How to Roof a Playhouse

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This is part 2 of my Farmhouse inspired Playhouse build how-to series. You can check out the step-by-step on how to build the deck and playhouse frame here or use this tutorial to learn how to roof your already existing playhouse or shed or doghouse or any other outdoor structure you can dream up!

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When we left off  on the playhouse build yesterday, we had the deck built, the frame of the playhouse done, and we were moving up to the roof. I knew when I was planning out this project that I wanted a roof that was going to look good, but also be durable and water-tight. This playhouse will be a focal part of our backyard (because it’s adorable), and I wanted it to match the nice-ness of our home and beautify a neglected part of our yard. Many of my friends have playhouses for their kids and they have had to hang tarps above them, and I didn’t want a blue plastic tarp to be the first thing you see in our yard, I wanted a pretty, nicely roofed playhouse. I knew shingles were the perfect roofing and since my husband and brother roofed our own home two years ago, I knew that GAF shingles were the way to go. They not only look good, but are durable and will last years beyond when our children have long out-grown their cute little playhouse. I watched their online how-to videos, and decided to take the roof on all by myself while everyone else was at work.

If you’re considering roofing something yourself but are scared, go online and watch some videos. Seriously, I can do this myself, you definitely can. I made sure to shop for supplies after the plywood was on because I wanted to make sure that I measure correctly and bought enough supplies while I was there. It’s so easy to make mistakes when measuring, so measure twice so you only have to shop once!

Lowes GAF display

Lowe’s Shopping List:

GAF Timberline® Shingles

Plywood (if you haven’t put it down yet)
Roofing Felt- FeltBuster® High Traction Synthetic Roofing Felt
Roofing nails (at least 1 1/4”)
Plastic cap nails
Hammer
Tape Measure
Ridge Cap Shingles- Timbertex® Premium Ridge Cap Shingles

A drip edge if your project needs one
Proper clothes to be safe (gloves, closed toe shoes, etc)

I headed out to our Lowe’s with the boys to grab our supplies. I had looked at some pictures online and thought I knew what I wanted but things can look so different in person so I was impressed when I saw the large GAF display they had with samples of every kind and color of shingle that GAF makes so you can compare and see exactly what you want. I decided to go with GAF’s Timberline® Natural Shadow® in Shakewood. It had great dimension and some nice warm tones that give that rustic farmhouse feel I wanted and would look great with the warm wood tones I’m using. I also learned while looking at their display that they stand behind their products and offer some great warranty options.

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So after I got all my supplies home, I got back to work, and yall, I roofed that playhouse all by myself, top to bottom. The first thing you need to do is measure your roof, and cut enough FeltBuster® roofing felt to cover it. This was so easy because it has a grid on it for easy cutting and installation. I gave myself a few inches of extra just to make sure I had it all covered.DIy playhouse farmhouse (33)

Once I had my pieces cut, I lined them up with the plywood, and nailed them in with 1” plastic cap nails. If you make sure that your felt is straight at his step, it will make hanging your shingles a breeze because you can simply line them up with the lines on the Feltbuster®. If you have any extra overhang on the sides, trim it flush with the plywood.

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Next, I did a starter row of shingles. Your first row will actually go on upside down. That’s right, just grab a sheet of shingles, give it a 180 turn, and your going to nail right in between the glue strip (the black shiny line across the shingle) and the chalk line. Make sure you give at least a 1/2” overhang over your plywood. In each of your shingle sheets, you want to use four of the roofing nails.DIy playhouse farmhouse (40)

You’ll want to continue that row, making sure it’s straight, until you get to the end. You can let the extra hang off, we’ll trim it all off at the end.
You’re next row will be right on top of the starter row, but this time you’re shingles will be place the right way- this is the first row you’ll see in the finished product. You are going to want to offset your first shingles from the starter row because you don’t want the seams to match up, that will cause water leakage, so I moved down about six inches and then started nailing in my first row.DIy playhouse farmhouse (41)

Once you’ve got that first row done, you can just keep moving up the roof, making sure to line up the next rows the same and watch your seam lines to make sure they always offset. I also tried to pay attention to making sure my rows were offset so the tabs didn’t line up either. You want it to look variegated which is easy to do because the granular technology gives it that beautiful texture and color variety.

