Lean-to roof design ideas, inspiration & pictures

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What is a Lean to Roof?

Simple and sloping roofing system that leans against a wall and creates a shelter underneath is known as a lean to roof. Lean to roof is designed for temporary shelters, barns, mountain huts, orangeries, garden sheds, kids’ playrooms and sometimes for the main residential building. The temporary shelters or barns designed with lean to roofs are known as lean to shed.

Lean to sheds are common in the Scandinavian countries. In Finland, lean to sheds are known as laavu. These sheds are built in remote areas of the country and often nestle in the wilderness. Lean to roofs are also common in other parts of the world, including in Canada. There are several advantages of opting for this type of roofs:

* They are easy to build and very cost effective. 

* Some lean to roofs can be built in a day and can be a part of your DIY project. 

* Lean to roofs can be used as a permanent or semi-permanent roofing solution. 

* Permanent lean to roofing solutions can also be very durable. 

* These are ideal for mountainous regions and places that experience greater than average rainfall. The sloped designs don’t encourage accumulation of water on the rooftop. 

* Lean to roof made of wood or the glass roof are chosen for aesthetic reasons. 

* Owing to their versatility, it is easy to build lean to roofs in small and awkwardly designed spaces. They are great for covering the outer stairways of your building. 

* More often than not, lean to roofing solutions are easy to maintain. One exception to this could be the glass roof without self cleaning properties. 

* You may also design lean to roofs for canopies, gazebos, carports, porches and balconies. They add a contrast to the flat or gable roof of the main building and increase the beauty of the exterior.

A lean to shed is not exactly a modern invention. It has often found its place in the classical architecture and design. In many old buildings of Newfoundland, Quebec and Nova Scotia you can still see the presence of lean to roofs. This type of roof is also known as skillion.

Which materials can I use for my lean to conservatory roof?

For its cost effectiveness and simplicity of design, a lean to conservatory roof is considered a great option for many. If you are planning to build a lean to conservatory, you will need the following materials to set up the structure:

Hardwood for building the frame. It is chosen for its beauty and durability. The other alternatives to hardwood are aluminium and UPVC. Aluminium is lightweight and even more durable than the wooden structures. However, UPVC is more affordable. Even though it does not boast of the durability of the hardwood or aluminium they are favoured for this reason.

Glass panels to cover the roofing and the walls. You may opt for glass panels that are specifically designed for a lean to conservatory. They are thermally efficient and don’t let the heat to escape through the rooftop. They are also easy to maintain as they have self cleaning properties. You may opt for polycarbonate glazing too. It is more cost effective than glass, but is not so great for providing insulation to the interiors.   

You will also need gravel or concrete to secure the base and design the flooring. Ceramic tiles are being increasingly used for for flooring as well. You may also invest in terracotta tiles to decorate your indoor garden in an organic way.

Metal anchors, batter boards, screws, bolts, posts and rafters will be needed to hold the structure together.

Paint and varnish would be needed to weather-proof the entire structure and increase its charm.

Don’t forget to buy quality tools for the job. For a DIY project, you may also borrow them from your friend or neighbour. These tools include drill machines, tape for measurement, pencils, ladder, high stools, jigsaw, mitre saw, gloves and glasses for the safety reasons.

To decorate the interiors in style, invest in the following:

Orangeries are meant for plants, especially for exotic plants that are difficult to grow in cold climate. Invest in those plants and shrubs that you would love having for the interiors. Some of the popular choices include citrus plants (great for giving the interiors a Mediterranean feel), petunias, geranium, poinsettias, orchids and cacti. You may also grow vegetable in your greenhouse just for fun.

When using the space for the dual purpose of gardening and entertaining guests, place a cosy sofa close to the windows. Surround it with a few upholstered chairs. Use chic lighting fixtures to create an alluring atmosphere. Place a handful of artworks on the coffee table and on the shelves. Invest in stylish planters. Flowering plants, shrubs and orchids will act as precious pieces of décor.  

How do I build my own lean to roof?

You may invest in pre-fabricated garden sheds with lean to roofs. They are cheap and can be bought by spending as little as $400 CAD. But if you wish to design your own roofing, assess the area where you wish to build the lean to shed. Measure the available space and make a detailed sketch of the proposed design. If you are attempting this for the first time, consider discussing your options with an experienced architect.

* Use strings and batter boards to visually create the ground plan. 

* Install the posts in the corners and with the help of concrete fix them in their places. 

* Use clamps to attach the wooden beams on the posts. 

* Drill pilot holes in the cross beams and attach the rafters. 

* Fit the roofing sheet on the rafters and cover them with felt shingles. 

* Give the wooden structure a coat of varnish and let it dry overnight. 

* Fix the wall panels. For a carport, you may not use the wall panels at all.