You might think curved and corrugated are the only two criteria for a shepherd’s hut roof, but there’s a little bit more to it.
Curved, corrugated shepherd’s hut roof sheets are an essential part of the build that give your hut both the desired look and functional weather proofing. We’ll take a look at the timber frame the roof fits on to and the considerations to take into account.
You might be self-building your own shepherd’s hut and are now ready to build the roof, or you might be looking to re-roof your current hut. You might also just be in the information gathering stage and looking for a bit more intel.
Whatever stage you’re at, this article should give you a good understanding of shepherd’s hut roofs – from the timber frame that gives a roof structure, to fixing the corrugated sheets, and the parts that go in between. I’ll also give you an idea of cost and a couple of places of where to get your corrugated sheets from.
First of all, let’s have a look at why corrugated roof sheeting is used?
Why use curved corrugated sheets for a shepherd’s hut?
Easy to use, hard-wearing and lightweight, corrugated roof sheets are the perfect match for your sturdy shepherd’s hut.
More than that though, a shepherd’s hut just isn’t complete without its signature curved corrugated roof.
Quite literally it wouldn’t be complete, but also in the metaphorical sense.
Corrugated sheeting was the original material that shepherds used to roof their huts. Back in the 1700s and 1800s however, shepherds would use corrugated iron for their roofs. Nowadays it’s more common to have a corrugated roof sheet made from steel, which wasn’t invented until the 1850s, rather than iron.
In their modern use, corrugated steel roof sheets are galvanised and finished with a protective coating to make sure it does its job effectively for a long time.
Corrugated sheeting is a relatively light construction material (roughly 5kg per m2). Don’t be fooled though, it provides great rigidity and structural strength compared to an ordinary flat sheet because of the corrugation (the curves).
Due to its adaptable nature, versatility and fairly cheap cost, corrugated sheets are also a popular material to clad the outsides of a hut with.
Shepherd’s hut timber roof frame
Like any good building construction, it all needs to sit on a rock-solid foundation.
In terms of your shepherd’s hut, this foundation comes in the form of a timber framework on top of a sturdy chassis and signatory cast iron wheels. It’s the timber framework that forms the shell of a hut from where the walls, flooring and roof is put into place.
For the roof, there are of course a number of different ways to construct the framework, but all techniques and styles are likely to have a few things in common:
- Centre beam running the length of the hut
- Additional beams running the length
- Two curved endpieces
- Curved spars (or ribs) spanning the width
There are a few ways to connect and secure the different pieces of timber together. A mortise and tenon joint (such as shown on the image below) is an elegant and strong solution to connect the spars to the central, or a simple slot joint where the beams fit into slots made on the spars will work too.
Once you have your basic timber structure you then have a couple of options depending on the type of finish you want.
The first option is to board out your frame. Tongue and groove softwood boarding provides a nice, clean-cut interior finish for your shepherd’s hut that can then be stained or painted.
However, if you’re looking for an even more characterful finish for the interior, you can leave the timber rafters exposed and finish off with some nice, crisp sheeting.
Breathable roof membrane
On the outside of the frame your next step will be to fit a waterproof, yet breathable, membrane before your corrugated sheet goes on. This membrane will form an essential part of the roof, making sure your finished product is weatherproof and habitable in all conditions.
Being the environmentally conscious soul that you are, it will be important to choose the most eco-friendly roof membrane for your hut.
According to Greenpeace, one of the most eco-friendly materials to use is EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer).
EPDM is durable, reliable and has one of the lowest environmental impacts due to its long lifespan and reusability. EPDM is particularly useful for a shepherd’s hut as it is lightweight and can absorb structural movements should you be towing your hut.
Don’t forget your eco-friendly insulation
The cavities and gaps created by the interior and exterior layer can then be filled with high level, eco-friendly insulation.
Sustainable sheep’s wool is a great and common option, but there are also a few different environmentally friendly alternatives, such as wood wool, cellulose and cork insulation. Read more here on how environmentally friendly cork is.
Please note, for ease of installation it may be better to fit your insulation into the cavities before the membrane goes across the roof.
Fixing the corrugated roof sheets
Once you have your timber roof structure in place, complete with waterproof membrane, it’s time to fix your corrugated roof sheets.
You will need a number of corrugated sheets to complete your roof (the number depending on how big your hut is). Most roofing sheets cover a width anywhere from 2ft to 3.5ft and will have a rise of 1ft to 1.5ft.
There will always need to be a bit of overlap when installing the sheets to ensure your hut is fully waterproof and secure. So for example, if you have a 14ft shepherd’s hut, you might need 5 x 3ft corrugated sheets in total. The wider the sheet the less you’ll need. The roof sheets also come in different thicknesses, with 0.5mm and 0.7mm being the most common.
The great news is that you don’t need any specialist tools to fit your curved corrugated roof. An electric drill and roofing screws is about all you need!
Roofing screws may vary in length but you’ll need something like 65-75mm screws complete with a rubber-backed washer. This rubber washer is critical as it ensure a nice, watertight seal. Shepherds-hut.com have some great info in their self-build section along with various parts and items available to buy.
It’s always best to fit the screws into the top/peak of the ridges as water will naturally run down the trough of the corrugation. It almost goes without saying, but ensure the screwing point lines up flush with the timber beams and edges underneath so you get a good fix.
The video below shows the Badger Workshop fixing his own corrugated iron sheets to his shepherd’s hut roof.
How much does it cost for corrugated roof sheets?
Pricing depends on the width and length of your hut, plus the finish and effect applied. To give a rough figure you can expect to pay anywhere from £25 per corrugated sheet up to £60 for a fully finished extra long sheet.
Here are a few options. Please note measurements below cover edge to edge and not around the curve.
- Galvanised shepherd hut roofing sheet – 7.6ft x 2.6ft (2286mm x 762mm) – £21.46 + VAT
- Curved corrugated roofing sheet in Black Plastisol – 8.7ft x 3.3ft (2660mm x 1015mm) – £43.95 + VAT
- Galvanised steel roofing sheet – 2392mm x 810mm (7’10” x 2’8”) – £36
- Curved corrugated galvanised steel sheets – 2286mm x 762mm (7’6″ x 2’6″) – £27.45