I was really worried about getting crooked with my shingles, and that I would step back and the roof look crazy but the chalk lines on the shingles and the lines on the Feltbuster® made it so easy to make sure that I was going straight all the way across each line.DIy playhouse farmhouse (42)

You want to make sure to go high enough that your shingles will be covered by the ridge gap, and then you can do the other side (look how good it looks!).DIy playhouse farmhouse (43)

Once both sides are done, you can move on to the ridge gap. Buying the TimberTex® Premium Ridge Cap Shingles makes it so easy to do the ridge cap. Simply grab one to get started, lay it over the peak, making sure to cover the highest row of shingles on each side evenly, and lining it up with the edge of the roof, and nail in place.

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Once you have it in place, you’ll put another one over the black part of it, and nail it in place, and keep going until you get to the edge of your roof.how to do ridge cap without ridge vent

For your last ridge cap shingle, you don’t want to see the black edge, so you’ll measure how long you need it to be to get to the end, and then you can either cut it with a knife, or simply score it and bend in half a few times until it is easily torn. If it ends up being a little too long still, you can trim it when you trim the rest of your shingles. For this last piece, you will nail right into the shingle and then caulk over the nail with a roofing grade caulk to keep it water tight.DIy playhouse farmhouse (46)DIy playhouse farmhouse (48)

The last step is to take a hooked razor blade (or some people use a small saw, like a multi tool) and trim the excess shingles off of your roof. It is much easier to get a straight edge if you use a chalk line to mark the line of where they should be trimmed and then cut them. I know I said I did this all myself, but since my father-in-law came over while I was finishing up, I did one side and let him do the other.how to trim shingles

Our little playhouse wasn’t even done yet, and a neighbor came over that evening to tell me how good it looked.  I loved how professional the Timberline® shingles looked, and how easy it was for a total beginner to install them. The very last step that we did for the roof was actually the last part of the entire playhouse build, but I want you to see the finished roof and the last piece-a puppy weathervane to match our cute girl we just got-Country Farmhouse Playhouse (8)Country Farmhouse Playhouse (44)Country Farmhouse Playhouse dogCountry Farmhouse Playhouse (35)Country Farmhouse Playhouse (20)Roof with no drip edge

Doesn’t it look amazing? The roof really is the first thing you see and it looks sooo good! I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but can you believe I did that myself?

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If you’ve been considering roofing something yourself, check out GAF’s products and do it! I was really surprised how simple it was. I did the roof myself in about an hour, and that was a couple distractions. I can think of so many fun backyard projects that I could shingle myself, especially now that I know how do-able it is and have seen the variety of supplies they have at Lowe’s. Anybody out there planning any fun summer builds or re-dos? I’d love to see them or hear what you’re working or dreaming of! Can you believe what a difference the shingles alone made on this playhouse?

DIY Farmhouse Gardenshed Inspired Playhouse- Part 1

update: here is part two of the project, the roof!

Yesterday was Sawyer’s birthday, and a week ago was Rhett’s. We have been talking about building them a playhouse for years, ever since we went to a friends house who had one and they played in it for hours. I’ve been saving ideas here and there of playhouse features I loved and wanted to incorporate into our own playhouse when we got the chance as well as work in what the boys liked most about my friends playhouse. I had a sizeable stack of 2x4s left over from various projects and scored a load of free 2x6s and then got the chance to work with an awesome company (more on that tomorrow) and knew it was the perfect time to build it. I knew I couldn’t take on a project this big alone, and luckily my Dad and Mom agreed to help me, and we built this adorable gardenshed/farmhouse inspired playhouse and finished it yesterday on Sawyer’s birthday. I’m going to break it down into a three part series, so today starts of with part one-framing!Collage3

(I realize that as you read this tutorial it will look like I say a lot of “we” but doesn’t look like I do much, but I promise I helped, somebody’s got to step out to take the pictures haha but my Dad really is awesome and deserves to be in all of them like he is!)

