How to Roof a Shed By Yourself: Homesteading Handywork

how to roof a shedWe have been building a garden and potting shed between the raised beds and the chicken run. So far, it's looking pretty good. 

Keeping with our driving philosophy of not using credit, and thereby feeding into the American economic plan of constant debt, it has been a paycheck-to-paycheck project.

Homesteading doesn't bring in a ton of cash, so the budget has been about $200 every two weeks to put towards the project.

After laying the foundation, framing up the sides, sheathing and then the cedar shingles, it was time to tackle the roof. 

The thing is, it's a tough job. I was spending a good amount of time trying to figure out how to accomplish this in budget, and after weeks of preparation, the time arrived. I spent some research time on YouTube looking into how to roof a shed and with the basics down, I was ready.

How To Roof a Shed By Yourself 

how to roof a shed
First off, I needed to really be mindful of my own safety. Working alone, it wouldn't be a good idea to slip and fall. At 48 years old, I don't spring back from injury like I used to. 

I started by using deck screws to fasten an overlapped 2x4 to the ends of the roofing timbers so that when the plywood went up, it had an even resting place. Much simpler to adjust left to right so my measurements worked.

Next, the center piece went up, balanced evenly with the roofing frame. There were six 2x4s across, so the center 4x8 sheet sat dead center. 

how to roof a shedThen, two evenly cut sheets of 3x8 were fitted on each side, allowing a 12" overhang for the eaves. One nice bonus was that the extra foot I trimmed off the plywood, a 1x8, went straight into the shop as reclaimed material for future projects.

We invested in a good ladder a few years ago, and using only some power tools and scrap 2x4s, I move comfortably around on top of the laid sheets to drive in the screws to the frames. 

It was about being mindful of where I was stepping, what I was doing, and using only the amount of materials needed. 

Working With What We Had

how to roof a shed
I would never try and make someone believe I am a master carpenter. Sure, I can do some things and I'm a fast learner, but I simply don't have the years of experience that ensures an exact fit on anything. 

Therefore, I've learned more about adjusting for mis-cuts and measurements than how to make them correct in the first place. 

Those roof frames are solid and proper, but just a little off-kilter. So, I used a snap line run from the roof's peak to the bottom edge to line up my fasteners. 

Then, I ran the length of the line by pre-drilling, making it much easier for the deck screws to find their way into the roof supports. 

The plywood wasn't exactly snuggly butted together, but the minimal gap will be nicely covered by the tar shingles from next week's paycheck. The eaves, however, look gorgeous. At least from the exposed exterior, it looks professional.

What There is To Finish

how to roof a shedOnce the roofing shingles go up, I still have the edge, door and window trim to put up. Then there are the lattices or screen to put at the shed's base to keep out critters. 

We have a wrought-iron weathervane that will go up, and a brass bell for next to the door. 

There is still the worktops to build inside the shed, and a skylight or two for the roof facing the west to bring in more light. 

A spar-urethane coat will go over the exterior, and in a few years when our current coop is worn out, a new coop built on the side with the chicken run.

Our Next Project

This garden shed was a priority for us in order to begin propagating our own cuttings and preserving our seeds for the following year. 

It's a fine shed, and now that I've confidently learned how to roof a shed, the skills gathered will be put into next summer's project of a writer's retreat/she-shed down by the lake. 

The garden shed is an 8x8 working space. Wendie's she-shed will be a more finished project, with insulation, drywall, built-in window seating, pot-belly wood stove and plenty of comfort. 

Though more complex, it is still going to be built with the same concepts as the shed. The garden shed was our practice for the she-shed and to be honest, I cannot wait to get started.

We love sharing our off the grid homesteading life with you all, and really enjoy hearing your stories. Have you ever built your own shed from scratch? What advice would you give for when we start the she-shed. Let us know by joining the conversation below!