Curious about a roof design

I come here because there’s always some old wise ones, and wise guys, lurking who know it all…

Why do some barns and some traditional houses have this kick-out roof pitch at the eaves (see picture). Is it simply for aesthetics? (hint : I have never lived in snow country)


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On barns I’ve seen like that the rafters come down to the top of the wall instead of over hanging it like on a more conventional residential roof with overhangs and soffits I expect it’s because of the very steep pitch. That “kick out” creates the over hang and keeps rain from running down the wall.


True. I guess if you extended the rafters for an overhang, they’d start to obscure the windows.

I remember the first time I was in a barn and thinking about how it had been built that if the rafters didn’t sit on the walls, there might be strength issues although the joists for the floor also form the rafter ties.

I was thiniking of the brace frame and purlin method some of the barns are built. I have a roof framing book and maybe that’d have a section. I’ve seen this on gambrel roofs of course but also other high pitch roofs.

It’s an easy way to send water off the roof and away from the foundation. For context, at the time this style of barn was first built, gutters either didn’t exist yet or were way to expensive to install. You couldn’t cheaply roll an aluminum gutter until the 60’s. Rather than have the rain (and snow – gambrel roofs are excellent at expelling snow) collected by the entire area of the roof fall in close proximity to the foundation, which would have been damaged as a result, skirts were installed – concrete foundation requires compacted earth below and around to be effective; water runoff will wash the earth away and destroy the building.

They could have built a gambrel roof with a overhang by cantilevering the loft’s floor joists beyond the outside walls and installing an outer beam for the rafters to be birdsmouthed to, except that it would be more complicated, less effective, take more time, and cost more money. Because this style of building with its gambrel roof was designed to economical, an overhang built this way doesn’t make sense. The gambrel roof was great because you could almost double the building’s usable square footage without adding a second story, avoiding additional building costs and property taxes at the same time.

Thank you. I found some framing designs that actually use the floor framing of the loft as t start for the eave framing.