When I went to the Magnolia Silos in Waco back in March, I saw the garden shed at the Seed and Supply Store, and wanted our boys playhouse to look just like it. The color were just right, the shape of it was cute, I just needed to translate what I like on it into playhouse form and work with those supplies I already hand on hand. I drew about a million different mock-ups before deciding on a final plan, which of course I changed again the night before (and now I’m so glad I did, the original plan was bigger and it would have been huge). DSC_8307

I bought three 10 foot long 4x4s that we used as the bottom of the deck. The only flat areas of our yard get flooded by water when it rains, meaning it would have to go up on higher ground where it is very uneven, so we needed to build something sturdy and flat for the playhouse to sit on. The 2×6’s that I got from my brother’s work for free were perfect for the deck floor. The playhouse is 4×5 with a couple feet of roof overhang, so we decided to make the deck 10 feet long (since we had that long of 4×4’s) and 7 feet wide. We built the deck on the level part of the yard by laying out the 4X4s where they needed to be and then nailing down the 2X6s on top of them, and then cutting off the excess wood (the 2×6’s were originally 12 feet long each). We decided to just build half of it there on the flat ground to get a solid start and then nailed a scrap board across the open end to keep everything in place and carried the platform to it’s final location. Once it was there we could add on the last four boards. We actually didn’t get those boards added on until the very end, but they can be done once it gets there. Obviously, if you aren’t moving your platform, you can put them all on right away, we just knew it’d be too heavy for us to carry with all of them on!

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Our next step was framing the four walls. Our playhouse is 4×5, and the height of each wall is 4 1/2 feet on each wall. The easiest way to build the walls is to build each wall separately, and then stand them all up and attach them to each other. DIy playhouse farmhouse (4)

For each wall, we started by attaching the outermost vertical boards (the 4 1/2 feet ones) to the horizontal header and footer. We shot two 2” nails through each board to attach them. Once we had the basic frame in place, we added the windows and door studs. For the longer walls of the playhouse, the 5 foot ones, the back face of the house has four vertical boards, with the middle two splitter the center 20” apart with two additional 20” pieces put in horizontally to frame out the window. The front wall has a big serving window, made by having four vertical boards, two on the outer edges, and then two more with are each 18 inches from the outer edge, and a horizontal board connecting them which is 18” from the ground, which frames out the large serving area on the front of the house. You can see it’s frame in the picture below as well as how it looks when the walls start coming together:DIy playhouse farmhouse (9)DIy playhouse farmhouse (5)

The smaller two walls, which are four feet wide each, have almost identical framing. Each has four vertical boards, with the middle two being 14” from the outer edge. This leaves a 20” space between the two vertical boards. On both, we added a horizontal board at 10inches from the top For the right wall, we also added a board 24 inches from the floor to create a 20” square window to match the one on the backside of the house. On the other, which becomes the left side of the playhouse, we took the frame, turned it over, and cut the middle of the bottom board out, between the two vertical studs. This becomes the doorway.DIy playhouse farmhouse (6)DIy playhouse farmhouse (7)

Once all four sides were complete, we carried them to the platform to attach them to each other, making the main body of the playhouse.

To make sure that things are staying square and level, we started by getting the pieces in place, then nailing the bottoml boards into the deck we were building on. Next, we attached the 2x4s on each corner to each other, making sure to use a level to check and make sure weren’t putting it up crooked. Of course, we had three little “helpers” who wanted to help too but as you can see if you look past Ford’s cute smile were actually quite in the way and kept trying to run off with tools that they shouldn’t have in the first place. Get a babysitter while you’re building if you can hahaDIy playhouse farmhouse (10)

