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spdorsey 05-06-2013 10:21 AM

How to build a 4-hip roof?
Can anyone point me towards a good tutorial or instruction on how to build a square 4-hip roof that has no ridgeboard? It must come to a point at the top. I need to learn how to properly join the hip rafters at the top & also to the tops of the building corner posts.

When I'm done, I'll probably sheath it with plywood and apply Home Depot roofing material from a roll.

Here's a basic diagram of the playhouse that it will sit on top of:

Also, can purlins be placed between rafters, sort of like a wall block? Or do they have to span the entire side fo the roof? I ask because this will be a low ceiling (playhouse for kids), and I'd rather not have extra wood hanging down lower if I can avoid it.

GBrackins 05-06-2013 11:23 AM

what are the dimensions of the structure? you may want to edit your profile to include your location as answers to questions are sometimes based upon location requirements.

spdorsey 05-06-2013 11:31 AM

The structure is 8' x 8' square. I am located in San Jose, CA.

Willie T 05-06-2013 03:17 PM

You CAN build it to come to an exact point... but it is going to be a hassle.

Can you accept it coming to about an inch and a half square in the center?

spdorsey 05-06-2013 03:43 PM

I'm fine with that. I'm sure it will still look OK. I'll just aim the "pointed" end at the front of the structure.

I was hoping that Simpson would have some sort of hangar that would accomodate 4 rafters. I didn't see anything on their site, but they have a LOT of stuff to choose from.

Duckweather 05-06-2013 04:08 PM

You can put a 2 x 2 (1-1/2" x1-1/2") between two opposing hip rafters and put the two opposite ones in. They are hard to hold and may take a lot of bracing unless you have several people to hold them. Almost the same is put two in then cut 3/4" off the top cut of the other two. You can then nail both the first two into the first one of the second pair, and then angle the nails from beside that one into the last one. There used to be a little pocket book called A Reichers Full Length Roof Framer that had tables that would calculate any rafter. A lot like the Constructionmaster calculator does.

jagans 05-06-2013 07:06 PM

Anybody heard from Joe Caption Lately? I hope he is OK. He would usually point the OP to a calculator or a web site that has exactly what he needs by now. Again, I hope he is well.

spdorsey 05-06-2013 07:14 PM

I am seeing a few people suggesting that it's OK to use L-brackets (see link below) to tie the 4 hip rafters together at the point at the top. This seems to be a weak solution, but I don't know if it is an accepted practice. It may just work considering the shallow slope and small size (light weight) of my roof. It's only 8' x 8'.

Willie T 05-06-2013 08:49 PM

5 Attachment(s)
This pretty much shows you the steps in framing what you're looking for. I used a 2x8' (main truss) and then 2x6's on the bottom chords, but you can use anything you want.

If you have SketchUp, I can post the full file in SKP format for you. Everything is to exact scale in the drawing, so you can see it all easily. And these are all little trusses you can build yourself in your garage.

spdorsey 05-06-2013 09:00 PM

This is a fantastic resource, thank you!

I do have SketchUp. Thanks!


Willie T 05-06-2013 09:09 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Here ya go.

cleveman 05-06-2013 09:23 PM

I've built a few 24x24 garages with hip roofs and I came up with a trick to start the first two rafters. I start with what would be the "common" rafters.

Make your plumb cuts as per the roof pitch and cut your birds mouth out. So your first two rafters are ready to go. Do the same with your second set of rafters. These should be the same, just 3/4" shorter. Get yourself a set of scaffolding near the center to stand on and get your first two rafters up there, along with the other two down by your feet somewhere handy.

Tack a piece of metal, like a brick tie, on the tops of the first two rafters, joining them together. Set them on the walls on their plate marks and lift them up. When they reach the proper height, they will stop (they are locked together) and the birds mouths will be good on the plates. Screw or nail them together temporarily, and reach down by your feet and grab one of your other rafters.

Put the first of the second set of rafters up there and when the birds mouth bottoms out, it is good. Tack this on and it should be stable enough to put your second rafter of the second set on. Then you can go and nail your birds mouths to the top plates, then set your hip rafters and start on the jacks.

This is really nice to do when the wind is blowing like crazy and it is raining or snowing. That is probably when I thought of the hinge trick.

Willie T 05-06-2013 09:23 PM

I hope it opened for you. When I try it, sometimes it opens, and sometimes all I get is a screenful of Korean gibberish.

spdorsey 05-06-2013 09:30 PM

Thank you so much. I appreciate the reply and all the help. I feel a lot more confident about making this happen after chatting with you all.


spdorsey 05-06-2013 09:46 PM

The model opens nicely in SketchUp 8 on my Mac Pro. I cannot thank you enough.

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