Cladding the gable: what to consider

Rita Deo Rita Deo
homify Modern houses
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Gable cladding depends on the shape and size of the gable and the structural system which has been used and has been an integral part of old homes and is still used in country style homes. Cladding materials for the gable are selected on the basis of natural weather conditions of the area and a consideration for an aesthetic appeal of the home. Choice of cladding materials also has an effect on the house’s ability to conserve resources and building cost. Cladding is used to provide protection from natural elements like snow, rain and sunlight along with fire resistance. Gable cladding is generally made from materials like wood, plastic or vinyl, masonry and also composite materials which is fixed to the gable in the form of boards, sheets, or shingles and tiles.

Here is some information about gables and cladding methods suitable for them.

Flat metal sheets and shingles

Designer roofs with gables require different sheathing styles to make their durable and weather-proof. This beautiful Victorian style house with gabled arched roofs has a peaked top that slopes down like a mountain to either side. The windows have also been made in classic style to retain symmetry with the roof and quaint arch above the front door. The roof has been made partly with flat metal sheets and partly with shingles around the gables to retain the traditional look of the roof. The flat metal sheets are ideal near the edges as they do not allow rain or snow to accumulate near the edges and easily slide down. Horizontally mounted roof shingles are preferred by experts during roof laying as these provide better resistance to weather conditions. To enjoy the aesthetic beauty of gabled roofs in windy locations sometimes shingles overlap on metal sheets and are tucked away from the general wind direction.

What is a gable made of?

Gables are made of different styles to suit the availability of materials available in the region and climatic conditions. The most common styles are crow-stepped gable, saltbox gable, Dutch gable, Gambrel roof and the popular Jerkinhead gable. These can be made of a wide variety of materials like metal, terracotta and even concrete tiles as these are effective in sliding off snow and ice from the roof. When a gabled roof is built around valleys and curves then it should be shingled to prevent leakage of water into the attic. Though gabled roofs are attractive they need to be fixed by a local   expert who has knowledge about local wind conditions and weather and can advise house-owner about materials and underlying structure. Ceramic and slate tiles are heavy and require a strong support structure that is expensive but their beauty and longevity makes up for the expense. Metal tiles are easy to set up and replace just like wooden shingles but are less durable.

Sheathing of the gable

Usually gable end walls are sheathed before they are put up as it is less dangerous and easy. Before setting up the gable roof frame the wall should be sheathed and braced so that there is a sturdy frame to start the gable sheathing work.  After framing the roof the sheathing can be handed up to carpenters to place on the rafters. Depending on the rafters span scaffolding may need to be constructed to set the ridge board and put up the sheathing. For gable roofs first the rafters have to be firmly nailed in place before laying down the metal sheets or shingles for sheathing.

Siding gable for the attics

Setting up siding for the walls and the roof is pretty straightforward until you reach the gables part. The triangular wall sections between sloping roof sections become particularly tricky to handle if it also houses the attic as then you would have to install a ventilator that allows airflow without letting in rain and snow. In this beautifully designed house by Bauhaus Hagenwolf GmbH, the dormer windows attached to the attic are given a beautiful proportion and enhance the attractiveness of its roof. The siding on the gabled roof has been done by combining both metal and timber together for an authentic look that does not get damaged easily due to shrinkage and rot.

Instructions for siding sheathing

During conventional sheathing of gable the wood or metal siding is directly attached to the frame while it is on the ground and then raised to the required level. While wood sheathing could be made of gypboard or plywood the metal one can be made in the form of planks or shingles and attached directly to the gable. Sheathing gives strength to the gable. Usually intermediate barriers such as house-wrap or polystyrene foam are applied between sheathing and siding to make the gable region weather proof and free of damage from heat and moisture.

Most common mistakes and how to avoid them

House-owners make common mistakes like using wrong fastener sizes or using too few fasteners to save costs during gable sheathing along with over-driving nails. These mistakes can lead to breakdown of the entire roof structure during strong winds of a sheathed gabled house. To avoid sheathing loss the spacing of fasteners and style of planks, sheets, panels and shingles used in gable sheathing should suitable to local wind conditions. Unsupported edges of gables are the most vulnerable so structural sheathing is essential to prevent uprooting of gable panels due to strong winds or buckling due to moisture or heat. Gables in coastal areas need extra care of framed extension at the end and lack of strong connection between roof sheathing and gable truss can lead to serious roof damage.

For more informative ideas about decorative roof designs read this interesting ideabook.

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