Lean-to roof design ideas, inspiration & pictures | homify Lean-to roof design ideas, inspiration & pictures

Lean-to roof design ideas, inspiration & pictures

What is a lean-to roof and should I consider it?

The words "lean-to" are simple,  everyday words we often use to describe something that gravitates  towards another or balances against something else. In the same breath, a lean-to roof is defined as a free standing, single-sloping roof, which is another way of saying it's a roof that leans on another structure. Also known as a mono-pitched roof, shed roof or a skillion roof, a lean-to roof is the opposite of a gabled roof, which is also known as a dual-pitched roof, and is pitched in two different directions. A lean-to roof can also be a small addition to an existing roof, and if kept to the same pitch, places the lean-to roof lower than the ceiling height of the main structure. In cases like these, even though the main roof has a flat ceiling, the lean-to part will have a sloping or raked ceiling line to maximize the ceiling height. This additional structure type is where the name lean-to roof comes from. Lean-to roofs can also be used to provide clerestory windows for a hallway or room where a row of windows is placed below the edge of the lean-to roof section reaching above the roof below. Because of its low slope, constructing a lean-to roof is easy and inexpensive, and water and snow easily run off its slope, so it doubles as extra waterproofing. This helps in high rainfall and snowfall areas here in America.

Which material will work best for my conservatory roof?

There are plenty of good materials you can use to build your lean-to roof. Here are some of them.

Glass: Glass lean-to roofs are a great way to bring light into the space below the roof. The great news is, there are different types of glass to consider when choosing a  conservatory roof. Thermally efficient glass reduces the amount of heat escaping and comes in the form of double-glazed panels filled with an energy-efficient gas and can also be protected with a special coating. Self-cleaning glass reduces the need to get to those high and hard-to-reach places on your conservatory roof and is made with a special coating which reacts with sunlight to break down dirt. Tinted glass is also a good way to to reduce the intensity of the sun’s glare.

Polycarbonate: This is a cheaper alternative to having a glass conservatory roof, however, these are not as efficient at maintaining a consistent temperature in the room. They also let in more noise and less natural light.

Solid conservatory roof: Solid roofs can help solve problems with temperature control as they provide effective insulation in the winter and reduce the intensity of the sun in the summer. Solid roof won’t make your conservatory as bright as a glass roof, but you have options to install velux-style windows or combine solid roof panels with glass panels to create the best of both worlds.

How do I build a lean to roof?

Constructing a lean-to roof is simple. All you need to do is make sure you have the right measurements and materials, and a plan. If you're all about getting your hands dirty, here's a step by step guide to build a lean-to carport. A lean to construction is ideal for narrow backyards, as well as woodworking novice, as it doesn’t require an extensive expertise in carpentry. You only need basic tools to get the job done.

Before starting the construction of the lean-to carport, study the local building codes thoroughly. The legal requirements vary extensively according to the area where you live, so you should read them a few times. In most of the cases, the construction require a building permit, so you need to be aware of the required depth of the footings, or the materials you are allowed to use.

Align the wooden components at both ends, before driving in the screws. Drill pilot holes trough the components to prevent the wood from splitting. Check the corners for squareness, every time you install a component. Check if the posts are plumb and if the support beams are horizontal, before locking them into place with screws or bolts. A lean-to construction will be easier to build as compared to a gable roof carport .The roof will direct the water in only one direction, so you could build it close to the property line.


A – 6 pieces of adjustable metal anchors, tube forms, cement, sharp sand, gravel (Footings)

B – 2 pieces of 4×4 lumber – 96” long, 2 pieces of 4×4 lumber – 127 1/4” long (Posts)

C – 2 pieces of 2×6 lumber – 120” long (Rim Rafters)

D – 8 pieces of 2×4 lumber – 26” long (Braces)

E – 12 pieces of 2×6 lumber – 124 1/4” long – both ends cut at 15º (Rafters)

F – 8 piece of 3/4” tongue and groove plywood (Roofing)

G – 120 sq ft of tarpaper (Roofing Felt)

H – 120 sq ft of asphalt shingles (Shingles)

Post anchor, tube form, concrete, 2 1/2″ screws, 5 1/2″ carriage bolt, rafter ties, roofing felt, asphalt shingles

Tools: Safety gloves, glasses, miter saw, jigsaw, chalk line, tape measure, spirit level, carpentry pencil, drill machinery and drill bits.

Tips: Pre-drill holes in the wooden components before driving in the screws. Check the corners for squareness using a corner square.

Duration: One weekend.

For expert advice on a lean-to roof that will best suit your building, get the help of an architect and for tons of inspiration, browse through homify and get started on your new project.