Can my run support a roof?

Ducksarecool42

In the Brooder
Dec 1, 2020
14
12
26
Hi. I'm hoping to get advice on how to safely proceed with building roof supports.

My husband and I built an approximately 12' x 18' x 6' run using 4"x4"s spaced 6' apart. So, the 4"x4" posts form a rectangle that is 3 posts by 4 posts. They're buried 3' into the gound, if that's pertinent. They are connected by horizontal 2"x4"s along the top, middle, and bottom. There are no diagonal supports. There are two, 12' 2"x4"s spanning across the top from one long side of the rectangle to the other at each of the middle two 4"x4" posts.

In preparation for snow, we need to add a lot more roof support to overlay welded wire on. With the current setup, each open "section" of the roof is 6'x12'. What is the best way to add enough support so that the run doesn't collapse under the weight of snow? As described, is our structure strong enough to support the weight of, say, nine 2"x6"x12's (spaced 2' apart) across the top? And how much support running perpendicular to those (parallel to the 18' long side) is needed?

We're not up to building a real or sloped roof. We'd like to stick with wire/fence on top. Neither of us has any building experience...

TIA for any input
 

Hei 20

Free Ranging
Oct 8, 2020
1,926
10,853
501
Hi. I'm hoping to get advice on how to safely proceed with building roof supports.

My husband and I built an approximately 12' x 18' x 6' run using 4"x4"s spaced 6' apart. So, the 4"x4" posts form a rectangle that is 3 posts by 4 posts. They're buried 3' into the gound, if that's pertinent. They are connected by horizontal 2"x4"s along the top, middle, and bottom. There are no diagonal supports. There are two, 12' 2"x4"s spanning across the top from one long side of the rectangle to the other at each of the middle two 4"x4" posts.

In preparation for snow, we need to add a lot more roof support to overlay welded wire on. With the current setup, each open "section" of the roof is 6'x12'. What is the best way to add enough support so that the run doesn't collapse under the weight of snow? As described, is our structure strong enough to support the weight of, say, nine 2"x6"x12's (spaced 2' apart) across the top? And how much support running perpendicular to those (parallel to the 18' long side) is needed?

We're not up to building a real or sloped roof. We'd like to stick with wire/fence on top. Neither of us has any building experience...

TIA for any input
welcome2.jpg
 

Avian Allie

Songster
May 3, 2019
167
223
109
Hi. I'm hoping to get advice on how to safely proceed with building roof supports.

My husband and I built an approximately 12' x 18' x 6' run using 4"x4"s spaced 6' apart. So, the 4"x4" posts form a rectangle that is 3 posts by 4 posts. They're buried 3' into the gound, if that's pertinent. They are connected by horizontal 2"x4"s along the top, middle, and bottom. There are no diagonal supports. There are two, 12' 2"x4"s spanning across the top from one long side of the rectangle to the other at each of the middle two 4"x4" posts.

In preparation for snow, we need to add a lot more roof support to overlay welded wire on. With the current setup, each open "section" of the roof is 6'x12'. What is the best way to add enough support so that the run doesn't collapse under the weight of snow? As described, is our structure strong enough to support the weight of, say, nine 2"x6"x12's (spaced 2' apart) across the top? And how much support running perpendicular to those (parallel to the 18' long side) is needed?

We're not up to building a real or sloped roof. We'd like to stick with wire/fence on top. Neither of us has any building experience...

TIA for any input
Can we get pictures?
 

Eddie the Yeti

Songster
Jul 6, 2020
119
559
136
Colorado Springs, CO
The timber you describe are probably pretty sturdy but being and if the posts are 3 feet into the ground it should be strong enough. If I read it right the timber across the top is a doubled 2x4? if so you should be able to put other timber across it sounds like the longest span you have to cover is 6 feet so a 2x4 in its side or better a 2x6 should support the wire especially since snow should fall through the holes. It really depends on how much snow accumulates on the top. Snow is heavy! This is off the top of my head. If it helps there are kits you can buy pretty cheap to help you build a real roof they require no skills other than driving a few screws, might be worth looking into if you get a lot of snow.
 

Egghead_Jr

Crowing
11 Years
Oct 16, 2010
7,535
3,677
476
NEK, VT
You'd be surprised how much snow will hold over the wire. You'll likely be covering with sheet metal in the future so might as well build it to hold the load now. Put on wire now or half wire, half tin or all tin now. If you get alot of snow you'll need to rake some off when it build up over a foot or before rains weight the snow.

If you replace the two 2x4's spanning the center posts with 2x12 and the end posts 2x4's with 2x6's you can run 2x6's two feet on center between all those spans.

In case that was confusing I'll try to explain it another way. The pen is 12x18. The 12 ft span for the two middle posts are holding the majority of load. Those should be 2x12. The two opposite ends should be 2x6's. Now you have three bays of 6 foot length that you can fill in with 2x6 two feet on center. So you'll be taking off all the 2x4 existing around the top.
 

Ducksarecool42

In the Brooder
Dec 1, 2020
14
12
26
The timber you describe are probably pretty sturdy but being and if the posts are 3 feet into the ground it should be strong enough. If I read it right the timber across the top is a doubled 2x4? if so you should be able to put other timber across it sounds like the longest span you have to cover is 6 feet so a 2x4 in its side or better a 2x6 should support the wire especially since snow should fall through the holes. It really depends on how much snow accumulates on the top. Snow is heavy! This is off the top of my head. If it helps there are kits you can buy pretty cheap to help you build a real roof they require no skills other than driving a few screws, might be worth looking into if you get a lot of snow.

The timber across the top consists of two, single 2"x4"s that are 6' apart. I'll definitely change those to something stronger. Thanks for your input.
 

Ducksarecool42

In the Brooder
Dec 1, 2020
14
12
26
You'd be surprised how much snow will hold over the wire. You'll likely be covering with sheet metal in the future so might as well build it to hold the load now. Put on wire now or half wire, half tin or all tin now. If you get alot of snow you'll need to rake some off when it build up over a foot or before rains weight the snow.

If you replace the two 2x4's spanning the center posts with 2x12 and the end posts 2x4's with 2x6's you can run 2x6's two feet on center between all those spans.

In case that was confusing I'll try to explain it another way. The pen is 12x18. The 12 ft span for the two middle posts are holding the majority of load. Those should be 2x12. The two opposite ends should be 2x6's. Now you have three bays of 6 foot length that you can fill in with 2x6 two feet on center. So you'll be taking off all the 2x4 existing around the top.
Hmm, I think I understand. When you say the two opposite ends should be 2"x6"s, do you mean I should add them perpendicular to the 2"x12"s? So they would run parallel to the 18' sides of the rectangle? Then for the additional 2"x6"s spaced 2' apart--should those be parallel to the 12' side (attached to the 2"x6"s) or parallel to the 18' side (attached to the 2"x12"s)? Thank you!
 
Looking at your picture, some of your joist will land over the 4x4 post. Its the ones in between the post that i would be concerned with, there would be two joist between each post, on 2 foot centers. If you could strengthen the top by putting a 2x10 around the perimeter, fastened to the post and your 2x4s to strengthen in between the post i think that part would be good. Now, the other concern would be the 12 foot span. Too much for 2x6s at 2 foot oc, especially being flat with a snow load. I would increase those to 2x8s, 2x10s if you get deep snow, its heavy.
 

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