See how easy it is to add a small roof over your front entry with this simple tutorial! Learn how to build a gable roof over a front door for both function and style.
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When we converted our old shed into my she-shed home office last fall, one thing we knew we’d eventually need to build was a small roof over the door entry. Especially since we get so much rain here in Oregon!
Well, we finally got around to adding one, and I’m so excited to show you how to build a door canopy yourself as part of this month’s #diyprojectchallenge!
I’ve teamed up with some of my favorite DIY’ers to share an array of outdoor DIY projects so be sure to check out all their awesome posts linked up at the bottom of this post. 🙂
YOU WILL ALSO LOVE: HOW TO INSTALL WINDOW GRIDS FOR CHEAP!
Add a Gable Roof to Front Porch FAQ
What is a gable roof?
Before we get into how to build a small roof, let’s discuss what a gable roof actually is.
According to the dictionary, a gable roof is a roof with two sloping sides and a gable at each end. A gable is defined as the end of a pitched roof.
So in layman terms, a gable roof is a roof that has a peak in the middle and just two sloping sides that go down to the edges of the building.
They are one of the most popular types of roofs because they’re inexpensive to build, they’re durable in many types of weather, and they are pretty simplistic in design yet can be modified to fit a desired look.
What does a gable roof look like?
Gable roofs are recognized by their triangular shape.
Different than a hip roof, which typically has a flat section in the center and slopes going down to all four sides of the structure.
Is gable roof framing hard?
While I’m hoping this tutorial makes it easier, gable roof framing takes a lot of accurate math and calculations.
It’s important to take your time, plan ahead and validate the structure as you’re building it.
I’m hoping this simple tutorial for how to build a roof overhang over an exterior door will help shed some light on the process and give you the confidence to make your own awning for an entry door!
Ok, enough talk – let’s get to it, shall we? 🙂
How to Install a Gable Roof over a Front Door Entry
For a printable copy of the materials and instructions, scroll down.
- 2x4x8′ Studs
- Construction Screws
- 1x6x12′ Trim Board
- Ring Shank Nails
- 1/2″ OSB
- Tar Paper
- L Flashing
- Drip Edge Flashing
- Roofing Nails
- Nail Gun & Nails
How to Build a Gable Roof Overhang
Above a Door
STEP 1: MAKE A PLAN
The first step in how to build a wood awning is determining what size you want it to be.
That means, how wide (we chose to do ours just as wide as the door trim) and how deep (we did ours 2′ deep.)
You also need to decide what pitch you want your gable roof to have.
We copied the pitch of our she-shed’s main roof, so this tutorial will show you how to copy an existing roof’s pitch.
If your home has a gable roof on the main house, we recommend matching it to that pitch so it ties in visually anyway.
To mirror another roof’s pitch, the first thing you’ll need to do is determine what angle you need to cut your trusses at.
To find that angle, simply line up a piece of paper along the roof-line and then draw a line on your paper up the vertical at the peak.
Transfer that angle to your wood and then use your initial wood piece to align your chop saw at that angle.
This will be the angle you use for ALL of your angled cuts in this project, so be sure to make note of what angle it is once you’ve got it set on your saw.
STEP 2: BUILD THE CORBELS
Your first building step when you add a gable roof to a front porch is to assemble the corbels that will hold your roof up.
Do this by cutting four 2×4 boards at the depth you want your roof to have. For us that was 24″.
For each corbel, make an “L” with two of those boards and screw them together.
Then, make sure your “L” is square (at a 90 degree angle,) measure and mark 6″ from the end on each of those sides and use those marks to determine how long your angled piece needs to be.
Cut a 2×4 board at that length with 45 degree angles on each end.
Place the angled pieces inside your “L”s and screw into place to finish assembling the corbels.
Install the corbels next. For each one, place the top of the corbel flush with top of the door trim and the side against the side of the door trim and screw into place.
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STEP 3: BUILD THE TRUSSES
Now that you have the corbels up, it’s time to learn how to build a gable roof truss!
Begin by cutting two 2×4 boards at the depth of your gable roof. These will be your trusses’ end cap.
Then, measure the full width between the edges of your corbels.
To get the length of your truss boards, find where the peak of your existing roof is that distance wide (for us that was 48″) and measure the roof length between that spot and the peak.
Cut four 2×4 truss boards at that length minus 1.5″ (to account for your end caps!) using the angle you determined in step one.
Screw the angled truss boards together to make two trusses.
Then, screw those trusses to the two end-cap boards you cut at the beginning.
Next, cut and install four support boards between the trusses with two on each side – one just outside of the peak and another centered on the side of the truss.
Once the truss is fully assembled, install it on top of your corbels by screwing it in from the bottom.
Now that we’ve learned how to make an awning frame – let’s work on making it pretty!
STEP 4: INSTALL FASCIA TRIM & PLYWOOD TOP
Next, cut and install 1×6 fascia trim boards on each end of your gable roof.
