Add a shed dormer or a gable dormer to your log home and gain more headspace for your rooms upstairs. Despite the heavy timber roof systems, log home dormers are a realistic option for the experienced log home builder. Log home dormers are also a way to add light and ventilation.
Because many log homes use a “built-up” roof system, it helps to know what you need to remove to get to the roof framing timbers. After the shingles come off, you will generally find: plywood, insulation (rigid or fiberglass) and roof decking, which can be either 1×8 or 2×6. There may also be 2x material used to create space between the insulation and plywood in order to ventilate the roof.
Once you get down to the timber rafters, they can be detached from the eave wall and the ridge using a reciprocating saw to cut the timber fasteners. If removal is done with care, these timbers can be reused as primary framing for the dormer roof.
When framing the dormer wall, always keep in mind how the exterior and interior finishing material will align with the log wall below. My preference is locate the dormer wall so that your exterior finish will blend with the exterior wall of the house. Then adjust the interior trim as needed to create the best look.
Because shed dormer rafters are shorter than main house rafters, you may be able to reuse this material when framing the dormer roof. And since the roof pitch will be different, expect to remake the cuts at the ridge and eave walls.
Once the dormer wall is constructed and roof timbers are installed reapply the built-up roof as it was originally taken apart. If the original roof used fiberglass insulation, switching to rigid foam will give you a higher insulating value within the same built-up space.
Because of the amount of labor involved, log home dormers are not inexpensive. Any time you take apart something as extensive as your roof, costs add up quickly. However, when compared to building a complete room addition, the overall cost of adding a dormer to your log home is usually far less.