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Roof Framing Design (Flared)

JonathanB's picture

I am in the design stage of a new house and are going for the look of the "flared" roof designs found on French inspired houses.

Does anyone out there have a good way/detail to accomplish this?

The roof will most likely be a 12/12 or 16/12 pitch, stick framed with 2X12's or engineered lumber, I was thinking about cutting the "flairs" out of a 2X12's and attach to the tops of the rafters at the end, And probably use plywood or OSB on the sides to hold it in place, Sheath the top with 1X4's or bend sheet goods.

I was hoping to have enclosed soffits, but it may not work. Any ideas would be apprecitated.

Thanks Jonathan

(post #97135, reply #1 of 20)


we have roofed many older houses with a subtle "kick" as you describe. they were framed EXACTLY as you mentioned. the only difference is that the "fly" rafter being much more exposed and visible than the common rafters was simply a piece of 5/4 stock with a long rip to the taper. ( for example the common rafters might be  2x6 or 2x8 with a subtle  wedge nailed on top of the tail----but the fly rafter would be ripped from maybe a 18 ft. long 1x10----with a 16 ft. rip matching the common 2x dimension---then angling off to form the kick. Of course the fly rafters were mostly just visible trim elements.

That worked for subtle kicks

More severe kicks had the rafter terminate at the top plate with no tail----and then had the change of pitch scabbed on the side of the rafter.

These are 80 something year old houses---------I have ZERO idea how they do it now----but I know what worked 80 years ago.


(post #97135, reply #2 of 20)

Hi Jonathon,

This is the way I did it last summer. This was a lay on to an existing craftsman style house in Vancouver, Canada. The flared detail is a signature of many of these nearly 100 yo houses.

The main roof pitch was/is 8 in 12. The flared pitch is 4 in 12.

We used 1 x 4 t and g with plastic vent strip.

The original old carp was canny (and cheap). He framed by laying 2x3 lookouts on his top plate,allowing about 15" overhang. Then his main rafters landed on top of the outlock with a simple angle cut, no birdsmouth. The point of the angle flush with the outside wall. The flare was built with 1X6 Running up the roof about two feet>

We hadnt realized his technique until we opened the old roof>>thus the one inch build up on the original two x four (new) rafters>

(post #97135, reply #3 of 20)

That is more the way I've seen it done here, though it is usually more like an 18/12 top pitch and a8/12 lower with an extra shim to satisfy the stronger break between the two.



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Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #97135, reply #7 of 20)

Now, use that high priced (too high for us FH subscribers) software of yours and show the thread initiator how to cut and fit that extra shim to make the transition have a nice curve to it, gentle enough to be able to bend two layers of 3/8 ply sheathing.

Gene Davis, Davis Housewrights, Inc., Lake Placid, NY



(post #97135, reply #10 of 20)

no bent ply needed, just a scrap ripped as shim over.
see the red



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We did the best we could...

(post #97135, reply #15 of 20)

I agree.  I use this same method with many of the barns I build with gambrel roofs that intersect shed style roofs.  Also, nice drawings!!

(post #97135, reply #18 of 20)

Thanks for the compliment on the drawing but it was a hack section cut with the shim sketched in without any cleanup work - sufficient to the cause is all.



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Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
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Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #97135, reply #4 of 20)

 nice pictures Alan. Very helpfull.

 Not terribly different than the way we have seen 'em done


typically ours ended up with the kick being an exposed rafter tail look----so the kick was decked in beadboard. and there was no lookout.


Edited 1/17/2005 8:14 am ET by Stephen_Haz

(post #97135, reply #11 of 20)

Thanks for the pictures and info, the pictures are worth a thousand words. I like the idea, and the enclosed soffits. JB

(post #97135, reply #12 of 20)

Thank you Jonathon,

The soffits were a challenge, but really pleased me in the end.

We closed them in to match the original house. Glad to do it because it was easier for maintenance and ventilation too.

That being said, if I owned a house of a different era and style, with exposed rafter tails---

NO hesitation about doing it that way, if that is in the style of the house.

(post #97135, reply #13 of 20)

Alan, do you have any pics of the hip framing for that roof I could see ?

(post #97135, reply #16 of 20)


Here are a few pics. I had a little trouble uploading them so beware of a couple that are the same. I couldn't figure out how to take them back.

