Lean-to roof design ideas, inspiration & pictures

What is a lean-to roof?

A lean-to roof is nothing more than a simple, sloping roof added to a building where the upper edge of the rafters ‘lean’ against a wall or building. The traditional, ethnic lean-to structures are mostly made of logs or unfinished wood. They originated in Finland and were used as temporary shelters while camping or fishing, but this pioneering design has made its way down south into the hearts and homes of countless Malaysians due to its simple, workable structure, low installation cost, and the incredible protection they provide against the unwavering rainy climate.

These types of roofs are mainly used for constructing sheds, carports, and verandas. Adding a lean-to roof to your home or shed is an easy, do-it-yourself project that only requires an extra pair of hands to help.

What materials can I use for my lean-to conservatory roof?

Unlike the traditional lean-to roof, it’s more common to have a conservatory roof that is transparent. These roofs are comprised of aluminum eaves that provide support for the roof, along with glazed bars that are fitted in between the eaves to complete the structure. Glass and polycarbonate roofs are the most popular design options, each one with its own perks.

Polycarbonate Conservatory Roofs: Polycarbonate is nothing more than thin sheets of plastic laid on top of each other, almost honeycomb-like, that have bridging air sections to reinforce and insulate the structure. It is the cheaper option compared to glass (around 13MYR per 100m² for the higher-end variety), as the material itself is less expensive to manufacture. But that’s not the only advantage. It’s also easier to handle while building, harder to fracture once complete, and it even needs less specification on most weight loading cases. Sheets of polycarbonate are available in different thicknesses (between 16-35mm), as well as a variety of colors and types that reflect heat and add shade to the interior, and they even require less cleaning maintenance as they hide dirt very well.

One of the cons to a polycarbonate roof is the noise it produces when it rains–this is a big point to think about when you live in an area that gets constant rain. Because of its structure, there are pockets of air in the roof which make the sound of raindrops echo through the chambers of the roof and subsequently increase the external noise. Thinner sheets of this material will also squeak and make some popping noises when they increase or decrease in temperature. Polycarbonate conservatory roofs have a lifespan of around 10-15 years.

Glass Conservatory Roofs: Glass roofs tend to be preferred among homeowners, especially those that have rich green surroundings. A glass conservatory will be warmer compared to polycarbonate, meaning you don’t need to heat it manually as often. Unlike polycarbonate, glass won’t amplify the sound of the rain and you’ll be able to have full view of the sky during the day and a view of the stars at night. Moreover, glass roofs will last longer.

In terms of the cons, the glass roof will come at an additional financial cost to you. Glass is more expensive and considerably heavier, meaning it takes longer to build and there’s more of a risk involved in the construction process.

How do I build my own lean-to roof?

Before undertaking any home addition project, be sure to check with your local building authorities for the code requirements in your area. Get any permit you might need and be prepared for property setbacks with storage buildings.

After that, identify underground hazards. Lean-to roofs tend to require some digging for concrete foundations, pier blocks, or postholes, for example, and be sure to call a utility specialist, as you may run the risk of digging into a power line in your yard.

Next draw up the project plan. Measure your structure and get your dimensions, and figure out where your lean-to will attach to your building. Angle the roof so that it can withstand the weather and direct rain away from your property. Many people add gutters or downspout drainage pipes to prevent pooling at the base of the roof.

Afterward, decide on a solid foundation and on the materials you want to use for the roof. Coordinate your new roof to match the style of your home or shed where it will attach. Think about how you plan on using your conservatory–consider your climate and how much you plan on being there during the day, and how much sunlight you want. Finally, calculate the amount of the materials and if they’re within budget, purchase them.

What is the exact procedure to build a Lean-to Roof?

1. Define where you want to add your lean-to roof

2. Measure 2,4m from your existing structure in an outward direction and dig a deep hole for the post to go in.

3. Set the post in the hole and fill it with concrete to securely set it in place.

4. From this post, measure 90cm in the same line, dig another deep hole, and set the second post. Repeat this process for posts three and four and be sure to maintain the same distance between them.

5. Cut a notch at the top of your posts. Here is where the supporting post will rest.

6. Place the supporting posts into the notches you’ve created.

7. Once the posts are set, attach metal purlins on the outer side of the posts. Use nails for this step so that it remains firmly in place.

8. Then, fasten the nailer on the side of your structure. Good quality screws should be used here, as you will be attaching the upper end of your rafters to this.

9. Add two planks on both ends of the nailer by firmly nailing them in and placing them on top of the construction. Then, set a third plank in the center.

10. Next, set the roofing material by adding planks at regular intervals on the top of the roof as previously done.

11. Then, measure your roofing material and place it over the base of the roof and screw it in.

12. Finally, install your choice of trim as a cover and screw it in with a drill.