Basics for building a log cabin roof

You have a few different options when building a log cabin roof. You can try the end gable system where you continue building the walls on the ends of the cabin up to a point. You can use a chalk line to get an even slope on each side.

log cabin gables

cabin roofs

Once you have the chalk line measurement, you can make a diagonal cut with a chainsaw to make a perfect slope. Be careful, chainsaws are nasty beasts!

cabin gables

The logs can be run from the gable ends lengthwise of the cabin as beam supports or they can be run as trusses. Either way you will need to make sure that the roof gets adequate insulation.

Many log cabins have open or vaulted ceilings with tongue-in-groove boards making it difficult to get adequate insulation. It looks nice, but doesn’t hold heat very well.

Many cabin owners design false roofs that have an extra foot thick of insulation in the ceiling.

cabin insulation

Most log cabins get metal roofs. They look a little tacky with asphalt shingles. Log cabin roofs support very heavy snow loads due to the gable ends.

If you live in an area that has excessive snowfall, it would be wise to use a larger diameter log size for the roof. I have seen smaller log roofs fall in under heavy snow loads.

Large diameter logs are really expensive, but you only need a few to build a log home with a very strong roof. This is especially important if the roof members have a long span. It’s always best to overbuild when in doubt.

The purlins will be the areas where the most weight will be. These are where a larger diameter log needs to be used in cases of long spans and in areas of unusually heavy snow loads.

Purlins can be one long log piece or they can be broken up by log trusses to ease the weight.

log cabin trusses

top of page

Back to log cabin main page

Over 4 million visitors to this site since it was born!

My newsletter keeps you up to date on home construction and design ideas.

home construction

I just wanted to say that I love your website. My husband and I followed your instructions on building our own home. Most of the work we did ourselves, but not all. We saved $90,000 in labor costs and now have a beautiful home that we own.

--Sue and Les Carrigan, Draper, Utah

I built my own home doing all my own labor. My house costs me around $70,000 for materials. It took me 8 months to build and is about 2,000 square feet. I didn't think I could do it, but your house web site encouraged me. I used all the info you had.

Thank you,

Benny Luis Lopez,

Gainsville, Florida

I can't thank you enough for your free information web site about home building. I was looking for Electrical wiring diagrams when I found your site. It was very helpful.

Steve Lundquist,

Little Rock, Arkansas

My wife and I lost our home to foreclosure but we kept a plot of land to start over. We are halfway through the construction of our house. Your website gave us hope to start over and build a house with low payments. We are in our late 60's but we find it rewarding to put so much effort into a project that will reward us for years to come.

Name respectfully withheld