How to Build a Butterfly Roof

A butterfly roof, or inverted roof as it is sometimes called, is very easy to recognize because of the way outer walls are higher than they are in the middle. They are still popular in some parts of America and allow for very open floor plans with large living and family rooms. Building a butterfly roof is not that difficult and this how-to guide will show you how.

What You Will Need

  • Exterior plywood
  • Pre-fabricated butterfly roof trusses
  • Scaffolding
  • Drip edge
  • Metal flashing
  • Asphalt shingles
  • 12 GA nails for roofing
  • Tar paper
  • Fasteners for metal products
  • Rafter ties
  • Clips
  • Claw hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Framing hammer
  • Canvas nail belts
  • Framing square
  • Combination square
  • Wrenches
  • Nail puller
  • Carpentry level
  • Screwdrivers
  • Drills
  • Hacksaw
  • Ladders
  • Chalk line
  • Felt-tipped pens and pencils
  • Saw horses
  • String
  • Hand saw
  • Plumb bob
  • Finish hammer
  • Clam
  • Staple gun
  • Nail gun
  • Chisel
  • Caulking gun
  • Tin snip
  • Nail set
  • Insurance
  • Blueprints

Step 1 - Measure for Trusses

Refer to the blueprints for your home and check the measurements for the roof. Also, you should take physical measurements of the building to ensure that that they are indeed in line with those on the blueprints. You'll need these measurements before you can have your butterfly roof trusses built. Keep in mind it could take a few weeks before the trusses are ready for pickup or delivery

Step 2 - Order Trusses

Go to reliable gable and truss manufacturing company and have the trusses built to your measurements. You will also need the slope, size of rafter spacing and rafter lengths in order to have the joists and trusses built.

Step 3 - Frame the Roof

Following the specifications from your blueprints, begin attaching the rafters to the top plates of the walls. Make sure that rafters are evenly aligned and always use a level and plumb bob when installing the rafters.

Step 4 - Apply Plywood

Begin laying the plywood at the bottom of the roof and work your way up. Use a hammer and nails or a nail gun to nail the plywood to the roof frame. Install the plywood one side at a time, and cut the plywood to fit where it meets in the middle of the roof. Try to fit the center plywood pieces flush and tight together. Apply caulk in seams and cracks.

Step 5 - Lay Felt Tar Paper

Make sure that the weather is dry before you begin laying felt paper. Begin at the bottom of the roof and work your way up as you roll out the felt paper. When rolling out the felt paper, make sure to overlap the paper at least 5 to 7 inches. Use the felt tacks to secure the paper to the plywood.

Step 6 - Apply Shingles to Roof

Begin at one of the lower edges of the roof and begin laying shingles. Only use one or two nails on each side of the single and work your way across until a complete row is finished. Then go back to the beginning of a row and begin laying the next layer. Allow the shingles to overlap an inch or two when creating a new row. When you have finished laying shingles all the way up the roof, you can go back shingle the corners. Use a single shingle on the corners and work your way up the roof.