It wasn't a regular hip roof. It was half of an irregular octagon, I think. In other words a bay that comprised the entire end of the 18 x 10 addition. I think the front wall of the bay was about 5' and the angled sides about 3 1/2'.

There was only one regular rafter that landed above the center window of the bay. There were two "hips" that sidled up to that one common at the top and landed on the front corners, and two more that landed on the rear corners. Jack rafters filled in the front area. IIRC I didn't have to do any filling on the sides of the bay because they were less than 24" spans.

After the rafters were in and planed nicely, the secondary "flare" rafters were put in. Because the "Hips" weren't true hips, and the fascia boards had to be level, the soffit was a couple inches wider on the front. I hid this by taking a wider rip off the 1x4 t&g for the sides. This led to the basketweave approach on the corners that you may have seen in those previous pics. I like the way it turned out and would do it that way again.

Whew! I hope I haven't been too long winded


Edited 1/24/2005 11:10 pm ET by alanj

(post #97135, reply #17 of 20)

Hey Alan, thanks for showing me those. I've been trying to figure out how to do a upward curving hip, with the eaves curving up to meet the hip .. your pics gave me a few other ideas to think about !

(post #97135, reply #19 of 20)

To eliminate the duplicate attachments -

Click on Edit

click on "manage attachemtns"

select duplicates to delete

hit the delete button



Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
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Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #97135, reply #20 of 20)

Thank you, sir,

Consider it done!

(post #97135, reply #5 of 20)

I've done some roof truss jobs with flares built into them. That would be an easy way to do it if trusses are an option.

Two other things come to mind. Like Piffin said, there's should be a significant difference in the roof pitches. You need a strong break between the 2 pitches, or people won't even notice it's there.

Second thought is to suggest checking the length of the lower segmant before you frame. On the last house I did, they wanted the lower slope length to be exactly 4' so they didn't have to cut their plywood.

You might not want yours to be exactly 4'. But you also don't want to end up with something like 4' 3" so it's a pain to work with the plywood.

Help, I've fallen and I can't... Hey, nice carpet!

(post #97135, reply #8 of 20)

Boss Hog..

  I tend to disagree here a bit.  In that great design doesn't always mean efficent or economical design.. there are certain rules that should be obeyed in design and making use of the golden triangle is most definately one of them..

 If that means you wind up with 4'3" instead of 4 feet even there will be something satisfing about the house that almost no one can put their thumb on but everyone agree's with..

  The reason I'm not more definate about this is that as a builder I too have to live with costs and I find it extremely tough to throw away a lot of good wood simply because they are just a little too long.. or worse when proper design calls for wood slightly longer than what you have and you are faced with adding a splice someplace! 


(post #97135, reply #9 of 20)

I doubt 2 or 3" is really going to make much difference in the way a house looks.

And I think it would be silly not to check to see if you could make your life easier by thinking ahead.

I'm not your type - I'm not inflatable.

(post #97135, reply #14 of 20)

Boss Hog,

  I can agree somewhat with what you are saying but surely you've seen a house that looks just deadnuts correct haven't you?   chances are it's because that house conformed to the golden rule of proportion..

  Conforming to that rule kinda ruins efficient use of materials and time..

  Please believe me when I say that my house house is far from a perfect example.  I've several times changed designs on the fly to use materials efficiently and given up some of the design purity..

 My brother-in-law an architect who first taught me about that rule violated it repeatedly in his own house..

  I' ve seen a few houses in my life that didn't violate the rule and wow! are they ever special..



(post #97135, reply #6 of 20)

Cut a 16/12 common main roof and then cut a 6/12 common rafter tail with a birdsmouth and overhang. That's how I do them. Sometimes I cut curves on the top.

If you cut your common with a 16/12 pitch cut the birds mouth and extend your overhang enough to catch the small 6/12 common rafter with an overhang which helps as a nailer for the 6/12 tails. Nail the two ends on first plumb and level then string a mason line across the bottom and then set the rest of them into the line and nail them on the top plate and into the 16/12 commons.

You will see in the drawing how I extended both the 16/12 past the plate and how I extended the 6/12 so you have full nailing on your main rafter.

Joe Carola
Joe Carola