It’s important to take your time here making sure that everything is flush and straight and level. As long as you’ve built your sides correctly, everything should go smoothly when you frame it, but if you’re having problems, you should be able to push or pull the frame as you nail it, to help get it the way you need it to go. If you’re buying wood from the store, you most likely won’t have this problem, because it’s usually pretty straight, but free wood like mine is sometimes bent some from sitting outside or being cheaper grade. This is a good reason to have someone doing this whole project with you, one person has to hold the sides together while the other levels, nails, etc.
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Once the walls were in place, we began to add the frame boards that would support the roof. We wanted this playhouse to have a one foot high rise from the top of our walls we had made, to the pitch of the roof. To do this we cut 2×4 boards that were attached to the horizontal studs on the right hand side of the room like you can see below. We made it easy by measuring both sides off of one, and then cutting the board for both walls at the same time (he’s comparing them in the lower picture)
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From there, we added a 2X4 which runs from one of these peaks to the other, which his longer than the house’s width because we wanted it to have an overhang. We originally planned to have a three foot overhang off of the front window, with a foot off of each other side, but when we realized that by making the over hang slightly shorter, we could use just one piece of plywood per side of the roof, we modified our plan and made the roof over hang by only a foot and a half on the front, which ended up looking better anyways. If you are building a playhouse the same size, or any thing, you want to take into account how much materials you will need. You can save a lot of money by building it to fit standard building material sizes. The peak beam is 6 feet long. DIy playhouse farmhouse (19)

We then added a beam where each vertical 2X4 stud was to support the roof, and then because the overhang would be over the sides as well, we added a small 2×4 between each of the outermost beam and the one resting on the frame of the to support the outermost beams, as you can see if you look close in the image below.
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Sorry for the jump in pictures, that night we realized we needed different screws for the roof, so we started added the siding to the playhouse as we waiting on supplies, we did each thing on and off as we went. Normally I like to finish one part before I move on to the next, but we were chasing daylight.

I wanted a board and batten look, but that would be a lot of work for a playhouse, so I decided to use 1/2” plywood for the siding and then add furring strips to hide the seams and get the look I wanted. When I went to by the plywood, the store had a few sheets of T-111, an exterior grade plywood siding that has a pattern on one side, for 50% off because of some writing on it, so I grabbed that and simply put the pattered side on the inside of the playhouse. T-111 is great, durable plywood, I could get the same look I wanted, plus I liked the idea of the pattern being on the interior walls.DIy playhouse farmhouse (18)

We simply nailed the t-111 boards to the 2x4s. If you’re doing faux-board and batten like me, try to make sure that you try and keep all seems vertical so you can just cover them with the furring strips later. We did end up with one or two small areas that we had horizontal seams but they can be caulked to fill and hidden with paint later on. Yes, we could have avoided that by buying more sheets of the plywood, but I definitely believe in saving money where you can so you can spend it on things that make a big difference later, and I didn’t think a few small seams would be too bad. We always cut to measure the siding to measure (which you should always do. Even if I gave you my dimensions for everything in this entire playhouse, chances are, somewhere you’d get slightly off while making it and you wouldn’t want all the things that come later nor to fit) but sometimes the boards were a little off and had to be shaved down a hair. Definitely one of the many perks of having your Dad help out, as I don’t mind using a saw but I’m not quite as confident or steady handed as he is.DIy playhouse farmhouse (20)

Once the siding was all in place, we needed to cut out the openings for the windows and doors. In order to make sure we were in the right places with the saw and that the lines were straight, we went inside the playhouse and drilled a hole in the corner of each window and the door. DIy playhouse farmhouse (22)DIy playhouse farmhouse (23)

Then, from the outside, we used a straight edge to connect the four dots, and cut along the lines with a circular saw. In the corners where the circular saw couldn’t get a nice, flush cut, I used an oscillating multi-tool, and the boards fell right out. Any small handsaw could do the job just fine.DIy playhouse farmhouse (24)

I wish I had taken a picture of the playhouse right after the windows were out and all of the roof beams were on, but it got dark and I didn’t forgot, but here’s one just one step further, with the plywood on the roof- it is starting to look like a little house!DSC_8978

We used one piece of 4X8 1/2” plywood for each side of the roof, cut to size and screwed into the supporting beams. Pretty simple and straightforward and a great foundation for roofing a playhouse.

I’ve decided to break this playhouse build up into three post- framing, roofing, and finishing/decorating. I’ll leave you here with the frame completed and tomorrow I’ll show you how I roofed it all by myself!

Update: Here is part two -the roof!