together for a light and airy look.  Beam spacing is decided in design adhering to roof loads and a timber’s ability to carry that load.  Form and function reside together in harmony and the pavilion roof system becomes the structural focal point of the frame.  Once the pavilion roof system is sheathed and finished in the owner’s selected material, it is time to sit down and look up!

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