Last June, we got the Starplate frame and walls up, then started thinking about the roof. Although no one else had done it that way, we liked the idea of using aluminum flashing, both for ease of cutting and for safety of rainwater collection. Our first stab at it, though, involved too much corner cutting. Furring strips seemed like they might be sufficient to anchor the flashing, but the roof just felt too flimsy using this method. So we backed up, (waited nine months,) and tried again.
Round two was much more
successful. We started out by adding extra two-by-fours in the
middle of each roof triangle, which was simple since each starplate has
extra holes, giving us an easy attachment point at the peak of the
roof. Next, we cut the bottom of each support at an angle to make it easy to screw into the tops of the walls.
planned our starplate roof to have an overhang, so back when we
started, we used ten-foot-long 2X4s for the rafters instead of the
eight-foot-long 2X4s we used for most of the frame. That meant
that triangles cut out of 4-foot-by-eight-foot sheets of plywood covered
most of the roof, but left a very handy gap that let us stand on the
frame while applying the roofing. By being careful not to attach
the bottom edge of the lower piece of flashing, we were able to roof the
entire top of the coop while standing in relative safety, then could
later slide the bottom piece of flashing up underneath to finish out the
part of the project went extremely smoothly, although Mark didn’t have
fun being up on the roof. The only thing we would have changed
here would be to use thicker plywood — the 1/4″ plywood sagged a
bit. On the other hand, Mark notes that thicker plywood would have
weighed a lot more and would have made the process tricker, so perhaps
the solution is to use thin plywood, but to add additional supports
inside as needed. Or to simply throw a tarp over the roof so that
it doesn’t get rained on between screwing down the plywood and adding
the flashing — I think that water was what caused the sag.
photo above shows how we slipped the last piece of flashing up under
the edge of the other piece and anchored it down. We had
originally planned to carefully cut triangles to eke out the
underlayment for the eaves area, but ended up just using half of a
4-foot-by-eight-foot sheet of plywood for each eave, as you can see here. The bottom edge of each eave consisted of two 8-foot-long furring strips screwed together to complete the roof triangle.
But before starting on
the eaves, we had to figure out the peak. Reaching the very top of
the coop was tough, so we opted to build a ridgecap on the ground,
then put it in place. The ridgecap was framed up with furring strips,
then covered with triangles of flashing, with liquid nails used to glue
the seams. Mark and I both think the cap adds quite a touch of
elegance to the finished roof.
Here we are putting the
last piece of flashing on the roof. You might be able to tell that
we didn’t cut the edges of the flashing pieces to an angle, just bent
them over so they overlapped the adjacent sides. We screwed down
these flaps carefully, so hopefully there won’t be any problem with wind
whipping up under the edges.
Now all that’s left is the fun stuff — filling in some holes, building the rainwater collection system, and adding feeders, waterers,
perches, and nest boxes. I’m hopeful the coop will be ready for
our current round of chicks by the time the ducks arrive and need the
brooder. Total cost so far has been about $1,100 for 110 square
feet, and you can read my thoughts on the pros and cons of starplates here.
As a final side note, a reader posted a photo of his nearly finished starplate coop
recently as well. He chose shingles, which definitely made an
elegant roof. I suspect there are as many ways to finish starplate
coops as there are starplate coop builders, but hopefully you’ll at
least get some ideas from this post.