Roof options for a starplate coop

Starplate shingled roofI’ll write more in a
later post about chicken-related modifications to the
including nest boxes, perches, and a barn-style door.  But
for today, I wanted to run through the options for roofing a
starplate structure with any purpose.  (Click on each image
to see the source.)

The most common, and
probably easiest, solution is shingles.  For some reason, I’m
very anti-shingle — they just don’t seem to last very long, and
then you have a lot of useless garbage to dispose of.  Plus,
our coop is a distance from the house, so we’d like to
gutters and use rainwater to fill our chicken waterer
, and shingles are
potentially hazardous when you’re considering rainwater

Starplate tarp roofUsing a tarp for the roof
is an outside-the-box solution that would definitely be cheap and
easy (although probably not very long-lasting).  The builder
of the starplate structure to the left used old carpet pieces to
pad wherever the tarp would otherwise have come in contact with a
structural element, then he pulled the tarp taut and stapled under
the edge.  His roof has held up for three years so far, and I
wonder if a coat of roofing tar would extend that life
considerably.  On a related vein, it seems like metal
flashing might be an easy repurposed roofing material for
starplate buildings.

Ferrocement roofThe starplate structure
to the right was built with a ferrocement roof.  (Or maybe
the website author was just talking about building a starplate
structure with ferrocement — I’m not positive which on
rereading.)  After a bit of research, I decided that
ferrocement is probably not perfect for this application.  In
addition to the requirement for huge amounts of work to make the
roof, chances are it wouldn’t be very strong since ferrocement
gets most of its structural integrity from the shape of the
building (meaning it’s great for cylinders, but not so much for
flat surfaces).

Cedar roofCedar shakes create a
roof that’s midway along the continuum in terms of work and
longevity, and it’s definitely an elegant solution.  I
suspect that westerners have sources of cedar shakes that are much
cheaper than the ones I could find around here, where shakes are
seldom used.  (Making our own shakes sounds like fun…but
definitely not for this project in the midst of the growing
season!  If I were going to make my own roofing material, I’d
actually consider thatching the starplate roof, but I’m settled on
a faster, storebought solution this time.)

Finally, no one on
the internet seems to have done this, but it seems to me that you
could make a long-lived and relatively simple starplate roof out
of the standard galvanized roofing metal you can find at Lowes or
other hardware stores.  Cutting would be the hardest part,
but I think 5 sheets of 10-foot tin and 10 sheets of 8-foot tin
would cover the structure well.  (See my potential cutting
diagram below.)

Roofing tin

Any ideas I’ve missed
for drying-in a starplate coop?

Our chicken waterer will keep the coop
dry and the chickens happy once the coop is in use.

Latest Comments

  1. Keith Alexander June 24, 2013
  2. anna June 25, 2013

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