Cut the boards the depth of your roof and line the top of them up with the top of your truss end cap.
After they’re installed, here’s a front view of how the end of your truss should align:
Before installing the front trim, cut and install your plywood top.
For the dimensions of these plywood pieces, measure the length from the peak of your truss to the end of the end cap and then make it as deep as your roof plus 3/4″ (to account for the front face trim.)
Nail the plywood boards into place using nails every few inches around the entire perimeter.
After the plywood is in place, install your front 1×6 fascia trim using the same angle as your roof for the end angle and aligning it with the bottom corner of your corbel face.
It’s ok if there’s a slight gap between the top of the face trim and the plywood top – you’ll be covering that with a drip edge flashing next.
STEP 5: INSTALL DRIP EDGE
Before installing the roof shingles, install metal drip edge flashing along the plywood and fascia trim seams and the back seam between the siding and the plywood.
We chose to do white along the face trim to match the shed and did NOT paint it. The flashing along the siding seam will be covered by trim, so can be any color.
Add a bead of caulking along the siding seam before installing the drip edge flashing and don’t worry if it seeps out as you press the flashing in place.
STEP 6: INSTALL THE ROOF
Before you start, make sure the color of your shingles matches your main house’s roof color!
Start by installing tar paper on top of the plywood.
Cut it to size using a box knife and install with a staple gun.
For your first row of shingle (at the bottom of the roof), place a shingle piece with the solid side overhanging the drip edge (feels upside down) by 1/4″ and install using roofing nails.
Then, working your way up the roof, install and layer your shingles to the peak.
A couple things to consider as you install:
- Always overhang your drip edge flashing and fascia trims boards by about a 1/4″
- Always stagger seams in the shingles to make it water tight. This will require you to cut and offset your even rows by about 1/3rd.
For the peak, cut a solid strip from one of your shingle pieces and install it folded over the peak.
For more details on installing shingles, check out this article.
STEP 7: INSTALL TOP TRIM
Now that your roof is fully installed, you need to put in the final fascia trim over the top drip edge against the siding.
Use your same truss angle to cut these pieces and make them go from the peak of the roof to the edge of the roof.
STEP 8: INSTALL SHIPLAP SOFFIT
Installing tongue-and-groove shiplap in the soffit is entirely optional, but I love the finished look it gives to the underside of the wood awning.
To install the shiplap, simply use your chop saw to cut pieces of shiplap that fit between the house siding and front fascia trim on the underside of the roof and install them starting at the peak all the way down, clicking them together as you install.
After this installation is complete, caulk all the seams between your wood on all parts of the roof structure to prep for painting.
STEP 9: PAINT
At this point, your DIY front door canopy should be structurally complete. Now it’s time to make it pretty! 😉
The last step in our process for how to build a gable roof over a front door is to paint all the wood. Be careful not to get paint on the shingles or drip edge.
We chose to paint most of ours the main house color with the exception of the face fascia trim around the front and above the roof that we painted our trim color.
So what do you think of the wood awning we built over our front entry door? I sure love it!
I hope this simple tutorial for how to build a gable roof over a front door has been helpful and insightful for you!
As promised, here are the printable instructions:
How to Build a Gable Roof over a Front Door
Learn how easy it is to build a small wood awning over an exterior door!
- Determine how wide and deep you want your truss to be. Also, identify what roof you'll be using as your pitch template.
- Build the corbels out of 2x4s by screwing together "L" shapes and adding a 45 degree angled piece between them. Install the corbels flush with the top of the door trim and against the side door trim.
- Use your template roof to measure and cut angled truss boards then screw them together and into the end caps. Add support boards and then screw the entire truss structure on top of the corbels.
- Install face trim on both ends, plywood on top and face trim on the front.
- Install drip edge flashing along all the plywood seams.
- Staple tar paper on the plywood and then install shingles on the roof.
- Install face trim over the drip edge atop the roof.
- Nail tongue and groove shiplap in the soffit and caulk all the wood seams.
- Paint all the wood.
This tutorial uses an existing roof as a template for the trusses.
Feel free to let me know if you have any questions as you go to make your own awning for an entry door!
And don’t forget to check out these awesome outdoor DIY projects for this month’s #diyprojectchallenge:
Emory Farm – How to Screen In Your Porch
Kippi at Home – Garden Hose Holder
Southern Yankee DIY – DIY Herb Box
DIY Vibes – DIY House Number Sign
Sand Dollar Lane – DIY Ladder Golf Set
23 thoughts on “How to Build a Gable Roof over a Front Door”
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I just came across this article while browsing for for exterior door roofs, I love the explanations, the tools/supply list is also helpful. I am pretty handy with DIY so this should be do-able. Best part is that I have a bunch of partial 2 x 4 pieces laying around from other projects that are long enough to accomplish this, so this should be a good way to use them 🙂 I’ll let you know how it goes.
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